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Do Distilleries Have Signature Aromas?

Bourbon Buffalo Trace

In the chemistry of whiskey, evidence in the search for whiskey terroir.

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Why Women Smell Better Than Men

Sniffing Tasting

All joking aside, women  (in general) have more acute senses of smell than men. The reason for that, according to aroma research published in Brazil, is the number of neurons found in the brain’s olfactory bulb. Wedged down between the top of the nasal cavities and the bottom of the frontal lobe, the olfactory bulb is a computer, of sorts. It processes raw data from the nose into information the rest of the brain can use. Women’s olfactory bulbs are bigger than men’s — significantly bigger, as it happens. Women have almost twice as many of the cells that sort and categorize smell...

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Adding Spice to Modern Gin: Cassia Bark

Cassia Gin

Few people know the aroma of Cassia Bark, an increasingly popular gin botanical. The cassia tree is an evergreen found in east Asia. There is a distinct overlap in the aroma profiles of the oils from cassia and cinnamon. When you smell it, the ravishing, hot, spicy, and distinguishable “cinnamon-like, but heavier” aroma is very evident. This is the archetypal hot, spicy smell. It conjures feelings of being in markets in far-off Asia or Africa. The major molecule with the characteristic cassia aroma is cinnamic aldehyde. It’s a powerful odorant that makes up between 70% and 90% of cassia oils — a greater...

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How Much Water to Add to Whiskey

Bourbon Tasting

It’s a long-running argument: what’s the perfect amount of water to mix with Bourbon to bring out the nose? So there we were, a group assembled to sample the new, Bulleit Barrel Strength, and figure out how much added water produced an optimal tasting experience. Around the table a small group waited – hosted by Old Limestone Mixing Water, which bottles mineral-heavy, incredibly pure water from beneath the Bluegrass specifically for cutting Bourbon. In a line across the table, randomly arranged glasses — each containing an ounce-and-a-half of 119-proof whiskey mixed with from one drop to 1.5 ounces of water. As...

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95% of What You Taste is Really Smell

At the heart of Aroma Academy's training is a set of distinct aromas that combine to create the "tasting" experience. The aromas contained in each kit stretch across the stylistic breadth of the kit's category -- whisky, gin, etc. The training method is to build flavors up rather than breaking them down. Picking individual aromas out of a complex spirit is difficult. Instead, Aroma Academy breaks that complicated nose down into individual elements, introducing them one-by-one. It's like meeting new people; once you get to know them, it's easier to pick them out of a crowd. We've done this with Scotch...

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