Rakı is a traditional and Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) alcoholic beverage that is distilled from grape distillate with Pimpinella anisum L. in copper pot stills in Turkey. This study focused on the development of a sensory lexicon, a sensory wheel, using a consensus approach and the determination of major volatiles by GC-FID/MS for Rakı. A total of 37 Rakı samples representing all producers were used for volatile and sensory evaluation. The experts identified 78 attributes and references for the lexicon. The main attributes were spicy, anise, sweet, resinous, fruity, dry fruit, floral, head&tail aroma and white colour. The Rakı sensory wheel was created to provide a graphical display of its sensory attributes. For validation of the lexicon, 18 samples were evaluated using descriptive analysis. The results were subjected to PCA to examine the relationship of the samples with the defined sensory attributes. The PCA results show that there is a significant relationship between the Rakı categories and sensory terms and flavour intensities. The GC-MS analyses depicted the following major volatile compounds n-propanol, 2-methyl-1-propanol, 2 and 3-methyl-1-butanol, ethyl-acetate, acetal, acetaldehyde, trans-anethol and estragole. The characterization of the product using its most distinctive sensory descriptors are important tool and can be used for the industry, marketing, consumer education and scientists.
Keywords: descriptive analysis; lexicon; rakı; sensory wheel; volatiles.