Key Aroma Compounds in Two Bavarian Gins
The characteristic, dominant flavor of gin is juniper, often within a complex aroma of other botanicals. The present study examined two gins from a distillery in the German state of Bavaria; one produced with 50 individual botanicals, the other with 15. The study focused on characterizing the aroma profiles and identifying the key aroma-active compounds of the gins. Comparative sensory evaluations of the gins revealed marked differences in their aroma profiles, with the botanical-rich gin exhibiting more citrusy, orangey and fruity notes than the gin containing fewer botanicals. Instrumental analyses by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry/olfactometry (GC-MS/O) using aroma extract dilution assays (AEDA) identified terpenes as the dominant key aroma compounds, specifically limonene, 1,8-cineole, linalool, estragole and trans-anethole, with additional contributions from aldehydes, such as nonanal, and phenylpropanoids, such as eugenol and estragole. Selected compounds were quantified using stir-bar sorptive extraction (SBSE) and stabile isotope dilution analysis (SIDA) with GC-MS analysis. Further, odor thresholds and corresponding odor activity values (OAVs) of these compounds were calculated, with linalool exhibiting the highest OAV in both gins. The present analyses revealed how different botanicals alter the concentrations of key aroma compound constituents and elicit a shift in the overall aroma profile of the final spirit.