Felipe’s Whisky Flavour Compounds: Esters
Welcome to a new series on whisky flavour compounds, starting with Esters – those little molecules produced during the whisky-making process that give our favourite spirit many of the flavours we love. Who could make a science-y topic like this fun? Step forward our friend Felipe Schrieberg!
Flavour Compounds in your Whisky (Part 1): Esters
It’s time to get geeky with our whisky, so over the course of this miniseries I’ll be breaking down the compounds in our drams that provide all the lovely aromas and flavours we catch with our noses and tastebuds.
First up, Esters!
Mixing alcohols and phenolic or carboxylic acids together results in the creation of thousands of possible esters, which provide unique aromas and flavours in your whisky. Esters are the reason you might smell and taste vanilla or pineapples in your glass – despite knowing that such ingredients weren’t added in. Fruity, creamy, and buttery notes in your glass are all indicators of esters at work, and they pop up during most parts of the whisky-making process.
Depending on the type of acids and alcohols that are combined, esters can be classified into short, medium, and long chain (classification depends on how many linking parts they have!). Ninety per cent of the esters that are present in whisky emerge during fermentation, though many that are created will eventually be removed later in the process…