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Non-Chill Filtering - 46%?

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Non-Chill Filtering - 46%?

Postby Frodo » Sat Nov 19, 2005 10:35 am

OK, this is a technical question - something I've been losing some sleep over trying to figure out. If someone can enlighten me, I'd be much obliged!

Non-Chill Filtered whiskies are usually released at 46% abv or higher. But not always! The rep I spoke with at Spirit of Toronto for Duncan Taylor said their regional whiskies (40% abv) were all non-chill filtered. I think Te Bheag (NCF) is also about 40-43% abv.

So here's my question. Why are NCF whiskies usually released at 46%? Can they be bottled at a lower strength? If they can, why the tendancy to release at 46% or higher?

Thanks in advance.
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Postby lambda » Sat Nov 19, 2005 11:45 am

Afaik, diluting a non-chillfiltered whisky further down below 46% can (usually?) cloud the whisky even at room temperature. I must say that I never dilute whiskies at 46%, but last night I was drinking an Ardmore (G&M,91-04,55.2%) and with water this almost seemed like milk!
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Postby hpulley » Sat Nov 19, 2005 3:18 pm

Frodo is right, at room temperature or cooler, non chill filtered whisky can show precipitates as cloudy, milky whiteness. This can put off some customers so most choose to leave it at 46% or higher to prevent room temperature cloudiness. If you dilute or ice UCF whisky it WILL cloud.

Harry
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Nov 20, 2005 4:24 am

But the question remains unanswered--if the threshold for ucf whisky clouding is 46%, then how do these ones Frodo mentions get away with lower abv's? I suspect that part of the answer is that 46% is not really a firm line, but a recognizable safe point. Perhaps some whiskies have less of whatever gets filtered, and don't cloud so easily. I've seen a demonstration of watering ucf whisky, and the appearance is more of an oil-and-water effect than clouding; maybe the components will mix better when allowed to "marry", but will be especially prone to clouding with water at these lower abv's. I'm just throwing out guesses here.
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Postby JWFokker » Mon Nov 21, 2005 4:11 am

I think some distilleries just don't care about the market's opinion of cloudiness. It tastes the same regardless of cloudiness or not. I like to warm it with my hand before drinking anyway, so even non-chillfiltered scotch below 46% ABV wouldn't be cloudy when I consumed it.
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Postby kallaskander » Mon Nov 21, 2005 9:58 am

Hi there,

46% abv is the "magic" point where the cloudiness that appears when the whisky in the bottle is cooled down disappears again when it is back at room temperature.
Meaning, at 46% abv a cooling whisky does form clouds which dissolve again without any trace when it reaches about 16-18° C. 46% abv is a level where the alcohol content is high enough to dissolve the clouds again without heating the whisky.
You can bottle a non chill-filtered whisky at 40% or 43% abv but when you let it go cold, the clouds will not vanish when room temperature is restored. They will also not vanish again when you put ice into the whisky because the melting ice dilutes the whisky. That applies to a 46% abv also.
On the other hand it its inconsistant to not chill-filter for more flavour and taste and then to dilute to 40% abv which does take out flavour and taste as well. That counteracts the effect of the not chill-filtering.
I do not want to lecture but are you sure that the Duncan Taylor representative meant their 40% bottlings when he talked about non chill-filtering? I have not seen a Duncan Taylor bottling yet which stated "Non chill-filtered" and was below 46% abv.

Greetings
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Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Nov 21, 2005 5:42 pm

It wouldn't be the first time that a consumer had been misinformed by an industry rep.
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Postby Frodo » Tue Nov 22, 2005 3:39 am

True. He did say they took more care filtering it than normal but that's about it.
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Re: Non-Chill Filtering - 46%?

Postby petecaps » Wed Dec 12, 2007 1:58 pm

I beleive I was also told this regarding the Lonach series of Duncan Taylor. I will have a dram after dinner and see if it clouds up (have never added water to mine Lonachas they are around 43% all the time)...and dam good :P
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Re: Non-Chill Filtering - 46%?

Postby petecaps » Wed Dec 12, 2007 2:10 pm

Would it be reasonable since many/most bottlings DO NOT state if they are chill filtered or not to just assume most anything under 46%abv to be chill filtered.

Wish they would make it mandatory to state it on the bottle (coloring also) but the likes of Diageo will not allow that to happen :evil:
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Re: Non-Chill Filtering - 46%?

Postby Leither » Wed Dec 12, 2007 2:53 pm

Petecaps - yip, you are more or less right. The way I look at it is assume chill-filtered unless it says otherwise. 46% (or above!) is the magic number to look for.

It's to do with the congeners & fatty acids (good bits!) freezing in transit, eg overseas export, so the recent practise amongst the big guns such as Diageo and many others is to chill-filter and water down to 40%. Leading lights among the proprietory bottlers at 46% UCF are Ardbeg, which to me is a big part of it's recent success.

The Lonach collection from DTC is unique in that they have sourced casks where one is down below the minumum 40% abv so they vat it with another one above 40% abv to make it legally called whisky. Not sure if they are UCF tho.
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Re: Non-Chill Filtering - 46%?

Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Wed Dec 12, 2007 5:37 pm

I have a feeling that the 46% in regards to Chill filtering is a misnomer.

I was under the impression that 46% is thought to be (by a lot of so call experts) the best abv balance in regards to dilution and keeping closest to the character of the whiskey at cask strength. Reducing to anything under that should be left up to the discretion of the drinker.

Don't know if that is true or not though.
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Re: Non-Chill Filtering - 46%?

Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Dec 12, 2007 6:07 pm

irishwhiskeychaser wrote:I was under the impression that 46% is thought to be (by a lot of so call experts) the best abv balance in regards to dilution and keeping closest to the character of the whiskey at cask strength.

I think that's what people tend to say when they are selling whisk(e)y at 46%. Probably because it sounds better than saying that 46% is the weakest they can make it without making it go cloudy. I'm also not totally persuaded that chill filtering harms the taste of whisky. It would be interesting to try some of the same whiskies at the same strength in both cf and ucf versions. Maybe that would offer me the evidence to persuade me.
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Re: Non-Chill Filtering - 46%?

Postby mattbuty » Wed Dec 12, 2007 6:31 pm

You can surely have an un-chillfiltered whisky at a lower strength than 46%, if that percentage is the natural strength of the cask though? Would that go cloudy if you let it get cold?
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Re: Non-Chill Filtering - 46%?

Postby Willie JJ » Wed Dec 12, 2007 7:15 pm

irishwhiskeychaser wrote:was under the impression that 46% is thought to be (by a lot of so call experts) the best abv balance in regards to dilution and keeping closest to the character of the whiskey at cask strength. Reducing to anything under that should be left up to the discretion of the drinker.


I don't think that's true. It's in the tastebuds of the beholder and the best bottling strength is, without a doubt, cask strength, because we can all add water to taste, but we can't take it out.
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Re: Non-Chill Filtering - 46%?

Postby Bulkington » Wed Dec 12, 2007 8:26 pm

"Te Bheag"

How is that pronounced?
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Re: Non-Chill Filtering - 46%?

Postby Willie JJ » Wed Dec 12, 2007 8:52 pm

Roughly it sounds like Chay Vek. Somebody please feel free to offer a better explanation.
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Re: Non-Chill Filtering - 46%?

Postby Bulkington » Wed Dec 12, 2007 9:04 pm

I was hoping for something funnier: "really loosens up in room temperature" "puts hair on your tongue" :wink:
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Re: Non-Chill Filtering - 46%?

Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Dec 12, 2007 9:05 pm

Willie JJ wrote:Roughly it sounds like Chay Vek. Somebody please feel free to offer a better explanation.

Sounds right to me.
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Re: Non-Chill Filtering - 46%?

Postby Aidan » Wed Dec 12, 2007 10:13 pm

I wonder does it take away of the cogeners that we can actually taste in the first place? I don't know the answer, just posting the question. Distillation takes away some flavours too.
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Re: Non-Chill Filtering - 46%?

Postby Aidan » Wed Dec 12, 2007 11:21 pm

Yeah. I'd like to try two together. And they might as well not filter single malts etc. Surely those they market to would understand if there was some clouding.
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Re: Non-Chill Filtering - 46%?

Postby Admiral » Thu Dec 13, 2007 3:37 am

I wonder does it take away of the cogeners that we can actually taste in the first place?


Yes, the difference is very tangible and noticeable.

To novices, it's not always so noticeable in the taste, but it's clearly identifiable in the mouthfeel. The fats and congeners that are removed by chillfiltering are actually oils.

So NCF whiskies typically have a much oiler, juicer mouthfeel, and usually a stronger flavour too.

I demonstrate this at every tasting I host. If you pour water very slowly and carefully down the side of your glass, you can actually get the water to "lift" and separate the oils from the whisky. Dip your finger into the glass so that it doesn't penetrate the oily layer. Then remove and rub your fingers together and feel the slippery, greasy, oily texture. That's the stuff that contributes to the mouthfeel and contains a lot of flavour.

Now imagine that your dram had all those oils and flavours removed!

The vast majority of whisky I drink these days is cask strength and NCF. I'm afraid that when I taste a chill-filtered whisky, it usually fails to impress me, because I'm just used to more flavour and a better mouthfeel.

Cheers,
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Re: Non-Chill Filtering - 46%?

Postby Deactivated Member » Thu Dec 13, 2007 4:47 am

I agree. I've never gotten that wonderful unctuous mouthfeel from a chillfiltered whisky. It's really the one thing I want in any whisky.

I've mentioned before, I saw a bottle of Bladnoch, unchillfiltered at 40%, at the distillery. Since I was only allowed one sample :evil: , I didn't get to try it, but it was as cloudy as an unfiltered weissbier.
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Re: Non-Chill Filtering - 46%?

Postby Willie JJ » Fri Dec 14, 2007 3:40 pm

Someone told me that the Scotch Whisky Research Institute at Heriot-Watt University had done a blind trial on the chill-filtration issue and found that no-one could tell the difference. Can't believe it myself.

I also ran into a professor of theoretical chemistry recently and he told me that congeners were really bad news and that exposure to them was a bad idea

Bloody scientists. What do they know :P ?
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Re: Non-Chill Filtering - 46%?

Postby Wave » Fri Dec 14, 2007 11:08 pm

I have quite a few bottles (16) that are 43% and contains no additives of any sort and has not been subjected to chill stablization or filtration from Lorne MacKillop. The ones I have open taste and look fine to me which includes a Highland Park 32yo!


Cheers!
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Re: Non-Chill Filtering - 46%?

Postby Mr Fjeld » Sat Dec 15, 2007 12:35 am

I'd like to believe it made a difference tastewise but I cannot honestly say I would notice a difference. Sometimes I've wondered if the whisky appears as slightly less "fatty" when drinking non chill-filtered whisky but there are just so many incredibly good chill-filtered whiskies out there to suggest it's wishful thinking.

I think the practice of chill-filtering and colouring should be abandoned altogether as it is confusing and suggests possible quality issues with the single malt fans. Why not just write on the back label that added water and haze/cloudiness is perfectly natural with for a single malt whisky and is a sign of "high quality" or something similar?
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