Whisky by Flavour - Wood - Vanilla
Unlike other spirits whisky and especially Scotch whisky has specific legal requirements for its maturation process before it can legally be sold as whisky. Since regulation came in 1915 Scotch whisky has been required to mature for a minimum of 3 years, this maturation is done in oak casks.
Whisky maturation typically used two origins of oak to make its casks European oak and American oak. Vanilla is a flavour which is from vanillin an aldehyde created by the combination of wood, alcohol and oxygen. This is a common attribute of American White Oak (far more than in European Oak) and the whisky extracts the vanilla flavour during the maturation process. Typically, you will find that Ex-Bourbon casks or Virgin Oak casks provide the strongest notes of vanilla, this is due to the charring process applied to these casks, when the charring happens it creates a layer of charcoal which filters sulphuric aromas out of the whisky and the interaction with the oak which has cracked in the fire creates plenty of flavour transfer to the final whisky.
Enjoyed this flavour? The following whiskies all share this flavour profile.....