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I was in Scotland one time at a B&B and ran into a government still inspector. He told me that the whole thing about how "the unique flavor of each single malt scotch is caused by the local peat and water" is marketing baloney. He said that what determines the taste is the fraction of organic and other materials that make it over into the distilled side, and that that is determined by the shape of the pipes.

He said there were craftsmen who, when a still needed to be rebuilt, specialized in putting back the same seams, rivets, bends, dents, etc. into the rebuilt still as were in the original, in order to maintain the taste of the product.

Maybe he was pulling my leg but I don't see what the peat in the fire has to do with the taste of the whiskey, unless there is a serious sanitation problem.

by asdf on Mon Jan 3rd, 2022 at 04:43:33 PM EST
I did a whisky tasting course and visited half a dozen Scottish distilleries as part of my preparation for producing Malts.com - Diageo's first e-commerce site - and the number of Distillery managers who could tell a whisky from a brandy in a blind tasting was amazing. I think their taste buds were burnt out.

Yes there is a lot of mystique about the "kink in the distilling retort" which apparently gives a single malt its distinct flavour, but only a true export could tell.

The main differences seem to be in how whiskies are aged - often in old sherry or port casks, and how much peat smoke is filtered through for the peaty effect. Whisky is actually a clear spirit with the colour coming from the cask ageing process.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jan 3rd, 2022 at 05:44:21 PM EST
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