Johnnie Walker opens eight-storey visitor centre in Edinburgh

Diageo has recently opened its Johnnie Walker visitor centre on Princes Street in the centre of Edinburgh. The eight-floor experience has been four years in the making and is the centrepiece of Diageo’s £185million investment in scotch whisky tourism in Scotland.

“This is a proud day for everyone,” said Diageo chief executive Ivan Menezes. “Johnnie Walker Princes Street is a landmark investment in scotch whisky and into Scotland and it sets a new standard for immersive visitor attractions.”

The visitor centre has taken on more than 150 employees speaking 23 languages and guests on the Journey of Flavour tour will have their personal flavour preferences mapped with drinks tailored to their palate.

The Johnnie Walker Visitor Centre has two rooftop bars and a terrace with views of the Edinburgh skyline and its Learning for Life academy will also host a hospitality training programme.

The centre will open its doors to the public September 6th. Tickets for tours start from £25 per person, including a 90-minute tour and three personalized scotch whisky samples.

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A Scientific Journal Proves Terroir’s Influence on Whisky  

A recent scientific study conducted by Foods, a scientific journal of food science has provided “conclusive proof” of terroir’s influence on whisky. The researchers say that this paves the way for an “Appellation Controlée System” of provenance similar to that used for wine.

The whisky industry has long been debating the influence of terroir on whisky, with some claiming that any effect would not ‘survive’ the distillation process. However, the authors of this academic paper say they have found proof of terroir’s existence in whisky.

The paper, entitled ‘The Impact of Terroir on the Flavour of Single Malt Whisk(e)y New Make Spirit’, was published February 18th, 2021 by the Whisky Terroir Project, a joint venture between Waterford Distillery in Ireland, Oregon State University, Teagasc Food Research Centre, Enterprise Ireland, Minch Malt and the Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The study explores the differences found in spirits made from two barley varieties: Olympus and Laureate, which are grown on two farms in different environments in 2017 and 2018. One sample was grown in Athy in County Kildare, while another was cultivated in Bunclody, County Wexford.

Each sample was micro-malted and distilled under laboratory conditions to produce 32 whisky distillate samples. These samples were then tested using gas chromatography–mass spectrometry–olfactometry (GC/MS-O) technology as well as by a panel of sensory experts.

The tests isolated over 42 different flavour compounds, half of which researchers said were “directly influenced by the barley’s terroir”.

Eight of these compounds – (E)-2-nonenal, β-damascenone, 3-methyl-1-butanol, furfural, ethyl hexanoate and 1 unidentified compound (unknown 10 with a herbal/grass character) – were deemed the most influential, with a further 15 having an impact on the aroma, but to a lesser extent.

Barley grown in the sheltered inland Athy site had higher pH levels and increased calcium, magnesium and molybdenum in its limestone-based soil. Temperatures were higher and more consistent than the more exposed Bunclody site, with lower rainfall. The new make spirit produced from barley grown in Athy had flavours of toasted almond, with a malty, biscuity and oily finish.

Bunclody’s barley, which was grown on shale-based soil with increased amounts of iron, copper and manganese, produced a spirit that was lighter and more floral with fresh fruit flavours. The site was closer to the coast and experienced more changeable weather conditions.

Dr. Dustin Herb, the lead researcher, and post-doctoral research at Oregon State University, states: “This interdisciplinary study investigated the basis of terroir by examining the genetic, physiological, and metabolic mechanisms of barley contributing to whisky flavour. Using standardised malting and distillation protocols, we preserved distinct flavours associated with the testing environments and observed year-to-year variations, indicating that terroir is a significant contributor to whisky flavour.”

“Critics claimed any terroir effect would be destroyed by the whisky-making process, saying there is no scientific evidence to prove that terroir even exists. Well, there is now.”

The paper concluded: “This study has clearly demonstrated variations in the contribution of the aroma active volatiles and sensory attributes in these new make spirits and reflects changes in barley growth in relation to environmental elements including soil nutrients and prevailing seasonal weather patterns, and therefore reveals a “terroir” effect.

“This has not been previously determined and creates the possibility of producing whisk(e)y from different “vintage” with new make spirit that encompass the factors impacting on the growth of the barley variety as well as the subsequent processing parameters.

“Further research is required to better understand the specific environmental impact on barley growth and the management and processing thereof with respect to the genetic, physiological, and metabolic mechanisms contributing to the terroir expression of new make spirit and whisk(e)y.”

Source:  Foods, www.mdpi.com

Glenmorangie releases a single malt designed to be paired with cake

Glenmorangie is celebrating the joy of a ‘cake moment’ with its latest release. The sweet and indulgent single malt, Glenmorangie A Tale of Cake is inspired by memories of baking, birthdays and more, with flavours of honey, vanilla and the fruit notes.  The idea for the spirit began with Dr Bill Lumsden, Glenmorangie’s director of whisky creation, thinking back on how some of his happiest memories involved cake. He experimented by finishing Glenmorangie in wine casks from the Tokaji region of Hungary, which lent their sweet honeyed notes to the smooth and fruity whisky.

Dr Bill said: “Like so many of us, some of my favourite memories come from cake, whether it be helping my granny in her kitchen, or the pineapple birthday cake my daughter surprised me with one year. By finishing whisky in Tokaji wine casks, I’ve captured the joy of those indulgent cake moments in Glenmorangie A Tale of Cake. The liquid is a rich copper, but the taste is pure technicolour – luscious, sweet and complex with multi-layered bursts of honey, white chocolate and fruits with a hint of mint.”

The whisky is finished in Tokaj wine casks, which is intended to help it develop flavours of honey, white chocolate and fruit. Glenmorangie has partnered with famed baker Dominique Ansel and bartender Jeremy Le Blanche to create a cocktail and cake pairing to mark the Scotch’s launch.

The cocktails will be made with a range of Glenmorangie whiskies including  The Original, The Lasanta and The Quinta Ruban.

The ‘CakeTail’ pairings will be available at Ansel’s bakery in New York, but the pair will also create recipes that whisky fans can make at home, which will be shared on Glenmorangie’s social channels.

Glenmorangie website: https://www.glenmorangie.com/en-gb

 

Yoshino Spirits Co. launches the first whisky aged in Japanese cherry tree wood

Yoshino Spirits Co. has launched the “World’s First Sakura & Yoshino Sugi Cask Finish Whisky Brand” under Kamiki Whisky portfolio. “Kamiki Sakura Cask Finish” is a Japanese whisky finished in sakura wood, which is commonly known as Japanese cherry tree wood.

The whisky, which will be launched first in the UK, then globally.

Yoshino Spirits Co. Yoshino is a private company based in Osaka, exporting finest Japanese whisky, wine and spirits to the world.

For more information details visit: www.yoshinospirits.com