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THE colour of whisky

The colour of Whisky

Sometimes, whisky smells purple to me.

Don’t worry though. I haven’t gone mad. At least not just yet.

Synaesthesia is a recognised condition, which Wikipedia describes as,

“a perceptual phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway”


So what on earth is going on? If I’m brutally honest, I’m not entirely certain. Somewhere along the way, my brain is picking out a chemical compound found in other food stuffs. Those foodstuffs may have a certain colour that my brain associate with them, for example a strawberry/red, lemon/yellow, icing sugar/white, parma violet/purple – the list goes on.

Parma violet and purple, seem to pop up most frequently. Arran Single Malt Whisky for example, smells like purple or ‘violet’.

What isn’t clear is why I don’t get this association with other compounds? Our own New Make Spirit has very prominent ‘berry fruit’ aromas, so you’d assume I’d be getting tones or red, black and pink… but nope. I also pick out a herbal note, like tomato vine… again you’d assume I’d be seeing green… but nope. But I can smell purple in there somewhere, which I assume is coming from the subtle floral note in our spirit.

Lindores New Make Spirit

It’s fair to say that the olfactory system is pretty complex. Our own systems are different from one and other, explaining why some of us are more sensitive to certain aromas and ‘blind’ to others. Oddly enough, I’m not overly good at picking out peat smoke in certain whiskies.

These subtle differences and oddities are yet another aspect that make the enjoyment of Whisky such a wondrous thing. So many avenues and corridors to travel down on our journey of discovery.

I wonder what colour our Whisky will smell of?


Lindores Single Malt Whisky

Cask Ownership at Lindores Abbey Distillery

We still have a lot of exciting projects going on with different types of casks coming through – but they are all very limited so get in touch if you would like to explore different opportunities within the whisky world. You can contact Elliot on casks@lindoresabbeydistillery.com or find out more at https://lindoresabbeydistillery.com/welcome-lindores-abbey-distillery/cask-ownership/

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