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  1. #1
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    What accounts for the licorice taste in some bourbons?

    On the" what are you drinking today" thread a mention was made of licorice as one of the flavors detected in that days pour. I happened to be in the midst of exploring WT 101 and RB, when I read that it got me wondering which brands this is most prominent in and what might be the source of it. I replied about my WT impressions but it occurred to me that this might be better served in its own thread.

    Here is the text copied from the other thread:Opened my first bottle of EW1783. My newbie palate tastes licorice?
    First time I detected licorice was FRSB, I had to have pours on different nights to confirm what I thought I was tasting, but that was it and I like that about the SB. I have recently (today) A/B'd WT101 and WT RB for the second time, both of which I really like as they are different but similar, one of the common denominators is that licorice taste. To be clear I am talking black licorice which I loved as a kid so its really cool how certain bourbons are bringing back childhood memories, who woulda thought? The licorice I get in WT is more prominent than the hint I get in FR so I would say yes that's what you are tasting.

    My question now is why? Is this the yeast? Does WT use a yeast that gives off a licorice taste and is FR using something similar in one of their 10 recipes that results in a similar flavor? I have only tasted what you describe in the three I mentioned and not in anything else, I am nowhere close to having an encyclopedic tasting history but its broad enough that I wonder about the yeast.


  2. #2
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    Re: What accounts for the licorice taste in some bourbons?

    I get it quite a bit in some of the better Beam products, too. Also in single malt scotches, on occasion.
    Life's too short, and there's too much good whiskey within reach.

  3. #3
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    Re: What accounts for the licorice taste in some bourbons?

    Howdy!

    It comes from the chemical compound anethole and my best guess would be that it develops as a cause of the aging process. It is also quite prevalent in a number of Canadian whiskeys. If there are any chemists hanging out here they can do a far better job at explaining stuff than I can.

  4. #4
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    Re: What accounts for the licorice taste in some bourbons?

    Good first post Zeke, drop by our new to straightbourbon forum and introduce yourself.

  5. #5
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    Re: What accounts for the licorice taste in some bourbons?

    Quote Originally Posted by squire View Post
    Good first post Zeke, drop by our new to straightbourbon forum and introduce yourself.
    I'll second that for sure! What the heck is "anethole"? Is that a chemical name, or some other descriptive term.
    I've not heard of it. That is indeed a very nice first post. Have at it and let's all have some more fun!

  6. #6
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    Re: What accounts for the licorice taste in some bourbons?

    I'm with Zeke, I think its a wood thing. I find it in bourbons with older age and heavier char.
    "Sat down to my supper twas a bottle of red whiskey" -Dire Wolf

  7. #7
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    Re: What accounts for the licorice taste in some bourbons?

    Quote Originally Posted by Richnimrod View Post
    I'll second that for sure! What the heck is "anethole"? Is that a chemical name, or some other descriptive term.
    I've not heard of it. That is indeed a very nice first post. Have at it and let's all have some more fun!
    Yes, anethole is the chemical name.


    And +1 on good first post!
    Pete

    I hate scotch.

  8. #8
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    Re: What accounts for the licorice taste in some bourbons?

    I still think it's the gnomes.

  9. #9
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    Re: What accounts for the licorice taste in some bourbons?

    Howdy!

    Thanks to all for the props. But I gotta give it up to Wikipedia, it makes me sound far better than I really am. Beyond that, if anyone is wondering I'm stuck in the bourbon/Canadian whisky hell called Quebec. Where we can get about 42 sku's of American whiskey and around 40 of Canadian.

    Personally, I'd agree with squire and blame the licorice taste on the gnomes. But then again I've been drinking since 4...

    If anybody is interested in the variety of chemical reactions that happen when making bourbon I can supply some links. But as I said, I'm not a chemist, so it might not some out as clear as you like.

  10. #10
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    Re: What accounts for the licorice taste in some bourbons?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zeke View Post
    Howdy!

    It comes from the chemical compound anethole and my best guess would be that it develops as a cause of the aging process. It is also quite prevalent in a number of Canadian whiskeys. If there are any chemists hanging out here they can do a far better job at explaining stuff than I can.
    We lost Truman a very sad day
    Normal is an illusion. What is normal to the spider, is chaos for the fly.

 

 

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