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Whisky words: olfactory

Whisky words: olfactory

Olfactory can be defined simply as of or relating to the sense of smell.

Olfacation is the ability to pick up and discriminate between different odours and it is the most ancient of our distal senses being the first one in evolutionary history to develop.

It is vital to our everyday life in giving us pleasure (we might like to stop and smell the roses), or for safety information (has the milk gone sour)? 

It is a sense, often imagined in humans as being poor and unable to discriminate between odours to any great extent but this is not the case. Some of the compounds responsible for cork taint in wine and spirits (e.g. 2,4,6-trichloroanisole), for example, we can detect down to parts per trillion, which is why this contaminant is so serious a problem for spirit manufacturers.

Many different chemical compounds make up the flavour of a whisky and the sense of smell can be trained to discriminate between them or integrate them together to give the various taste attributes of a whisky.

Slàinte 🥃

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