In the industry two types of condensers are used (worm and tube). Linkwood for instance uses both, and apparentlywith a great influence on the whisky's style (see infra). That means that there is definitely a certain effect during the condensation of the wines, and the effect is caused by the surface area of the copper used. If there is a difference between tube and worm condenser, maybe there is are differences between different types of worm condensers too... (depending on the copper surface area). Well, that's how I see it. The question remains how copper can react on condensed (thus cooled) liquids. Anyone ?
Here are two interesting texts :
http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/u ... enser.html
Condensers come either as tubes or worms. The worm condenser comprises a coil of copper tubing immersed in a large circular tank of water, usually raised above ground level. A good example of this is at Dalwhinnie Distillery, where the large worms, often mistaken for water tanks, sit outside the front of the distillery. The vapours enter at the top and the condensed liquid emerges at the bottom.
The tube condenser brings the idea up to date, and is more efficient than the worm. It operates like a reversal of the processes inside a steam engine. The condenser is tubular in form and made of copper. It stands on one end and contains a series of copper tubes through which cold water is piped. Again, the vapours enter at the top of the condenser, and the liquid flows out of the bottom.
Copper definitely needs to be in the distilling process, and building your still out of copper is one way to put it there. But Bill Lumsden feels the most important place for the copper is where it will do the most good; where the hot vapors are condensing.
“ Compare whisky made in a distillery where they have what you call shell and tube condensers,” said Lumsden, “where the neck of the still goes over into the lyne arm into this large copper column, inside which there are up to 250 narrow copper tubes. We pump cold water into these tubes, so the vapors condense out and run down to be collected. Compare that to the more traditional method of condensing, which we call worm tubs—this is basically a large tank or vat of cold water, into which the neck of the still coils round in an ever-decreasing diameter of copper pipe, just like a worm coil, but thin-sided.
“ The surface area of copper available to the vapors in a worm tub,” he continued, “is a fraction of that you have in a condenser. The whisky made in a distillery with worm tubs is typically much more meaty and sulfury in character. The only distillery I know of which currently utilizes both types is Linkwood distillery. I was posted there as a trainee manager in my distiller’s days, and I did a few experiments on my own, looking at the two different spirits. I could pick out the difference, nosing and tasting blind. There was such a distinct difference
. That’s a quite dramatic illustration of how having a greater surface area of copper can really make a great impact on your spirit.”