The Terroir of Whiskey
A Distiller's Journey Into the Flavor of Place
Look at the back label of a bottle of wine and you may well see a reference to its terroir, the total local environment of the vineyard that grew the grapes, from its soil to the climate. Winemakers universally accept that where a grape is grown influences its chemistry, which in turn changes the flavor of the wine. A detailed system has codified the idea that place matters to wine. So why don’t we feel the same way about whiskey?
In this book, the master distiller Rob Arnold reveals how innovative whiskey producers are recapturing a sense of place to create distinctive, nuanced flavors. He takes readers on a world tour of whiskey and the science of flavor, stopping along the way at distilleries in Kentucky, New York, Texas, Ireland, and Scotland. Arnold puts the spotlight on a new generation of distillers, plant breeders, and local farmers who are bringing back long-forgotten grain flavors and creating new ones in pursuit of terroir. In the twentieth century, we inadvertently bred distinctive tastes out of grains in favor of high yields—but today’s artisans have teamed up to remove themselves from the commodity grain system, resurrect heirloom cereals, bring new varieties to life, and recapture the flavors of specific local ingredients. The Terroir of Whiskey makes the scientific and cultural cases that terroir is as important in whiskey as it is in wine.