The spirit base of gin is flavourless. It is first distilled in a Patent Still from a mash of cereals and is then rectified and the juniper and other flavouring materials are added. The rectified spirit may be redistilled with the flavouring materials or these materials may be distilled separately and added to the spirit afterwards.
The aroma and flavour of Scotch Whisky are inherent within the spirit itself and depend chiefly on the water and method of distillation used. The secondary constituents are subsidiary, though important, products of the manufacturing process itself. They are native to the whisky and inseparable from it.
Both Scotch Whisky and gin are colourless when they leave the still but whisky derives some colour from the casks in which it is matured. Whisky which is matured in former fresh oak sherry casks is usually, after maturation, a darker colour than that which is matured in refilled white oak casks. The blender, who aims at uniformity in his product year in year out,brings his whisky to a definite standard colour by adding, if necessary, a small amount of colouring solution prepared from caramelised sugar. In relation to the volume of whisky involved, the amount of colouring matter is infinitesimal.
Unlike whisky, rectified spirits such as gin and vodka are not matured. They can be consumed immediately and they usually reach the consumer in the form in which they issue from the still and without colour.
© SWA 1995