Whisky a go-go
New research which will revolutionise our appreciation of single malt whisky has been released by an academic at the University of St Andrews. The study identifies twelve ‘cardinal flavours’ which can be attributed to any malt in Scotland.
Dr David Wishart, an honorary research fellow of the University’s School of Management, has completed a comprehensive survey of 94 Scottish distilleries and their principal malt whiskies. Dr Wishart’s research redefines the malt whisky flavour spectrum with the identification of twelve ‘dimensions’ to the taste of single malt whiskies.
The research follows a series of tastings, distillery visits and reviews of existing whisky literature. The sensory flavours – body, sweetness, smoky, medicinal, tobacco, honey, spicy, winey, nutty, malty, fruity, floral – were defined by Dr Wishart for use as an easily applicable guide to the taste and styles of single malt whiskies.
The research will result in the release of a new edition of Dr Wishart’s 2002 book ‘Whisky Classified: Choosing Single Malts by Flavour’ (to be made available in seven languages) next month. In addition to flavour profiles of the principal malt whiskies from all of Scotland’s working distilleries using his innovative classification system, the book will include a short history and description of each distillery, notes on production methods, and the history of the whisky industry.
Dr Wishart became interested in malt whiskies when, as a mathematics undergraduate at St Andrews, he was first introduced to cask-strength Laphroaig by his father. A qualified Chartered Statistician, Dr Wishart chose to carry out research on the Scotch whisky industry as a major exporter with a large and diverse workforce and an iconic status. In the late nineties he developed a scientific analysis of whisky, eventually coming up with his unique flavour classification system. Since then, he has published widely on the technical aspects of whisky and presented his research to scientific conferences, seminars and whisky festivals around the world.
His recent work includes conducting surveys in the whisky industry to validate his classification, and extending it to aged malts, special finishes and single cask editions using a computer system called ‘Whisky Analyst’ which he developed. Dubbed the “Carl Linnæus” of whisky by fellow writer Charles Maclean, Dr Wishart was the first to categorise single malts by flavour, and his classification is now fully endorsed by the Scotch Whisky Industry.
He said: “The whisky distilleries of Scotland were originally classified by region solely for taxation purposes. My research has proved that there are no longer any consistently discernible regional ‘styles’ of malt whiskies, and the regional classification is now largely redundant.
“Today, with variable levels of peating, cask preparation, and special finishes, the flavours of single malts are more diverse than ever. My unique classification system of distinguishing malt whiskies by flavour has the full support of the Scotch whisky industry and is especially demonstrated in whiskies such as Macallan, Glenfiddich and Glenmorangie.”
Recently, Dr Wishart presented his research in Melbourne in support of Glasgow’s Bid for the Commonwealth Games 2014, and later this week (20-21 April), he will present to the World Whiskies Conference at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre. The event will be followed by a series of talks and signing events including the Speyside Whisky Festival (27 April – 1 May); Cambridge Union (3 May); Islay Whisky Festival (27 May-2 June); Royal Statistical Society (7 June); and the EIBF (21 August).
Next Monday (24th April), Dr Wishart will be honoured by a society founded by the leading Scotch whisky distillers to honour those around the world who recognise the nobility of Scotch whisky by working, writing or speaking on its behalf. He will be admitted to the Keepers of the Quaich, at an exclusive induction ceremony at Blair Castle in Perthshire, followed by a Banquet. There are currently around 1600 Keepers in 75 countries.
NOTE TO EDITORS:
DR WISHART IS AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEW ON 19-24 APRIL, INCLUDING THE FOLLOWING EVENTS:
20-21 APRIL, WORLD WHISKIES CONFERENCE, EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE CENTRE, 9AM-5PM.
20 APRIL, WORLD WHISKIES CONFERENCE BANQUET, BALMORAL HOTEL, EDINBURGH, 7-10 PM
24 APRIL, GATHERING OF THE KEEPERS OF THE QUAICH, BLAIR CASTLE, 6-9 PM
OR DIRECT ON:
Tel: 0131-337 1448 Mobile: 07808 763 191 Email: [email protected]
COPIES OF THE BOOK ARE AVAILABLE FROM THE PUBLISHERS – PLEASE CONTACT LAURA BRUDENELL AT PAVILION BOOKS – TEL: 0207 314 1471, E-MAIL: [email protected]
NOTE TO PICTURE EDITORS:
IMAGES OF DR WISHART ARE AVAILABLE FROM THE PRESS OFFICE – CONTACT DETAILS BELOW.
Issued by Beattie Media – www.beattiegroup.com On behalf of the University of St Andrews Contact Gayle Cook, Press Officer on 01334 467227 / 462529, mobile 07900 050 103, or email gec3@st- andrews.ac.uk Ref: whisky a gogo 190406.doc View the latest University press releases at http://www.st- andrews.ac.uk
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