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Coloured malts

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Coloured malts

Postby Aidan » Fri Sep 30, 2005 6:28 pm

Maybe I shouldn't publish this, as I got it from another website and I don't know how accurate it is.

Artificially Coloured Malts - Ok, I deleted them 'cause I'm not sure, and it has already been published on this website...
Last edited by Aidan on Sat Oct 01, 2005 12:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sat Oct 01, 2005 11:20 am

No problem, I think this has been posted before here, anyway (which is fine; repetition is an important component of education).

We all wish artificial coloring in malts would go away, but it is my decidedly arbitrary and uninformed opinion that the problem is greatly exaggerated--not in terms of numbers, obviously, but in terms of deleterious effect on the product. But I'm sure that I will be contradicted shortly!
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Postby Aidan » Sat Oct 01, 2005 11:26 am

I won't contradict you, Mr T. I enjoy many of the malts and other whisky that have colouring. However, I have never tasted two versions of the same product with and without colouring. I doubt many others have either.
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Postby Scotty Mc » Sat Oct 01, 2005 11:26 am

I feel that firstly the colourings are added to act as a marketing tool, for example if a certain brand is known as a certain colour. And secondly, wouldn't all un-coloured malts look like urine samples? :lol:
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Postby Aidan » Sat Oct 01, 2005 11:34 am

That's deffinately why they add colour. Some think it's unnecessary, as do I. I just don't know how it affects the flavour.
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Postby Lawrence » Sat Oct 01, 2005 12:12 pm

I think I posted the original list a while ago, shortly afterwards I received an email from Arran saying they NEVER add coloring to their malts so I'm forced to ponder the accuracy of the list. I also understand this is a list of malts bottled for the German market.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sat Oct 01, 2005 12:52 pm

It's done for standardization of standard bottlings, so that Balvenie 10, for example, will always be the same color. Ideally we are talking about very minor adjustments. However, there is no doubt that some whiskies are made to look considerably darker for "esthetic" reasons. I don't know if that's the case with Lagavulin, and I don't mean to pick on them, but I've long regarded that orangey hue to be rather unnnatural-looking.

There is widespread misunderstanding, I think, on the flavor effect of spirit caramel. People expect it to add excessive sweetness. Someone here noted that it actually has a bitter taste. In any case, I suspect (without claiming any particular knowledge) that in most cases, we are talking about minuscule amounts of spirit caramel, with little or no discernable flavor impact. I still would rather they didn't do it.
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Postby Admiral » Sat Oct 01, 2005 1:42 pm

Perhaps I can share something with you:

I met Lorne MacKillop here a couple of years ago when he was out in Australia promoting his malts. He had with him a small sample bottle of spirit caramel, which I was able to nose. The smell was sickly sweet, a bit like vanilla/caramel essence used in cooking.

I had a very generous dram of his Glenlivet poured, and I sampled it and assessed it clean first. I then, very carefully, added just the teeniest, tiniest drop of spirit caramel.

What can I say? The dram turned darker, and there was a significant and noticeable shift in flavour. To me, it tasted duller. Not sweeter, or more bitter....just dulled.

The lesson was not lost on me. :wink:


Cheers,
Admiral
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sat Oct 01, 2005 2:00 pm

I stand corrected! Was quoting something read here. Thanks for sharing that (what took you so long?); I've learned something.

I will still bet that in many cases we are talking about almost infinitessimal shifts in color, and a lower proportion of caramel than what you have just described. But, as I have tried to take pains to say, I am theorizing, and there is, as the lady said, no substitute for experience.
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Postby Tom » Sat Oct 01, 2005 4:14 pm

After almost 3 years of asking and searching, my own bottle of caramel has finally arrived! It's still at my friend's house but I will get it this week and start experimenting. However he tried it with one malt and said the result was drastic. He also mentioned it smells bad pure. So hopefully by next weekend I can report something.
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Postby Lawrence » Sat Oct 01, 2005 5:00 pm

Jim Murray echoed your comments Admiral, the addition of the noxious caramel dulls down the whisky.

I think the efforts of consumers and writers demanding the end to the practice will eventually yeild positive results.
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Postby Aidan » Sat Oct 01, 2005 5:37 pm

I wonder how many will listen. Most whisky is sold to people who don't know or care about colouring, I'd say. Although that may not be true for single malts.
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Postby Admiral » Sun Oct 02, 2005 12:07 am

Hi guys,

As you have suggested, I indeed agree that the proportion of caramel I added to my dram was most likely significantly higher than what would be added by the bottlers.

But that doesn't change the actual result; only the scale of the result! :wink:

Cheers,
Admiral
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Oct 02, 2005 6:17 pm

Yes, but the crucial question is at what point does it become noticeable to the average (or, for that matter, discerning) drinker? Is it possible that, at low concentrations, there is no discernable effect? Despite my quibbling above, I really have no idea, and in any case wish that it weren't done, anyway. Perhaps the day will come when it is widely recognized that standardization of single malt bottlings is neither entirely possible nor desirable. Just suppose that every vatting of every bottling were treated as a limited edition, like Macallan 18 or batches of a'bunadh. Not only would we, the discerning consumers, hail that as a more honest modus operandi; as well, the chatter out here about the relative merits of various batches would increase a thousandfold, creating more interest. After all, no serious vintner is expected to make exactly the same wine year after year. That is the province of Gallo, Budweiser, and McDonald's.
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Postby Mr Fjeld » Sun Oct 02, 2005 7:20 pm

Not only would we, the discerning consumers, hail that as a more honest modus operandi; as well, the chatter out here about the relative merits of various batches would increase a thousandfold, creating more interest. After all, no serious vintner is expected to make exactly the same wine year after year. That is the province of Gallo, Budweiser, and McDonald's.

Indeed! Perhaps this is the future - if it turns out to be a future selling point. And as the single malt market is booming nowadays it should be possible?

Skål!
Christian
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Postby patrick dicaprio » Mon Oct 03, 2005 1:40 pm

MrTattieHeid wrote:It's done for standardization of standard bottlings, so that Balvenie 10, for example, will always be the same color. Ideally we are talking about very minor adjustments. However, there is no doubt that some whiskies are made to look considerably darker for "esthetic" reasons. I don't know if that's the case with Lagavulin, and I don't mean to pick on them, but I've long regarded that orangey hue to be rather unnnatural-looking.


you know i always wondered the same. right now i have open bottles of lagavulin and compass box eleuthera and you cant have a more disparate coloring for two whiskies that are somewhat similar in profile. i wonder if there is any way to find out from a reliable source.

maybe this also shows that if done judiciously coloring may not adversely affect a whisky since by most accounts lagavulin is much revered.

Pat
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Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Oct 03, 2005 7:00 pm

We should also not jump to conclusions. I've had whiskies that were surprisingly pale and some that were surprisingly dark, without coloring. Sometimes there's no figuring it.
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Postby bernstein » Mon Oct 03, 2005 7:07 pm

Well, Lagavulin 16 definitely is artificially coloured with E 150 (it's printed out on the label around here). Lagavulin 12 CS however isn't. And both are great whiskies.
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