A recent research study from the National Graphene Institute has allowed for scientists to produce a whisky that is completely clear. Graphene is a million times thinner than a human hair, is flexible and is also stronger than steel, making it an incredibly versatile matter. Graphene is a material that was previously considered to be completely impermeable to every solvent, other than water. Yet a research team, led by Professor Rahul Nair, has discovered a way of adapting the membrane to allow other substances to pass through; without lessening its ability to sieve out particles.
The ultra-thin membrane was created using graphene-oxide sheets and was put together in a way that allowed for organic dyes to be completely filtered out of liquids that they had been dissolved in.
As part of their experiments, the team filtered whisky and cognac through the graphene-oxide membrane. This filtered out the larger molecules found in the alcohol, which provides it with the signature amber colour that these drinks are known for. The researchers claimed that the clear whisky that they had produced smelled similar to the original pour. The alcohol content should have remained the same, with the only perceivable difference being in the colour. However, as this was a scientific experiment, the scientists who were responsible for this experiment were unfortunately unable to taste the alcohol, so it is unclear whether they would taste the same still after being filtered.
Aside from potentially bringing new possibilities to the world of whisky, these results have very important real-world effects. With filtration now able to reach these levels, in being able to filter out very specific molecules or solvents, seawater desalination can go ahead. This will also mean that organic compounds can be separated from solvents in the seawater. With a new way to filter salt water, this may mean that there is now a way to help combat water scarcity around the world.
So would you prefer to drink a filtered and clear whisky, as opposed to the normal caramel colour? Let us know via social media. Don’t forget to try a quality Davidoff cigar with your dram the next time you fancy a sip of whisky!