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Aroma of the Week: Bourbon Aroma Kit : Charred Oak

We have been delighted with the response to the recently released Bourbon Aroma Kit and have therefore decided to highlight a key Bourbon aroma in our new feature – Aroma of the Week.

Bourbon Aroma Kit : Charred Oak : Every Bourbon lover knows the key role that maturation of the freshly distilled Bourbon in charred oak barrels plays in the generation of the much loved Bourbon aroma and flavour profile. The Charred Oak Aroma in the Bourbon Aroma Kit is a combination of sensorial rich smoky and woody aromas with the trigeminally active aroma molecules produced during the heat intensive charring step. Our trigeminal sense is an independent sensory pathway with nerve endings in our mouth, nose and eyes. Stimulation of this sense gives a sensation of chemical hotness or heat or tingling. It forms part of our protective mechanism in the body that alerts us to potential danger. A slight tingle-inducing element embedded in the sensuous and rich woody aroma note helps define this class of aroma – one that is especially prominent in many Bourbons. See our Bourbon Aroma Kit – for the “charred oak” and 23 other key Bourbon aromas.

The Ritual of Sensory Awareness at LA Group

Aroma Academy is launching The Ritual of Sensory Awareness at LA Group on Tuesday 4th Nov from 18:00 to 21:00. This VIP sensory event marks the launch of our collaboration with Scott at the LA Group.

A fusion of all the senses combining food and drink with music and colour in Glasgow at the hub of sensory awareness. This is a totally luxurious opportunity to focus on your sense of smell and the importance of smell to Flavour profiles in your everyday life.

For more details please visit:

Master Class Dates

Whisky Master Class London Art House

Whisky Master Class London Art House

We are delighted to announce the dates for our next set of Master Classes on the 2nd and 3rd of May 2012 in London which will be led by our Director of Science & Technology – Dr George Dodd.

These events are a rare opportunity to have direct access to George in a small group which allow for significant interaction in an informal setting – and they are a lot of fun!

We are returning to the London Art House which has proven to be a very successful venue for the Master Classes held in London in the past.

Wednesday, the 2nd of May will feature the Whisky Aroma Master Class whilst the class on Thursday the 3rd of May will feature the Gin Aroma Master Class.

The Agenda for each day follows a similar structure with a common introduction regarding the key source of flavour – the sense of smell, some key learning points regarding training your sense of smell (including some “insider tips”) and recommendations regarding “nosing” and “tasting” – find out how we do it!

The days then diverge significantly with an exploration of the key aromas behind the diverse flavours of different whisky and gin types, an exploration of the source of the flavours – and, of course, some sampling!

There are a few places still available – but we deliberately limit the numbers for these Master Classes with George so please Book Online soon if you would like to participate!

We look forward to seeing some of you there – and helping you on your journey to expertise!

Illustrative whiskies – phenols (Public)

The Phenol family is fundamental in the world of whisky aromas – it being manifested to a greater or lesser extent by the presence, or absence, of the heavily scented peaty-medicinal-smoky phenols which we will meet in future aroma blogs. We can begin to differentiate the hundreds of whiskies with respect to the level of phenol present. My choice of three below, may be controversial, for an element of controversy is going to ‘dog’ us at every stage in the future as we deal with the phenols and their odours.

We really need to sort-out new aroma molecules as standards for the domain which encompasses – phenolic/peaty/smoky/medicinal – so that we can all agree exactly on what we mean by these terms. We have created the Whisky Aroma Kits to be your key starting point for aroma standards for these aroma terms. In the whiskies described below, your nose might very well decide that any of these descriptors (peaty/smoky/medicinal) might be more apposite than phenolic. Collectively, with a good vocabulary and aroma standards, we can begin to sort-out these magical aroma nuances.

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Illustrative whiskies – phenols (Members only)

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Introduction to Phenols (Public)

The family of aroma molecules called “phenols” (from which the adjective phenolic comes) are the distinctive – and almost defining – aroma molecules in many whiskies.

The phenol category also represents a key “raison d’être” for the Aroma Academy Whisky Aroma Kits. Many whisky enthusiasts read tasting notes for Whiskies, particularly examples such as Islay – and other island -Single Malt Scotch Whiskies, and they often encounter the term “phenolic.” At the Aroma Academy, we are often asked, “What does a typical phenolic aroma actually smell like?” Well, fortunately, all the Whisky Aroma Kits contain an example of a typical Phenolic Aroma. Register this aroma in your “smell brain” and you will be able to isolate the phenolic aroma amongst the myriad of wonderful aromas in a complex whisky. Future blogs will explore the complete Phenolic family in some detail and phenols will also feature in our planned selection of additional aromas.

Our Director of Science and Technology, Dr George Dodd provides the following scientific overview of the difference between phenols and alcohols …… “It is easy to get a grasp of the fundamentals of all phenol molecules. A hexagonal ring of 6 carbon atoms with all of the carbon atoms lying in the same plane…

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Introduction to Phenols (Members only)

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Whisky Aromacules? (Public)



Whisky AromaculesTM

Consider the sublime moment of anticipation; that quiet moment as you contemplate your whisky glass and muse about the millions upon millions of invisible whisky aromaculesTM which are surging-up the glass, ready to entertain your nose as only whisky aromacules can!

This is an electronic image of the whisky aromacule called diacetyl. It has the distinctive scent of warm butter on the air. Too high a level will spoil a fine whisky (or a beer)

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Whisky Aromacules? (Members only)

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Sociology of Spirits (Public)


  1. It is an international distress signal which was important in the times of Morse code because it was quick and simple to execute (…—…).  Strictly speaking it does not stand for any form of words but was sometimes associated with either ‘save our ships’ or ‘save our souls’.
  2. It is an abbreviation for ‘sense of smell’.
  3. I use it here as an abbreviation for ‘sociology of spirits’.

I have never seen SOS in the form of ‘sociology of spirits’ before – so it is possible that this is a novel academic field. Full version of Blog 2 is only available to Members