There’s so many different types of whiskey out there—but what makes single malt Scotch taste different from an oak-aged Bourbon? “This, of course, comes down to their varying chemical composition,” explains Compound Science.

The chemistry blog created an inforgraphic detailing where some of these different compounds come from, and what they contribute in terms of character and flavor. Phenols primarily contribute bitterness and smokiness; meanwhile, whiskey lactones—which originate from the oak barrels in which whiskey is aged—impart a coconut flavor. According to Compound Science,

Whiskey contains hundreds of different compounds. These can be influenced by the type of malt and grain used, the distillation process, and the wood used in the barrels used in the aging process.

Here’s a look at just some of the compounds that impact whiskey’s flavor.


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Did that feel like an AP chemistry lesson, or what?

Now, making whiskey is a relatively simple process. Take a look at the steps:

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Think you’re ready to make your own whiskey? We suggest reading this Guide to Urban Moonshining before you begin.

[via Compound Science]