Colour Me Goodd, I'm Chlorochrous With Envy

16 Comments on Colour Me Goodd, I'm Chlorochrous With Envy

I received an email from Angus Winchester’s mailing list today that has revolutionised my future tasting notes for this blog in a small but brilliant way.

Angus Winchester: vocabulary-expanding research hero

Angus Winchester: vocabulary-expanding research hero

For those of you who haven’t heard of him, Angus is a bona fide cocktail legend (he has no less than three drinks named after him).  The guiding light of Trailer Happiness (London’s best rum bar), where he founded the Rum Club, Angus was one of the original International Playboy Bartenders and is now a globe-trotting drinks evangelist who, amongst many other things, works for Diageo as Global Ambassador for Tanqueray (he is working towards the title of Gin Genius) as well as spreading the cocktail word with his own bar consultancy, Alconomics.

In the course of his research, Angus has come up with what must be the best list of drink-related colours ever amassed.  Now, I’ve never been one to talk about a whisky’s colour much, unless it’s particularly pale, dark or unusual (eg Green Elgin, which I now know is olivaceous), but I do love the English language and vocabulary, and anything that improves it gets a big thumbs up from this blogger (although obviously that doesn’t mean I’ll tolerate any comments from smart-arsed pedants about my own dubious grammar or syntax!).

From this day forth, any tasting notes that I do on here will have a bit more colour, to wit a descriptor from the below.  In the face of such an outstanding piece of work it would be churlish not to.  In fact, I love this list so much that I’ve christened it Colour Me Goodd (with apologies to readers of a certain age who had managed to forget about ‘I Wanna Sex You Up’).

aeneous         shining bronze colour
albicant        whitish; becoming white
amaranthine     deep purple-red colour
atrous          jet black
aurulent        gold-coloured
badious         chestnut-coloured
castaneous      chestnut-coloured
castory         brown colour; brown dye derived from beaver pelts
chlorochrous    green-coloured
citreous        lemon-coloured; lemony
filemot         dead-leaf colour; dull brown
ibis            a pale apricot colour
icterine        yellowish or marked with yellow
icteritious     jaundiced; yellow
jacinthe        orange colour
jessamy         yellow like a jasmine
kermes  brilliant red colour; a red dye derived from insects
luteolous       yellowish
luteous         golden-yellow
lutescent       yellowish
madder  a reddish or red-orange colour
melanic         black; very dark
melichrous      having a honey-like colour
nigricant       of a blackish colour
nigrine         black
ochroleucous    yellowish white
olivaceous      olive-coloured
puccoon         dark red colour
pyrrhous        reddish; ruddy
rubiginous      rusty-coloured
rubious         ruby red; rusty
rufous          reddish or brownish-red
russet          reddish brown
sorrel          reddish-brown; light chestnut
spadiceous      chestnut-coloured
titian          red-gold or reddish-brown
umber           brownish red
vinaceous       wine-coloured
vinous          deep red; burgundy
violaceous      violet-coloured
vitellary       bright yellow
xanthic         yellow; yellowish
zinnober        chrome green

Come on, what’s not to love?  The above has been printed off and will reside just behind my monitor at work, where I can contemplate it while preparing for a tasting.  My particular favourites are lutescent, melichrous, ochroleucous and spadiceous.   Granted, I probably won’t get to use a few of them (in fact I hope  I never have to use amaranthine and I’d be pretty freaked out if you gave me a kermes whisky) but I hope you’ll join me in doffing caps to Angus Winchester for producing something that makes the world a better place.

Let me know your favourite in the poll I’ve set up in the side-bar…


Posted in Whisky Tasting Notes


InkRose says:

At this juncture I’m going to have to invoke this wonderfully witty little thought I came across somewhere. Attributed to Unknown.

“English doesn’t borrow from other languages. English follows other languages down dark alleys, knocks them over, and goes through their pockets for loose grammar.”

Or, in this case, vocabulary. Most of these are inescapably Latin, in origin or modulation. But I’m sure we’ll all forgive you and Angus, since it is a wonderful tool to make oneself appear even more snooty. 😛

bgulien says:

Oh come on, Tim, you are projecting the vivacious (that’s no colour) and lightheadedness of the cocktail set on the serious whisky world 😉
Gotta get me head around the sentence that;s going to look like: a vittilary whisky and with water it almost went ochroleucous. And that was the non-peated variety.

Good luck! Haha..

BTW. I have to congratulate TWE on the excellent Port Askaig series. I almost finished of a CS already!

Nate says:

I totally approve of this, although I think I would be more concerned about a zinnober whiskey than anything else.

WhiskyParty says:

I’m afraid I can’t agree with this.

The club of whisky drinkers is already pretty small and self selecting. Adopting jargon like this – while scientifically it may perhaps be accurate – is more suited to Master Blenders or someone working at the Whisky Research Institute than a blog that is looking to expand the pool of scotch drinkers, and knowledge of those who are already alert to the pleasures of a good dram.

I have no desire to refer to a secret decoder ring to determine what color a scotch is when reading tasting notes.

I took some time to write up a more thorough response on my own whisky blog. I hope you will check it out:

butephoto says:

That’s terrible. You expect me to remember any of that after tasting a few drams? Plus the colours are in no sort of scale from lightest to darkest – just alphabetical. My head hurts already.

[…] am a big fan of the Whisky Exchange and their blog, but I have to take issue with a post today by Tim F. On the advice of Angus Winchester, Diageo’s Global Ambassador for Tanqueray, Tim has decided […]

How about a conditional rule…no colour comments in the review unless you’re 100% sure that no caramel coloring has been added.

Tim F says:

Cheers for the comments, gents!

Great quote, InkRose!

Glad you liked the PA, bgulien

Whisky Party – I read your post. Please don’t take this too seriously, it’s just a bit of fun. I’d never be so cruel as to use one of these words without a translation as well!

I hope we can meet up sometime and you’ll see I’m all about inclusiveness and getting new people into whisky. I do all I can to demystify and myth-bust the subject whenever possible.

Jeff, the caramel issue is very important and if I know a whisky contains it, I’ll be sure to mention it. It’s one of my pet hates.

WhiskyParty says:

Good to know. I thought perhaps the whole thing might be in jest, but nothing indicated that you were less than serious.

Sometimes not all humor translates online.


[…] I’m going to say Ochroleucous (Yellowish-White) as it’s pretty pale, exactly as you’d expect from young […]

angus says:

Lordy folks… I can’t really believe that you would take this THAT seriously…

I would opine that perhaps those that take this post/list so seriously probably take the whole whisky thing too seriously and fall foul of the very problem they accuse us of…

Drinking whisky is enjoyable and any of these words, used in the right context will surely bring a smile to a face… but most words you use are always relative…what is familiar to you may well be unfamiliar to others…

Here is a great article about it

But dont think because I am a bartender that I am trying to confuse but to have fun and i have to say I have done a lot to encourage people to drink malt.


Tim F says:

Amen, Angus – although as WhiskyParty says, not all of my humour translates online to our guests from across the pond.

Thanks again for the list, and also for the link to Charlie’s piece.


[…] to the French wine casks (good-quality Burgundy) in which some of the spirit was matured.  On the Colour Me Goodd scale, this is luteous or […]

[…] On the Colour Me Goodd scale, this is aurulent (golden) or luteous (golden yellow).  Impressive […]

[…] Colour:  I’m going to say that this is xanthic on the Colour-Me-Goodd scale. […]

[…] 1977 Deoch an Doras  Colour:  On the Colour Me Goodd scale I’m going to say that this is somewhere between titian and castaneous or […]

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