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Mixing gold ions into whiskey can reveal its taste


A brand new form of “gold customary” may quickly permeate the whiskey business.

Whiskey distillers sometimes age spirits in charred, wood casks for years, permitting the liquor to step by step soak up flavorful chemical substances launched from the wooden (SN: 10/31/19). Now, researchers have demonstrated that swirling gold ions right into a whiskey can reveal how a lot taste the liquor has taken in — a high quality referred to as agedness. The strategy may present grasp blenders with a fast and cheap check for whiskey agedness, researchers report October 6 in ACS Utilized Nano Supplies.

“A tiny quantity of gold offers you this actually vivid, robust, crimson or blue or purple colour,” says William Peveler, a chemist on the College of Glasgow in Scotland. The stronger the colour, and the faster that colour arises, the extra aged the whiskey, he says.

Grasp blenders generally conduct tasting periods to gauge agedness, however this course of could be labor intensive. Alternatively, laboratory assays can measure agedness by checking whiskeys for flavorful chemical substances referred to as congeners, absorbed from wooden casks, however such analyses could be costly.

Previous analysis has proven that varied chemical substances, from neurotransmitters to poor-tasting compounds in maple syrup, may set off gold ions in an answer to coalesce into ultra-tiny gold nuggets, or nanoparticles. So Peveler and colleagues combined options containing lower than a penny’s price of gold ions into totally different whiskey blends and a vodka. Whereas no nanoparticles fashioned within the vodka, the ions reacted with whiskey congeners to type nanoparticles in minutes. The dimensions and form of the nanoparticles various between whiskeys, inflicting the spirits to flourish with totally different colours.

The researchers plan to additional examine how gold nanoparticles develop alongside alcohols and sugars in whiskeys to develop an much more complete check for agedness.


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