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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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