I was reading about reducing wine and came across a claim that alcohol itself has no flavor.
But, what about the alcohol? Ethanol, or ethyl alcohol—the byproduct of yeast fermentation—has no flavor of its own. By that I mean it does not trigger any receptors in the tongue or nose. It does have a effect, which results from the alcohol interacting with the cells in the mouth. If you are planning on using a wine in cooking, particularily if it will be reduced or simmered, the alcohol should have no effect on flavor.
However, from my past experience, that's simply not true. Or if it is, where does the bad flavor of strong spirits come from? It's more than just the "burn" of the alcohol, if I mixed everclear with water to where it was around the same strength of wine, it would taste nasty. Why is that?