This section is from the book "The Manufacture Of Liquors, Wines, And Cordials, Without The Aid Of Distillation", by Pierre Lacour. Also available from Amazon: Manufacture of Liquors, Wines, and Cordials, Without the Aid of Distillation.
Nitric ether is a colorless volatile liquid, of a fragrant, etherial odor, and pungent, aromatic, sweetish, acidulous taste. This ether is commonly used for the fine gins - see the quantity in the receipts, and also for common American brandies. In some instances it is combined, one part acetic ether, and two of nitric ether; and again, the odor of this ether is tempered by the addition of a few drops of oil of winter green, or by a few drops of essence of ambergris, or essence of cassia; or by the spirit of nutmeg; any of these are added to suit the fancy of the operator. They should never be added to that excess that they would indicate themselves.
Is distilled from acetic acid, sulphuric acid, and alcohol. This ether is colorless, of a very grateful odor, and of a peculiar agreeable taste. This ether undergoes no change by being kept.
This ether enters largely into the aromatic portion of all domestic liquors, either singly or combined. Singly, for New York brandy, and for old Bourbon; or combined with essence of wintergreen, for old Roanoke whiskey, for peach brandy, combined with orange flower water. In imitating the imported brandies, combined with rum, orange essence, raisin spirit, spirit of prunes, or oil of wine, to any of these named articles, by its addition; acetic ether promotes a great saving of the more costly articles that are used to impart a distinguishing flavor to spirits. In imitating rum, combined with rum and sulphuric ether, added to neutral spirit, acetic ether is highly useful. To any of the cordials, viz. peach, sunny south, strawberry, raspberry, etc, etc, one ounce per gallon would be a great improvement. For the full use of acetic ether, see the Formulas.
Is a colorless, oily liquid, having an aromatic odor, and imparts a greasy stain to paper. This is the product by distillation of alcohol, sulphuric acid, and potassa. It is used for imitating foreign brandies; it is first dissolved in alcohol; the proportion is from one and a half ounces to five hundred gallons of clean spirit. We have nothing better than the oil of wine, as this is the article that imported brandies are indebted to for their aroma, and it is the perfume that we are endeavoring to imitate.
The objections to be urged against the oil of wine by the manufacturer are, the high price, and almost ill that is found contains extensive adulterations. And now it is rarely, if ever, used, having found so very many excellent substitutes. But in the manufacture of brandy on a small scale, oil of wine is preferable, and also for the imitation wines, viz. madeira, teneriffe, sherry,port, etc. It is used in the same quantities for wines as for brandies; the spirit to which it is added must be free of grain oil. The oil of wine is highly useful in bottling imitated wines and brandies, for these packages are examined with greater scrutiny than they would otherwise be. It is also used in the fancy whiskeys, when they are put up in small packages.