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TzuZen    0

I'm not from Hawai'i. I actually live in Memphis, TN and I work as a certified flavor chemist specializing in savory flavors. 

So what am I doing here? I'm curious about the world of distilling spirits and the aging process of spirits in barrels. What kind of aging conditions, barrel type, barrel size, etc affect the final spirit that winds up in the bottle. Does volatile compound testing get done on aged spirits to aim at an optimal blend or is it done by evaluating the individual aged spirit and blended by testing? 

I need to dig some more into the forums. I'm an information junkie and really enjoy the digging into a subject.

I grew up in Wisconsin and I rather dig brandy and cognac. Imagine that. I appreciate spirits more as I'm getting older. The glass matters. 

I currently commute during the week to my bread n butter gig. I enjoy delving into subjects and I'm enjoying my foray so far into this world of spirits. 

All the best,

Susan

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TzuZen - I love your choice of a handle on this forum. Quite original.

I am replying not so much because I can help in your search, but because you might be able to help with another quest.

If you go to the "General Discussion" forum, you will find a discussion regarding the use and "Disposal of Fusel Oil" from distilling brandy, etc. I spent some time in the flavor industry and worked with fusel oil in trying to recover some flavor components from that. I thought that since you are a certified flavor chemist, you might be able to suggest some flavor houses/manufacturers who would be interested in purchasing fusel oil for use in creating unique flavors. I suspect that since small craft distillers use some unique blends of ingredients in their brews, that the composition of their fusel oil would also be unique.

From my limited knowledge of the brewing/distilling business - most people use oak casks that have been "fired" on the inside to produce the smoky/burnt notes. Aging varies from a few months to several years at room temperature depending on the degree of flavor development the brewer wants and how long they can wait before seeing revenue from the sale of the beverage. I  believe that the vast majority of testing and blending the spirits is through mixing and tasting the blend. As you will well know, the human palate is much more sensitive than all but the finest GC/LC machines for determining what is pleasing. I suspect that knowledgeable "flavorists" can taste the individual spirits and get a good idea of who to blend them together for the desired effect.

Welcome to this exciting world.

Ross Topliff

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On 2/15/2017 at 8:00 PM, TzuZen said:

I'm not from Hawai'i. I actually live in Memphis, TN and I work as a certified flavor chemist specializing in savory flavors. 

So what am I doing here? I'm curious about the world of distilling spirits and the aging process of spirits in barrels. What kind of aging conditions, barrel type, barrel size, etc affect the final spirit that winds up in the bottle. Does volatile compound testing get done on aged spirits to aim at an optimal blend or is it done by evaluating the individual aged spirit and blended by testing? 

If you mean mass spectrometry or gas chromatography, that's usually priced well above what small distilleries can afford, but I'd dearly love to compare lab results against palate determinations. I can get a rough idea of what I'm tasting from just knowing vapor pressures, probable original concentrations, and substrate and fermentation chemistry, but that's a pretty rough guess.

I need to dig some more into the forums. I'm an information junkie and really enjoy the digging into a subject.

I grew up in Wisconsin and I rather dig brandy and cognac. Imagine that. I appreciate spirits more as I'm getting older. The glass matters. 

I've had great luck with brandies and grappas, and I'm striking some deals with local wineries to expand our product line in that direction.

I currently commute during the week to my bread n butter gig. I enjoy delving into subjects and I'm enjoying my foray so far into this world of spirits. 

All the best,

Susan

 

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