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Issue 96 - Chemical Romance

Whisky Magazine Issue 96
June 2011


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Chemical Romance

Whisky chef Martine Nouet gets to grips with the science behind food pairing

Chemistry has played a more important part in whisky making for the last two decades. Not that it was absent from the distillers' and master-blenders' concerns or training. But, industry was more based on practice than on theory. And maturation for instance was above all, and sometimes only, left to ‘father time'. Things have changed and now all master blenders as well as brewers have chemistry degrees. All companies finance research curriculums to help a better understanding of whisky making at all stages. Chemistry can be credited with the progress accomplished in the knowledge of aromatic profile for instance. The wheel of aromas developed by the Scotch Whisky Research Centre and perfected by companies or individuals is a superb tool to help describe the whisky.
A similar development has been made in cuisine through the ‘molecular gastronomy', a concept invented some 20 years ago by French physicist Nicholas Kurti and French chemist Hervé This. It demonstrates how science can be applied to domestic and professional cooking. Molecular gastronomy is the application of scientific principles to the understanding and improvement of sophisticated food preparation. Heston Blumenthal, chef of The Fat Duck in London is one of the most renowned adept and artisan of molecular cuisine. In 1992, he studied the mechanisms of food pairing with a flavorist at Firminich, hypothesising that the best food is created when food components with a common flavour are combined.
A team of Belg...

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