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What does it mean by Organic?

When we talk about the term "organic", we have common impressions and thoughts – it gets rid of any pesticides and chemical fertilizers and is more environment-friendly, it often command a higher price but the crop may not look as good as normal one. It tastes better and is healthier to us. It seems the word “organic” is always good to everybody, but in the world of whisky, what does “organic” mean actually? What is the difference when a bottle of whisky is labelled organic?

 

First of all, organic whisky must comply with those strict rules to acquire the certification throughout the entire production process, from selection of the organic malt, to the cleaning of oak barrel, etc, to avoid any residues which organic .

 

This specifications that define “organic” are quite expensive and time-consuming to most of the distilleries compared to the normal ones. However there are still some distilleries who devote to it regardless of all cost.

 

Based on the current situation, there is neither one distillery who can tell the difference between organic whisky and normal whisky, nor be there any proved research that compare their difference. The only fact we know is that they express their effort in protecting the environment and their love to the Earth.

 

In fact, the new whisky made by organic malt that made by and normal malt should be different from each other, but the difference are not apparent to consumers because ‘new make spirit’ are only available in the distillery but not the public market.

 

Even if the organic malt does cause a difference in flavor, it has been modified by the oak racking and other post-treatment so it is difficult for the consumers to compare the difference. Organic whisky does not make a difference. Therefore if a bottle of whisky is brilliant in quality, it is nothing to do with whether it is organic or not. It is only a reflection of the palate. After all, whisky is a kind of beverage and you have to make a difference in order to attract drinkers. Otherwise the word “organic” remains only an approach of marketing or so-called gimmick. That would be a waste to those distilleries.

有機比較好?

 

普羅大眾一聽到「有機」兩字通常會有幾個印象與想法,有機比較沒有農藥與化學肥料的問題對環境比較友善,有機產量少價格高以及農作物產品賣相不好,但是有機感覺比較健康也比較好吃,許多的資訊傳播也只說有機美好的一面,在懵懵懂懂與大多數人都說好的情況下,有機一詞就像通往天堂一樣的美好,不過當威士忌也開始標上有機的字樣時,到底有什麼差異?風味比較好?或只是感覺良好?

 

首先,有機威士忌從有機麥芽採購選用開始,到整個威士忌的生產製程、設備的清洗、橡木桶的選用再一直到最終的產品,都需要按照有機認證的相關嚴格規定來生產製造,以避免之前的非有機物殘留。

 

這一連串的有機製程規範對大多數的酒廠來說,比起一般威士忌的製程還要來的麻煩以及費時費力外,同時生產成本也高出一般威士忌許多,雖然如此的麻煩,但還是有小部分的酒廠願意抱著實驗的精神來做有機威士忌。

 

可是以目前的有機威士忌與一般威士忌的比較來說,還沒有一家酒廠可以明確的說出有機威士忌與一般威士忌帶給消費者的最大的感受差異是什麼,也沒有研究報告指出有機威士忌對於威士忌本身不管是酒質或是其他部分有什麼明顯的不同,而大多數有機威士忌可以講的就是從原物料到最終產品的每一個環節都要符合有機規範,讓人感覺有機講到最後想表達的就是友善環境與愛護地球。

 

但回過頭來說,有機麥芽剛蒸餾出來的新酒應該與一般麥芽剛蒸餾出來的新酒還是會有所差異的,由新酒去比較當中差異性是最容易的,不過剛蒸餾出來的新酒 New Make Spirit這一部分酒廠並沒有販售,所以一般消費者無法購買以及取得,因此這當中的差異性只有酒廠才比較了解。

 

就算有機麥芽確實造成風味差異來說,這差異又經過橡木桶洗禮讓風味複雜化,對消費者而言是更難以比較差異,所以有機威士忌最後還是只能回歸到消費者自己喝過以後的感受。如果這一瓶有機威士忌是符合消費者喜好,消費者自然就會買單,但此時是否為有機威士忌已非主要重點,而消費者也會逐漸對有機無感,因為在沒有明顯差異的感受或研究報告之下,大多數的消費者還是會回歸到一般的威士忌,畢竟威士忌是喝的飲品,有差異性有吸引力才有辦法推廣,要不然有機兩字最終還是只能淪為行銷又或是所謂的噱頭,那就非常可惜了。