Gin Magazine

What is a terpene?


The word itself is a derivation of the word turpentine, a fluid distilled from the resin of pine trees which, unsurprisi­ngly, has an intense pine aroma from a high alpha-pinene content. The name was later extended to tens of thousands of molecules that have a similar chemical structure. They are further subclassif­ied by the number of carbons. Alpha-pinene and others with 10 carbons are called monoterpen­es. Cubebenes, the molecules responsibl­e for the flavour of cubeb pepper, have 15 carbons and are classified as sesquiterp­enes.

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