Sunday, March 13, 2011

A medical view on maturation of whisky

A fresh medical view on the maturation issue and a shameless rip-off from The Lancet.  Just in case someone does not know The Lancet, it is a highly respected English medical journal, established in 1823 and still one of the big three among the medical journals. Below are two articles first published on 11.1.1902 and 19.3.1904 discussing the definition and consumption of whisky.

Some interesting points are made concerning for example malt and grain whiskies
"There is a marked difference between the physiological action of spirits derived from different sources...The potentialities of these substances for good or evil depend upon the materials from which the spirit is produced."
and the quality of blended whiskies
"...age is essential in order to reduce spirits to state fit for consumption...Even genuine malt whisky must be matured, whereas grain spirit...featureless as regards flavour...age can have no advantegeous change [on grain spirit]."
and wine finishes
"Grain whisky... either has to be flavoured by adding a small proportion of full-flavoured malt whisky, or...storing it in sherry casks in which malt whisky has been ripened"
and the disappearing age-statements
"It seems to us that it avails nothing to the consumer to be sure of getting all-malt spirit when he asks for it if he cannot at the same time receive some guarantee also as to its age."
and the rise of NAS-whiskies
"The whole object of the Bill would be destroyed were possible to supply true malt whisky so immature as to be injurious to health."
and the decline of properly aged quality single malts
"The detractors of all-malt whisky might be expected for their own purposes to supply...pure malt whisky...which though genuine could lay no claim to...age."
All this a bit over hundred years ago. Tradition?

Lancet 1902;159;4089;109
Lancet 1904;163;4203;816-817

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