Phenolic acids, alkylresorcinols and lignans were concentrated in the outer rye grain layers. Their levels were related statistically to sensory flavour profiles. Only less than 10 % of the phenolic acids were non-bound (free), but were suggested to be the most flavour-active of the compounds studied. The perceived bitterness of the bran fractions was suggested to result from pinoresinol and syringic acid. Knowledge of the chemical origin of non-wanted flavours forms the basis of their removal, blocking or masking. The ultimate aim is to produce whole grain products with mild taste.