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when did chill-filtration of whisky begin in its earnest

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when did chill-filtration of whisky begin in its earnest

Postby Deactivated Member » Sat Nov 11, 2006 11:10 am

Dear all,

I am interested in the origins of this practice, and the timeline of when it was first experimented with (by whom), and when did it begin in earnest as a practice.

I've read whisky mag's articles and found a few other references. This seems to suggest that the practice started in the 1960's. This, however, brings another question in mind: As far as I am aware of, the practice of lowering the alcohol percentage in bottles to 40% or 43% had started during WWII.

We know that lowering the alcohol volume to that level in unchillfiltered whisky causes the whisky to become cloudy. Now then, were there several decades of ready-cloudy whisky in the bottles, prior to starting chill-filtration of almost all whisky between the 1940's - 1960's?

Should anyone have REAL information of this issue (not hearsay, not rumours, nor presumptions - thank you!), I would be most interested in hearing more, preferably also with references to where the information comes from.
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Re: when did chill-filtration of whisky begin in its earnest

Postby Di Blasi » Sat Nov 11, 2006 1:41 pm

M.R.J. wrote:Dear all,
Should anyone have REAL information of this issue (not hearsay, not rumours, nor presumptions - thank you!), I would be most interested in hearing more, preferably also with references to where the information comes from.


Yes, only valid, proven, referenced works here please! We can keep this same topic going in the other forum, jokes and all. M.R.J., we do expcect you to tell us who publishes your work, and where we can buy it when you've completed your research!!
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Postby Marvin » Sat Nov 11, 2006 2:22 pm

I doubt anyone really knows all the specifics. The other thread is accurate enough.
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Postby Lawrence » Sat Nov 11, 2006 5:05 pm

I have read somewhere, I can't remember where but will look, that the practice started after WWII when a load of blended whisky sat on the docks in Chicago and went cloudy due to the very low temperatures. It was returned by the client and that started the ball rolling and the practice. I'll look for more info on this subject.
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Re: when did chill-filtration of whisky begin in its earnest

Postby corbuso » Sat Nov 11, 2006 8:47 pm

M.R.J. wrote:Dear all,

I am interested in the origins of this practice, and the timeline of when it was first experimented with (by whom), and when did it begin in earnest as a practice.

I've read whisky mag's articles and found a few other references. This seems to suggest that the practice started in the 1960's. This, however, brings another question in mind: As far as I am aware of, the practice of lowering the alcohol percentage in bottles to 40% or 43% had started during WWII.

We know that lowering the alcohol volume to that level in unchillfiltered whisky causes the whisky to become cloudy. Now then, were there several decades of ready-cloudy whisky in the bottles, prior to starting chill-filtration of almost all whisky between the 1940's - 1960's?

Should anyone have REAL information of this issue (not hearsay, not rumours, nor presumptions - thank you!), I would be most interested in hearing more, preferably also with references to where the information comes from.


I don't think that you will find an exact date. I have been trough almost all the available whisky literature and it was never mentioned.
At latest, after WWII this whisky process was implemented, since americans started to drink their whiskies with ice and Ice created the cloudiness...

Regards

Corbuso

http://www.whisky-news.com
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Nov 12, 2006 6:02 am

A very interesting question, M.R.J. Congrats to you for collating bits of received wisdom and noting that a discrepancy exists.

I believe there was a period between the wars when the standard ABV was in the mid-30's.

The one first-hand account I can give you, which I have given several times here, is that I saw a bottle of Bladnoch, unchillfiltered at 40%, that was as cloudy as an unfiltered weissbier. It's hard to think that all whisky looked like this at one time. For one thing, if it did, the legend of the whisky on the docks at Chicago would be impossible. At the risk of promoting hearsay or conjecture, perhaps there was another method of clarification before the modern practice of chillfiltering.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Nov 12, 2006 11:33 pm

Here's a brief thread on the topic, specifically referencing bourbon/American whiskey:
http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/s ... -filtering

FYI, the thread's posters inlcude: 'cowdery' is Chuck Cowdery, whose articles appear in Whisky Magazine and other publications; 'jvanwinkle' is Julian Van Winkle III, bottler of the Pappy and Old Rip Van Winkle whiskeys; 'Ken Weber' is Buffalo Trace bourbon brand manager Ken Weber (whose comments pre-date the advent of non-chill-filtered George T. Stagg, William Larue Weller and Thomas Handy bottlings).

Oops -- actually, I intended this post for this thread:
http://www.whiskymag.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4823
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Some interesting facts about chill-filtration

Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Feb 26, 2007 10:26 pm

Dear all,

I was earlier pondering about the origins of the practice of chill-filtration. well, I did find some interesting facts, and the source closer than I thought - Whisky Magazine, issue 17, July 2001 (knew I had seen some facts referred to somewhere!).

There's a fascinating article by Anthony Troon, starting from page 48, which gives much insight to this practice, also from a historical point of view. The author states that "one explanation given to me was that until the 1930's a great deal of scotch was sold in opaque bottles of green-coloured glass..(masking the impurities). Then in line with standard international marketing practice for spirits, Scotch swtiched over to clear glass bottles."

He also states that "as early as 1917 the chill filtering tendency had been noted and deplored by the distinguished medical journal The Lancet."

The article explains that the 40 per cent by volume strength for alcohol products was set in the Defense of the Realm Act of 1914, in the early years of the WWI.

The Lancet's article pointed out apparently that "whisky was not an ordinary spirit but a complex containing certain by-products of fermentation and distillation, held in the solution in the alcohol". It goes on to state, quite accurately I might add, that " the subsequent elimination of these substances by filtration carries out a material proportion of the flavouring substances derived from the malt and the ethers are to some extent destroyed by this process."

I for one found this article excellent, and it is absolutely fascinating to see that much as I suspected/recalled, the roots of the chill filtration run far deeper in the history of whisky than what has been recently often suggested (that this practice started in earnest quite in the 1960's).

All I can say is that Whisky Magazine has published some remarkably good and informative articles over the years!

Wikipedia has a good explanation of the Defense of the Realm Act of 1914 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defence_of_the_Realm_Act.

The article from The Lancet from 1917 might make rather interesting reading - The magazine still exists and is published, so I thought I might make an enquiry regarding the chances of getting a copy of this article.

Should any of you have the opportunity to contribute further facts about this interesting aspect of whisky history, I would like to invite you to do so.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Thu Mar 01, 2007 10:16 am

Is it the winter or what, but seems the current interest in chill-filtering is nill.

Would be nice to know if anyone can contribute to the topic..
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Postby Deactivated Member » Thu Mar 01, 2007 2:39 pm

I think you covered it pretty well! Lot o' views on this thread.
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