What makes a whisky full bodied and rich?

  • James_H
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    Joined: 08.10.2014Posts: 24CollectionJames_Hs CollectionRatings: 3

    Hi everyone, this is my first post. I'm relatively new to whisky but very much enjoying getting to know the drink and experiencing as much variety as possible.

    My question is as above, what is it that makes a whisky full bodied (or not as it may be) and what makes a whisky rich (or light as it may be)? What production methods lead to these characteristics and how do you identify them when smelling/tasting a whisky.

    Thanks in advance.

    James

    P.s. My favourite single malts so far have been Ardbeg Uigeadail and Laproaig Quarter Cask.

  • Godslayer Member Godslayer Joined: 11.07.2014Posts: 56CollectionGodslayers CollectionRatings: 0
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    Many variables, normally color is from the cask, European sherry cask is the darkest commonly available, First fill casks will provide more color than second fill and american generally is lighter, american oak vs European oak. Macallan's new range shows this off as you can see how cask affects color. E150 can also be added, think the black grouse.

    Attached is a link with explanation of cask and its effect

    http://www.whisky.com/information/knowledge/production/background-knowledge/types-of-whisky-casks.html

  • horst_s Administrator horst_s Joined: 01.07.2014Posts: 507Ratings: 702
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    There are mainly two influences, which make whisky full and rich. First the distillery character. If you distill three times as Auchentoshan does, the ABV of the increases but the aroma compounds are left behind in the residue (aka Pot Ale) in the pot stills. The same is true when you distill very slowly. Then ethanol is separated from the fusel oils very well. They are aroma compounds too. Taller stills, reflux bowls, and rising lyne arms act as well.

    Doing the opposite will result in a full and rich single malt from the production side.

    Then you have to look at the maturation. If you mature in first fill casks you will get the maximum aroma out of the oak wood. If you use American oak, then the whisky will become full and soft. If you use European oak, then the matured whisky will be more spicy and intense.

    If you like peat smoke, then you should stay with younger whiskys, because longer maturation periods tend to weaken the smoke and turn it into more complex aromas.

    Thank you for asking. I will take a video soon about this theme.

    Kind regards, Horst Luening, Master Taster, Whisky.com
  • James_H
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    Joined: 08.10.2014Posts: 24CollectionJames_Hs CollectionRatings: 3
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    Thanks, that really helps. A video on the subject would be a great idea.

  • James_H
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    Joined: 08.10.2014Posts: 24CollectionJames_Hs CollectionRatings: 3
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    Thanks for the video. Very informative! I always wondered what the reflux bowls were for.

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