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Monthly Archives: November 2011

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…

Full version of This Blog is only available to Members

Introduction to Phenols (Members only)

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