Monday, August 27, 2007

Whiskey Science

Congeners are by-products of the fermentation process and are responsible for the taste and aroma of alcholic beverages (and some say for hangover symptoms as well). The maturation process alters the congener composition which is why a 20-year old whiskey has a different taste and aroma than a 5-year old single malt. Recent research has shown that the altered congener content also alters pharmacokinetics and neurological effects of ethanol. Using mice as their test-subjects, researchers found that the older (20-year) whiskey slowed ethanol metabolism and prolonged the neurodepressive effects of ethanol causing a longer period of drunkenness (measured by duration of loss of righting reflex). The evidence points to increases in the amount of nonvolatile congeners in the more mature whiskeys. If this is true, it means that states of drunkenness would be different among spirits with the same alcohol content - a vodka (low congener content) would give you a shorter buzz than a bourbon whiskey (higher congener content).


5 comments:

Bayman said...

"whose fraction was prepared by evaporating 16-y whisky"

Now that's a shame.
What scientist in his right mind would destroy a perfectly good vintage like that?

kamel said...

It was Japanese whisky, so maybe it wasn't that good, but maybe AC can bring us back some to sample. And while you're at it how about some Bilk

Kevin Z said...

Make sure he brings back some Shochu as well. Its the best, The stuff in the plastic 2L bottle is the best. Ask a japanese guy, they'll know what I'm talking about...

Anonymous Coward said...

Dude kevin, you are the man. the shoshu is dirt cheap, about 20$ for a 2L bottle and they all want to get me drunk here. Damn Japan rocks.

Bayman said...

Just remember, no sake before 9AM...remember the last time...