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Issue 107 - The Naked Spirit

Whisky Magazine Issue 107
October 2012

 

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The Naked Spirit

Ever wondered what your favourite whisky would taste like when stripped of its colour? Neil Ridley experiences a moment of clarity

Mixologists and spirits enthusiasts the world over are currently experimenting with the phrase ‘back to basics' when it comes to whisky, and the results of their experimentation are literally quite staggeringly clear, in more ways than one.

The practice of redistilling already distilled and matured spirits is as controversial as it is revolutionary, but thanks to the availability of relatively uncomplicated, compact cold distillation stills, which can be used in the bar or kitchen, the process of subjecting a ‘finished whisky' to an additional processing has produced some rather interesting results, that might irk and surprise the distilleries in equal measures, especially given the recent debate surrounding the importance of colour in whisky.

I first came across the redistilling-a-whisky-idea late last year, when Glenfiddich embarked on their inspirational One Day You Will Summit, bringing together several experts from the fields of mixology, digital design, molecular science and food technology for a two-day symposium of ideas at the distillery. New York bartender, drinks consultant and former biologist Eben Klemm co-hosted a molecular whisky masterclass with Glenfiddich's master distiller Brian Kinsman to explore the effects of wood maturation on a whisky, examining the constituent parts and primary flavours within several expressions in the Glenfiddich range.

Klemm redistilled a sample of Glenfiddich 12 Years Old in a Rotovap still, where a rotating flask of liquid...

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