Whisky by Flavour - Mouthfeel - Oily
The mouthfeel of a whisky is one of the first parts of the tasting process which we identify, our palate is secondary, to our nose, in the strength of connection to our brains for identifying aromas and flavours. The taste receptors (taste buds) link to the olfactory senses in our brain to identify flavours we have encountered before, and this is where mouthfeel comes into play, there are some differences in textures created in the whisky which give different impressions while in our mouths, however, these also react with the esters, distillation process and alcohol to water ratio. Each of these creates combinations between textures and flavours. Therefore, mouthfeel can be classed as a flavour because it enhances and develops flavours from other aspects of production whilst creating impressions in the olfactory senses in our brains.
An oily mouthfeel in a whisky can come from two key areas of production, the mouthfeel from the finished whisky provides a thick yet soft and light texture rather than the thick and chewy coating from a dense mouthfeel. The first stages of developing an oily whisky are during the fermentation and creation of esters which form in three chains (short, medium and long), the long chain esters are where the oily, silky texture is formed. However, esters especially long chain ones can be lost during the distillation process, and this is especially true of Column Stills (Continuous – used for Grain Whisky production). A pot still on the other hand can maintain and help develop these oily silky textures in the new make whisky. The second key area is the maturation influence, oak casks have lactones which create their own chemical reactions in a maturing whisky, and these can develop the oily texture seen in the bottled whisky. It’s key to remember that the oily texture is a development of flavours your palate will recognise so you may see tasting notes combining the two.
Enjoyed this flavour? The following whiskies all share this flavour profile.....