Fusel-oil meaning

fyo͝o'zəl
An acrid, oily, poisonous liquid mixture of amyl alcohols, occurring in incompletely distilled alcoholic liquids and used as a solvent and in the manufacture of explosives and pure amyl alcohols.
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An oily, acrid, poisonous liquid occurring in imperfectly distilled alcoholic products and consisting chiefly of amyl alcohols: small amounts contribute to the characteristic flavor of a whiskey.
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An acrid, oily, poisonous liquid occurring in the distillation products of fermented alcoholic liquids. Fusel oil is a mixture of amyl alcohols, fatty acids, and esters. It is used in paints, plastics, and varnishes, and in the manufacture of explosives.
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A mixture of several higher-order alcohols (alcohols with more than two carbon atoms) formed as byproduct in the normal fermentation process. An excessive concentration, as in low-quality moonshine, causes unpleasant taste.
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Origin of fusel-oil

The word "fusel" comes from German Fusel, which is used to refer to low-quality alcoholic beverages in general, especially to inferior wines and spirits distilled with inadequate equipment.