While it’s true that the brown spirits category continues to grow, it’s also true that millennial and Gen Z consumers are increasingly seeking reduced alcohol or even alcohol-free alternatives. With the launch of Spirit Signatures, a portfolio of taste solutions for beverages, Symrise has discovered the taste mystery behind brown spirits like scotch, bourbon, whiskey, brandy, and dark rum. Spirit Signatures represent Symrise’s flavor, applications and technology expertise put to life to design, decode, and deliver the essence of premium spirit brands without the alcohol.
In order to create these exceptional flavors, the Symrise Beverage team took a deep dive into deciphering each step in spirits production. They then decoded these steps to understand more about the molecular levels and chemical compositions that result from each process. Using scotch whiskey distillation as an example, there are a total of ten individual processes involved in production: malting, kilting, peating, mashing, fermentation, distillation, maturation, filtration, blending, and bottling. Every one of these ten steps have an effect on flavor formation. The Symrise team – including flavorists and certified Master Distillers – applied their expertise to the analysis of the flavor characteristics that each step imparted to the whiskey. This knowledge, coupled with Symrise’s proprietary technologies including SymOak™ advanced maturation and SymBouquet™ spirits taste modulation, led to the creation of a Symrise flavor top note plus botanical extract that can now mimic premium scotch whiskey in an alcohol-free form.
Many factors come into play in formulation of whiskey, brandy, and rum. Since they are typically aged in oak barrels, maturation in these wood barrels forms the distinct taste sensations of spirits. The composition of oak is quite complex and imparts different taste characteristics depending on the type of oak used in the aging process.
Ahmed Nour, Category Director Beverages, Symrise Flavor Division North America, further explains, “The Spirit Signatures toolbox was created using various Symrise taste solutions, including our Code of Nature Botanical Essentials. By using this specialized extraction capability, we can create botanical extracts that are unique compared to other extracts currently available in the market. Through our patented gentle processing technique, we capture many of the volatiles and complex notes from the botanical and add them to the finished beverage to deliver proper mouthfeel, along with a unique taste experience. The Symrise team created different oak extracts that will help to complete and distinguish the taste profiles of classic brown spirits, premium whiskey, brandy, and rum.”
The Spirit Signature portfolio of flavors are best applied to low alcohol/no alcohol products. They are also an ideal fit for CBD/THC drinks that can offer consumers the experience of a cocktail, but which legally cannot contain any alcohol. CBD and THC infused beverages represent huge potential; a recent report from Grand View Research indicated that the global cannabis beverages market size is expected to reach USD 2.8 Billion by 2025 at a CAGR of 17.8%. The report looked at alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages using either TCH or CBD. It said: “The demand of THC infused cannabis beverages is majorly driven by rising product demand from adult consumers for recreational purposes. Rising demand for the therapeutic effects of the component along with the euphoria it provides is expected to bode well for the growth of the segment in the forthcoming years. Lack of psychoactive effect in the CBD drinks is widening its scope…many consumers are considering CBD drinks as wellness and anti-inflammatory products.”*
The Spirit Signatures toolbox currently includes Kentucky Whiskey, Tennessee Whiskey, Scotch Whiskey, Brandy and Rum flavors. These flavors recreate top notes that mimic all the spirit processing steps involved in the formation of a premium alcoholic product, including the barrel-aging component.
For more information about our Spirit Signatures solutions, click here.