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Jun 08, 2022 View:

Butterscotch flavor in Rum and buttery flavor in Corn Whiskey

My grandfather used some kind of muck (bacteria?) to give his sweet mash white corn whiskey a buttery corn on the cob flavor and the same or a different muck to give his  rum a butterscotch flavor.  The stuff was nasty looking and he would add a little back set to it.  Does anyone know what these mucks may have been?  I found some info about it a couple of years ago on line for rum but now I can't find it.




Some part of it may be from Diacetyl. You can get that from short fermentation cycles. Yeast will create diacetyl during growth and process it once it's done. <-- It's a little deeper than you need. If you google Diacetyl you can see more info. 

I'm not sure what part muck would play in it. It could be something totally different than diacetyl. 


Butter Popcorn/Hot Buttered Corn - Like @Foreshot says - Diacetyl (this is what movie theaters put on your popcorn) - the muck/backset - likely lactobacillus - primary ester would be Ethyl Lactate (lactobacillus) - gives you a really creamy, buttery flavor.

Ethyl Lactate can come across butterscotch as well, along with the other lactic acid esters.  Any of the toffee, butterscotch, caramel, browned butter flavors - ethyl lactate plays a major role, and when paired with many of the oak flavors - vanilla, coconut - give you the big brown candy flavors.


Ethyl Lactate - Sweet, Fruity, Creamy, Pineapple-like with a caramellic brown nuance.

Isobutyl Lactate -  Buttery, Caramelic

Isoamyl Lactate - Creamy, Nutty





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Thanks Silk,  That's just what I was looking for.

8 hours ago, Silk City Distillers said:

Yup, sounds like secondary souring of the sweet mash after fermentation. Some consider this a "flaw" that sour mashing prevents. If done right, it can be very nice.


I'll have some on ice cream with walnuts,,,