• The Impact of Terroir on the Flavour of Single Malt Whisk(e)y New Make Spirit

      Kyraleou, Maria; Herb, Dustin; O’Reilly, Grace; Conway, Neil; Bryan, Tom; Kilcawley, Kieran; Enterprise Ireland; Waterford Distillery; IP2018 0733 (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021-02-18)
      The impact of barley variety and its geographical growth location (environment) on the flavour of new make spirit was investigated to determine if “terroir” can be applied in the production of single malt whisk(e)y. New make spirits were produced at laboratory scale under controlled conditions from two different barley varieties (Olympus and Laureate) grown at two distinct environments (Athy, Co Kildare and Bunclody, Co Wexford) in Ireland over two consecutive seasons (2017 and 2018). The spirit samples were analysed by gas chromatography mass spectrometry olfactometry and descriptive sensory analysis. Forty-two volatiles were detected with eight deemed as very influential and fifteen deemed as influential to the aroma of new make spirit. Sensory attributes were influenced by barley variety, environment, and the interactions thereof over both seasons, with environment and the interaction of variety x environment having a greater impact than variety alone. Chemometric analysis of the olfactometry and sensory data found that both environment and season had a greater impact on the aromatic sensory perception of the new make spirits than variety alone. Therefore, this study clearly demonstrates a “terroir” impact on the flavour of new make spirit and highlights its potential importance especially in relation to single malt whisk(e)y.