The volatile component profiles of alcoholic beverage products consist of a wide range of compounds, including acids, alcohols, aldehydes, and other trace level flavor compounds. Analyst trained in the sensory evaluation of distilled liquors, wines, or beers tell us no two products are exactly alike. The unique sensory properties of different types and brands of distilled liquor products often are due to minor differences among the volatile components present. By using instrumental methods for qualitatively or quantitatively evaluating these differences, in addition to sensory techniques, quality assurance analysts can obtain a wealth of information about their products. In addition to alcohols and flavor compounds, compounds such as sulfurs can typically be present and can lead to off odors and flavors in the product. Although some products desire very small amounts of certain sulfurs, most do not want these compounds in the product. Because even parts per billion (ppb) to parts per trillion (ppt) levels of some sulfur compounds can impact the product quality, a sensitive selective method of analysis is needed to detect these impurities. One of the most sensitive instrument currently on the market is the Sulfur Chemiluminescence Detector or SCD. This instrument specifically detects sulfur compounds in the product. Sulfur compounds are detected by the human sensory receptors at very minute trace levels to a point of parts per trillion. Trace levels of Sulfur compounds can overpower a spirit and make it unacceptable for consumption. Gas chromatography (GC) and liquid chromatography (LC) in combination with the appropriate detectors are both powerful tools in the analysis of alcoholic beverage products. Being able to determine the concentration of the desired compounds and detect trace levels of impurities is essential in guaranteeing a consistently great product.
INCONSISTENT PRODUCT QUALITY
The greatest failure of a micro-distillery or even the major distilleries is inconsistency of the product from batch to batch. Virtually every product on the market has a group of followers no matter how different, good or bad, the product is from its intended use….rum, vodka, gin, whiskey, etc. However, if that consumer cannot rely on getting the same product each time, they will hesitate upon the next purchase and find one that is similar that they can rely upon each time they decide to purchase another bottle.
There are so many factors that play a part in your product being consistent. From malting, killing, mashing, fermenting, distilling, filtering, aging and so on all these steps have their own unique parameters and the possibility of one not being the same from batch to batch is very great. That is why the distillery needs consistent checks to make certain the product remains the same. With the raw materials and yeast being the same…time, temperature and pH are the main variables that the distiller must control to the utmost precision to be certain the product is the same from batch to batch.
HOW DO YOU DO THIS? It is not hard. You simply must know your product analytically on a molecular level and organoleptically and have a firm account of what gives your product its “UNIQUE” factor. The only way you can do this is by consistently performing periodic checks to reassure your products are the same now and for years to come. You must have a BASELINE. We all think that because it is “Our” product we will always have the ability to consistently produce the same product batch to batch based on our same routine and organoleptic evaluation performed on that day. You can be very close to almost perfect from batch to batch but over the years that baseline can drift to where your product does not even resemble the original wonderful aroma that made consumers love your product and that is when you will realize you don’t actually know what your product looked like when you first started. You cannot simply rely on the distiller or blender’s organoleptic evaluation because outside factors can help to influence that day’s organoleptic evaluation and give a perceived opinion that the product is the same when it is not. The regular consumer of your product will notice the difference.
THIS IS WHERE WE CAN HELP We have developed a unique easy to read system to ensure your product is the same from now and into the future. We analyze your product organoleptically and molecularly and perform proprietary quantification calculations using the concentration and threshold of targeted compounds present in your product along with the organoleptic evaluation of your product and give you a unique value / score. All this summarized in a simple one page one bar chart graph for quick reference. Of course you will also get a complete binder of all the in-depth analysis of your product from the chromatograms, compound concentrations to the organoleptic descriptors or your product. If desired, we will maintain a periodic consistency check of your products and incorporate them in the same files to give you an idea of how your product tracks related to your specifications.
2917 Borden St., Jacksonville, Florida 32209