AI Whisky Nose: What’s It All About?
NOS.E, an artificial whisky nose, has the power to tell the difference between different types of whisky based off of their region and brand. This could be a huge asset to the industry as it may be able to combat the number of counterfeit whiskies that can appear on the market by literally sniffing them out. While there are human sommeliers who do this as a job, it appears that NOS.E is a more accurate judge of what drams are authentic and what aren’t.
Created by Associate Professor Steven Su alongside PhD students Wentian Zhang and Taoping Liu and chemists Professor Shari Forbes and Dr. Maiken Ueland at University of Technology in Sydney, NOS.E can suss out an expression in just a few minutes. NOS.E has been made to mimic the human olfactory system – a whisky’s scent is detected by gas sensors which then sends off a unique signal to a computer which can identify the expression’s characteristics.
NOS.E was tested on six whiskies – three single malts and three blended malts – from a variety of whisky producers including The Macallan, Ardbeg, Johnnie Walker, and Chivas Regal. NOS.E manged to identify differences between each of the whiskies based on region with 100 per cent accuracy, brand name with 96.1% accuracy, and style with 92.3% accuracy. Impressive stuff!
The success of NOS.E doesn’t just mean big things for the whisky industry – it has global implications for the drinks industry and beyond. This type of system could prevent fraud by sussing out counterfeit wines, cognacs, and fragrances.
E-noses have been up-and-coming the past few years. The technology has been used to identify the sale of illegal animal parts that have been sold on the black market. In the next few years, prepare to see e-noses used more and more in a variety of industries. The hopes are that eventually e-noses will have the power to detect diseases which would be a great asset to global healthcare.
As for the drinks industry, the surface has only been scratched in regard to artificial intelligence. NOS.E is a powerful tool to implement in order to prevent fraudulent sales within the industry, but this is just the beginning.
In 2018, Swedish whisky brand, Mackmyra, began taking steps to make a whisky produced via artificial intelligence. Could a robot put together an expression worth drinking? Perhaps surprisingly, the answer is yes!
After much trial and error, Mackmyra managed to create a computer-generated whisky that was sold in 2019 called Intelligens. Just 5,000 bottles of the expression were produced, and it was generally well-reviewed.
The future of artificial intelligence in the whisky industry is looking bright. NOS.E marks the beginning of all the untapped potential waiting to be explored by uniting the traditional whisky industry with the ultra-high-tech world of artificial intelligence. We don’t know about you, but we’re excited to see what comes next!