As we all know, some whiskies have an impressively long finish while others simply fizzle. I have been wondering what gives a whisky it’s long or short finish. Is it one of those uncontrollable variables or is it a characteristic that can be finely tuned? And, if the finish is something that can be manipulated what stage in the distillation process would that be? I look forward to hearing your comments and would appreciate examples of each. (Aside from the technical side of this question which I know nothing about, my personal challenge in all this is not confusing finish with taste!)
Since most of the notes I find in a finish seem to derive from the cask, such as wood, spices, leather, peaches and apricots, nuts and marzipan and so on, I think perhaps the quality of the cask has something to do with it.
When a cask is used that is well used (2:d and 3:d refill) and is 'dead' in the wood so to say, the finish will become lesser. And with an 'active' cask the woodimpact will make the finish more intense.
My theory explained simply...
I really don't know! But it is interesting to think about and I do appreciate your ideas.
I don't think the finish has anything to do with the newmake. The newmake of a single distillery is quite static (except when a distillery is making experiments.. ). I've got loads of examples where different bottlings from the same distillery varies in the finish, were some have been exeptional and others non-existant...
I'm not sure I'm making any sense here...
Lighter spirits, created in tall necked pots, are a little quicker to disapate as the heavier oils can't make it to the lyne arm.
Here's a fun( ) way of testing the theory. Mix a teaspoon of lemon juice with a teaspoon of olive oil and drink the potion. Which flavour last longest? (PS it will do your gall baldder a lot of good )
I suppose there is also the question of whether the finish is long while being strong or just long and lingering. Ardbeg can linger in my mouth for a very long time after drinking it but doesn't have the long strong finish or a Talisker or some Port Ellens.
In a bad way, some oversherried or overaged whiskies have lingering bitter finishes. The 30yo Brorageddon is a bit bitter for sure but even young 1st fill sherried whiskies like a 12yo Clynelish by Cadenheads can have lingering bitterness.
The adventures of the taste bud is also quite interesting. The average person has about 10,000 taste buds which are replaced every two weeks. As we age some of these taste buds don’t get replaced….so drink up lads and lassies your clock is ticking. It also important to note that some people do have more per parts papillae (which store the taste buds) which make them far more sensitive to discerning how sweet a peach is or how sour a lime. They would be the “Super-tasters” of the whisky world who provide (for me) some of the greatest descriptives notes be them amateur or professional tasters.
If anything I said needs further clarification from the more knowledgeable crowd, please don’t hesitate. With it being new information, it is a bit challenging to write about. I will enjoy visualizing this information when I am thinking about the grand finale of my dram!
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