The whisky congener of Tobacco is one I am not familiar with on a first hand basis. At least, not in the way that I smoke sigars, cigarettes etc.


There are multiple types of tobacco. There are multiple products made from tobacco. The congener of tobacco is on the Reviced Scottish Whisky Flavour Wheel as part of the malty, cereal group. Does this mean the husk of the barley Kendal could smell like tobacco in some way?

Which of the many stages in the life of a tobacco product is intended by the authors of the flavour wheel? The 2001 article used as the basis of the flavour wheel is not particularly helpful.

Origins of Flavour in Whiskies and a Revised Flavour Wheel: a Review By K.-Y. Monica Lee, Alistair Paterson* and John R. Piggott Centre for Food Quality, University of Strathclyde, Department of Bioscience, 204 George Street, Glasgow G11XW, Scotland, UK and Graeme D. Richardson The Scotch Whisky Research lnstitute, Tlre Robertson Trust Building, Science Park North, Riccarton, Edinburgll EH14 4AP, Scotland, UK Received 13 October 2000; revised version received and accepted 11 December 2000

I googled the term “Scottish Grown Tobacco” and found very little hits. I did find a Scottish law on tobacco and some links to closed down cigarette making industry in Scotland in the past. I seriously doubt tobacco was ever grown in Scotland, but if it was, let me know.


The “good scent company” lists a great many compounds that are associated with the “tobacco” congener. Which one is in whisky is very hard to pinpoint but seeing how the flavour wheel is devided it could be coming in via the same route as leathery.

I do have some experience with tobacco related smells and tastes. As a child my parents smoked in the home and in the car. In the trains to work one could smell the foul reek of smoking cigarettes up until about 15 years ago. In pubs and restaurants people used to smoke and this stink would be on me at least until the morning after.  I could taste the inside of an ashtray taste when ever I was snogging my first (now ex) girlfriend. A taste I did not particularly like, but I did like the snogging.

In a society where smoking is less and less acceptable in public life the chance of being exposed to it involuntarily is decreasing yearly. In my opinion this is a good thing. This blog however is not about choices made in society but about chemical compounds that are associated with “tobacco” by our brain.

Anyways, now and again, while tasting whisky, my brain takes me back to memories of situations like this and then I will write down “tobacco” as a note. I do get the ashtray note on a Laphroaig 10 for instance.

People that smoke will find that their taste and sense of smell is seriously impaired when they smoke themselfs. So my advice is this: expose (see disclaimer) yourself to cigarettes, cigars etc if you wish to spot the whisky congener of tobacco yourself, but in such a way that you don’t impair your sense of smell and taste. I advice you not to become addicted too. Addictions suck!

The congener of tobacco in whisky is again, like others, not very specific. It describes a large amount of smells and tastes that anyone having been exposed to some tobacco product might pick up. Tar is in cigarettes and tar, smoke etc is also on the whisky flavour wheel.

Disclaimer: (cover my ass remarks)

Since any advice to expose yourself to tobacco is bound to be misunderstood I offer some insights of my intentions:

  • Advice / Personal opinion: don’t smoke,
  • if you do decide to start smoking cigarettes or cigars then do so of your own free will and after careful consideration. I decided not to smoke anything ever.
  • I am under the assumption that the person reading this blog is an adult of legal drinking and smoking age. So my advice to expose yourself to tobacco is only meant for adults and only if you wish to learn about a “tobacco” congener in whisky.