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  1. #1
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Toronto, Canada

    A Tour De Force Article Scientifically Analyzing Circa-1900 Mackinlay Scotch Whisky

    As many here will recall, some years ago, researchers in the Antarctic discovered cases of Scotch whisky that explorer Ernest Shackelton had left in a cabin and which were preserved for about a century by the extreme cold.

    Some of the bottles were brought back to Scotland and given sophisticated modern gas chromatographic and other analysis.

    This is the article, published in 2011 in the U.K.'s Institute of Brewing's Journal, reporting the results:


    Recently, most of the Journal's back issues were placed online for free consultation by researchers in brewing science and other interested parties. While mainly devoted to beer, the Journal has always published a number of articles on aspects of distilling.

    The article is quite readable despite the formidable science and contains a good conclusion using laymen's terms.

    Basically, the whisky was found to be - including by "sensory analysis" (i.e., tasting) - modern in style, closely resembling a current, moderately aged, lightly-peated single malt. The one area that seemed different was the greater amount of "feints" in the whisky: the article explains that the cut-off point (the cut) is somewhat different today so that a feinty note is not typically found in modern scotch whisky (a so-called "off" taste that nonetheless did not dominate the flavour, the taste is described as woody, spicy, winy/sweet, lightly smoky, i.e., very similar to a light malt of today. The article specifically notes that the whisky exhibited no flavours not found in modern whiskies). The science is so good that the likely source of the peat was ID'd: Orkney.

    The ABV was about 47%, higher than the standard bottling strength today. The high strength was felt to preserve the whisky, which was clear, from chill haze, since at the time it was bottled, chill filtration did not exist.

    These scientists and the successor company to Mackinlay deserve a round of thanks from whisky fans everywhere for this commanding and smartly written article which has both technical and considerable historical value.

    Last edited by Gillman; 06-01-2013 at 18:52.



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