Whiskey Casks Offer Tasty Treats

Single malt whiskey is made out of hundreds of single components like different alcohols, acids, aldehydes, phenols, and esters and whiskey casks. It is also made out of compounds containing sulphur, carbonyl, and nitrogen. These ingredients help with the flavor of whiskey and each concentration depends upon the variations in materials, the whiskey casks, and the method of production. Every malt whiskey is a little different from the rest thanks to the whiskey casks and more. Even whiskey that is made from neighboring distilleries is unique from the rest thanks to a variation of compounds and different whiskey casks.

The investigation started out by identifying the different concentrations of compounds that were taken from the whiskey casks during maturation called cask-extractive congeners. The investigation made a correlation between the flavour of the product after it was finished and these. The whiskey casks play a big role in this process. The whiskey casks help to make the whiskey stand out.

There was a regional spread of four different whiskey options. They were (Islay) Caol lla, (Orkney) Scapa, (Lowland) Rosebank, and (Speyside) Balvenie.  The cask-extractive congeners are very important when it comes to the flavor and the scent of the finished product along with the colour of it. The whiskey casks play a large role in everything about the whiskey itself.

Whiskey casks are usually treated to degrade the internal surface of the cask thermally. The whiskey casks go through this process with ease. This process is done by charring and firing the whiskey casks for three reasons. The whiskey casks have a big impact.

To make a layer of carbon that is active and which takes out undesirable flavour substances from the whiskey casks. The whiskey casks need this process.

To help with the release of flavour compounds and the dissolution from compounds like Vanillin from the whiskey casks. The whiskey casks will show results thanks to this process.

To give colour and phenolic substances that will give a new flavour thanks to oxidative interactive reactions in the whiskey casks. The whiskey casks will do well with all three of these processes.

The results showed that each of the four samples had similar compound furfural levels that is associated with the normal flavouring of whiskey thanks to whiskey casks. The woody flavour stands out in the Scapa sample thanks to syringealdehyde that is also in Caol lla. The strong flavours of the Islay  will be talked about later. There is a high level of ellagic acide that is shown by the Balvenie chromatogram. This comound has a very pungent scent and flavour. The large amount of lignin degradation products in the Caol lla smaple shows that charred oak whiskey casks were used. Thanks to these whiskey casks and the presence of 5-hydroxymethyl furfural in the Caol lla the taster could see an almost reddish tint in the whiskey itself. The whiskey casks help with many aspects of this process.

The peated malt that is used in the production of whiskey is the primary source for volatile phenolic congeners. There was no surprise to find there there were a lot in the Caol lla sample when compared to the other whiskey that was under investigation. The amount of phenol at 2.1 parts per million or ppm was close to five times more than what was found in the Rosebank, 20 times more for Balvenie, and 200 times more than what was discovered in the Scapa. Since phenol has a medicinal flavour, it was expected to be in the Islay whiskey. In the Caollla there was a lot Guaiacol which is known for its phenolic and smokey taste. It was found in concentrations of 1.2 ppm in the Caol lla, but it could hardly be detected in the other samples. The Islay sample also had compounds that up that were responsible for disinfectant or tarry tastes.  M,p, and o-cresol were shown in the Islay sample. They were rather low in the Rosebank, extremely low in the Balvenie, and not even detectable in the Scapa. A similar compound called eugenol which has a clove like flavour was found in the Caol lla and Scapa. Each of the whiskey types that were investigated showed different concentrations of 4-ethyl phenol and 2.5-xylenol.These ingredients could not be found separately. These substances have a strong whiskey taste to them. These substances and the whiskey casks make each brew unique.

There were a variety of other compounds that were found during the investigation, but their individual flavour is not as important to the taste as their contribution to the entire taste of each whiskey. These results can give an insight into the chemistry that comes from single malt whiskey. There are hundreds of compounds that contribute to the overall product along with the whiskey casks.