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P. 15-19 /

Profiling scotch malt whisky spirits using HERACLES electronic nose and an expert sensory panel

*Corresponding author
1. Alpha MOS, 20 avenue Didier Daurat, Toulouse, 31400, France
2. Scotch Whiskey Research Institute (SWRI) Riccarton, Edinburgh, EH14 4AP, Ireland


Spirits from different Scotch malt whisky distilleries exhibit distinct sensory characteristics. Spirits from six distilleries were profiled using an electronic nose and an expert sensory panel. The e-nose produced compositional data that could clearly discriminate between the spirits according to distillery of origin. This discrimination was based on levels of a range of volatile compounds that could potentially influence flavour. The sensory panel provided quantitative data on the levels of sixteen aroma attributes in the spirits. This showed clear differences in flavour among the distilleries. Although the separation obtained using the two approaches was not directly comparable, correlations were observed between peaks in the e-nose chromatograms and certain aroma attributes, indicating that the two techniques are complementary.


The aroma profile of food products can be analyzed by GC/MS that allows to identify the chemical compounds after separation or by a human sensory panel that assess the products based on several sensory attributes.
Another technique consists of using a gas chromatography based Electronic Nose, which can both perform a chemical composition analysis and a global odour analysis of products, as the human nose. Therefore it can deliver both chemical and sensory information.
For many food products, and in particular for alcoholic drinks, it is important to reliably assess and monitor sensory features since they play a crucial role in consumers’ acceptance and thus in product success on the market.
Electronic noses have already been used to analyze the volatile profile of alcoholic beverages (1) and spirits such as beer (2) or wine (3, 4).
For example, spirits exhibit distinct sensory characteristics according to its origin, the raw materials employed, the process applied for its production. To ensure the future diversity of this spirit category and sustainability of individual distilleries, it is vit ...

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