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(Ribes nigrum)

A woody shrub in the family Grossulariaceae grown for its piquant berries. Bunches of small, glossy black fruit develop along the stems. The raw fruit is particularly rich in vitamins and polyphenol phytochemicals. KEY FLAVOR MOLECULES & NOTES: Major anthocyanins (colored pigments with antioxidant properties) in blackcurrant pomace are delphinidin-3-O-glucoside, delphinidin-3-O-rutinoside, cyanidin-3-O-glucoside, and cyanidin-3-O-rutinoside, which are retained in the juice concentrate among other yet unidentified polyphenols.

Anthocyanins from Greek (anthos) "flower" and (kyanous) "dark blue" are water-soluble vacuolar pigments that, depending on their pH, may appear red, purple, or blue. Two constituents responsible for the characteristic blackcurrant odor are trans-p-menthane-8-thiol-3-one (sulfurous, alliaceous*^, green and tropical with rich body, blackcurrant nuance) and an S-acetate derivative which are two of a very small number of naturally occurring sulfur-containing (menthane) monoterpenoids known. The typical 'catty' note caused by the sulfurous trace constituent, 4-methoxy-2-methyl-2-butenethiol was identified several decades ago in blackcurrant buds. *^[Alliaceous e.g., from allyl disulfide has odors described as onion and garlic-like with metallic nuances and with the flavor noted as green onion and garlic-Iike with meaty nuances.]


Vaccinium species (many)

Common and widespread genus of shrubs or dwarf shrubs in the heath family (Ericaceae). The fruits include cranberry, blueberry, bilberry (European blueberries), whortleberry, lingonberry and huckleberry. TASTE: As with commercial strawberries, blueberries lack the richness of flavor that they should. Bilberries in this authors opinion — wild blueberries convey a distinctive rich balanced acidic/sweet and fruity taste. KEY FLAVOR MOLECULES & NOTES: Ethyl isovalerate perceived as a fruity odor (sweet, fruity, green, blueberry, butter, apple) reminiscent of blueberries.

RASPBERRY(Rubus idaeus, Rosaceae) TASTE: Common cultivated raspberries are described as having a nice shape and color, but with watery and acidic taste. Fragrant raspberries though should be delicious with fresh, fruity, green, floral, violet like perfume within a seedy, woody background. Ripe raspberries will be sweet and quite juicy. KEY FLAVOR MOLECULES & NOTES: The main flavoring molecules are α-and β-ionone which convey floral, violet and the typical perfumy, raspberry, woody character. 1-(4-hydroxyphenyl)butan-2-one imparts the fruity, sweet raspberry body. (Z)-3-hexenal is responsible for the fresh, green top note and 2,5-dimethyl-4 hydroxy-furan-3(2H)-one adds the overripe, almost cooked fruit jammy body. 4-(4-Hydroxyphenyl)-2-butanone aka. 4-Hydroxybenzylacetone or raspberry ketone is a highly characteristic, higher mass phenol ketone component of raspberry aroma. It is perceived as a sweet-fruity odor strongly reminiscent of raspberries.

STRAWBERRY(Fragaria ananassa and other species) Strawberry belongs to the genus Fragaria. The genus is comprised of 32 species. TASTE: Commercially, strawberries lack any real character being dull, acid, green, and force-ripened. Wild or garden ripened fruits are best and should convey fragrant, sweet, fruity, aromatic notes and have rich juicy flavor. Flavor chemistry occurs rapidly with major flavor changes after picking and during storage (6). KEY FLAVOR MOLECULES & NOTES: The basic flavor nuances of strawberries are built of 2,5-dimethyl-4-hydroxyfuran-3(2H)-one* and 2,5-dimethyl-4-methoxyfuran-3(2H)-one. These two components impart ripe, fruity, caramel, cooked character and together with ethyl hexanoate (red apple with a hint of aniseed and possible pineapple nuance), the fresh fruity, estery note. The compounds (E)-2-hexenal and (E)-2-hexenyl acetate convey the fresh, green impression.

*Commercially this is also known as Furaneol® and is a constituent of pineapple and strawberry aroma. Its odor sensation is that of cotton candy, caramel and strawberry. Other components listed elsewhere (6, 7). CITRUS – GRAPEFRUIT(Citrus paradisi, Rutaceae) Citrus, belonging to the family Rutaceae. TASTE: Taste of the juice is acid, fruity and bitter sweet. The terpenoid rich peel oil has a characteristic terpeny, woody, exotic fruity character (6). KEY FLAVOR MOLECULES & NOTES: Nootkatone, a sesquiterpene ketone is primarily responsible for the characteristic aroma of grapefruit oil. Noonkatone – fruity, sweet, citrus, grapefruit peel - also stated to impart the characteristic fresh woody odor. The bitter taste originates from naringin^^. Acetaldehyde (green, floral, green apple) and ethyl butyrate (pineapple-like) improve the juicy note and 1-p-menthane-8-thiol (grapefruit mercaptan) is also responsible for the typical exotic grapefruit character. Other components listed elsewhere (6).

^^[Naringin belongs to the flavonoid family a vast collection of plant compounds. Flavonoids consist of 15 carbon atoms in 3 rings, 2 of which must be benzene rings connected by a 3-carbon chain. Naringin is a flavanone-7-O-glycoside between the flavanone naringenin and the disaccharide (sugar compound) neohesperidose. The flavonoid naringin occurs naturally in citrus fruits, especially in grapefruit, where naringin is responsible for the fruit's bitter taste. In commercial grapefruit juice production, the enzyme naringinase can be used to remove the bitterness created by naringin.]


the following clues. Aldehyde names end in “al,” esters in “ate,” ketones in “one” (pron. “own”), alcohols including phenols in “ol,” lactones appearing as such (simply “lactone”) or ending in “olide,” terpenic compounds end in “ene,” sulfur compounds with thiol or mercaptan in the name and certain ethers ending in “ole.” Other classes are not considered here (see 14-16). Learning a little of the chemistry and the names of some of these components, or at least noting the flavor descriptors applicable to each fruit, will enable a better sensory evaluation and understanding of a complex matrix incorporating these fruits in the beverage formulation. Taste the fruits and really learn about them, memorize the descriptors and then seek out these flavor notes in that grapefruit flavored vodka or that rhubarb root enhanced gin (Eden Mill Love Gin, 11). Also, you will need to use some of the references to find more about the flavors of rhubarb! Those wishing to try other fruits such as durian, grapes, guava, lychee, kiwi (or other gooseberries), mango, melons and papaya etc., should consult the references to be aware of how best to describe the flavors — it's not easy with mangos apparently (6). And to be aware of their major flavor components and contributions. Knowing if they contain similar flavor chemicals to those in other fruits may make the choice easier as to which to use and obtain (and in which form — whole fruit, purees or extracts) and which are likely to retain fresh flavor and even colloidal stability (propensity to form hazes or sediments) over the shelflife of the product. Any supplier of fruit products should be able to advise and, as usual, if they don’t appear to be helpful, go elsewhere. One thing to be aware of is that many raw materials and flavorings have not been extensively tested outside the soft drinks market (except perhaps privately in the big flavor houses) — how they hold up in an alcoholic environment may need some trials — including sensory evaluation ­— before scale-up. The major players do their due diligence in this respect — the craft distiller ought to do likewise. WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM

Artisan Spirit: Fall 2018  

The magazine for craft distillers and their fans.

Artisan Spirit: Fall 2018  

The magazine for craft distillers and their fans.