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Any One for a Scotch? - Page 132

post #1966 of 3328
Quote:
Originally Posted by Longmorn View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Huntsman View Post

Nadurra is very decent.

 

It is indeed, but the Nadurra Triumph 1991 (pictured here) is even better. Rounder, richer with deeper flavors. Worth the upgrade, but I wouldn't use it in a cocktail!

 

Mortlach is high on my list; Royal Lochnagar isn't on my radar (details?); and agreed on Longmorn - great stuff. Not as complete a package as HP 18, but still good stuff.

 

I'm actually not aware of the Triumph. I am pretty particular about what I use in cocktails, both from the standpoint of using something that is of high enough quality, and also of not maligning something that is of high quality by adulterating it. No vintage champagne mimosas, in other words. But the regular Nadurra does make a remarkable improvement in a Pennicillin!

 

Royal Lochnagar is hard to get a hold of, but is a big component of the Walker blends. My favorite whiskies are the deep, rich, spicy, meaty onces, and Lochnagar falls into that category for me.

 

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Originally Posted by aravenel View Post

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Originally Posted by ama View Post

Largely for the same reason cigars have gotten more expensive, the Far East.

And wine. GD China. ffffuuuu.gif

 

And wood.

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Originally Posted by DWFII View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gibonius View Post

There are probably five hundred of the things around here but people might look askew if I brought in scotch to sample.

Is it really that it's never been done before? Or that no one in the Industry has access to this kind of equipment? If a bona fide expert says that some kinds of plant material produce phenols and some kinds don't, do we really need to second guess?

I can't help being uncertain as to where the facts lie in this. The WhiskyScience blog seems to my inexperienced (and ignorant) eye to be offering up pretty "scientific" data. Perhaps based on GC/MS spectrometer results? If such results indicate that phenols themselves produce medicinal flavours, does speculation...even common sense speculation...trump?

I suspect it is a mistake to dismiss those findings out of hand.

 

I thought I was largely agreeing with them: Do you have the link to the particular page on their site that you read>


A hundred GC/MS's? When we were quoting them, they were like $120k, which is why we don't have one. I've tried it with FTIR, but the majority of the aromatic compounds are of such low wavenumber that the FTIR can't distinguish it.

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Originally Posted by gopherblue View Post

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Originally Posted by Huntsman View Post

I'm not sure I get how the implication necessarily follows from the prior statements.

The phenols (a huge class of chemical compounds which can create a huge range of flavors) come from the burning peat, and that peat is composed of decayed muck from a whole range of types of vegetative matter. Hypothesis: More medicinal whiskys are made from malt that has been roasted over peat with a higher amount of seaweed/saltwater in it. Thus, that peat gives off a collection of phenols that are richer in the particular phenols that yield medicinal notes.  Supposedly, there are like three different types of seaweed that have been found in peat; a green, red, and the brown kelp-like seaweed.
Quote:
Originally Posted by why View Post

I'm not a chemist but from what I do know I'd say Huntsman is right. Also, many 'science of alcohol' websites are psychobabble. I'm also willing to bet that flavors like iodine do in fact come from iodine itself as Gibonious suggested.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post

Huntsman makes a convincing case and I'd like to take it at face value...it is, after all, what I've believed for some years now.

But it re-raises the question--some peats won't have any appreciable iodine (kelp or salt water) in them, simply because of geography. So some heavily peated whiskys should be nearly free of any medicinal flavours while at the same time retaining the smokiness and the peat reek. [and at one point in time I suspect most if not all SM Scotches were dried and distilled over peat as it was the most common and readily available fuel in Scotland.]

 

 

XKCD?

 

~ H

post #1967 of 3328
Quote:
Originally Posted by Huntsman View Post


XKCD?

~ H

What else could it be?
post #1968 of 3328
Quote:
Originally Posted by Huntsman View Post


I thought I was largely agreeing with them: Do you have the link to the particular page on their site that you read>



~ H

Like the link that was posted to prove that spring water was the best and ended up, if you actually read the link, asserting (rightly or wrongly) that distilled water was the least likely to affect flavour, I got this link from someone else in the thread:

http://whiskyscience.blogspot.com/2011/07/flavour-wheels.html

Specifically, the SWRI Revised wheel, and especially thewhiskymag wheel, and the Macallan wheel, as well. The wheels can be enlarged by clicking on them and, with some difficulty but accuracy enough, can be read.

Also from http://whiskyscience.blogspot.com/2011/02/peat.html

Quote:
Peatland plants consist mainly of cellulose, hemicellolose and lignin. The lignin in grasses contains all the monolignols; coniferyl, sinapyl and p-coumaryl-alcohols, as lignin in heather is mostly coniferyl-sinapyl-type (see previous blog). Sphagnum is very different in structure consisting of a sort of polyphenolic network. Sphagnum moss is therefore richer in p-hydroxyl-phenols instead of the usual lignin-derived compounds. Therefore burnt sphagnum releases more simple phenols and burnt wood more syringol and guaiacol-derivatives with slightly different smoky aromas. Wooden stemmed plants with more cellulose and hemicellulose decompose into simpler carbohydrates. Surface layer has proportionally more carbohydrates and less phenols and deeper layers have increased levels of potentially harmful nitrogen compounds and hydrogen sulphide (aroma of rotten eggs). Nitrogen compounds are probably produced by a range of fungi. Hydrogen sulphide is generated by bacteria in anaerobic conditions, usually below the waterlevel, from other sulphur compounds.

More there on peat flavours.

From what I read (anywhere..including the HP site--another link offered up in this discussion) nothing is ever mentioned about sea water or seaweed lending an iodine or medicinal flavour profile...it all comes back the the phenols that originate in spagnum moss based peat. If I understand correctly, it is the phenols and nothing else that is responsible for the medicinal flavours.

I readily admit that that flies in the face of what I thought I knew but I'm willing to be schooled in any of this as long as it's not the kind of schooling that fish engage in.

Correlations and statistics classes notwithstanding, I suspect that Isaac Asimov had it right when he said "There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'"

--
Edited by DWFII - 1/31/13 at 5:06pm
post #1969 of 3328

Well, only the Macallan wheel actually specifies a mineral flavor (iodine) and ascribes it to phenols, so I don't actually think what's there is determinative.

 

The most important quote on the peat page IMO is this section,:

 

Quote:
The smoky flavour of a peat reek is supposedly coming from simple phenols, such as phenol, its alcohol-derivatives and creosols, and to some extent from guaiacols, furans and pyrans. Syringyl-compounds are not thought to be of major significance in producing smoky aromas. Different carbonyl-compounds seem to soften the phenolic aromas. Without the carbonyls and guaiacols the phenols can taste ashy, sharp and hard, whereas together they produce aromas of smoked meat, savory "maggi" and burnt sugar. Large amounts of nitrogenated compounds give higher levels of pyridines and result in astringent, green and rubbery flavours. In addition the nitrosamines produced by the nitrogen oxides in malt are carcinogenic. The formation of nitrosamines can be blocked by sulphur oxides, which can be produced by burning sulphur-containing coal or rock sulphur with peat or by adding gaseous suphur dioxide to non-sulphurous gas. Paradoxally the rubbery, unpleasant "sulphury" odor (from nitrogenated compunds) in a whisky can result from not using enough sulphurous fuel in kilning. Also the right temperature in firing is important as more smoke and lignin-derived aromas are extracted and less nitrogen released if the peat burns without flames in realtively low temperatures.
 

 

 

It describes a broader range of a chemicals than just phenols, and if you follow through to one of the sources cited on the page describing salty smoke flavors, the abstract mentions a range of other compounds including NaCL:

 

Quote:

 

Guillén M, Manzanos M. Characterization of the components of a salty smoke flavouring preparation. Food Chem 1996; 58; 1-2; 97-102

A solid smoke flavouring preparation had a heterogeneous appearance and microscopy revealed transparent crystalline particles, vegetable matter, irregular brown particles and dark brown globular particles. A quantity of globular particles was separated from a fraction of the total sample. Fourier Transform infrared spectra of the total sample and of the globular particles, as well as of their residues and extracts in dichloromethane were studied. The insoluble fraction of the flavouring preparation in dichloromethane was again extracted with distilled water and infra-red spectra of its residue and extract were also studied. It was inferred that, in addition to compounds responsible for the flavour, vegetable matter, NaCl, fatty acids and fatty esters and a carrier (presumably made ofsaccharides) were used in the manufacture of this flavouring preparation. Globular particles of the flavouring preparation were composed of fatty acids and fatty esters, carrier and flavour compounds. Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry and gas chromatography with flame ionization detection techniques were used to study the soluble fraction (in dichloromethane) of the flavouring preparation.Phenol derivatives were the main components responsible for the smoke flavour. In addition to the flavouring compounds arising from wood pyrolysis, flavouring compounds derived from plants were also found. Fatty acids and fatty esters, detected by infra-red spectroscopy were shown to be the main components of the soluble fraction.

 

Not trying to be contradictory, but I think the ambiguity on the whisky pages probably reflects either uncertainty or a level of complexity that can't be easily explained to a lay audience. On top of that, there's the effects of barrel aging, chill filtering, etc. 

 

Instead of diving down the rabbit hole of flavor science, I think I'll just stick to drinking the stuff and leave the debate to the rest of you.

post #1970 of 3328
Quote:
Originally Posted by Longmorn View Post

Well, only the Macallan wheel actually specifies a mineral flavor (iodine) and ascribes it to phenols, so I don't actually think what's there is determinative.

Not so...look again more closely at the Whiskymag wheel. Click on it...you get a larger image. And the SWRI wheel specifies phenols as the origins of medicinal flavours.

I understand that other flavours come from other materials and other processes. Even the disparate depths from which the peat is cut. I got all that. But the only ascription of iodine or medicinal flavours comes from the phenols....ie. Spagnum moss peat.

I don't mean to be contrary or to belabour this but I have to remind you that you started this investigation/conversation with your remarks about peat vs. smoke.

I agree with you...I'd rather drink it than talk about it but once raised it can't be dismissed with a wave of the hand.

IOW, if you have evidence one way or the other, I'm listening but so far I haven't seen it. That said, I'll drop it if there isn't any evidence.

But as I said...I'm willing to be schooled. I'm open minded.
post #1971 of 3328

Hmmm - I'm a little confused. The Whiskymag wheel seems to categorize medicinal as part of a range of 'peaty' flavors but doesn't specify the chemical origin. I do see your point about the SWRI wheel, but I remain a little skeptical given that the other sources seem to suggest greater complexity to the question.

 

I skipped over it before, but I notice that the Wine Wheel categorizes 'medicinal' under the Phenolic category, and 'smoky' under 'Burned'. My problem is that the wheels seem to be imperfect amalgams of subjective flavor impression and chemistry, and I'm not willing to dive into the literature to sort it all out. 

 

With respect to sphagnum versus other sources, doesn't the following passage suggest the importance of other other types of plants in the peat, depending on the geographic source?

 

 

Quote:
There are considerable differences between peats from different origins. Islay peat is usually richer in phenols, guaiacol, vanillic compunds and nitrogens but poorer in carbohydrates than the peat from the mainland . This is probably because of the greater amount of Sphagnum and lesser amount of wooden stemmed plants in Islay bogs. Wooden plants, especially decideous plants contain grater amounts of syringol-based aromas compared to phenol-richSphagnum and relatively guaiacol-rich bog plants. Orkney peats are of an intermediate type as they contain more carbohydrates than Islay peats and more phenols than mainland peats from Tomintoul. The extraction depth is also important, as especially in Orkney there are great differences in peat composition as surface peat is closer to the mainland peat and deeper layers reseble Islay peat. The best extraction depth seems to be just above the water level near the surface. This is probably because of greater amount of carbohydrates and lesser amount of nitrosamines and hydrogensulphide in the surface layer. The drying of peats and the controlling of burning temperatures are also easier if the peat is not too thick.

 

Anyhow - fair point that I kind of kicked this off. I was just trying to express a subjective difference I find between Scotches. I think you've raised a fair point that it's not clear where the iodine flavors actually originate, but the flavor wheels and literature do seem to support a distinction between the medicinal peat-smoke flavors typical of Islays and wood-smoke flavors in HP and others. I certainly don't have a definitive answer on the chemistry but I'm content to leave the issue to others inclined to dig deeper. That said, not trying to shut down the conversation. Have at it!

post #1972 of 3328
Quote:
Originally Posted by Longmorn View Post

Hmmm - I'm a little confused. The Whiskymag wheel seems to categorize medicinal as part of a range of 'peaty' flavors but doesn't specify the chemical origin. I do see your point about the SWRI wheel, but I remain a little skeptical given that the other sources seem to suggest greater complexity to the question.

I skipped over it before, but I notice that the Wine Wheel categorizes 'medicinal' under the Phenolic category, and 'smoky' under 'Burned'. My problem is that the wheels seem to be imperfect amalgams of subjective flavor impression and chemistry, and I'm not willing to dive into the literature to sort it all out. 

With respect to sphagnum versus other sources, doesn't the following passage suggest the importance of other other types of plants in the peat, depending on the geographic source?

You're correct about the the whiskymag wheel but from the earlier quote I posted, spagnum moss peat is "very different in structure consisting of a sort of polyphenolic network. Sphagnum moss is therefore richer in p-hydroxyl-phenols instead of the usual lignin-derived compounds. Therefore burnt sphagnum releases more simple phenols."

So what I take from that is that peat, consisting as it does of spagnum moss with incidental "foreign" grassy and woody materials in it, will always be high in phenol producing material. Ipso facto, peaty=phenolic.

And yes, other materials are important but unless I'm missing something none of them are associated with either a "smokey flavour" or "peat reek" (see Whiskymag wheel) or iodine/medicinal flavours. The iodine and medicinal flavours can be mitigated in all sorts of ways but the wheels seem to suggest that what we experience as "smoke" in Scotch is mostly related to phenols simply because phenols are the main byproduct of burning peat. Speysides never feel the peat and they are singularly...and characteristically...lacking in smoke.. IOW, peaty=phenolic=smokey=medicinal(maybe..depending on deliberate mitigation).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Longmorn View Post

Anyhow - fair point that I kind of kicked this off. I was just trying to express a subjective difference I find between Scotches. I think you've raised a fair point that it's not clear where the iodine flavors actually originate, but the flavor wheels and literature do seem to support a distinction between the medicinal peat-smoke flavors typical of Islays and wood-smoke flavors in HP and others. I certainly don't have a definitive answer on the chemistry but I'm content to leave the issue to others inclined to dig deeper. That said, not trying to shut down the conversation. Have at it!

Hey, I'm just trying to learn something here and not "swim with the fishes." I'd rather not pontificate or pose as an expert (I'm not) esp. if I really don't know what I'm talking about. It's too easy to get caught out if you're simply parroting the consensus opinion/group think.

That and I'm mostly responding to other posters at this point. If someone quotes a remark I made by way of taking me to task...I'll generally respond.

--
Edited by DWFII - 2/1/13 at 7:45am
post #1973 of 3328
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post


You're correct about the the whiskymag wheel but from the earlier quote I posted, spagnum moss peat is "very different in structure consisting of a sort of polyphenolic network. Sphagnum moss is therefore richer in p-hydroxyl-phenols instead of the usual lignin-derived compounds. Therefore burnt sphagnum releases more simple phenols."

So what I take from that is that peat, consisting as it does of spagnum moss with incidental "foreign" grassy and woody materials in it, will always be high in phenol producing material. Ipso facto, peaty=phenolic.

And yes, other materials are important but unless I'm missing something none of them are associated with either a "smokey flavour" or "peat reek" (see Whiskymag wheel) or iodine/medicinal flavours. The iodine and medicinal flavours can be mitigated in all sorts of ways but the wheels seem to suggest that what we experience as "smoke" in Scotch is mostly related to phenols simply because phenols are the main byproduct of burning peat. Speysides never feel the peat and they are singularly...and characteristically...lacking in smoke..
Hey, I'm just trying to learn something here and not "swim with the fishes." I'd rather not pontificate or pose as an expert (I'm not) esp. if I really don't know what I'm talking about. It's too easy to get caught out when simply accepting the consensus opinion/group think.

That and I'm mostly responding to other posters at this point. If someone quotes a remark I made by way of taking me to task...I'll generally respond.

No worries on my end - I am no expert on Scotch chemistry, and this is all just in good fun. Definitely not trying to take anyone to task.

 

My reading of the short passage I posted above suggests that there are at least three important categories of chemicals that can come from peat: guiacol from bog plants, syringol from deciduous plants, and phenol from sphagnum. Islay peat is dominated by guiacol and phenol; Orkney peats are relatively balanced between all three types, and mainland peat is heavier in syringol. So I think you're correct that what we refer to as 'peaty' flavors are coming from sphagnum based Islay peat. BUT...(sorry to be difficult) not all peat produces that flavor profile (which would be more accurately called phenolic). The different composition of Orkney peat  bestows a more heathery and woodsmoke character on HP (although with a little bit of phenolic character in there), and the mainland peats give perhaps a more purely woodsmoke character. 

 

Does that make sense or do you think I've missed (or misread) something? 

post #1974 of 3328
Quote:
Originally Posted by Longmorn View Post

No worries on my end - I am no expert on Scotch chemistry, and this is all just in good fun. Definitely not trying to take anyone to task.

My reading of the short passage I posted above suggests that there are at least three important categories of chemicals that can come from peat: guiacol from bog plants, syringol from deciduous plants, and phenol from sphagnum. Islay peat is dominated by guiacol and phenol; Orkney peats are relatively balanced between all three types, and mainland peat is heavier in syringol. So I think you're correct that what we refer to as 'peaty' flavors are coming from sphagnum based Islay peat. BUT...(sorry to be difficult) not all peat produces that flavor profile (which would be more accurately called phenolic). The different composition of Orkney peat  bestows a more heathery and woodsmoke character on HP (although with a little bit of phenolic character in there), and the mainland peats give perhaps a more purely woodsmoke character. 

Does that make sense or do you think I've missed (or misread) something? 

My reading of the entire page from which that passage was drawn from suggests to me that it is primarily phenols that create smoke flavour (aroma may be another issue altogether.)

"The smoky flavour of a peat reek is supposedly coming from simple phenols, such as phenol, its alcohol-derivatives and creosols, and to some extent from guaiacols, furans and pyrans. Syringyl-compounds are not thought to be of major significance in producing smoky aromas."

The flavour wheels seem to confirm that assessment.

I'm also reading that while guaiacols and other non-phenolic compounds produce smokey aromas (albeit different aromas than phenols), the data seems less clear (and maybe not significant) with regard to any direct smokey flavours that they contribute.

That said, without the syringols and the guaiacols peated single malts might not be palatable:

"Different carbonyl-compounds seem to soften the phenolic aromas. Without the carbonyls and guaiacols the phenols can taste ashy, sharp and hard, whereas together they produce aromas of smoked meat, savory "maggi" and burnt sugar."

I could be mistaken in all of this...when we first began talking about this I didn't know a syringol from a hole in the ground. A lot of it is still way over my head and pay grade. What's more I thought...as many here still do...that the iodine came from seaweed and seawater.

And while it is true...as someone said here...that webpages and so called "experts" need to be regarded with a somewhat jaundiced eye, I've not seen any real experts weigh in on this to gainsay it. So for now, I'm inclined to accept the "experts" that we do have access to. And I suspect we are at least closer to the facts than when we began. For now...

As for taking me to task...I'm not worried in that regard. It does happen however, and as a result my policy has always been to respond, out of simple courtesy, to anyone who quotes me in a spirit of generosity, and out of necessity to those who quote me with less than generous intent. The only reason I brought it up was that you seemed to be wanting to bow out of the discussion ...and that's fine by me but all any of us have to do to end a particular tack in the conversation, is walk away.

--
Edited by DWFII - 2/1/13 at 7:44am
post #1975 of 3328
Quote:
Originally Posted by Huntsman View Post

XKCD?

Yeppers. Good stuff.
post #1976 of 3328
Bought a Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban (port cask finish) to give a try.
post #1977 of 3328
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinnyGoomba View Post

Bought a Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban (port cask finish) to give a try.

Would like to hear what you think. I tend to like most of the "unique cask finished" whiskeys.
post #1978 of 3328
I like Glenmorangie Artien, although I'm not good enough to describe it much.
post #1979 of 3328
Quote:
Originally Posted by Several Posters on the Subject of Medicinal Flavours in Scotch Whisky View Post

[............................]

For teh first time ever on SF, I shall write: TL; DNR. Massive reading for my last overloaded semester of law school limits my ambition....

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gopherblue View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Huntsman View Post

XKCD?

Yeppers. Good stuff.

 

Haven't seen that site in ages. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NewYorkIslander View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinnyGoomba View Post

Bought a Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban (port cask finish) to give a try.

Would like to hear what you think. I tend to like most of the "unique cask finished" whiskeys.

 

Hope you have tried the 'Distillery Edition' Diageo's, each of: Oban, Cragganmore, Lagavulin, Caol Ila, Talisker, Dalwhinnie, and, oh, a Lowland I forget (listed in order of my preference). I also love the Glenmorangie Nectar d'Or -- it's my summertime scotch. I also really enjoy secondary maturation in Scotch, and have picked up a number of the Murray MacDavid examples, but I always run the risk that I'll really like one and not be able to get any more! They did a lovely Caol Ila in Chenin, and a Mortlach in Chateau d'Yquem. I also have a Cragganmore in Syrah that must be amazing -- I love winey notes in whisky.

 

The nice thing about the Diageos and the Glenmorangies is that they are likely to be around for a while.


~ H

post #1980 of 3328
Quote:
Originally Posted by Huntsman View Post

For teh first time ever on SF, I shall write: TL; DNR. Massive reading for my last overloaded semester of law school limits my ambition....

I regret to note that I read at least 30 pages of journal writing about scotch chemistry.
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