Monday, January 9, 2012

IgNoble Prize Candidate

This paper from the Journal of the Institute for Brewing deserves consideration, IMHO. This is the kind of research I can relate to. (Warning: Science Geekery below)

Sensory and Chemical Analysis of ‘Shackleton’s’ Mackinlay Scotch Whisky

Three cases of Mackinlay’s Rare Highland Malt whisky were excavated from the ice under Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1907 expedition base camp hut at Cape Royds in Antarctica in January 2010. The majority of the bottles were in a pristine state of preservation and three were returned to Scotland in January 2011 for the first sensory and organoleptic analysis of a Scotch malt whisky distilled in the late 1890s. Sensory analysis and the higher alcohol and maturation congener profiles describe a lightly peated malt whisky matured in American white oak sherry or wine casks. Analysis of process related compounds together with combined gas chromatography (GC) mass spectrometry and GC-olfactometry analysis of fermentation related congeners show a distinctly ‘modern’ style of malt whisky. While Scotch malt whisky at the end of the 19th century was generally regarded as heavily peated and harsh in character,Charles Mackinlay & Co. Distillers were producing a malt whisky with an altogether more subtle character at their Glen Mhor distillery near Inverness. The sensory and chemical analysis of this unique whisky artefact significantly changes our understanding of the quality and character of Scotch malt whisky produced by our distilling forefathers.

For the entire paper, go here.


Old NFO said...

So what did it taste like??? Geez... get to the IMPORTANT stuff! :-)

Peripatetic Engineer said...

If you read the paper and wade through all their testing, they conclude that some pretty good stuff was made back then. It was not nearly as harsh or peaty as expected. The blender at the distillery was able to duplicate the taste from modern spirits.