Relationship between distilling location and flavor


Hello --
I'm wondering, how much does the distilling location of a whisky have to do with it's flavor? For instance, the Islay whiskies are peaty-tasting. But isn't this just because the malt is roasted over peat? Could Glenlivet taste the sort of same way if it was roasted over peat? It seems like the peat flavor is added like hops are added to beer; it's not a result of where the distillery is located. Similarly, a distillery's choice of barrels partly determines the flavor. So if all distilleries used exactly the same process to make their whiskies, would their whiskies end up tasting the same? Or do the different physical locations play a key role? I'm pretty new to single-malt whisky, and I find this stuff fascinating.
Thanks in advance -- Bill.
Reply to
Bill

It is said that the actual physcial shape of the stills plays some part in the final flavour.
It is also said that the climatic conditions in the warehouse during the 3 - 9 - 10 - 12 - 16 etc years of maturing also plays a substantial part, or might play a substantial part IF the casks were matured at the distillery rather than (in some caes) being centralised at large complexes in or about Glasgow.
After Diageo's bloody nose over Cardhu single malt / pure malt we next want to look to read, on the back label, or box, "distilled, aged for xx years, and bottled at " - pnce we get that we'll be sure that what we taste is the real thing.
I have a sad suspicion that the relentless requirement for capital value increase (rather than simply a healthy income) enforced subsequent to various mendacious class action law suits in the US has driven companies like Diageo to economies after economies which cannot help individuality of flavour and quality!
Richard
Reply to
Richard Spencer

And water too. The water of the river Spey and it's tributaries is brown--from flowing through peat! Here are some quotes from David Daiches' classic "Scotch Whisky: Its Past and Present":
"...we do know that the quality of the barley ... the composition of the peat, and the quality of the water each has something to do with the quality of the finished whisky ... Some have claimed that the best whisky is made from water which comes 'off granite through peat' and others that water 'off peat through granite' produces the better whisky. There is certainly a difference between the two."
"The shape and the size of the pot still affect the quality of the whisky produced. I have heard a stillman maintain that the higher the still the better, as the fewer impurities emerge in the distillate, and certainly the form of the top does influence the nature of the finished whisky. Malt-whisky distillers are conservative in many things, indlucing the shape and size of the still: a new one is likely to be an exact replica of the old. Chemists have never been able to discover precisely what determines the special character of the product of each distillery or exactly why it is that maturing effects such an improvement in flavor. As a result, brewers and stillmen tend to have their own special mystique ... Bruce Lockhart has remarked that 'some brewers are so fearful of any change affecting their product that they will not allow evena cobweb to be swept away from the vat room'."
Reply to
Douglas W. Hoyt

I agree with all that has been said on this subject so far but thought I'd mention that the proximity to the sea also affects the product. One only has to taste Islay Whisky to realize that the sea was very close to where these gems are aged.
Regards, Fraser
Reply to
Frederick Fraser

"Frederick Fraser" skrev i melding news:JPOZf.4318$ snipped-for-privacy@news20.bellglobal.com...
Don't forget that the local peat most likely has accumulated sea spray for millenia. The local water is affected too, of course. That'd be the source of your Islay iodine and brine. :-) Anders
Reply to
Anders Tørneskog

"Frederick Fraser" skrev i melding news:cI8_f.116$ snipped-for-privacy@news20.bellglobal.com...
The only problem is that most of the Lagavulin is actually aged on the mainland. But then again, maybe it would have been even better if they started ageing it at home?
Gunnar
Reply to
Gunnar Thormodsaeter

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