Whisky words: amino acids
Amino acids are the organic compounds broken down from protein that react with sugars to produce colour and flavour in malt.
Chemical changes occur inside the grain throughout the malting process, with a number of reactions having taken place due to the presence of prolonged heat. During kilning, flavour and colour can be developed via Maillard reactions (formed from amino acids and sugars in the presence of heat).
Flavour compounds are also generated during the fermentation process, fatty acids are formed during biochemical reactions between sugars and amino acids within the yeast cells. These compounds generate fruity aromas and can alter the mouth feel of the final whisky.