From a production point of view, malt whisky is less influenced by the barrel, while fermenting for a longer period of time, so it will have a distinct fruit flavor. Fresh fruit aromas like flowers, freshly cut lawn, green apples, pears and pineapples. Some malt whiskies will also have some lemon zest, or flour sack notes. These whiskies are light-bodied and finely textured, and can show a balanced sweetness in the middle of the tongue. The distiller selects the original spirit used to age the casks, using the portion of the spirit that was distilled earlier in the heart.
Malt whiskey from bourbon barrel aging will often have vanilla, coconut and spice flavors, this whiskey itself also has a more intense fruit aroma, like soft peaches, apricots, and occasionally mango and guava sweetness. When producing this type of whisky, the fermentation time is also longer and the distiller selects a wider range of cores.
Deep, full-bodied and slightly heavier, this is the tone defined by the old Sherry casks for these malts. European oak casks have a higher tannin content with notes of clove and a touch of thread, while sherry immersed in oak casks brings out notes of pecans, dates, raisins and molasses. The newer the barrel used and the longer the barrel has been aged, the more intense this type of whisky will be.
The peat burned during the drying of the malt, a step that stops the barley from continuing to germinate, usually brings a smoky and peaty taste to the whisky. The smoke from the peat carries an aromatic oil called phenol, which adheres to the seed coat of the barley and does not disappear throughout the distillation and maturation process. The more peat burned, the more smoky the whisky will be, and the further back the distiller selects the core, the more intense this smoky flavor will be.
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