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Sea influences a myth?

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How do you think sea influences (salt, medicinal, seaweed, iodine) get into the whisky?

Trough the water used for the maltings
0
No votes
Through the water used for the mashing
1
3%
Combination of malting and mashing, but only trough the water
1
3%
Because of the "breathing" of maturing whisky near seashores
11
31%
Combination of malting, mashing and maturing near the sea
18
51%
Sea influences are a myth. i have never found any in a whisky.
4
11%
 
Total votes : 35

Sea influences a myth?

Postby Tom » Sun Apr 10, 2005 4:09 pm

Hello everyone.
Michael Jackson, David Whishart, Andrew Jefford and Diageo's Andrew Ford all have experience in the whisky production process, yet they have all 4 different views of how the sea influences get their way into the whisky, if they get in at all. according to Andrew Ford there is actually no difference in Islay aging or mainland aging, wich means the macroclimate has no influence. this seems very hard to believe for me, so i was wondering what you think of this.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Apr 11, 2005 3:49 am

Who knows? I just drink the stuff. Until someone does an empirical study, we'll all theorize and argue endlessly. Anybody up for it: a half dozen identical casks filled with whisky from a single run, aged in a half dozen different locations in Scotland, to be tasted in ten years. (The only way to assure "identical casks" would be to mix and match staves.)
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Postby Admiral » Mon Apr 11, 2005 4:19 am

To use an old phrase, the proof is in the pudding.

I've nosed and tasted whiskies that seemed salty or briny, whiskies that seemed to reflect seaweed & ocean spray, and whiskies that seemed to give off fishy, maritime characters.

The distilleries from where these whiskies originated were all located next to the sea.

QED.

Cheers,
Admiral
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Postby Ed » Sat Apr 16, 2005 4:56 pm

Hello All,
Somewhat off topic, but somewhat on: Bourbon aged in Kentucky increases in proof during the aging process while Malt Whisky aged in Scotland reduces in proof as it ages. Nobody seems to know why.

I heard that Glenmorangie had a cask of Malt aging in Kentucky to see what happened. (Maker's Mark?) Anyone know how that came out? The book that mentioned the experiment was written in the nineties so it should be finished by now.

Ed
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Postby Admiral » Sat Apr 16, 2005 11:07 pm

Bourbon aged in Kentucky increases in proof during the aging process


:?: :shock:

How is this possible? Despite the geographical differences, the maturation stage is the same process, and wood, spirit, and environment are playing the same roles.

For the proof to increase, only three things could happen:

1) Fermentation is occurring. (Unlikely, unless yeast in the air finds its way into the cask, and there is sugar there for it to feed off).

2) A "distillation" of sorts is occurring. (The warehouses don't get that hot!)

3) As the spirit in the cask evaporates, it is only the water that is evaporating, whilst the alcohol is being left behind - thereby effectively increasing the ABV.

These are just my uneducated guesses - can someone more scientifically grounded give a better argument either for or against?

Cheers,
Admiral
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Postby robs42 » Sun Apr 17, 2005 12:23 am

Hi Admiral

Your 3rd point was close to the button. Due to the hot, dry climate the water evaporates faster than it would in the more temperate conditions of Scotland. This leads to a percentage increase in alcohol content because the angels can't keep up with the pace. I heard a chief noser from Balvenie say that they once found two casks which had increased in alcohol - they discovered that they were standing in front of a dry draft.

Hope this is scientifically half close to the truth.
Robby
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Postby Ed » Sun Apr 17, 2005 2:15 am

Hello All,
The Authors of 'The Book of Classic American Whiskies' were puzzled by the increase in proof, too. They are really scotch single malt people who also like bourbon and they knew that proof went down in the barrel in Scotland. So, when they were doing the research for the bourbon book they asked three master distillers why it went up and got three different answers. Then they asked a chemist at one of the distilleries expecting to get the definitive scientific answer. The chemist looked thoughtful for a moment and then said, "I don't really know."

I don't know either. Might it be that in the more humid Scottish warehouses the barrels actually absorb water from the air, at least part of the time? That would go some ways towards explaining how the whisky takes on a maritime character.
Ed
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Postby lambda » Sun Apr 17, 2005 8:42 pm

I think only (3) is possible, but I find it hard to believe it the temperature has anything to do with it, because I'd expect that the evaporation of the alcohol would always be higher independent of the temperature.

Maybe it has something to do with the use of new casks in the US? Is the new wood more permeable for water than alcohol? And is this stronger permeability of water removed when recharring it before filling it with scotch maybe?

Well, just another guess from my part..
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Postby patrick dicaprio » Mon Apr 18, 2005 1:24 am

Admiral wrote:To use an old phrase, the proof is in the pudding.

I've nosed and tasted whiskies that seemed salty or briny, whiskies that seemed to reflect seaweed & ocean spray, and whiskies that seemed to give off fishy, maritime characters.

The distilleries from where these whiskies originated were all located next to the sea.

QED.

Cheers,
Admiral


power of suggestion?? also perhaps a marketing aspect in that the whiskies use peat heavily so that there is that distinct taste, so that your caus and effect are reversed?

personally i am not sure what the answer is, so i guess until there is better evidence I am an agnostic.

Pat
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Postby Iain » Mon Apr 18, 2005 8:47 am

Glenmorangie is distilled on the Dornoch Firth, but I've never picked up any characteristics that reminded me of seaweed or the sea. Could this be the exception that proves the rule?

Yet Glen Deveron doesn't seem to fit the "seaside" tastes bill. And when I first tried Bunnahabhain (in the hotel at Port Askaig during the early 1990s) I thought I had been given a Speyside by mistake. Someone explained that the manager was from Speyside and his job was to produce an unpeated whisky - perhaps this supports the view of those folks who claim that it might be heavily peated malt, rather than the influence of the sea, which provides whiskies with their "maritime" character?

Jim Murray writes about the "kippery" flavour he detects in Ardmore (heavily peated?), a long way from the kippers' natural habitat!

I was once given an excellent young "briny" whisky to sample, from an experimental, heavily-peated batch distilled at... land-locked Benriach!
Iain
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Postby Oliver » Mon Apr 18, 2005 6:14 pm

Check Peter Woods interesting piece in WM July 2003 issue...
This issue is also discussed to death in malt-l, the web site.

What I'd say to Peter Wood though, is to take it all with a pinch of salt. When MJ says he tastes chocolate in Glenfarclas or nutmeg in Aberlour, does he go running to his "flavour scientists(!)" asking to check the bottles for traces of chocolate or nutmeg? !Creo que no!

I don't think MJ's tasting notes are meant to be a description of the actual contents of the bottle. Rather, the contents may evoke certain memories and flavours. Romance is part of whisky tasting, of course.

Yes, believe it or not, taste and smell are linked to way, way more than what is actually smelled. Good thing Peter Woods obvioulsy never read Proust's A la recherche du temps perdu for if he tried, he would be completely lost!

Cheers,


http://www.maltresistance.blogspot.com
Une Madeleine pour Pierre, une!
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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Apr 19, 2005 5:42 am

Admiral wrote:For the proof to increase, only three things could happen:

1) Fermentation is occurring. (Unlikely, unless yeast in the air finds its way into the cask, and there is sugar there for it to feed off).



Impossible in any case--yeast cannot live in that high a concentration of alcohol (their own waste product). Brewers who wish to make beer above about 9% must use specialized strains (often champagne yeast), and those have their limits, also. Were it not so, then distillation would not be necessary.
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Postby Sándor » Tue Dec 13, 2005 2:18 pm

I think that peatsmoke to dry the malt playes a major role here. Apart from that, I would say that the interaction between the salty air around the warehouses (which I've heard seems to breath through the walls) and the whisky might have some influence as well. I mean, if the walls of warehouses smell of alcohol which evaporates through the casks, why not the other way around with the salty sea air :?:

My 2 cents,

Sándor
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