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Any One for a Scotch?

Discussion in 'Social Life, Food & Drink, Travel' started by French Cuff Consignment, Dec 14, 2006.

  1. DWFII

    DWFII Well-Known Member

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    Nice link, thank you.

    I understand the issues of phenol but are they related to the iodine or medicinal flavour or are those flavours more related to the character of the peat? I was always under the impression that the iodine came from kelp and the overall character of the peat and what the peat is exposed to on the islands...as opposed to what is in the peat in the Highlands, for instance.

    But I do agree with you...and it is one of the things I like about HP...there is little or no iodine or medicinal notes but the smoke is still there.

    I like the smokiness of the Islays but in some instances, and on some days, I could do without the iodine.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2013
  2. Longmorn

    Longmorn Well-Known Member

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    As far as I understand, the phenols represent the degree of peat smoke influence in the final product. Ergo, the ppm measurement captures the concentration of all the elements of the peat smoke - the iodine, smokiness, heather, etc. I would imagine that the relative balance between different types of phenols would vary according to the composition of the peat and the heat of the peat fires.

    I could be wrong but I'm not sure how else the peat could influence the final product.
     
  3. DWFII

    DWFII Well-Known Member

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    What I mean is...do you think phenols themselves equate to iodine or medicinal flavours? Or is it some additional element that travels from the peat into the malt?

    The reason I ask is that I have a hard time equating smoke itself with iodine flavours. I do low and slow barbeque in the summer...I use different woods to smoke the meat--hickory (of course,) cherry, alder, apple, even bourbon steeped oak, etc.. Each brings a subtle difference in the taste of the smoked meat but unless one is careless, you never get iodine or, more to the point, creosote notes.

    Only mesquite adds a medicinal or bitter overtone.

    I'm no chemist so I just don't know...do phenols themselves equal iodine flavours?
     
  4. Longmorn

    Longmorn Well-Known Member

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    Oh I see what you mean. There are different types of phenols - it's an entire class of chemicals that have an enormous range of properties. The mix of different types of phenols will be based on the what you're burning and how hot. Some phenols will impart the iodine character; others will impart spices or woodsmoke or what have you.
     
  5. Gibonius

    Gibonius Well-Known Member

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    I had assumed the iodine flavor was actually coming from iodine, as kelp and seawater in general are loaded with it. That's just a guess though.
     
  6. Longmorn

    Longmorn Well-Known Member

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    But as neither kelp nor seawater have any direct contact with the barley or the Scotch, how else is it going to get in there except via the peat smoke?

    (I suppose you could argue that the seawater makes it in via brine in the air, but then you'd expect all coastal single malts to display significant iodine flavors, no?)

    It's an interesting question - I certainly don't have a definitive answer.
     
  7. DWFII

    DWFII Well-Known Member

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    That was my assumption as well.
     
  8. NewYorkIslander

    NewYorkIslander Well-Known Member

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    Just had some Oban 14, that right there is the shit.
     
  9. SkinnyGoomba

    SkinnyGoomba Well-Known Member

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  10. Longmorn

    Longmorn Well-Known Member

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    Oban's awesome. Pricey but awesome.
     
  11. DWFII

    DWFII Well-Known Member

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    Yes, via the smoke certainly.

    Isn't that a characteristic to one degree or another of all Islay malts? Even some mainland but coastal distilleries are characterized by medicinal flavours, IIRC.

    The salt water and even chunks of kelp may bet blown up onto the Moor and become part of the peat.

    I once read a review that said that Old Pulteny tastes like Lapsang souchong.

    Now that's intriguing!
     
  12. NewYorkIslander

    NewYorkIslander Well-Known Member

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    Tomorrow:

    http://heightschateau.com/calendar/

    If anyone is interested, its free single malt tastings at Heights Chateau...I can't make it, but if you're around may be worth the trip.
     
  13. Longmorn

    Longmorn Well-Known Member

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    Old Pulteney 12 is definitely not peaty - there's a little smoke, but no iodine. Briney (sea air) but not peaty. Not sure how the reviewer got Lapsang Souchong - I would definitely associate that more with traditional Islays.

    There's a good discussion of the differences in peat and differences in peating the barley from Highland Park here:

    I think perhaps we're stumbling over whether the term 'phenolics' accounts for all the different flavors imparted via peat smoke, or only those typically associated with 'peatiness'. I assumed that phenols would include the flavoring elements of the smoke (again, given that phenolic compounds are associated with everything from raspberry to clove to creosote flavors) but I could be wrong.

    EDIT: Looking back over the list of ppm I posted earlier, Bunnahabain and Bruichladdich both have lower ppm than Highland Park, but definitely taste more 'peaty' to me than HP.

    There's a good discussion of variation across different types of peat here: http://whiskyscience.blogspot.com/2011/02/peat.html
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2013
  14. why

    why Well-Known Member

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    I think his point was that the iodine flavor is coming from the iodine, not from phenols even if both may be coming from the peat smoke.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2013
  15. DWFII

    DWFII Well-Known Member

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    A closer look at the flavour wheels on the WhiskyScience blog reveals that iodine and other medicinal flavours are indeed associated with phenols. So...while some peats are higher in phenol producing material (spagnum) most of the higher PPM malts will to one extent or the other exhibit some iodine and medicine along with smoke.

    Maybe that explains why some peaty malts can tastes more medicinal than others. But Lagavulin doesn't taste near as medicinal as Laphroaig (to my palate) yet they aren't that far apart PPM.
     
  16. Huntsman

    Huntsman Well-Known Member

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    I keep hoping that my work will get a gas chromatograph mass spectrometer that I can play with. We keep getting close, but not quite.

    As Longmorn noted, the phenols are a huge class of aromatic compounds that is primarily responsible for what we describe as a peaty character in many whiskys. Although we lump them together when measuring the phenol content from different distilleries, that masks the fact that the composition of the phenols varies across those distilleries. My understanding about the sea/iodine flavors is that the peat from some of the coastal and Island distillerys has a both a decent amount of seaweed in it as well as simply having gotten a lot of seawater in the bogs over the eons. Both contribute the medicinal notes to whisky. Some of the peat bogs are quite ancient, and I don't think a direct correlation to location today vs. where the sea used to be can be made.

    The composition of phenols further varies based on the way the malting is actually done; the temperature at which the malt is roasted, for how long, etc, and distilleries often order their malt from larger malting houses. I presume that would normalize the flavors from that particular malting, whereas the distillerys which have their own maltings are often quite jealous of their peat bogs and can make a more distinctive malting for their whisky. On Islay, for instance, the Port Ellen maltings supplies many of the Islay distilleries, who order their malt based on phenol content. I would imagine then, that all the malts from Port Ellen to have a similar character (changing in intensity, but not composition per se with ppm); but a distillery like Laphroaig that has its own maltings probably has a completely different character in its malt as it sources its own peat, uses its own process/temperatures, etc.

    They also say that sea flavors can be imparted as the casks breathe over the 10-12 years the whiskys age. And the wharehouses come in all different styles to alter how the air flows over the casks, so that has an effect also.

    ~ H
     
  17. aravenel

    aravenel Well-Known Member

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    Boom, scienced! :D

    Thanks for the informative post, Huntsman.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2013
  18. SkinnyGoomba

    SkinnyGoomba Well-Known Member

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    Had a bruichladdich rocks with the boys along with Fuente cigars.
     
  19. Gibonius

    Gibonius Well-Known Member

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    I actually did that as part of a lab in undergrad. We didn't get to pick the liquor though.
     
  20. mktitsworth

    mktitsworth Well-Known Member

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    I would agree that the times I've had Lagavulin it did not seem as medicinal as Laphroaig. Additionally, Ardbeg has a higher concentration of phenols than Laphroaig, however I find it less medicinal than Laphroaig. I think some of it has to do with what flavors the distilleries concentrate on playing with.
     

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