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wsu logoA team from Washington State University took home top honors at the Worldwide Distilled Spirits Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, for research on spirits using a technique traditionally used on wine.

The technique, which measures a beverage’s hydrophobicity, which is then analyzed using a mass spectrometer to identify compounds responsible for astringency as well as color and flavor.

The initial research shows the importance of barrel selection when making distilled spirits. Bourbon, which uses only new charred barrels, has more phenolic and flavor compounds than other types of spirits which use previously used barrels.