Leave it natural
I was wondering why scotch whisky is usually given artificial color???
Why not leave it in its natural state; (non-colored/non-chill-filtered)???
Why is it the exception, and not the rule? And why should we pay more
if it is in its natural state, than without?
I've drank single and blended malts for years and I've read Michael Jackson's books as well as those from Jim Murray and I don't think I've ever seen a mention about artificial coloring being added to a scotch so I'm more than a bit confused by your comments.:confused::confused:
Jojo - pls. chime in!
E150-a, caramel colouring.
It's added to practically every blended, and a lot of the popular single malts.
There's a huge debate as to whether it affects the taste, but it's most definitely a marketing tool. Most people think darker = better
ralfy can you tell more about it on youtube and slightly out of date large list of malts that have colouring can be found here
Yes some whisky has coloring agents (caramel) added to get a "cosmetic" effect. In Germany it is law so if a bottle is bottles **** there it is indicated on the label - see for example www.maltmadness.com for more details.
According to the experts it has not just a positive effect on the color but also on the taste....
It is my understanding that most whisky writers believe the added caramel (colouring agent) has a deleterious effect upon the taste of the spirit. This is probably one of those generalizations which like most is true sometimes but not others. It seems some blenders disagree. As indicated in the first post, most Scotch Whisky is coloured.
I want to make a distinction here which I think may be leading to confusion. Colouring agents are for the most part used in blends not single malts. As Blends comprise the vast majority of Scotch whisky ****, it is indeed true that most Scotch is coloured. A blender wants his product to look and taste consistent from batch to batch, and the addition of colour, and even small amounts of flavouring is sometimes used to achieve this consistency. Blends are for the most part far less expensive to make than Single malts, so the whiskey with the added colour is cheaper.
As distilleries continue to follow the trend of creating signature blends for their distilleries, even Signature Single Malt blends, I believe we will begin to see a trend where even the Single Malts begin to have colour and flavour added for consistency sake.
For my own writing I try very hard not to let distillers propaganda influence a review. I do not care if caramel is added, I do not care if a whisky is chill filtered or not. The only thing that matters is the enjoyment I receive from the glass of whisky. All the rest is irrelevant. If a nice rich colour improves the experience then the added colour was worth while, but if the cost of that improvement is an inferior taste.....
I think you can figure it out.
Yes and No...
I do agree that the enjoyment derived from the individual scotch is the most important. But my preference is to have the whisky in its natural state as much as possible. And, yes, there are single malts that have coloring added.
For example, compare most of the bottlings of Glenlivet, and then look at the "Nadurra"; there is a noticable difference. Better yet, look at the Compass Box bottlings....
Follow-up to post
Permit me two quote from the 2006 edition of Jim Murray's "Whisky Bible":
A.)Referring to Glenfiddich 15yr. 'Solera": "...Just wish they'd up the strength and make it unchillfiltered and noncoloured."
B.)Referring to the Antiquary 12yr. Blend: "...The caramel has been ditched and it's a delight! This is just how I see many blends before they are ruined in the bottling hall when colour is added."
However it is obvious that a lot of master blenders disagree....
I reviewed Glenfiddich on my website today (a remarkable coincidence), In my glass it is a fine example of what scotch malts should taste like.
I am going to go against Jim Murray here and side with the master blender. Based upon what I know about the blend and the time that some of it has spent in an Oregon Pine Cask, I am pretty sure that the blend had strong pine and oak tannins in the flavour profile. The Chill filtering removed a lot of the harshest flavours leaving the whiskey with a very smooth profile with complexity to match.
Taste is all just personal opinion mind you, and only your palate can make up your mind for you, but those people who have been blending Glenfiddich have helped the company sell a lot of whisky, whereas Jim Murray (of whom I have the utmost respect as the very best whisky writer in the business) doesn't sell whisky; he sells books.
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