Briefly about the background to essences:

In the commercial spirits industry many products are flavoured with essences. This is very common but little known by the general public. Such essences are of high quality and impart a good flavour (whisky and brandy are improved by the addition of 10% of the real thing).

Essences have been developed almost to perfection. As a consequence, even the essences intended for home use have been improved, as they are a consumer version of the commercial ones. Many buy Vodka and essence and blend a good drink more cheaply, especially in Scandinavia.

Essences are manufactured from various raw materials, often working with oils, concentrates or solutions of the original

substances. These can be, for example: brandy oil, coffee oil, orange oil, caraway oil, dill oil, oil of aniseed or natural fusel oils. Also with these are herbs, oak and spices. Sometimes these extracts are distilled so that they are stronger and purer. The large international aromatics companies also offer finished essences such as gin and rum. There are also aromatics made by analyzing natural aromas and then manufacturing identical artificial substances. There are also synthetic aromatics, but these are used less and less. The technology is advancing at a very rapid pace, giving products of a quality one could only dream of just five years ago. A new technique, carbon dioxide distillation is the process behind many of these advances.

If we take a rum essence, this can, for example, comprise one or several base aromatics that are rum flavoured. Each of these aromatics can be made from a large number of ingredients. The rum flavour can then be tweaked with oils, vanilla, oak extract, spice extract and maybe a little glycerine and cane sugar molasses. On top of this, sometimes concentrated rum, if possible, will be added. Burnt sugar (Sugar colour E150) is used both for colour and for fullness and taste. The process can take a long time, sometimes many years to develope a good essence. Often hundreds of samples are used. Gert Strand in Sweden is the leader in essences, which are sold under the brand name PRESTIGE ESSENCES. Refer to the Internet at

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