A lot of focus is placed on the whiskey’s color. It tells you what to expect when it comes to its taste. However, it can also be a misleading flavor indicator.
Indeed, there are general rules when it comes to the whiskey’s color. For instance, the whiskey is old if it is dark most of the time. Also, a deeper color tends to have a more intense flavor. On a lot of occasions, this is correct. However, there are still exceptions to these guidelines.
It’s vital to know how a whiskey achieves its color. Keep in mind that the spirit flowing from the distilleries is clear. It does not have any color. However, during maturation, the whiskey obtains its golden color that we love and know.
Before you shop online whiskey, here are several things you need to understand:
There is a synthetic method to darken a whiskey. This is because of the caramel coloring, also known as spirit caramel. Scotch whiskey is one of the most frequently colored spirits. Spirit caramel is the only substance allowed legally to be added to scotch, aside from water.
Though you might think that caramel coloring is about flavor, that is not the case. When it comes to caramel coloring, bourbon is more regulated. Bourbon only gets its color from the barrel.
Refill or First-Fill
A cask is utilized a couple of times in the Scotch whiskey industry. The wood will become less active if it has been used a lot of times. Because of this, less color will be given to the spirit.
You can consider a cask a teabag. When you first use a teabag, it does not take a lot of time for the water to change its color and flavor. However, when you used it a couple of times, the tea will be not as rich and colorful as it was the first time. Examine the label for any mention of refill (the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th time) or first-fill (the 1st time a cask is utilized).
Port, Sherry, or Bourbon
It isn’t simply the form of wood that affects the whiskey’s color. Though the bourbon industry exclusively utilizes virgin oak, the entire world utilizes used casks. These casks range from former port or brandy casks, sherry casks, or bourbon casks.
The past contents of a cask have a big impact on the overall color of the whiskey. Bourbon-matured Scotch whiskey is sometimes much lighter in color. On the other hand, sherry casks have a tendency to provide a whiskey a golden-color. A whiskey that is matured in a port cask can even have a pink color.
Various oak types provide various colors to the spirit. European Oak (Quercus Robur) and American White Oak (Quercus Alba) are the most commonly utilized forms of oaks. The European oak provides a stronger yellow color. On the other hand, the American White Oak offers a reddish color. The color extractives in the cask surface layer are lowered. This depends on the cask’s charring level.