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WSET 2 : Intermediate level > Spirits > Flashcards

Flashcards in Spirits Deck (22):

What is distillation ?

A process of concentrating alcohol


What are the two types of still ?

Pot stills - these require multiple distillations to produce a relatively low strength flavourful spirit

Column stills - these run continuous and can produce anything from low strength flavourful spirit to very high strength neutral spirit in a single distillation


What are the key spirit styles ?

- Brandy produced from grapes, such as Cognac and Armagnac
- Whisk(e)y produced from grains, such as Scotch, Irish, Bourbon and Tennessee
- Rum produced from sugar cane
- Tequila produced from the agave plant
- Vodka which is distilled to high strength to give it a neutral character regardless of the raw material used.
- Gin which is flavoured with additional ingredients known as botanicals


What are the characteristics of the spirit tasting ?

- 25 ml in a glass (ISO)
- Add 25 ml of water
- No swirl
- Aromas reflect the base material, ageing and added flavours
- Characteristics should reflect those found on the nose
- Criterias : Balance, length, complexity, intensity, expressiveness


What is the process of distillation ?

- Fermentation first
- Boiling of the liquid to separate the alcohol using a still
- Colour can be removed with a charcoal filter
- Or adjusted with caramel


What is a pot still and its characteristics ?

- Old style
- Batch process (must be clean and refiled between batches)
- Combine a still head, chemney and condenser
- Raises by a small amount of alcohol each time. Lower strenght
- Resulting spirit have more character and flavours.
- We only keep the heart (not the head or tails)


What is a column still and its characteristics ?

- Vertical column containing multiple layer and allowing continuous distillation
- High strenght
- Lots of mini distillations


What are the different styles of spirits ?

- Brandy
- Cognac and Armagnac
- Whiskies
- Scott Whisky
- Single Malt Scotch Whisky
- Grain Whisky
- Irish Whisky
- Bourbon
- Tennessee whiskey
- White Rum
- Golden and Spiced Rum
- Dark Rum
- Tequila
- Vodka
- Gin
- Liqueurs


What is Brandy ?

Spirit made by fermenting whole freshgrape and distillation of the result. Usually Brown or amber because of oak ageing and caramel coloring.


What are Cognac and Armagnac ?

- Cognac is an oak aged Brandy from Cognac region. It must be double distilled with a copper pot still. Should have fruity flavour aromas (grape, ^perfume), medium to light body and smooth alcool.

- Armagnac oak-aged Brandy from Armagnac region. Made in column still giving low strenght but full of character. Gives dried fruits aromas (prune, raisin, fig) and is medium to full bodied.

Oak aging make the spirit smoother and add flavours of vanilla, toast nuts, sweet spices, fruitcake, dried fruits. Age is indicated through VS, VSOP, XO (Napoléon)


What are whiskies ?

- Character full oak aged spirits made of grains (Barley, corn, rye) Starch must be converted to fermentable sugars by grounding and mixing with hot water. For Barley the grain has to germinate then it is stopped by drying and heating using a kiln. (Then ground and water mix happens with malted barley)


What are Whisky styles ?

- Scotch Whisky (Distilled and oak aged in Scotland for 3 years)
- Malted whisky (uses malted barley and pot still)
- Single Malt scotch whisky (from just 1 distillery, floral, medicinal, spicy)
- Grain whisky (From mixed grains and blended with malt whisky to get Blended scotch whisky)
- Irish Whiskey (made of malted and non malted barley and other grains. smoother and lighter than SMSW)
- Bourbon from Kentucky (made of 51 percent of corn, low strength pronounced flavours, american oak aged, giving vanilla toffee and spices)
- Tennessee whiskey (similar to Bourbon but filtered before aging, gets smoother)


What is Rum ?

- Made of sugar cane
- Molasses is diluted before fermentation and distillation
- Distillation in pot or column still
- Oak aging can occur
- Colouring with caramel can occur


What are Rum styles ?

- White Rum (High strength, dry, neutral or low strength with tropical fruits aromas)
- Golden and Spices Rum (dry or off-dry, with banana, coconut, toffee aromas) Spice flavour is added
- Dark Rum (Full bodied with dried fruits and sweet spice flavours) Often colored with caramel.


What are Tequilas ?

- Made of 51 percent of blue agave in Tequila region
- Core is cooked to get fermentable sugars
- Double pot distilled
- Flavours of grass, citrus, earth, Pepper with sharp alcohol
- With age gets oak aromas (vanilla, sweet spices)


What are the Tequila styles ?

- Blanco/Silver : Agave-based spirit, intense vegetable and spicy flavours like Pepper
- Joven/Oro/Gold : Unaged with caramel colouring
- Reposado: little oak aging
- Anejo: Longer oak aging


What are Vodkas ?

- Can be produce anywhere
- Made from barley, wheat, rye, grapes, potatoes
- Must be distilled to at least 95-96 % in column still
- Many are filtered
- Reduced to 40 % for bottling
- Mostly unaged
- Must be as neutral as possible


What are the Vodka styles ?

Some Polish and Russian Vodka have subtile flavours/character


What is flavoured spirits ?

- Adding flavours to 95-96% spirit
- Through Maceration, Re-distillation, Essences
- Could be Vodka, Gin or Liqueurs


What is flavoured vodka ?

Produced by adding vanilla, herbs, fruit, toffee by essence or maceration method.


What is Gin ?

- Neutral based spirit flavoured by botanicals (Juniper mandatory, coriander, citrus peel)
- Typically unaged
- London Dry Gin (Produced by re-distilling with Juniper and others)
- Distilled Gins (Same as London but more flavours added after re-distillation)


What are Liqueurs ?

- Distilled spirit with added flavours and sweetened
- Big difference between natural and artificial flavours
- Sugar is added before bottling
- Usually undergo colouring