Dispersive Liquid-Liquid MicroExtraction (DiLLME) for Whisky Flavour Analysis

Martin Perkins

22nd January 2020


Measurement of the volatile profiles of alcoholic beverages, such as Whisky are important both for understanding flavour characteristics and investigating counterfeit products. Compounds responsible may be present at extremely low levels, resulting in the need for sensitive and robust methods.

There are a number of techniques that can be employed for the analysis of flavours from liquid samples, many of which can be fully automated. Automated liquid extraction can be used as an alternative to more established flavour profiling techniques, generally based on headspace extraction. This application note describes the use of dispersive liquid-liquid microextraction (DiLLME) for flavour analysis in Whisky. DiLLME has advantages over other approaches due to its simplicity and speed. Furthermore, as unlike headspace approaches the sample does not need to be heated, it has less potential for formation of compounds and potentially less volatile compounds can be analysed.

A number of commercially available Whisky samples were analysed and data processed using Agilent MassHunter and Mass Profiler Professional software. The resultant principal component analysis (PCA) was able to separate the Whisky samples and the compounds responsible for some of the distinct flavours could be determined from the data.

This work demonstrates that DiLLME is a suitable technique to extract a range of compounds relevant to flavour in Whiskies. Compounds observed included esters, Whisky lactones, phenolic compounds and aldehydes, as well as less volatile compounds associated with the ageing process, such as Homovanillic acid and Syringylacetone.

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