ANGELS' SHARE : Baudoinia compniacensis
Most of us will have heard of this term and be familiar with the blackness that covers trees and buildings in near proximity to whiskey distilleries and bonded warehouses to store and mature whiskey. Scots, being a generous people always send off some to the angels. Perhaps inadvertently. Such fumes are eagerly enjoyed by a particular fungus too.
Baudoinia compniacensis is a sac fungus which has been observed on a variety of substrates in the vicinity of distilleries, spirits maturation facilities, bonded warehouses, and bakeries. The fungus is a habitat colonist with a preference for airborne alcohol, earning it the nickname whiskey fungus.
During the process of aging whiskey and certain other liquors, a portion evaporates, colloquially called the "Angel's Share"; this airborne alcohol near barrelhouses can lead to growth of Baudoinia compniacensis in the area, hence the term "whiskey fungus.
Baudoinia compniacensis can be identified by its black, effused mycelium that can be velvety or crust-like. It features hyphae which are vegetative, dark brown, thick-walled, and often moniliform; although it lacks distinctive conidiophores. [Wiki].
In most areas where whisley is produced and stored, you may notice that trees trunks and branches look almost black. And many a nearby building does too. This latter points can mean a great many unhappy building owners and where this involves residential buildings even more so. In some cases the building owners have sued the distilleries. But here is the rub.
Whiskey is one of Scotland's most inportant industries. Urban areas have in most cases grown up around the distilleries and their warehouses - not, usually, the other way around. New buildings with facing brick seem disproportionately affected. But is this poor specification?
A paper by Caledonia University gives us some perspective.
The whisky1 industry is key to the Scottish economy, contributing £4.37 billion pounds in 2017, providing around thirty-five thousand jobs (O’Connor, 2018), and being of higher export value in 2018 than oil and gas (Scottish Government, 2020). Notably, it is predicted to grow significantly, with many distilleries greatly increasing their stocks for future output (Cave, 2016). The industry’s espoused image is one of adhering to traditional historically preserved processes and practices followed in distilleries in picturesque rural surroundings. This image is reflected and promoted in tourism marketing such as Visit Scotland, noting of the thickly distillery populated Speyside valley, that “this breath-taking area sits in a fertile valley of rivers and secluded glens and is home to over half of Scotland’s distilleries” (Visit Scotland 2020). However, whilst operations conforming to these descriptions do undoubtedly contribute to production, much whisky is manufactured in denser urban environments and on a significantly larger scale than these ‘bespoke’ craft-oriented operations.
For the technically and chemically minded you will find out much more through the link below.
The buddleia (itself an invasive plant) is prolific near the bonded warehouses along the Leven. A branch of this one has decayed and fallen and exposed the effect on its bark.
WIKIPEDIA : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baudoinia_compniacensis#:~:text=During%20the%20process%20of%20aging%20whiskey%20and%20certain,in%20the%20area%2C%20hence%20the%20term%20%22whiskey%20fungus.%22