« on: December 06, 2013, 03:18:18 AM »
From the flavors you describe it sounds to me like the distller did not make good head cuts on this run of white dog. The vapors that come off of the beginning part of a spirit run are called foreshots and/or heads. These are comprised of volatile compounds with lower boiling points than ethanol - acetone, methanol, various other esters and aldehydes. They give the perception of appley fingernail polish remover and are very hot and harsh.
Once the heads cut has been made the finer spirits that are comprised of ethanol start to be collected. These are called the hearts. The hearts make up the majority of the spirits from a distillation run. Hearts are very smooth with little alcoholic heat.
Once the ethanol/hearts have been collected the volatile compounds with higher boiling points start to come off. These are called tails and/or feints. They are mostly the higher molecular weight alcohols such as propanol, butanol, isoamyl alcohol. They give the perception of someone having vomited on dirty socks.
Commercial distillers, being the frugal lot that they are, like to produce as much product from a spirit run as possible. Unfortunately some distillers get greedy and make bad cuts that include too much heads and/or tails. Cheaper spirits often include heads and tails from bad cuts.
That being said, part of the flavor profiles of fine whiskeys, and rums, and brandies include some measure of tails. The artisan part is knowing how much tails add to improve the quality of the spirit.
All distilled spirits are clear when they come off of the still. The color is extracted (along with flavors) from the wood the spirits are aged in. The tails compounds lose their harshness and blend with flavors extracted from the wood over time, to produce the characteristic flavors of the finished spirits you are familiar with.
Unaged clear whiskey is also know as white lightning, white dog, or a variety of other names, is pretty damn good, if the distiller has made good cuts. Extremely good if the distiller only gives you the deep hearts.
White dog made with poor heads cuts will probably not get much better with aging. However, it does make good charcoal lighter fluid.