The congener of “Kippery” is parts of the “Smokey” sub category as part of the “peaty” head category.

“Kippery” is a congener that is chemically linked to a lot of chemicals. For an overview one can look at this page on the “the good scents company” website. This website does not have a “peaty” congener, but it does have one for “smokey”.

A Kipper

I need to start with an assumption. The assumption is that the word “kippery”, as found on the flavour wheel, should be read as “kipper-like” or “like a kipper”. So the smell and taste of a substance which is “kipper-like”.

Next question I asked myself, being a Dutchman, was:”what the … is a kipper!?”. As far as I can find a Kipper is a smoked Herring.

“Haring aan het staartje”

As a Dutchman I eat my Herring as “Hollandse Nieuwe” which is the raw salted version you eat while lifting it by the tail and taking a bite. With onions and sweet/sour pickles. This is not the version that is intended here, since it is obviously not smoked.

In Dutch Kippers are called “Brado” or “Bokking” or many other names depending on how hot or cold the smoking process is and depending on if one smokes the Herring whole or folded open. Since this is a congener on the Scottish Whisky Flavour Wheel it is not so interesting how we do the smoking of Herring in the Netherlands. So lets find out how the Scottish smoke their Herring.

Some English Wikipedia information about “kippers“.

Quote of the Wikipedia site:

A kipper is a whole herring, a small, oily fish, that has been split into a butterfly fashion from tail to head along the dorsal ridge, gutted, salted or pickled, and cold-smoked over smouldering woodchips (typically oak).

The “kippery” congener is, just like the “wood smoke” not very Specific. It’s smoked Herring. It’s smoked using Oak. Oak smoke imparted / adsorbed on a salted fish. The production process I explained in the video below.

Please note the following little details in this video:

  • Herring are the basis for kippers,
  • The herring is split,
  • The herring is washed,
  • The herring is gutted, gills are taken out
  • The herring are salted for 20 minutes, brining
  • Smoke for 14 to 18 hours
  • Oak saw dust for smoking
  • Some tar is produced too during the process
  • “In between temperature smoke” that starts low and is increased
  • an oily fish is needed to impart the smoke on the kippers

Here is another video from how it was done in 1972.

I will eventually go to a fish market and get me the Dutch Equivalent of kippers. I sometimes travel to the UK for my work and if I can, I will order some kippers. Ones I do I will add my thoughts on kippers to this page.

Update 27 Januari 2017:

Smoked Herring

I bought a smoked herring at my local supermarket and I tried some the other night. Yes there is a smoke nose to this fish, but also an oily fishy smell. Which is to be understood since this is a smoked fatty fish. The taste is oily and fishy and fatty too, lightly smokey. I have not come across a whisky with this taste on it, but I have nosed some drams that I spotted a smoked bacon nose on. This was the Compass Box, Enlightenment. Meat and fish are naturally not the same.

There is another note on the flavor wheel that describes this kind of note. It is in the Oily category, as part of the Fat sub group.

L. Oily 4. Fat Fish oil

I would use these notes combined when taking notes, if both the nose and taste had something fishy on it.

The congener is “Kippery” is one that is highly culturally dependent. What I mean with this is that if your nation/region/city does not have Kippers on the menu at all you will probably never get the chance to try them. Therefor your nose will not make a connection in your brain to the smell you smell when you have it. Without the connection made in your brain, to the smell of “kippers”, when nosing a dram, you will not be able to pick it up. The smell simply cannot connect to a memory made by smelling “kippers” if you are clueless what they are. Sounds logical.

There are 4 congeners in this subgroup:

A: Peaty 2. Smokey Wood Smoke
A: Peaty 2. Smokey Kippery
A: Peaty 2. Smokey Smoked bacon
A: Peaty 2. Smokey Smoked cheese

They are all related to smoke a(d)(b)sorption on something one could be familiar with as a Scot. Not all these terms are very specific since wood, kippers, bacon and cheese are all depending on local traditional ways of preparation. The smoked “Kippers” I buy from the smoker at Scheveningen (near The Hague) will probably, but not necessarily, smell different to the ones made on Islay of Jura or even Inverness.

Having said that a Dutchman and a Scot will probably agree on “Smokey”, but might point out to another sub-descriptor. My cheese is not your cheese so to say.

It is save to say that Herring are not part of the whisky making process.

So this is a congener that is used simply as a cultural descriptor that you may know (if you are a scot, and have eaten the exact same kippers that the person, who put “kippery” on the flavour wheel, ate in the first place and have that persons nose and brain).