Characterization of Volatile Compounds and Flavor in Spirits of Old Apple and Pear Cultivars from the Balkan Region

Nermina Spaho, Fuad Gasi, Erich Leitner, Milenko Blesic, Asima Akagic, Sanja Orucevic Zuljevic, Mirsad Kurtovic, Davorka Dukic Ratkovic, Mirela Smajić Murtić , Milica Fotiric Aksic, Mekjell Meland*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study was conducted with the aim of developing fruit spirits by utilizing old (autochthonous) apple and pear cultivars that can be attractive to both consumers and producers. Consumers of spirits could enjoy the unique flavor, and producers could gain an opportunity for brand development. In total, eight old apple cultivars (Sarija, Žuja, Samoniklica, Prijedorska zelenika, Bobovec, Masnjača, Lijepocvjetka, and Šarenika) and three pear cultivars (Budaljača, Krakača, and Kalićanka) from Bosnia and Herzegovina were used for the spirits production and for characterizing the flavor of distillates. Golden Delicious was used as a representative of commercial apple cultivar. The aroma profile was conducted through the identification of minor volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and the sensory perception of spirits. Analysis of the VOCs was performed by gas chromatography mass spectroscopy (GC/MS) techniques after enrichment via solid-phase microextraction (SPME). Sensory evaluation was performed by 12 trained panelists. Overall, 35 minor volatile compounds were found in spirits: 13 esters, 7 alcohols, 6 acids, 5 terpenes, and 4 aldehydes. Significant differences were detected in the distribution and quantity of the VOCs, which were fruit cultivar-dependent. Spirits made from Šarenika apple cultivar showed the largest amount of all acids, especially short- and medium-chain fatty acids; however, this richness was not correlated with pleasant sensory attributes. Spirits obtained from Prijedorska zelenika and Masnjača apple cultivars had the best sensory attributes. Budeljača and Krakača pears are promising cultivars as flavoring in spirits production.
Translated title of the contributionCharakterisierung von flüchtigen und aroma aktiven Verbindungen in Detsillaten von alten Apfel und Birnensorten aus der Balkanregion
Original languageEnglish
Article number1258
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021


  • Fruit spirits
  • Old apples
  • Old pears
  • Volatile aroma compounds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Food Science
  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Plant Science
  • Microbiology

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