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tested gins (but the percentage of each not presented there — see Reference 11 for that data and just a few pointers below). While there is a cross-play in several components arising from juniper and coriander and, as present in gins, it will be noted that there are differences in the overall spectrum of components derived from these two botanicals. Compare the relative amounts and the order of prevalence of the components between the juniper and the coriander columns and then the spectrum of chemical compounds appearing in gin. Many other gin botanicals convey the same flavors, as their oils hold similar terpenic species. The main flavor profiles of most gins, though, will originate with the components noted in the table. Many other monoterpenes, oxygenated monoterpenes and so-called sesquiterpenes, with potent low detection and identification thresholds, including chemical derivatives of the tabulated list of compounds, are, however, found in botanical essential oils and extracted into the alcohol used in the gin extraction process as discussed in Part 1. Complete listings covering dozens more components found in gins or gin botanicals may be found elsewhere (5, 15-20).

during gin production (15). It incorporates the major first tier descriptive or general classes and more specific terms for the families of components under each class heading. The wheel covers the key components, including offflavors that may be found in typical gins. Whether it can keep up with the growing body of botanicals being used and the associated flavors or be considered for use with modern gin formulations is unclear at this time. As a very broad stroke, the wheel authors and others break down gin evaluation into: the various flavor nuances of juniper biochemicals (pine, green, herbal and woody); citrus and fruity notes (coriander and citrus fruits); green, fresh and ethereal characteristics (cucumber-like, herbal and grassy); rooty or earthy aromas and flavors (forest floor notes, licorice and orris root); spicy (cinnamon, ginger, peppery etc.); florallike (various flowers — chamomile, roses, lavender and violets); aniseed (anise); nutty (almonds) and sweet (such as cocoa, vanilla and honey). Missing, so far, from the gin wheel are the identities of the key aromatic chemical names associated with the more hedonistic or generic vocabulary terms (see Table 2 for a top ten listing of aroma/flavor molecules arising from juniper and coriander, and as found classically in most gins and their associated aroma/ taste profiles). Table 1 provides a listing of over 35 gin botanicals which convey other flavor nuances to the gin world. There are, as noted, many, many more.

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The molecular structures, written and pictorial descriptors for ten key aromatic flavor components are shown. The percentage composition of these essential oil-derived compounds is not reflected here — see Table 2 and reference 11 for more on this. Though Pinene (#1 — noted in the outer circle) is the main fractional component (highest concentration) in the juniper essential oil. One other compound of interest but not shown in the wheel — terpinolene is detailed in Table 2. More details on descriptors also appear in Table 2. Pictorial descriptors aid in memorization of the flavors when assessing gins.



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compounds extracted via distillation from juniper berries.

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Understanding and Interpreting Gin Flavor Part 1: Yes Ginny, there is a Flavor Wheel A burgeoning number of flavor wheels — as the tools of choice for aiding understanding or memorizing the descriptors and vocabulary pertaining to the plethora of flavors present in a food or beverage (wine, beer and Scottish whiskey to name a few) — have appeared in the literature and in the ether (aka the web). First came wine, then beer and then the fantastically detailed Scottish whisky wheel. But no Gin wheel? Well yes there is — a bit of a closely guarded secret perhaps (at least not highly publicized) but there were attempts to develop flavor wheels for gin. By the Scottish Whisky Research Institute (SWRI) no less! (15) The gin flavor wheel was developed as a quality assurance tool to better assist in the control of sensory characteristics

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FIGURE 2 Juniper berry flavor wheel. Ten key terpene


Artisan Spirit: Summer 2018  

The magazine for craft distillers and their fans.

Artisan Spirit: Summer 2018  

The magazine for craft distillers and their fans.