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The Love of the Finish

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The Love of the Finish

Postby Wendy » Thu Oct 05, 2006 11:48 pm

The Love of the Finish
Hello everyone:
As we all know, some whiskies have an impressively long finish while others simply fizzle. I have been wondering what gives a whisky it’s long or short finish. Is it one of those uncontrollable variables or is it a characteristic that can be finely tuned? And, if the finish is something that can be manipulated what stage in the distillation process would that be? I look forward to hearing your comments and would appreciate examples of each. (Aside from the technical side of this question which I know nothing about, my personal challenge in all this is not confusing finish with taste!)

Thanks, Wendy
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Postby Di Blasi » Fri Oct 06, 2006 1:58 am

Wow Wendy, compliments, good focus there! I wonder too! Looking forward to reading what people have to say...
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Postby Bullie » Fri Oct 06, 2006 1:06 pm

I have my own little theory about this, and I don't know if it right at all, but it something like this:

Since most of the notes I find in a finish seem to derive from the cask, such as wood, spices, leather, peaches and apricots, nuts and marzipan and so on, I think perhaps the quality of the cask has something to do with it.
When a cask is used that is well used (2:d and 3:d refill) and is 'dead' in the wood so to say, the finish will become lesser. And with an 'active' cask the woodimpact will make the finish more intense.

My theory explained simply... :D
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Postby Di Blasi » Fri Oct 06, 2006 1:21 pm

Thanks Bullie!Excellent! Sounds about right to me, cause even if the distillation is top-notch, the cask can kill it all if it's not a good one I'm sure!
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Postby Wendy » Fri Oct 06, 2006 6:54 pm

Thank you Jonathan for your enthusiasm and interest. And, Bullie I appreciate your theory. I think that this is a subject that is fun to think about and to be perhaps (ridiculously) nit-picky about. I have thought about your theory and as you have noted flavour and aroma can be a manipulated process based on the type of cask/s that the whisky is stored in. But, I was wondering if a long or short finish is more static? Whether or not during the distillation process the finish is already determined but just "dressed up" by (for example) a sherry, port or bourbon cask? I would argue that a short finish whisky doesn't necessarily imply a bland whisky and a short finish whisky could perhaps be explosive but with a short fuse! I wish I could cite an example, but can't think of one at the moment. That is why I am leaning towards thinking that the finish (long or short) is created somewhere else other than in the cask.

I really don't know! But it is interesting to think about and I do appreciate your ideas.

Wendy
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Postby Bullie » Fri Oct 06, 2006 7:01 pm

Well. (Hmms, wish my english was better) How to put this...?

I don't think the finish has anything to do with the newmake. The newmake of a single distillery is quite static (except when a distillery is making experiments.. :lol: ). I've got loads of examples where different bottlings from the same distillery varies in the finish, were some have been exeptional and others non-existant...

I'm not sure I'm making any sense here... :roll:
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Postby Wendy » Fri Oct 06, 2006 7:20 pm

Bullie,
You are making great sense! Thank you for being so helpful.
Best regards,
Wendy
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sat Oct 07, 2006 11:06 am

I'd go along with C_I. I think it has to do witheth "thickness" of the whisky. Some are heavy and feel like slicks on teh tongue. They are more likely to sit on the palate and stay there until the enzymes in eth mouth brake hem down and wash them away.
Lighter spirits, created in tall necked pots, are a little quicker to disapate as the heavier oils can't make it to the lyne arm.

Here's a fun( :? ) way of testing the theory. Mix a teaspoon of lemon juice with a teaspoon of olive oil and drink the potion. Which flavour last longest? (PS it will do your gall baldder a lot of good :lol: )
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Postby hpulley » Sat Oct 07, 2006 11:15 am

For some examples of really long finishes: Talisker used to and still can have incredibly long finishes, as can Port Ellen. For short finishes, many dry lowlanders have short finishes like Littlemill, (some) Rosebank and some (but not all) Bladnochs but also the dry islays like some Caol Ilas that have very short, dry, peaty finishes.

I suppose there is also the question of whether the finish is long while being strong or just long and lingering. Ardbeg can linger in my mouth for a very long time after drinking it but doesn't have the long strong finish or a Talisker or some Port Ellens.

In a bad way, some oversherried or overaged whiskies have lingering bitter finishes. The 30yo Brorageddon is a bit bitter for sure but even young 1st fill sherried whiskies like a 12yo Clynelish by Cadenheads can have lingering bitterness.

Harry
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Postby Wendy » Sun Oct 08, 2006 3:50 pm

I really have appreciated the input by everyone. C.I., I like where you have taken this discussion. Your comments helped to clear a few things up and has lead me to do more research about taste and its’ relationship to the tongue, nose and brain. To build on what has been said, taste is the ability to respond to dissolved molecules and ions called tastants. In this process, the molecules and ions play different roles in so much that molecules bring about the sensations of sweet and bitter and the ions bring about the sensations of salty and sour. In terms of my original question “what gives a whisky its long or short finish?” The answer, in part, has become a literal “tongue twister!” The external and internal influences in either a long or short finish seem far too many to cite. But, some of the obvious external factors are the cask type and history, years the whisky is stored in the cask, storing environment etc. And, one of the internal, although multi dimensional factor, lies in the sensitivity of your tongue and the length of time it takes to dissolve the molecules and ions. Crieftain is right on to have provided his taste test experiment which I confess I haven’t taken yet!

The adventures of the taste bud is also quite interesting. The average person has about 10,000 taste buds which are replaced every two weeks. As we age some of these taste buds don’t get replaced….so drink up lads and lassies your clock is ticking. It also important to note that some people do have more per parts papillae (which store the taste buds) which make them far more sensitive to discerning how sweet a peach is or how sour a lime. They would be the “Super-tasters” of the whisky world who provide (for me) some of the greatest descriptives notes be them amateur or professional tasters.

If anything I said needs further clarification from the more knowledgeable crowd, please don’t hesitate. With it being new information, it is a bit challenging to write about. I will enjoy visualizing this information when I am thinking about the grand finale of my dram!

Thanks again,

Wendy
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Postby Badmonkey » Sun Oct 08, 2006 5:38 pm

I love it when you talk dirty like that, Wendy. It's not even 11 a.m. and you are driving me to drink!
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Postby Wendy » Sun Oct 08, 2006 10:39 pm

d'Oh...I knew I shouldn't have used the word, Papillae.

Wendy

P.S. To all the Canadians, Happy Thanksgiving...even you Badmonkey.
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Postby Badmonkey » Mon Oct 09, 2006 6:27 am

Thanks, Wendy, and I hope you ate your fill of pumpkin pie this evening.

Yours on all fours,

Baaaadmonkey
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Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Oct 09, 2006 9:59 am

Wendy wrote:d'Oh...I knew I shouldn't have used the word, Papillae.

Wendy



No, no - you were quite right to use it 8)

:lol:
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Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Tue Oct 10, 2006 1:27 pm

Excellent discussion guys. And thanks for posing the question Wendy. It was something I was thinking about a while back but forgot to ask now I have a few interesting ideas to ponder.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Oct 10, 2006 4:27 pm

Crieftan wrote:
Wendy wrote:d'Oh...I knew I shouldn't have used the word, Papillae.

Wendy



No, no - you were quite right to use it 8)

:lol:


Miss Wendy's use of the word is not only appropriate; it is eminently edifying. I find myself compelled to pronounce it aloud periodically.
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