Haha, I thought so! As it happens I had my first taste of Dalmore last week and I liked it, though there was a lot of caramel/toffee on the nose. I guess that's a prime example then, unless that sweetness occurs naturally in its distillation and maturation.
Here is a list of some whisky distillers/bottlers that does not add E150a caramel colouring to their whisky. This is by no means a complete list.
English Whisky Co
I know Tobermory and Ledaig are now un-chillfiltered not sure about colouring, anyone know?
In general most single malts from independents are normally natural colour and mostly un-chillfiltered when bottled at 46% plus. Some independents have different ranges, some of which are not coloured and un-chillfiltered some are.
Here are some which i believe bottle their whisky with no added colouring or chillfiltering.
The Whisky Exchange. (All TWEs independent bottlings Single Malts of Scotland, Element of Islay and Port Askaig are all natural colour and un-chillfiltered.)
There are probably loads more independents who bottle their whisky without colouring and chillfiltration.
To my knowledge the above list is accurate but if you see an error or know of any that should be on the list just post it here and i will edit the list.
Joined: 19 Dec 2006 Posts: 1329 Location: Scotland
Posted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 11:03 pm Post subject:
I have to say there has been a huge improvement in the Burn Stewart range Bunnahabhain, Deanston, Tobermory and Ledaig since they stopped chill-filtering and adding colour.
I previously wouldnt really pick up Bunnahabhain or Ledaig but now i consider them decent malts. William the Ledaig is now un-chillfiltered but i cant see any mention of colouring on the bottle or box so not sure if they add any.
Cheers for the list William, it looks alright as far as i can see.
Bunnahabhain is a great example of what stopping chillfiltration and not adding colouring can do, it made Bunnahabhain a totally different and a very drinkable whisky. Not sure what will have the biggest influence on a malt the chillfiltration or the caramel colouring, i suppose it depends on how heavy handed they have been with the colouring.
I don't mean to sound combative, but doesn't William's list kind of prove that colouring isn't really a big factor? I mean, look at the popular favourites on the list... Only Highland Park and Macallan maybe - other than that, if we polled the forum for our favourites, names like Talisker, Lagavulin, Laphroaig, Ardbeg, Bowmore, Glenlivet, Balvenie etc. would come up - all of which use added colouring.
So, unless the distillery has been particularly heavy-handed as Blackadder said, does it matter at all? Or is it just psychological - the knowledge that it's more 'pure', without any practical effects.
Alex i think Williams list is a list of whisky distillers who dont put any caramel colouring in any of their range of whiskies at any time. Some distillers put only a tiny bit in some of there range and i believe some only do this when required just to give the colour consistency.
For example i have read that Glenmorangie only use a little in their 10 year old to keep colour consistency between batches, probably because it is a huge seller a lot of buyers wouldnt understand a difference in colour. But i believe most of the rest of the Glenmorangie range is natural. The likes of Ardbeg i would say very little if any is added. Lagavulin certainly has colouring and so does Laphroaig who actually state it on the tube in German.
In reality you never really know if there is added colouring or not.
Rob chill filtering is a method in whisky making for removing residue. In chill filtering, whisky is cooled to between -10 and 4 degrees Celsius (often roughly 0) and passed through a fine adsorption filter. This is done mostly for cosmetic reasons - to remove cloudiness, rather than to improve taste or consistency.
Chill filtering works by reducing the temperature sufficiently that some fatty acids, proteins and esters precipitate out so that they are caught on the filter. The chillfiltering prevents the whisky from becoming hazy when in the bottle, when served, when chilled, or when water or ice is added. However, as this only happens at an alcohol content below 46 %abv, stronger bottled whisky is often non-chill filtered or unchill-filtered, as the spirit will generally remain unclouded at this alcohol level.
The merits of this method are disputed, opponents (including myself) believe that it diminishes the flavour of the whisky. As such, some distilleries pride themselves on not using this process, for example, the Aberlour Distillery's distinctively flavoured A'bunadh whisky or Laphroaig's Quarter Cask bottles are not chill-filtered.
Some whisky bottlers produce whiskies that are not chill-filtered, reportedly due to the reduction in flavour compounds that chill filtering produces. Skipping the chill filtering step can also reduce production costs.
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