The family of aroma molecules called “phenols” (from which the adjective phenolic comes) are the distinctive - and often defining - aroma molecules in many whiskies.
The phenol category also represents one key “raison d'être” for the Aroma Academy Whisky Aroma Kits. Many whisky enthusiasts read flavour notes for Whiskies, particularly examples from Islay and other island, Single Malt Scotch Whiskies, and they often encounter the term “phenolic.” At the Aroma Academy, we are often asked, “What does a typical phenolic aroma actually smell like?” Well, fortunately, all the Whisky Aroma Kits contain examples of typical Phenolic Aromas including one that has been chosen to be a generic example of the category.
The Phenol family is fundamental in the world of whisky aromas - it being manifested to a greater or lesser extent by the presence, or absence, of the heavily scented peaty-medicinal-smoky aromas. It is possible to differentiate the hundreds of whiskies with respect to the level of phenol present. Collectively, with a good vocabulary and aroma standards, we can begin to discern these magical aroma nuances.
Consider some examples …
The Laphroaig single malt from the island of Islay is a richly flavoured Scotch Whisky. The strong nose is significantly phenolic.
The distinctly smoky notes from Bowmore or Caol Ila, two of the other celebrated Islay malts, come from specific types of phenolic notes.
Why not explore our Whisky Aroma Kit with its standard aromas including Smoky, Medicinal, Peaty and the generic Phenolic and progress along your journey to aroma expertise!