But....as I was looking at my EU bottle, I noticed that it was marked "mit Farbstoff."
Which means WITH DYE (or Coloring).
Why?! Why mess with such a great drink. It would be all the more awesome to find that such a palete of flavours comes from a relatively clear drink...
And now I have to deal with the possibility of an altered taste of what was my favourite islay sinlge malt.
This also confirms that marketing goblins are at the helm of Laphroaig, and make their decisions based on appereances and attempt to sell the most bottles at all costs --even the integrity of their product and brand.
GOd knows the only reason they even started to market an OB CS is because of the emergence of a connaisseurs market.... It truly defeats the purpose to mess with it!!
I was expecting a cask strength to be indeed "straight from the wood as stated on the label"Instead we get colouring! LIARS!
I feel betrayed by these shenanigans
Any more, I consider unchillfiltered and no-coloring-added to be marketing pluses. Fortunately, there are distillers, bottlers, and blenders who also think this way.
If it's naturally dark, there's nothing wrong with it. If it's naturally pale, there's nothing wrong with it, either.
It seems odd to me to colour it so it looks like a sherry matured whisky, when in fact it is solely bourbon matured.
As for charring, that is done to the new wood before filling the bourbon fresh-make.
Re-charring might be done to refill casks, but that is not the case here, as they use only first fill bourbon barrels.
I always use the term Carmelisation to refer to colouring the whisky. Ie the use of Caramel. More and more I hear people say "colouring" is this just a diffrent word or is colouring being done by adding something other than caramel?
The industry don't like talking about it so found it hard to get an answer.
karlejnar wrote:As for charring, that is done to the new wood before filling the bourbon fresh-make.
Re-charring might be done to refill casks, but that is not the case here, as they use only first fill bourbon barrels.
Ardbeg - according to Glenmorangie officials - actually charr the barrels before filling Ardbeg fresh spririt.
Apart from that I'm sure you'r right as the dark colour really doesn't make sense for such a young non-sherry whisky.
Edit: Oh, and the Bruichladdich 10 YO uses some sherry casked whisky - I think it's 60/40 bourbon/sherry.
I would venture that the fellow who buys a Cask Strength Laphroaig labeled "straight from the wood" cares more about his drink ACTUALLY coming "straight from the wood" than it being the same colour as previous laphroaig's he's had in the past. Obviously.
Yes, McDonald is obssesed about giving a consistent product all over the world, and so is Coca-Cola, but should Laphroaig be similarly concerned?
THe notion of colour consistency implies an uneducated consumer who cares about the colour of his drink more than its taste. Though this might have been true for the blend drinker in the 1970's, the owners of Laphroiag need to get with the program and stop lying to their customers, NOW! (I won't hold my breath though... )
Connoisseurs enjoy seeing different colours in different batches -- we are now saddened by attempts to use computer controlled fermentation and distillation processes to make it consistent all the time. Variety is the spice of life!
I understand that reproducable products are good for the bean counters but they are going to miss the point on this one. If a consistent product is the wrong product then that is the wrong business model to use. Period.
Show your irritation with these practices by buying from distilleries and independants (eg Ardbeg and Signatory) that don't do this, then maybe the marketing idiots will get the hint.
But Laphroaig comes in green bottles, so that reason doesnt come true for this. Dont know if the color differences are THAT big that the customer could still see it at home from memory.
I still think (this topic has been discussed to death in the past, just search for "caramel" on this forum ) that a little explanation on the bottle does wonders (as some expressions do have actually).
Lawrence wrote:They color to provide a consistent product. Laphroaig 10 use to have a large sherry maturation component (if you don't believe me buy an older upopened bottle like I did na ddo a HTH) and thus the color. Once they had that color fixed in the consumers mind they felt thet were stuck with it, however I agree that they should not chill filter or add color.
Lawrence, i have never heard of Laphroaig using sherry maturation in anything apart from their 30Y old. I have an old 10Y old at home and have sampled it in a HTH with both the 10 and 10CS. I agree that the old Laphroaig is significantly different then the new one, but not on behalf of sherry. When did Laphroaig use sherry maturation for their 10? I have asked a similar question to Robin Shields once in regards of the CS. Since in the CS and 15 there are sherry hints in the flavor, neither one has actually sherry involvement during maturation (wich is why im strongly against caramel as thats where the sherrynotes must come from). So did you taste the sherry in the flavor, or do you actually know for a fact it was sherry matured? Someone from La Maison Du Whisky once declared they use sherry now in their CS but he was completely wrong as my little talk with Robin Shields proved. Yet i can understand him thinking so, because there are actual hints of sherry there. So far i still believe this is due to Caramel, Laphroaig is one of the darkest OB Islays there is (actually the third, Lagavulin and Ardbeg Uigadaele are darker) for one, and for two both laphroaig and f.i. Glenfiddich Ancient have sherry notes in it yet neither one has seen sherry, but both have been declared to use caramel.
If so, this means war! Or at least caramel!
Could our German friends (or fellow malsters living in Germany) let us know if indeed Lagavulin and Ardbeg color their Cask Strength malts? (Side note: what about Glenfarclas?)
The time to expose the liars is now!
Perhaps we can put an end to this practise...I know I always try to only buy uncoloured malts and certainly never from distilleries who pretend their malt is "straight from the cask," when clearly it is not. Can you say boycott?
went straight to my (all-german) cellar to look on my still unopened bottles (all purchased in Germany over the last 3-4 months). I couldn't detect any "mit Farbstoff" declaration on the usual suspects. Not on my 2004 CS Lagavulin, not on my Ardbeg Uigeadail and even not on my Glenfarclas 105 (purchased last week in Berlin).
Now - does that mean "no caramel!" resp. "no war!"? Ever?
Dunno, after reading a lot of posts over the last months here in this forum concerning company policy...
At least it's a sort of "all clear-signal" for now, considering the European Unions strict rules on foodstuffs in general.
And, yes, my Laphroaig CS and of course my Lagavulin 16 yo. do wear the prominent Cain's mark...
I think we should all make sure we sponsor the distillers which do not colour their malts and make sure to avoid those that do.
Here one of the bottles on ebay right now;
So what if the Laphroaig 10CS contains some caramell? Do we honestly believe the miniscule amounts of caramell would affect the taste - or is it just that our touchy and overblown self esteem and quasi connoisseur pride and wannabe tendency that receives a dent. Although I don't like the idea myself and would wish for a clean as possible whisky I cannot say I will dislike or even like it less after this "horrendous scandal" . Of course I too enjoy looking at the colour and it's fun to say to oneself how the choice of bourbon or sherry cask indeed affected the actual colour of the whisky. Having said that though one should not forget that looking at the colour doesn't necessarily give you all the answer as the colour itself is hard to figure out if one doesn't quite know what the whisky contains. Vattings can deceive ones notion of bourbon/sherry or age and most of times we will research and find out almost all of the specifics before we buy the whisky. Single cask whisky is an honourable exception - but then - have you ever bought a single cask whisky without knowing if it was sherry or bourbon matured? So does that only reduce the ability to tell the colour to some sort of "party trick" ? : I say, ladies look at that golden brown colour - sherry cask I guess....... "
Ok, I agree that single malt shouldn't be touched in any way other than the use of water to regulate the strength. And I do believe it's important that we speak out here - and also let our viewpoints be known to the industry so we in at least some occasions can be pretty sure we are able to enjoy not only the nose and the taste but also the "first" of a tasting - the colour! Whisky shouldn't be considered to be less important than wine - and with wine you want to see the colour to access among other things - the age. My point is simply that we should take care not to deny ourselves the joy it is to drink Laphroaig 10CS or any other whisky with colour added becaue we are probably not going to notice any difference in the taste whatsoever. I'm sincerely convinced that "whisky fundamentalism" can inform our brains before we taste the product - or even make us believe we don't "like it anymore" because of it. And before someone accuses me of being lackluster towards this problem I can only say I do enjoy single malt very much - but I don't like to jump at conclusions easily! So no boycott on my behalf please!
I'll give you an example about how easy it is to get it wrong even in the preceding discussions. Earlier in this thread someone compared Laphroaig 10CS and the Ardbeg 10 because the latter one was so pale (and honest? ) . It was also mentioned that Ardbeg 10 is a first-fill! Well, it isn't - but it will be! They now use first fill bourbon casks for the new spirit. But they used second-fill cask for what today is the 10 YO. Go see for yourself on page 77 in Peat Smoke and Spirit by Andrew Jefford. The author also says about the colour: "This seems likely to change in the future as more and more first-fill bourbon begins to play its role........" So easily accepted without a reference and the whole discussion goes off in the wrong direction. And in this respect one should also consider that Laphroaig exclusively uses first-fill bourbon casks. Sad it is though that they also use caramell colour.
Next up is the Ardbeg Uigeadail, which happens to be one of my absolute favourites - together with the Laphroaig CS. Last time I tasted it I didn't notice anything worryingly wrong with the colour. I doubt I will next time. It does contain an amount of sherry and those of you that have tasted it will notice it immediatly.
I don't know how much sherry but the colour doesn't seem wrong to me as the sherry certainly makes itself noticed in the mouth. Consider it's made up of first-fill bourbon whisky and sherry - thus I don't think the colour is that wrong! I don't think we quite know what amount of sherry matured whisky is needed to colour the finished product - although I suspect it isn't much. If one looks at the amount of caramell used in colouring whisky or cognac one would be surprised to know it's almost nothing! We are not talking about teaspoons per litre but much much less. Try a tiny tiny drop instead. And that is propably also why it is impossible to notice the caramell in the whisky - or cognac. If someone thinks caramell they often say sweet - and it makes a logic asumption - but caramell used in beverages is bitter not sweet.
Now all those boring things I just wrote can be boiled down to this: Don't be so quick to jump at conclusions - it might make you dislike something wich is very enjoyable - just like the Laphroaig 10CS - in my view one of the best whiskies out there.
Oliver: 'Well, I take heart in most posters' reactions (except for those who try to make excuses for the owners of Laphroaig such as the aleged "need" for consistency, etc...)' No one here said anything remotely resembling that. And no, I will not say boycott. We are all free to choose what to buy and drink and what not to buy and drink, for whatever reasons we each may have. That's the marketplace. I'd like to see the single-malt world move to color-free, unchillfiltered product, but I can't see boycotting a pretty damn good product when so many people are drinking JW Red and flavored vodka and Smirnoff Ice and Bud Light.
Tom, your musings on 'sherry' taste coming from caramel color are nothing but pure speculation. For all I know, you are dead right, but 'it must be caramel because it isn't sherry casks' isn't any kind of hard evidence.
Let's all take a chill (filtered) pill and cool the outrage. There's nothing wrong with expressing what we want, and indeed I think our viewpoint is being heard, and things are going our way. But all this taking umbrage and acting as if we were being personally betrayed is getting a little bit tiresome.
31994L0036 - European Parliament and Council Directive 94/36/EC of 30 June 1994 on colours for use in foodstuffs
http://europa.eu.int/eur-lex/lex/LexUri ... 36:EN:HTML
Whereas the prime consideration for any rules on these food additives and their conditions of use should be the need to protect and inform the consumer;
Whereas a food additive may only be used when there is evidence that it is technologically necessary and that its use is not harmful to health;
Whereas colours are used to restore original appearance of food whose colour has been affected by processing, storage, packaging and distribution, whereby visual acceptability may have been impaired;
Whereas colours are used to make food more visually appealing and help identify flavours normally associated with particular foods and to give colour to food otherwise colourless;
Does anybody know, which caramel they use? I learned there are at least four E 150s: E 150a Plain caramel, E 150b Caustic sulphite caramel, E 150c Ammonia caramel, E 150d Sulphite ammonia caramel.
And finally, I agree, we all should be sensitive judging about caramel and its possible effects on the product, we all love and enjoy. I'm not overly concerned about the effects and its impact on the final impression. Boycott is definitely not the choice for me as a newby. There is still so much to detect and to explore. But like other posters said before, adding colour is simply and completely unnecessary. Does caramel really "help identify flavours normally associated" with Laphraoig and Lagavulin? They just may take away a tiny little piece of the whole fun. It's up to us individually to decide whether we still have the whole fun with it or not. By the way - I guess, colouring wasn't invented in 1994, the year of Council directive 94/36/EC or in 2003/04, the first appearance of "Mit Farbstoff" declarations on whiskylabels. It might have a very, very long history...
To Oliver, it is normal that both Lagavulin 16 and Ardbeg Uigaedaile are darker then any other islays (lets not talk about Bowmore for once) because they both have Sherry maturation, so dark is normal there.
"But all this taking umbrage and acting as if we were being personally betrayed is getting a little bit tiresome."
It might be tiresome for the marketers and corporate types who own and make decisions regarding the distileries and single malts we enjoy. But if we don't point out their lies about the nature of their product (i.e., called "straight from the cask" when in fact colorized), no one will.
And by the way, when they lie about their product and what's in it, they are lying to you as a consumer --which is why taking it personally make sense.
Just because people drink bud light and coloured drink doesn't mean I should be happy drinking caramelized malts --unknowingly!
I think we need to use our knowledge of malts and the traditions of whisky not just to consume and buy more expensive stuff, but to make sure that high standards of production are upheld and that the industry be more honest in its dealings towards single malt consumers. Only through our vigilance will this happen.
For example, I think it was a good thing that after many posts here and elsewhere, Macallan came on the record and said it did not add "spirit" caramel to their malts.
PS: I make no excuse for being passionate about malts, and anyone who -- through their short term greed -- hurt the standards and reputation of such a great drink.
Biology says: our olfactory system can detect aromas in a dilulted ratio of 1:1.000.000.
Physical science says: a drop of water (or caramel) is about 0,05 ml, that is 0,00005 l.
Now mathematics: e.g. a hogshead barrel holds 250 l. So consequently a diluted substance could be detected in a hogshead barrel, if added in an amount of 0,00025 l. That are five tiny, little drops of a substance.
Again biology: there is no way we would detect four - or of course less than four - tiny little drops though.
Spirit caramel (E 150) is not sweet, ok. It is bitter. Five tiny, little drops of bitter caramel might be detected in a hogshead barrel. We as connoisseurs would say: “Ay, ay, there is also an other interesting aroma here, something quite, quite, eh - bitterish!” Four drops would leave us and our fellow admirers completely unimpressed. Biologically, physically and mathematically proved
Now - does anybody know anything about the quantity of caramel that actually comes into our whisky The debate might come to a quick end here! At least the debate whether caramel has any noticeable impact on the product, besides - of course! - the colour. And that is where I still follow Olivers remarks.
It’s not alone Madeye-Moody who says: “Vigilance!” You are right, Oliver, about that. In Europe consumers are on the verge of paranoia when foodstuffs are concerned. People in my neighbourhood e.g. won’t buy ketchup or soy-sauce if they know that genetically processed ingredients come with them, despite industries sayings that this is absolutely harmless and effetively even good for you. Not to talk about spanish strawberries in march… Now we shouldn’t compare genetically processed food (or parts of it) and pesticids with caramel in our whisky? Right!
Caramel is indeed, as far as we know, not poisonous or intoxicating. Whisky is, and that is what we love about whisky . But we consumers should simply have a chance to know what we consume – this is a vital part of an open and free society with all the choices we should be able to make. And again, we should know what choices we have. So it’s good to have “mit Farbstoff” on my label, to know it’s coloured and it might still be good for me to explore and enjoy my drink.
P.S And - just in case, there are five or more drops of caramel in a hogshead barrel, I forgot to tell You - this is what theology says:
Genesis 4, 15: “And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.”
P.P.S A caramel drop is not the worst thing on earth, at least not in my candy shop.
Oh no, no, that was bitter…
"Biology says: our olfactory system can detect aromas in a dilulted ratio of 1:1.000.000." --bernstein
Some aromas. Diluted in water, not whisky.
I agree that ideally, this practice should cease. But for the most part, I think this is a tempest in a quaich. The original question was "Why is Laphroaig doing this?" The simple answer is because maintaining color consistency of ongoing distillery bottlings is standard industry practice. That's not me justifying it; but it would be odd (and laudable) if they did elsewise.
Oliver, I'm sorry if my remarks seem personal. This is a very collegial forum, and I would like it to stay that way; I have no interest in slagging anybody. To be very honest, I have on numerous occasions refrained from responding to your posts, because I didn't know how I could without it seeming that way. Let me state categorically that although I may disagree with what you say, I will defend until closing time your right to say it. (Mr. Picky wishes me to note that Voltaire didn't say that; it was a paraphrase of Voltaire's attitude by Evelyn Beatrice Hall.) But I demand the same right. When I disagree with you, I expect of myself that I do so with respect.
"I think we need to use our knowledge of malts and the traditions of whisky not just to consume and buy more expensive stuff, but to make sure that high standards of production are upheld and that the industry be more honest in its dealings towards single malt consumers. Only through our vigilance will this happen." --Oliver
I agree with that 100%. Enough said.
I very much agree with the spirit of your post. I, too very much enjoy the collegial tone of this forum. My ire is only reserved for those who mislead consumers for material gain, not fellow drinkers and posters, to be sure.
Being passionate about malts and holding the makers and sellers of this great product to the highest standard is something we all agree on, I think in principle.
Again, I think the pride of this forum is -- among other things -- to have gotten the ball roling (somewhat) when it comes to making distillery owners more forthcoming with information.
I raise a drink to hopes of continued collegiality,
I admire your passion Oliver, and I understand where you're coming from.
What I have trouble understanding though, is your passionate belief that folks like you, me, all of us here, can actually make any difference.
Your fight is not against the proprietor of the corner grocery shop.....you're taking aim against the likes of Diageo, Allied, and (in the case of your gripes against Macallan) Edrington.
Do we honestly believe for one moment that Diageo, Allied, etc give a tinker's cuss about what 10 or so people post on this forum?
I've said this elsewhere: Single malts make up about 5 to 10% of the Scotch market. So single malt drinkers are already in a massive minority. Now consider this: Of all the people who buy and drink single malt, how many of them do you think would qualify as connoisseurs, enthusiasts, knowledgeable, and interested drinkers? I propose that the number of single malt drinkers who actually care about such matters (colouring, finishing, production methods, maturation, etc) - in other words, people like you and me - is a tiny fraction of this group. Say 10 to 15% at best.
The reality is that, truth be told, most people buying single malts do so simply because they enjoy drinking them. They don't care how it got into the bottle, and what else is in the bottle. It tastes good, and they like drinking it.
So the 10% of people who care are just 10% of a market that is only 10% of the market!!!
So consider all of the whisky being put on the market by Diageo, Allied, etc, etc. The passionate malt people - i.e. you and I - make up 1% of the market they produce for.
We can rant and rave all we like, and occasionally they'll throw us a bone with a special bottling here and there, but don't expect the entire industry to change on account of a minority of 1% being upset at its practices.
I apologise if I sound discouraging or anti everyone's thoughts here, but I felt a reality check was in order.
Let us by all means support those distilleries and bottlers who choose to omit caramel, etc, but don't take aim at the overwhelming majority of distilleries and bottlers who are simply abiding with standard, accepted industry practice.
Mr. Picky wants to know what constitutes a "massive minority".
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