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Bowmore 15 Darkest - Any Caramel Added?

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Bowmore 15 Darkest - Any Caramel Added?

Postby Novice Scotch Fan » Tue Feb 14, 2012 4:30 am

This single malt is very dark in color. Especially when you consider it is 'finished' in sherry casks. Anyone know if there is caramel added?
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Re: Bowmore 15 Darkest - Any Caramel Added?

Postby bredman » Wed Feb 15, 2012 1:20 am

Yes. All OB Bowmores sold in Germany are labelled Mit Farbstoff.
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Re: Bowmore 15 Darkest - Any Caramel Added?

Postby AdamMY » Wed Feb 15, 2012 2:48 am

I do not know much about Bowmore Darkest, but depending on the time it spent in the Sherry Barrels and how many times they have been used for whisky before could really darken it up. Granted I am unsure how dark caramel coloring can be, but if its as dark as some Single Sherry Cask bottles can be after awhile, that would be incredibly concentrated caramel color.
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Re: Bowmore 15 Darkest - Any Caramel Added?

Postby bredman » Wed Feb 15, 2012 12:05 pm

AdamMY wrote:Granted I am unsure how dark caramel coloring can be,


How black would you like your whisky sir?

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Re: Bowmore 15 Darkest - Any Caramel Added?

Postby dramtastic » Wed Feb 15, 2012 12:08 pm

Seen a bottling allegedly from Toa Shuzo(Hanyu) that is that colour Pete.
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Re: Bowmore 15 Darkest - Any Caramel Added?

Postby dramtastic » Wed Feb 15, 2012 12:12 pm

bredman wrote:Yes. All OB Bowmores sold in Germany are labelled Mit Farbstoff.


and it wouldn't even have to be written on the label. bredman is like a bloodhound when it comes to colouring, can smell it all the way from Germany......
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Re: Bowmore 15 Darkest - Any Caramel Added?

Postby Novice Scotch Fan » Wed Feb 15, 2012 2:14 pm

Apparently, Bowmore Darkest is finished in Oloroso sherry casks for two years.

This is a very dark malt, like one of the darkest I have ever seen. I find it hard to believe that two years in sherry casks would color it that much. Accordingly, the marking in Germany that colorant is added makes sense.

thanks!

By the way, this was quite disappointment for a 15 yr old malt.
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Re: Bowmore 15 Darkest - Any Caramel Added?

Postby bredman » Wed Feb 15, 2012 4:23 pm

dramtastic wrote:and it wouldn't even have to be written on the label. bredman is like a bloodhound when it comes to colouring, can smell it all the way from Germany......


Indeed, the foul stench of deceit. :lol:
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Re: Bowmore 15 Darkest - Any Caramel Added?

Postby Novice Scotch Fan » Wed Feb 15, 2012 9:22 pm

So Dredman, what offensive flavor do you believe excessive caramel imparts to the spirit? Bitterness? Inquiring minds want to know.
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Re: Bowmore 15 Darkest - Any Caramel Added?

Postby rogerdodger » Thu Feb 16, 2012 7:46 pm

bredman wrote:Yes. All OB Bowmores sold in Germany are labelled Mit Farbstoff.


True. The whisky store in Germany is a relatively reliable source if you're interested in knowing whether colouring is added. Just look, as Pete rightly said, for Mit Farbstoff.
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Re: Bowmore 15 Darkest - Any Caramel Added?

Postby dramtastic » Thu Feb 16, 2012 9:03 pm

Novice Scotch Fan wrote:So Dredman, what offensive flavor do you believe excessive caramel imparts to the spirit? Bitterness? Inquiring minds want to know.


I've had plenty of non coloured whisky that have a bitter element.
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Re: Bowmore 15 Darkest - Any Caramel Added?

Postby outamyway » Fri Feb 17, 2012 12:52 am

This question inspired me to do a color comparison today in the lab. I used 2 kinds of Caramel Color, DS and AP100. I used Bulleit Bourbon and RO water as my 2 control samples. All color was added to 200ml of RO water.

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As you can see, it does not take much Caramel color to turn clear water the same color as Bulleit Bourbon. In a spirit that already has color contribution from the casks it is aged in, much much much less would be needed to assure quality control for color continuity. In fact, the amount it would take to turn a whisky one or two shades darker would be imperceptible on the palate. I had all of our flavor chemists do a blind triangle test to see at which level you could tell that there was added caramel color in plain water. Not until you got to well above the 0.08g/200ml it took to make clear water look like bourbon could you begin to tell, and this was in plain RO water. I assure you, 99.999% of people could never ever tell it had been added to an aged whisky at the levels that it is added for color adjustment.
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Re: Bowmore 15 Darkest - Any Caramel Added?

Postby bredman » Fri Feb 17, 2012 12:59 am

dramtastic wrote:
Novice Scotch Fan wrote:So Dredman, what offensive flavor do you believe excessive caramel imparts to the spirit? Bitterness? Inquiring minds want to know.


I've had plenty of non coloured whisky that have a bitter element.


It's not just the effect on flavour/mouthfeel that is my gripe. The common thought is that darker whisky is older and therefore better. As enthusiasts we know better than that so the addition of e150a is pointless to us, isn't it? Adding colour to any whisky, especially young blends, is misleading the consumer.

(btw i no longer have dreds :D ).
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Re: Bowmore 15 Darkest - Any Caramel Added?

Postby bredman » Fri Feb 17, 2012 1:20 am

outamyway wrote:As you can see, it does not take much Caramel color to turn clear water the same color as Bulleit Bourbon. In a spirit that already has color contribution from the casks it is aged in, much much much less would be needed to assure quality control for color continuity. In fact, the amount it would take to turn a whisky one or two shades darker would be imperceptible on the palate. I had all of our flavor chemists do a blind triangle test to see at which level you could tell that there was added caramel color in plain water. Not until you got to well above the 0.08g/200ml it took to make clear water look like bourbon could you begin to tell, and this was in plain RO water. I assure you, 99.999% of people could never ever tell it had been added to an aged whisky at the levels that it is added for color adjustment.


That would be worthwhile but i don't know of anyone that suggests e150a has any flavour as such. But that it effects other flavours. Water has no flavour to effect, but whisky has many fine nuances that can be altered, especially Scottish malt. We are all aware how delicate and ethereal those malt flavours are.

Bourbon regs. do not allow colour to be added to American whisky, which is more robust, and far more Scotch is coloured than not - i would guess 95+% of it. The industry relies on it, i suspect they add plenty of e150a to iron out slight imperfections, and alter the mouthfeel.

When the malt maniacs did their own test they preferred the coloured samples, suggesting there is a real effect. The Malt Maniacs are well trained in older whisky - more rounded whiskies, perhaps that's why they prefered the coloured samples. Would the industry that decieves us with colour to make their whisky look older admit to using it to make the whisky taste older/more rounded/smoother. No they wouldn't, partly because flavourings are banned and it's only on their claim that e150 doesn't effect taste that it is allowed at all.
Last edited by bredman on Fri Feb 17, 2012 3:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bowmore 15 Darkest - Any Caramel Added?

Postby outamyway » Fri Feb 17, 2012 2:48 am

You're absolutely right that the cc could change the flavor profiles in something as delicate as whisky, my real goal was to show that there isn't much cc added to assure color consistency. That being said, I still believe that most people could not tell the difference. You would need a very well trained nose to identify the changes possibly imparted by the cc. Next week I will conduct an experiment with all the other flavor chemists again, this time using a couple of different whiskies and varying levels of cc to see if any of us can detect and if we do, at what level. Keep in mind, we do a blind triangle test using one odd sample in a darkened booth to see if we can pick out the odd one.
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Re: Bowmore 15 Darkest - Any Caramel Added?

Postby Novice Scotch Fan » Sat Feb 18, 2012 1:45 pm

outamyway wrote:You're absolutely right that the cc could change the flavor profiles in something as delicate as whisky, my real goal was to show that there isn't much cc added to assure color consistency. That being said, I still believe that most people could not tell the difference. You would need a very well trained nose to identify the changes possibly imparted by the cc. Next week I will conduct an experiment with all the other flavor chemists again, this time using a couple of different whiskies and varying levels of cc to see if any of us can detect and if we do, at what level. Keep in mind, we do a blind triangle test using one odd sample in a darkened booth to see if we can pick out the odd one.


Please post your results here.

In any case, for me, the great issue is that if the industry adds caramel in order to have uniformity of colour (that's what the industry claims), I am always concerned that they may be adding too much to give the appearance of darker color and thereby affect flavor. The trick is to add only enough to control color, but not taint the palate. How often is that achieved?

I am sure there is caramel used in Teacher's and Johnnie Black, but I still like them. I probably would like them even more without it, but maybe the industry, selling to the mainstream public would experience a downturn in sales if there was inconsistency in color from batch to batch. The scotch is good, but the consumer thinks hey, this is not as dark as the last bottle, must not be as good.

All I know is Bowmore Darkest 15 is loaded with it.
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Re: Bowmore 15 Darkest - Any Caramel Added?

Postby bredman » Sat Feb 18, 2012 3:05 pm

Novice Scotch Fan wrote:but maybe the industry, selling to the mainstream public would experience a downturn in sales if there was inconsistency in color from batch to batch. The scotch is good, but the consumer thinks hey, this is not as dark as the last bottle, must not be as good.


I'm not sure sales would be affected at all. The industry is just telling us it's giving the consumer what it wants. Besides a little information/education would go a long way. That old paranoia about a barman serving a paler whisky and being accused of watering it down is a thing of the past, surely.

I've said it many times, those warehouses full of sleeping casks, that's what i want in my glass, with nothing added, and nothing taken out.
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Re: Bowmore 15 Darkest - Any Caramel Added?

Postby peatypete » Wed May 09, 2012 10:13 pm

I sort of wish they didn't add color either, just because it's more interesting to see what color is imparted by the wood.

Just bought a bottle of Signatory Vintage Caol Ila, distilled in 2000, this has the most up front, smokey, awesome taste than either of the Jura 16 and Bowmore 12 I have. And it's a much lighter shade than both. I suspect the Jura 16 has caramel added also.

As someone said above, wouldn't be surprised if majority of scotches have caramel added. I think all the 10-12 year old scotches I saw in the store bottled by the popular distilleries are much darker than the Signatory Vintage 10 year I have. I doubt 2 years would add that much more color.

I'm no expert in scotches. But from among Dewars, Glennfidich, Bowmore, Jura, and Laphroaig single malts and Johnny Walker, which are all much much darker than the Signatory Vintage, the Signatory is my favorite. I think it has the most interesting taste, love the aftertaste, just stays with you for a while. The light color, just barely darker than a pale ale, has no effect on my preference in taste here.
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Re: Bowmore 15 Darkest - Any Caramel Added?

Postby AdamMY » Thu May 10, 2012 1:36 am

peatypete wrote:I sort of wish they didn't add color either, just because it's more interesting to see what color is imparted by the wood.



As someone said above, wouldn't be surprised if majority of scotches have caramel added. I think all the 10-12 year old scotches I saw in the store bottled by the popular distilleries are much darker than the Signatory Vintage 10 year I have. I doubt 2 years would add that much more color.

I'm no expert in scotches. But from among Dewars, Glennfidich, Bowmore, Jura, and Laphroaig single malts and Johnny Walker, which are all much much darker than the Signatory Vintage, the Signatory is my favorite. I think it has the most interesting taste, love the aftertaste, just stays with you for a while. The light color, just barely darker than a pale ale, has no effect on my preference in taste here.



Color also really depends on the types of cask used to age the whisky. Quite a few of the whiskys you mentioned as being darker ( not all, but some), use a large portion of sherry casks to age the whisky that goes into their bottles. Which will make the color a lot darker. This is not saying that these do not have color added, I am just saying you can't always compare it to the lightest color whisky you have seen of a certain age ( probably all boubon casks).

peatypete wrote:Just bought a bottle of Signatory Vintage Caol Ila, distilled in 2000, this has the most up front, smokey, awesome taste than either of the Jura 16 and Bowmore 12 I have. And it's a much lighter shade than both. I suspect the Jura 16 has caramel added also.


A small note about the smokey flavor, it comes from the malted barely used to make the whisky being dried by smoke coming off of burning peat. It really has nothing to do with color.
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Re: Bowmore 15 Darkest - Any Caramel Added?

Postby Ganga » Thu May 10, 2012 4:54 am

bredman wrote:Yes. All OB Bowmores sold in Germany are labelled Mit Farbstoff.

All, or just the standard fare such as legend, 10, 12, etc?
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Re: Bowmore 15 Darkest - Any Caramel Added?

Postby Ganga » Thu May 10, 2012 5:01 am

A little on color. I looked at 4 consecutive casks of whisky from bourbon casks. All four varied from each other from one that just seemed to have a touch of color to one that seemed quite dark. These had not had any e150 added. Each cask is "unique". Some casks are tighter than others and don't allow as much penetration of the whisky into the cask.

In addition, casks are reused. They can be first fill, second fill, on down.

As stated, the type of cask used will influence color. Bourbon, sherry, port, fresh oak will all impart different color to the whisky.
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Re: Bowmore 15 Darkest - Any Caramel Added?

Postby whiskgeek » Thu May 10, 2012 6:05 am

I'm curious where outamyway works, that he has caramel coloring and a blast fence.
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Re: Bowmore 15 Darkest - Any Caramel Added?

Postby bredman » Thu May 10, 2012 4:08 pm

Ganga wrote:
bredman wrote:Yes. All OB Bowmores sold in Germany are labelled Mit Farbstoff.

All, or just the standard fare such as legend, 10, 12, etc?


All. Some argue that distilleries use Mit Farbstoff occasionally as a 'failsafe', but it's a weak argument imo. This site has an associated forum with some interesting discussion, but they are considered something of an authority in Germany -- you will notice the IBs don't have Mit Farbstoff in the bottom right corner.

http://www.whisky.de/shop/index.php?cat=c545_Islay.html
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Re: Bowmore 15 Darkest - Any Caramel Added?

Postby Ganga » Thu May 10, 2012 10:14 pm

I noted at least 3 OBs that did not have the designation, including the "Gold" and "White". So basically, Bowmore's standard fare up through the 25 all as coloring. More exotic stuff did not seem to indicate that they did.
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Re: Bowmore 15 Darkest - Any Caramel Added?

Postby bredman » Fri May 11, 2012 12:16 am

Ganga wrote: including the "Gold" and "White".


Oh yeah, i missed those two.

That is a good site btw. :)
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Re: Bowmore 15 Darkest - Any Caramel Added?

Postby Ganga » Fri May 11, 2012 5:49 am

bredman wrote:
Ganga wrote: including the "Gold" and "White".


Oh yeah, i missed those two.

That is a good site btw. :)

I thought so too.

It looks like most either do or do not use coloring consistently through their lineups. For those that use coloring, it seems the outliers are the highend ones that are limited releases.
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