Showing posts with label Tannins. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tannins. Show all posts

Jan 8, 2016

Decanting Wine and Whiskey

According to the Scotch Whisky Association, whiskey, once bottled, is a finished product, “If you keep a 12 year old bottle for 100 years, it will always remain a 12 year old whisky.”

The reasons whiskey remains basically the same while wine changes have to do with a couple factors: tannins and alcohol content. Wine has much more tannin content than whiskey. Whiskey has no innate tannins, and only gets a small amount from the barrel in which it ages. Tannins can cause change in a bottle of wine over time, for better or worse.  Whiskey has less tannins, it does not have much chance for major evolutions in flavor.

More important than tannins: alcohol content. Wines may have between 11 and 15%, or higher but almost all whiskeys are bottled at a minimum of 40% ABV. With such high alcohol content, the possibility for a dramatic chemical reaction from oxidation is much lower.

Whiskey can change at all over time, especially if it has been exposed to sunlight or temperature fluctuations.

Wine decanters are specifically designed to encourage interaction between liquid and air, always without a cap.  Whiskey decanters tend to be built for stability, have glass tops, and usually have a wide bottom. Air is not a factor in whiskey decanters, because it does make much difference.

So, wine is decanted for flavor and whiskey is decanted for looks. Incidentally, do not use a lead crystal decanter, because over a long period of time it could leach into the whiskey.

Jul 18, 2014


This is a climbing plant in the maple family, native to the Amazon basin and especially common in Brazil. Guarana features large leaves and clusters of flowers, and is best known for its fruit, which is about the size of a coffee bean. As a dietary supplement, guarana is an effective stimulant and its seeds contain about twice the concentration of caffeine found in coffee beans (about 2–4.5% caffeine in guarana seeds compared to 1–2% for coffee beans). As with other plants producing caffeine, the high concentration of caffeine is a defensive toxin that repels herbivores from the berry and its seeds.

If you look at the contents of any energy drink, chances are that guarana is listed as one of the main ingredients. European missionaries in 17th-century Brazil recorded the native people’s use of the berry, noting that it not only gave them energy, but allowed them to go for days without feeling hungry. It became a colonial trading commodity that was said to help protect the body from illness, but too much of it was known to cause insomnia.

The caffeine that is found in the guarana berry is thought to be different from the caffeine found in coffee. Guarana contains chemical components called tannins, which are thought to produce a longer-lasting effect than caffeine from other sources. For centuries, guarana berry seeds have been powdered or smoked in a long process that is done by hand. Drinking properly prepared guarana can be central to formal occasions and gatherings, where groups of people pass around a calabash bowl.