Hey, first post, but been lurking. Setting up a distillery in Louisiana. I've learned a lot from this forum. I'm following this thread with a lot of interest. My background is in microbiology, I'm currently an MD. Please allow a tangent for a second to serve as an analogy. Breast milk is a complex consortium of enzymes, chemicals, and a microbial biome. The best analogy I've heard for breast milk is that it is a symphony and each of those enzymes and chemicals are playing a part in the symphony. Formula companies can add things, albeit gluco-oligosacharides, fructo-oligosacharides, lactoferrin, etc, but they are just adding noise or instruments and the outcome is a product inferior to breast milk. The cello line from the 1812 overture doesn't make sense unless you have the rest of the instruments. But neither do the rest of the instruments without the cello line. My fear of stressing individual chemical esters or pure isolates of specific bacteria is that you end up creating noise instead of a symphony. And I think of a fine wine or a great spirits as a symphony. The microbial ecology of a dunder pit is fascinating. Each of those individual species in the pit is playing a part. Each of the esters in rum may need a different compound to make it mature "appropriately." Species x in the dunder pit may rely on species Y to create the precursor compounds that species x metabolizes into what you desire. To tie it back into the wine talk, I think terroir, especially when we talk about it in context of distilled spirits, may have a lot to do with the individual microbial biome of y'alls (and hopefully soon my) distilleries. Many of the bacteria in any biome are un-culturable by traditional culture techniques as PCR has demonstrated. Keep up the talk, its fascinating and I am learning a lot!