This post was an edited part of my above post but I put it in a new one to stop any confusion:
I saw the need for a little background research on the topic "Phenols" and I've been looking around on various dictionaries. For those of you who know your chemistry please forgive me for giving this topic such a superficial treatment.
This is a typical way to define it and since we were told that whisky can prevent cancer I decided to use "cancerweb" which again is mentioning "Websters Dictionary" as a source.
1. A white or pinkish crystalline substance, C6H5OH, produced by the destructive distillation of many organic bodies, as wood, coal, etc, and obtained from the heavy oil from coal tar.
It has a peculiar odour, somewhat resembling creosote, which is a complex mixture of phenol derivatives. It is of the type of alcohols, and is called also phenyl alcohol, but has acid properties, and hence is popularly called carbolic acid, and was formerly called phenic acid. It is a powerful caustic poison, and in dilute solution has been used as an antiseptic.
2. Any one of the series of hydroxyl derivatives of which phenol proper is the type.
<chemistry> Glacial phenol, any one of a series of compounds having both phenol and aldehyde properties. Phenol phthalein. See Phthalein.
Origin: Gr. To show + -ol: cf. F. Phenol.
Source: Websters Dictionary
I think Admiral and the others theory that you can add
phenols is totally correct! You may add a bottle of carbolic acid/phenols/phenyl alcohol (which again is a kind of alcholol but not clasified as such) into whisky but I doubt anyone would do that?
However, it seems phenols can only be created in two distinct ways: by distillation or by burning - two methods using heat to release phenols from organic materials. So the only natural question to ask is this: is it possible to release/create phenols/phenyl alcohol/carbonic acid from water at best saturated with organic materials such as plants, rotting wood etc?
Will this "organic rich" water add phenols when it's distilled as part of the wort turned into wash and then put into the wash still?
In my highly unqualified mind I would say no but that no isn't worth much as I'm not a chemist. It just seems unlikely that the relatively high labour intensity added by the malting process would add so .........sparse relevance to the finished product?
Any chemists around?
A very phenolic Skål!