Whisky from the spirit safe has a gaelic name beginning with "c", but I can't remember it. Does anyone know it as its annoying me?
Cask strength whisky which is 50-60% abv can burn the roof of your mouth off, yet spirit safe whisky which can be 70% abv seemingly tastes quite sweet (perhaps with a hint of apple) and won't burn the roof of your mouth off. How can this be??
As to why it tastes smoother than CS aged spirit - not sure, but my guess would be that clearic is simply pure spirit (or in chemical terms simply ethanol) but after maturing in wood it will pick up more flavour compounds and congeners (fatty acids) from the tannins and vanillins in the wood, therefore it will taste more complex and as such more mouthfeel or burn. Hope that makes sense!
Is'nt it amazing what you can remember from Higher Chemistry! I remember once we made alcohol by fermenting orange juice, it tasted foul but as we were all 14 year olds we sure gulped it down.
Many of the flavour components will come from wood, however a poorly distilled new make can also taste foul depending on when distillation begins and ends. The foreshot will contain some methanol, which can taste foul and the feints will contain higher molecular weight compounds (i.e. more complex molecules) which will definitely have a good or bad taste.
So depending on how narrow, early, and/or late the cut, the new make may or may not have strong flavouring.
- 'foreshots' and 'feints', in American whiskey, are called 'heads' and 'tails' and, indeed, are not good things. They are over-concentrations of congeners, fusel oils and esters (in layman's words, taste/smell elements) produced as the still is heating up and/or cooling down during a production run. They are 'taken off' and redistilled, State-side.
- personally, I've never found that even high-proof/abv whisk(e)y burns the roof of my mouth but, then, I don't gulp it, either. Except for a very few special bottlings, most are chill-filtered, which removes some of the remaining congeners/esters/fusel oils, in fact 'stripping' it of some of its taste elements. Also, I find beginning a pour in the center of the tongue, where there are far fewer taste receptors, allows me to gradually introduce it to the remaining tastebuds . Anyhow, that whisky from the spirit safe will be un-filtered, and contain ALL the flavor elements vis-a-vis the alcohol content, somewhat taming it.
And the explanations about clearic v cask strength sound about right!
The traditional terms in the whisky industry are:
MrTattieHeid wrote:There's a joke in there about angels and clearics
There might have been if that's how it had been spelt.
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