Is scotch smoother than bourbon


Whiskey: its flavors

Scottish whiskey has the widest range of flavors of any alcoholic beverage, even more so than vodka, bourbon, white wine and even red wine.

For a long time, people have been thinking about how to divide and classify the multitude of different flavors in whiskey. So Pentland invented the "whiskey wheel" on which aromas are arranged in a circle and divided into 14 categories. Its structure is reminiscent of Dr. Ulrich Fischer and contains categories that range from A for aldehyde to E for ester, H for woody and S for sweet, sour or sulphurous. Over the years this classification has been supplemented by terms such as flowery, peaty, warming, cooling, tingling, viscous and many more. Experts kept inventing sub-categories for the main categories. So peaty z. B. in moss, fishy, ​​smoky and medical. A term like flowery is expanded to include leafy and hay-like. Some people will wonder how all these different flavors get into the whiskey and why on earth should you drink a single malt that tastes medicinal? Here are the answers.

Is the barley for the whiskey the same as the vine for the wine?

In the case of wine, quality judgments are often made by assessing the place of origin and the grape variety. There are also debates with whiskey about whether the “continental barley” from Central Europe is better than the “maritime” from Northern Europe. In general, it can be said that the natural advantages and properties of vines can be better represented than those of barley. The influence of barley on the taste of whiskey is less than that of grapes from wine and different types of barley do not differ significantly in taste. In addition, many taste characteristics are lost during the distillation and new ones are added. That is why in recent years a large part of the barley required for whiskey has been imported into Scotland from abroad.

Whiskey: washed up with all the water?

Similarities in the taste of different whiskeys from neighboring distilleries can usually be traced back to the fact that the water used for distilling comes from the same type of rock. The waters of the Lowlands, e.g. B., is particularly rich in carbon, the water on Islay rather ferrous. If a stream or river flows over hard granite, the rock does not release any minerals and it remains soft. This can also be tasted in whiskey, as water is omnipresent at every stage of the production process. A high mineral content can influence the extraction of the malt sugar, and if the water has stood in one place for a long time or it has flowed over peat, then it is usually peaty and brown.

What is peat And how does it get into the whiskey?

Peat contains many complex aromas that can also be found in whiskey. Peat arises in the raised bogs and is mainly composed of plant components that have not yet completely decomposed. In the peat you will mainly find strongly overgrown plants with a narrow network of roots, such as heather and moss. Scottish whiskey as we know it today would be inconceivable without peat. The peat from the islands of Orkney and Islay is particularly popular. It offers plants that tolerate salt, such as the heather, an appropriate environment to perch on. The heather in turn enriches the soil with a sweetish, slightly bitter honey taste.
The peat is typical of most Scottish whiskeys, but this is not the case with Irish whiskey. Most Irish distilleries burn without peat. They use charcoal in a closed oven, which makes the taste of the Irish whiskey appear smoother.

How can whiskey taste like iodine?

Scotch whiskey may in some cases contain a medicinal note, which is most likely due to iodized seaweed. Because at most distilleries, seawater washes the walls of the warehouses and there is seaweed everywhere on the coasts. In addition, wind and rain carry the aroma to the peaty land. If the peat is then cut and burned during the malting, the aromas of the seaweed are released and accumulate in the whiskey. There are a multitude of flavors that you think don't belong in a scotch, but it is the exotic and strange of them that make good Scottish whiskey a special taste sensation by revealing things to us about them we didn't even know we could taste them.

The whiskey is alive - what are bacteria and yeast doing?

Another component that affects the taste of a single malt is the activity of the yeast during the fermentation process. Fermentation creates “esters” that can taste nutty or fruity. Bacteria then do the rest, because even if you pay close attention to the cleanliness of the washbacks, there will always be microorganisms that create their own microclimate during distillation and thus influence the taste of the whiskey.

The shape influences the content - what role does the composition of the still play for the whiskey?

The shape and texture of the stills also affect the aroma of the whiskey. The ratio of surface area and heat, the amount of liquid, the vapor and its condensate, all of these factors influence the finished whiskey.

Which barrel for which whiskey?

Ultimately, the barrels in which it is stored are also of great importance for the taste of a whiskey. Scottish whiskey is usually stored in cool and damp warehouses with stone floors. However, there are also modern warehouses with concrete floors and stacking shelves. The barrels give off aromas to the whiskey through their wood. Most of the barrels are made of oak and have already been filled. Usually old bourbon or sherry barrels are used for scotch whiskey, which can be used three to four times.
Bourbon barrels add caramel, vanilla notes and tannins to the whiskey. Former sherry barrels enrich it with nutty or fruity sherry flavors. In order to allow the whiskey to penetrate the wood better, bourbon barrels are burned out from the inside before filling. Burning out gives the distillate access to the desired aromas and properties of the wood.

Whiskey glasses have a final impact

In addition to the aromas in the whiskey itself, the right whiskey glasses (whiskey glasses, single malt glasses, nosing glasses) are of decisive importance for taste perception.
The variety of whiskey glasses is great. It ranges from simple cylindrical whiskey glasses - the tumbler - to special tulip-shaped nosing glasses. The whiskey glasses are crystal clear so that you can judge the color of the whiskey.
The shape of the whiskey glasses depends on the type of whiskey and the drinking habits of whiskey lovers. In America the whiskey is called bourbon whiskey and drunk with ice. That is why the bourbon glasses - tumblers - are designed in such a way that there is enough space for ice. However, ice is not very suitable for the perception of aromas and enjoyment. The temperature of the whiskey drops significantly with ice. As a result, less alcohol evaporates that sweeps away the aromas.
So-called nosing glasses (from English nosing = smell, sniff) are more suitable. These whiskey glasses release the aromas with the alcohol in their bulbous lower part and concentrate the alcohol vapors and aromas through a tulip-shaped taper in the upper part.
Nosing glasses are also used by the master distillers and master blenders of the whiskey distilleries. The master distillers do their work mainly with the nose and not with the palate. That is why the whiskey glasses are decisive for them in assessing their work.