Caramel, is something you really shouldn't taste at all in the whisky. The fact you taste some caramel, might come from the cask. Infact they use very little of caramel, wich is not worth to mention. If you a very large dosis of Caramel to the whisky, then not only you have this nice brown color, but also a different taste. People say that they can taste the caramel, because they taste something similar, but then again never forget the wood who is responsible for such flavors. If you taste an unchill filtered and un colored whisky(perhaps a sherry butt), you might find some caramel too, and perhaps some chocolate, and other related flavors(butterscotch, vanille etc). And all given to you by the wood. However, the caramel what gives you that nice warm and romantic dark color, wich we all are waiting for(hahaha just kidding) shouldn't add that much influence. No don't worry to much about smelling and tasting the caramel, unless they have some whiskies wich they fucked up, or something like that....
That's what I have to say about this, but caramel is all a matter on uniform colors...
[This message has been edited by Huurman (edited 13 January 2003).]
I strongly recommend "Appreciation Whisky" by Philip Hills where the method was described (p 90).
However I assume that the natural trend will continue and those who don´t use caramel or other methods will state it even more clear. If you look at the website of Bruichladdich you´ll find:
"We do not caramelise our whisky in any way, shape or form.. Nor do we fiddle about with the casks themselves adding colouring, Paxarette etc. to achieve artificial darker colours so called ‘naturally’."
We are not making a big issue of colouring (well okay maybe on the McCallan topic) we just want UNTAMPERED WITH whisky, a natural product. I wont buy a dark whisky just because of its colour!
I agree absolutely with your points. If enough single malt drinkers vocally support this position we may see more non-chill filtered and uncolored malt on store shelves.
PS: whomever mentionned Hill's excellent book forgot to point out that Springbank 21 was described in it as being a malt whose casks were tampered with to darken it's colour.
Thanks. I have never tasted what might be artificial caramel in whiskey. I would like to see if there is some difference by tasting the same whisky with and without the additive. I certainly have tasted many fine whiskies that have had caramel added, so it's not a huge issue with me. That said, they could taste better without - I don't knwo.
Funny thing is, many without colouring are too embarassed to show it! They use dark coloured glass or a wide, squat bottle to make it look darker than a clear, tall, narrow one.
Like most other things, marketing matters more than customers would like but from the business side, marketing is very important and it is more difficult to market an inconsistent product. Almost everything is coloured these days to make it look more appealing and the number of people who want it unaltered is a very small group.
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Arial, Verdana">quote:</font><HR> http://www.ddwilliamson.com/solution/downloads/caramel.doc
I extract one comment from that document:"Lightly colored, pleasant tasting caramel flavors are produced in the initial stages but as the reaction continues more high-molecular-weight color bodies are produced and the flavor characteristics become more bitter."
This becomes very obvious thing when tasting Loch Dhu ...
Anyway, E150 is not tasteless. For instance, it is widely used in breweries to make beer dark and bitter.
Burnt sugar does not necessarily taste as sugar (or bitter) especially in small quantities, but IMO when it has blend in it softens the taste. For example, in cooking a little sugar makes a lot difference to taste.
My opinions are quite neutral to caramel colouring since I don't pay that much of attention to colour and the taste in the whiskies I like are softened with caramel (Lagavulin, Highland Park to name few). So only issue left against is the artificiality of that process, I'm a lot old fashioned guy, you see.
[This message has been edited by Ize (edited 23 April 2003).]
A case in point, once I was told that he t Alfred Hitchcock was quite fond of practical jokes. At a dinner he was havig, he had coloured all the food BLUE! The taste was the same, but some of his guests would apparantly not eat it.
[This message has been edited by r0b (edited 23 April 2003).]
Nevertheless, I still feel that if a distillery adds E150, they should have the decency to add it on their labels, and not only in the countries where they are forced to do so by law ...
If you are told, or believe, that caramel has not been added, then you are unlikely to believe you can taste it, unless the caramel "flavour" is a natural feature of the whisky, as mentioned by others above.
In this thread, we talk about single malts.
But isn't it here about consistency as well?
Doesn't the consumer expect:
consistancy in taste
consistancy in colour
no haze in the whisky...?
If colour wasn't that important, why should the bottler then bother at all? A bottler could reduce his costs and add that to his profit!
It's all about consumer expectations. Maybe it's because the consumer only know what they know.
Most consumers do not talk about whisky as a subject, read books about it or know this forum exists.
We know that the wood does not always do the same in colour changing, since it's a natural process.
In another thread we talk about marketing, but in fact are talking only about place and promotion. How to address a possible target group of consumers? But should the consumers be educated and told about colour changes that differ from barrel to barrel? Would they be interested in it?
In another thread the decline of the MacAllan is discussed. I agree on that. But all I care of is the taste. I'm not thirtysomething years in the whisky industry. I'm just a novice and after three years seriously trying to understand whisky I notice a change at the MacAllan. As a consumer I feel offended. I know what I like, and a MacAllan 8yo is great! With or without caramel, I like that taste.
And finally, look at ourselves, what do we do as whisky enthousiasts when appreciating whisky? Look at the colour? Take all the publications where notes are written down. There ARE notes about colour, or not?
What do we expect to see in our glass, now or next year? We look at the colour too...
But why do blenders then have blue nosing glasses, when assessing the whisky for doing their job?
Personally I prefer my whisky un-chillfiltered, uncoloured and sometimes at cask strenth.
But I care most about the taste!!
If caramel is needed to do the trick, then let the magic begin!
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