Does The Nose Know For Sure? (Episode 643: May 28, 2017)

A lab flask full of whisky. Photo ©2017, Mark Gillespie/CaskStrength Media.You may be able to tell different styles of whiskies apart by nosing them – when you know what you’re nosing to begin with. When it comes to telling Bourbons and Rye whiskies apart in a blind nosing session, Dr. Jacob Lahne says your nose is more likely to focus on factors other than the mashbill, though. We’ll discuss sensory science and whisky with the Drexel University food scientist on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Brown-Forman has given Constellation Brands the brush-off, while distillers and farmers in Scotland are watching the skies and hoping for more rain soon. There’s plenty of rain in the forecast for Islay during this week’s Islay Festival of Malt & Music. We’ll have details on most of this year’s Feis Ile whiskies and an update on construction at Ardnahoe, the island’s newest distillery.

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Links: Drexel University | Journal of Food Science | Brown-Forman | Constellation Brands | The Courier | Ardahoe Distillery | Bruichladdich | Laphroaig | Lagavulin | Caol Ila | Kilchoman | Bunnahabhain | Bowmore | Ardbeg | Glen Scotia | J.P. Wiser’s | Milk & Honey Distillery | Woodford Reserve | A. Smith Bowman | Jim Beam | Rabbit Hole Distilling | Orphan Barrel | Elijah Craig 

Mark Gillespie

I'm the host and executive producer of WhiskyCast.

Comments 2

  • Tom_JohnsonJune 28, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    I train people to smell fine wines and spirits. This episode contains one of the best discussions of the sense of smell I’ve ever heard. The one thing I would add to it is more an emphasis than omission: the importance of personal associations.

    People are seldom exposed to aromas in pure form. They often smell caramel, for example, at the same time they smell chocolate. Those aromas become tangled in their memories. That doesn’t invalidate their perception, it just means their articulation of the aroma of a drink is going to be imprecise.

    Formal aroma training like Dr. Lahne conducted in his experiments can teach people how to pull those hairballs of aroma apart so the person can identify particular elements that can be meaningfully communicated. That’s incredibly valuable to both professionals and enthusiasts.

    Great show. Thanks.

    • Mark GillespieJune 29, 2017 at 1:02 pm

      Thanks, Tom…glad you enjoyed it! Dr. Lahne and his colleagues have some very interesting research going on now that we’re looking forward to reporting on as they publish their findings.

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