Kentucky Bourbon is a typical American distillate. Raw materials and production processes influence the composition of the final liquid. In particular, maturation method affects aroma and taste of distillates. Sensory evaluation is an important method in monitoring and controlling aroma and taste during production.
A study was conducted at Alpha MOS laboratory for Campari Group in order to investigate sensory differences in aged bourbons based on their position and storage system (racked or palletized) in the warehouse during maturation.
Twelve samples of Bourbon, half aged for six years and half for eight years, have been taken from racked and palletized casks located at top, middle and bottom levels in the warehouse.
Sensory panels from different countries were able to detect aroma differences for the middle storage level between the racked and palletized 8-year Bourbons. The electronic nose also found the same differences. In addition, the analysis with HERACLES fast gas chromatography electronic nose, allowed to detect the volatile compounds responsible for the main odour differences between bourbons, depending on maturation time and storage conditions.
The results suggest that the location of casks in the warehouse has a great influence on the flavour profile of racked samples. Therefore, it can be concluded that casks should be stored using the palletized system to achieve greater consistency in Bourbon maturation.