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Shown on the map are the projected characteristics of juniper berry, coriander seed, orange peel and orris root. For juniper berry distillates it is clear that the major flavors and sensory descriptors derived from this key botanical are noted as pungent, herbal, juniper-like and solventy and with citrus and floral terms also making important contributions. Details for the other botanicals are noted in the text. [Figure adapted from Reference 16].

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of perception of the essential oils extracted, via distillation, of juniper berries, coriander seed, orris root and orange peel as mapped graphically following a sensory evaluation.

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FIGURE 5 Flavor spider (or radar) profiles of gin  botanical distillates. The flavor characteristics and intensity

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Understanding and Interpreting Gin Flavor Part 3: Getting jiggy with the chemicals Flavor wheels, using more general terms or class, or family names and basic spider/radar plots may be all that is needed in competitions or group gatherings in assessing favorite gins — memory joggers. However, a more careful training, to add knowledge of the chemical components responsible for conveying those general and more specific descriptive terms, can teach much more about potential and distinctive recipe formulation and finetuning of gin flavor profiles. Understanding a few key components and their origins — asking “which botanical’s essential oil contains which flavor species?” — provides a powerful arsenal of information and allows a better appreciation and marketing, or holistic


various flavor notes provides for a more complete descriptive picture of the respective botanical’s flavor profile. What such work, leading to the type of profiles seen in Figure 5, showed was that, while juniper berries are the primary botanical used in the greater amount in gin formulations, and which give rise to its predominant flavor, the overall juniper distillate lacked complexity. Thus, the other botanicals chosen will add more layers of structure to a gin. Coriander as the second most commonly used botanical adds citrus, floral, fruity, sweet and soapy attributes (16). Orris root conveys oily and stale characteristics. Other botanical distillates can be prepared as discussed in Part 1 of this article and assessed by panels and their evaluations expressed using such spider plots.


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description, of each gin. The most common and historically relevant botanicals, as alluded to above, are the triumvirate — juniper, coriander and angelica. These are noted in Table 1 along with another set of key flavor players (7-9). Again, as already noted above, the natural chemicals known as the terpenes form the most important flavor contributors to gin. The class comes in the form of monoterpenes (high impact and highly volatile), oxygenated monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes and oxygenated sesquiterpenes and some diterpenes (10). Some 77 different chemical species from within this group are said to represent 80% of the total flavor of juniper essential oils (5). A core of flavors will dominate the gin flavor profile, as seen in Table 2 and in Figure 4, with subtle variations between gins. Other chemical components, including various WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM

Artisan Spirit: Summer 2018  

The magazine for craft distillers and their fans.

Artisan Spirit: Summer 2018  

The magazine for craft distillers and their fans.