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lighter fluid

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lighter fluid

Postby whiskgeek » Sun Aug 04, 2013 5:10 pm

I have a small club that meets every couple of months, and I'm always looking to share something interesting with them. The theme this time was Island whisky. I've been interested in non-chill filtered whisky lately, and wanted to do a side-by-side comparison of the old and new Bunnahabhain. It's been two or three years, since the new stuff came out, so it's getting hard to find. I was getting a shipment in from the UK, so I tacked on a bottle of the old style 12-year.

The group had had this before, and liked it, so I was looking forward to their reaction. Unfortunately, the whisky was not good. It had a strong taste of lighter fluid (like charcoal starter). Previously, the only whisky I got this flavor from was the younger sherried Macallans, but it was never very strong. Very disappointing, not only for having spent the money on it, but for the group's missing out on a direct comparison.

So does anyone know the flavor I'm talking about? And does anyone have any idea where it comes from? Considering the whiskies I've tasted it in, I'd guess it comes from sherry barrels.

Incidentally, we also had a bottle of HP15 that was corked.
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Re: lighter fluid

Postby bredman » Mon Aug 05, 2013 2:39 am

Sounds like it was contaminated by sulphur. Bunna has something of a problem with sulphur in their stocks. Not everyone is sensitive to it and therefore can't detect it, and sensitivity can strike at anytime. So welcome to the group, i no longer bother with the Bunna 12 as i find the sulphur overbearing.

It's an old practice and now discontinued (apparently) but sherry casks rot quickly when emptied so they were preserved by the use of sulphur candles. These casks are used more than once so the sulphur will be in the system for some time yet.

This type of sulphur 'contamination' (there is 'natural' sulphur to be found in some malts) can be extreme, i.e. gunpowder/cordite/fireworks, or less so, i.e. burnt rubber/rotten, or subtle, where the flavour profile of the whisky becomes suppressed but the presence of the sulphur is not obvious.
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Re: lighter fluid

Postby whiskgeek » Wed Aug 07, 2013 1:22 am

Good to know, Bredman. Thanks!
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