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A Certain Chemistry

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Dustin Herb Mark Reynier Harry Riffkin

This week we're documenting a groundbreaking discovery.

Carney has been filming in Ireland this week as a major academic research project investigates what centuries of flavour have been telling us.  The influence of terroir is undeniable.  

A recent study by academic Dr Dustin Herb of Oregon State University, an expert in barley and grain malting for the brewing industry, used spectrophotometers - a uniquely sensitive instrument capable of detecting and measuring chemical compounds in plants - to discover that while there is little perceivable flavour difference between varieties of barley, there were some differences based on where the barley was grown.  The results of this study were no surprise to Mark Reynier, the whisky entrepreneur who established Waterford Distillery in 2014 and whose background in the wine industry convinced him of the importance of terroir in producing the finest whiskys.

For much of the industry barley is barley, a generic commodity whose origin or variety is of little relevance. But Waterford 

are blowing that theory away, believing firmly in terroir – the interaction between land, soil and microclimate has a profound effect on barley, so much so that flavour nuances can be identified in their distilled spirit.  

Independent analysis by Tatlock & Thompson of the spirit distilled from 33 of our farms shows the basic aroma profile detected. Each spoke refers to a different characteristic identified within a single farm’s spirit which combine to build up a flavour profile for each distillate. No two profiles are alike.  Dr Harry Riffkin from the firm of independent analytical and consulting chemists,  and is leading world expert on methods of sensory analysis of maturing spirits.

The full results of the research project are soon to be revealed...

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