This study provides qualitative data on sensory compounds present in barrel aged U.S. corn-based whiskies (primarily bourbon) and their unaged counterparts. Whisky samples of commercial brands by Heaven Hill, Buffalo Trace, Maker’s Mark, and Nelson’s Greenbrier Distillery were tested by direct injection gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. Chromatograms of samples were analyzed against NIST mass spectra to develop and compare sensory compounds present in the whiskies analyzed. Results obtained from commercial whisky brands were used to build a baseline of sensory compounds present, providing a framework to show comparable compounds between the barrel aged whiskies and colorless, unaged whisky. Results show that barrel aging is an additive process in terms of total sensory compounds present and that sensory compounds resulting from barrel aging having longer retention times than those found in unaged whisky.
Key words: Whiskey, barrel aging, GC/MS, bourbon.
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