NMR Spectroscopy Used to Develop Chemical Fingerprint of Gin

New technique provides near-instant chemical fingerprint

Researchers at Heriot-Watt University have collaborated with the University of Edinburgh School of Chemistry, who host the Scottish High Field NMR Centre, to trial a new technique that provides a quantitative chemical fingerprint of major compounds present in gin in just seconds.

The Heriot-Watt team consists of Dr Ruaraidh McIntosh, Dr Dave Ellis and PhD student Kacper Krakowiak. They worked alongside Professor Dusan Uhrin from the University of Edinburgh School of Chemistry and the NMR team on the project.

The researchers used nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy to analyse the gin samples.

The NMR team in the lab

We were pleased that the NMR spectroscopy technique we developed in collaboration with the Scotch Whisky Research Institute was applied by our colleagues at Heriot-Watt to this increasingly popular spirit. Applications of NMR to characterise beverages, soft or alcoholic, are on the rise. It is only a question of time when these will move in earnest from research labs into industrial settings. This work can only facilitate this process.

NMR basically fingerprints the gin’s chemical compounds. It does this by detecting the signals given by the hydrogen atoms in each compound. These act as markers and enable identification.