The Whiskyphiles

Whiskyphile, noun [C] specialized / ˈwɪs.ki.faɪl / a disciplined devotion to whisky, first known use 2013.

Whisktionary & Beersaurus

Whisktionary /ˈwɪs.k.shəˌner-ē/

Beersaurus /bîr-sôr′əs/

A reference book of beer & whisky

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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A


Aberfeldy

aberfeldy-12-year-old-whisky

Distillery and brand of Highland single malt scotch whisky named after the local town on the river Tay, historically referred to as Tayside whisky. For more about Aberfeldy Distillery visit our profile page.


Aberlour

aberlour-10-year-old-whisky

Distillery and brand of Speyside single malt scotch whisky named after the local town. For more about Aberlour Distillery visit our profile page.


Abhainn Dearg

abhainn-dearg-the-spirit-of-lewis-spirit

Distillery and brand of Island single malt scotch whisky located on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. For more about Abhainn Dearg Distillery visit our profile page.


ABV [Alcohol By Volume]

The alcoholic strength as measured by the relative volume of alcohol present.


Acetone

Acetone

An organic compound with the formula (CH3)2CO. It is a colourless, volatile, flammable liquid, and is the simplest ketone. Familiar household uses of acetone are as the active ingredient in nail polish remover and as paint thinner.

Acrospire

The sprout at the end of a seed when it begins to germinate.

Adelphi

adelphi-blended-scotch-whisky

Independent bottler and owners and operators of Ardnamurchan Distillery and producer of Blended Scotch Whisky

Adze

A cooper’s cutting tool shaped like an axe, used for smoothing or carving wood, the blade is perpendicular to the handle


Age Statement

The minimum age, normally in full years, of any whisky present within a bottle


Ailsa Bay

ailsa-bay-single-malt-whisky

Brand of Lowland single malt scotch whisky produced at the Ailsa Craig Distillery on the same site as Girvan grain distillery owned by William Grant & Sons.


Ale

Ales are beers fermented with top fermenting yeast. Ales typically are fermented at warmer temperatures than lagers, and are often served warmer. The term ale is sometimes incorrectly associated with alcoholic strength


Allt-á-Bhainne

Distillery owned by Pernod Ricard for use in blended whisky production. Speyside single malt scotch whisky bottled occasionally by Independent Bottlers.


anCnoc

anCnoc 2000

Brand of Speyside single malt scotch whisky released as specific vintages by owners Inver House, produced at the Knockdhu Distillery.


Angel’s Share

The loss in volume due to evaporation of whisky from a cask as it matures [often calculated as an average of 5% volume in the first year then 2% of the remaining volume per year thereafter]. Actual loss will vary from cask to cask due to their individual properties.


Ardbeg

Ardbeg10yo

Distillery and brand of Islay single malt scotch whisky located on the southern Kildalton shore of Islay in the Inner Hebrides

Ardmore (The)

ardmore-traditional-peated-1l-whisky

Distillery and brand of traditionally peated Highland single malt scotch whisky located near to the village Kennethmont in Huntly, Aberdeenshire.

Arran

Arran10yo

Brand of Island single malt scotch whisky produced at the Isle of Arran Distillery on the island of Arran


ASB [American Standard Barrel] 

ASB’s are oak containers of 200 litre capacity, made from charred, virgin oak wood they are used in the maturation of bourbon and subsequently employed for the maturation of Scotch whisky.


Astringency

A characteristic taste mostly caused by tannins, oxidized (phenols), and various aldehydes (in stale beer). Astringency can cause the mouth to pucker and is often perceived as dryness.

Auchentoshan

Auchentoshan-Classic-single-malt-scotch-whisky

Distillery located on the outskirts of Glasgow and brand of Lowland single malt scotch whisky, adheres to the lowland tradition of triple-distillation.

Auchroisk

auchroisk-10-year-old-whisky

Distillery and producer of Speyside single malt scotch whisky released as a 10 year old in the Flora and Fauna range or used for blending by its owners Diageo, or more commonly released as a single malt by Independent Bottlers.

Aultmore

Aultmore 12 yo

Distillery and brand of Speyside single malt scotch whisky released as part of the last great malt series from owners Dewar’s

B

Bain’s

bains-cape-mountain-whisky-75cl

Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky is a brand of Single Grain Whisky produced at The James Sedgwick Distillery in Wellington, South Africa.

Balblair

balblair-2005-vintage-1st-release

Distillery and brand of Highland single malt scotch whisky released as specific vintages by owners Inver House

Ballechin

ballechin-10-years-old-heavily-peated

Brand of heavily-peated Highland single malt scotch whisky produced at Edradour Distillery

Balmenach

Balmenach-Distillery

Distillery and producer of Speyside single malt scotch whisky, established the same year as it’s more famous neighbour The Glenlivet but less well known as used for blending by owners Inver House and only released as a single malt by Independent bottlers

Balvenie (The)

balvenie-doublewood-12-year-old-whisky

Distillery and brand of Speyside single malt scotch whisky owned by William Grant & Sons.


Barley

Malting-Barley

A cereal grain derived from the annual grass Hordeum vulgare. Barley is used as a base malt in the production of beer and certain distilled spirits, as well as a food supply for humans and animals.


Bell’s

Bells8yo

Brand of Blended Scotch Whisky named after Arthur Bell, produced by Diageo

Ben Nevis

ben-nevis-10-years-old

Distillery and brand of lightly peated Highland single malt scotch whisky released by owners Nikka.

BenRiach

BenRiach Curiositas 10 Year Old Peated

Distillery and brand of Speyside single malt scotch whisky, owned by Brown-Forman, recently experimented with peated and triple-distillation production methods producing a wide range of whisky expressions in addition to annual batches of single cask releases.

Benrinnes

Benrinnes-15-years-old

Distillery and producer of Speyside single malt scotch whisky, released as a 15 year old expression as part of the Flora and Fauna range by owners Diageo, or more commonly released as a single malt by Independent Bottlers.

Benromach

Benromach-10-years-old

Distillery and brand of Speyside single malt scotch whisky owned and operated by Independent Bottlers Gordon & MacPhail.

Bilge

The bulging part of a barrel or cask, likely derived from the nautical term for the rounded or bottommost interior part of a ship’s hull where water would collect.

Black Bull

black-bull-8-year-old-whisky

Brand of Blended Scotch Whisky established in 1864 and produced by Independent Bottler, Duncan Taylor

Bladnoch

bladnoch-samsara-whisky

Distillery and brand of Lowland single malt scotch whisky, previously owned by Diageo and decommissioned into a museum before a spell of private ownership and current revitalisation under new ownership.

Blair Athol

blair-athol-12-year-old-whisky

Distillery and producer of Highland single malt scotch whisky, released as a 12 year old expression as part of the Flora and Fauna range by owners Diageo.


Blend

A mixture of whiskies from different distilleries. If all components are Malt whisky then a Blended Malt is produced, a mixture of Malt and Grain whiskies produces a Blended Whisky, if produced in Scotland then it is known as Blended Scotch.


Blending

The process of mixing whisky from more than one distillery. Blending is an art form executed by expert blenders, mostly done by nosing of the component whiskies and having an wealth of  knowledge and understanding of how the component parts will behave and be perceived when mixed together.


Bonded

Applying to warehouses used to store whisky. A Bond or Bonded Warehouse is a secured building in which dutiable goods may be stored or manipulated without payment of duty.


Bourbon

An American whisky produced using a minimum of 51% or more corn, distilled to no more than 80% ABV, aged in new, charred oak barrels at no more than 62.5% ABV and bottled at no less than 40% ABV.

Bowmore

Bowmore-Small-Batch

Distillery and brand of Islay single malt scotch whisky, currently the oldest operational distillery on Islay.

Braeval

Braeval_Distillery

Distillery and producer of Speyside single malt scotch whisky, known as Braes of Glenlivet until 1994, used for blending by owners Chivas Brothers and more commonly released as a single malt by Independent Bottlers.

Brora

brora-37-year-old-1977-special-release-2015-whisky

Adoptive name of the old Clynelish Distillery when it was active after the new Clynelish distillery was built in 1968. Finally closed in 1983, the famed Brora Highland single malt scotch whisky is becoming increasingly rare and expensive and is released as part of the Special Releases range by owners Diageo with few single casks remaining in existence.

Bruichladdich

bruichladdich-8-year-old-the-laddie-eight-whisky

Distillery and brand of Islay single malt scotch whisky, built in 1881 and closed in 1994 but resurrected by private investors in 2000.

Buffalo Trace

buffalo-trace-bourbon-whiskey

Distillery and brand of Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. Buffalo Trace is the oldest continuously operating distillery in America.

Bung

A stopper for closing a hole in a container.

Bunghole

An aperture through which a cask can be filled or emptied.

Bunnahabhain

bunnahabhain-12-year-old-whisky

Distillery and brand of Islay single malt scotch whisky owned by Distell.

Bushmills

bushmills-irish-whisky

Distillery and brand of Irish Whiskey


Butt

A large oak container of 500 litre capacity, commonly used for the maturation and storage of sherry and subsequently employed for the maturation of whisky


Butyric Acid

Butryic-acid

Also known as butanoic acid, carboxylic acid with the structural formula CH3CH2CH2-COOH a product of anaerobic fermentation, usually removed by distillation. It has an unpleasant smell and acrid taste, with a sweetish aftertaste similar to ether and is the main distinctive smell of human vomit. Detectable at concentrations above 10 parts per million, giving rise to the unusual tasting note of ‘baby sick’, and usually an indication of poor fermentation or cutting of the spirit during distillation.

C


Cask

Cask with features

An oak container used for the storage of whisky, though most other names (barrel, hogshead, butt, etc.) denote containers of a specific size, all are considered a cask once filled with whisky.


Cask Filling Strength

The alcoholic strength at which spirit is interred into the cask. Commonly spirit is diluted from still strength down to 62.5% or 63% ABV before filling into the cask. Rarely Still Strength spirit is used undiluted and less commonly Marrying Strength casks are filled at 68% ABV.


Cask Strength

The alcoholic strength of whisky while it is maturing within the cask. Bottling the whisky without the common dilution to a standard ABV (e.g. 40%, 43% or 46%) would result in a cask strength (or Barrel Proof) bottling.

Caol Ila

caol-ila-12-year-old-whisky

Distillery and brand of Islay single malt scotch whisky owned by Diageo. Located on the sound of Islay, overlooking the island of Jura.

Cardhu

Cardhu 12 Years Old

Distillery and brand of Speyside single malt scotch whisky owned by Diageo.


Cereal

whole-grains-primary

Any grass cultivated for the edible components of its Grain composed of the endosperm, germ, and bran. There are a number of different types of grains found within the true Cereal Grains which are from the botanical family ‘Poaceae’ including barley, corn (maize), oats, rice, rye, sorghum, spelt, teff, triticale, millet and wheat as well as Pseudocereal grains starchy grains from broadleaf plant families including; amaranth, buckwheat, chia and quinoa.


Charger

A closed vessel used for charging (filling) copper pot stills during batch distillation, commonly a Wash Charger and Low Wines & Feints Charger are employed during double distillation

Chichibu

Chichibu-Chibidaru-2010-2014

Distillery and brand of Japanese single malt whisky founded in 2004 by Ichiro Akuto

Chill Filtering

Chill filtering is a method in whisky making for removing residue. In chill filtering, whisky is cooled to between -10° and 4° Celsius (often roughly 0°) and passed through a fine adsorption filter. This is done mostly for cosmetic reasons – to remove cloudiness, rather than to improve taste or consistency. Chill filtering prevents the whisky from becoming hazy when in the bottle, when served, when chilled, or when water or ice is added, as well as precluding sedimentation from occurring in the bottles. Chill filtering works by reducing the temperature sufficiently that some fatty acids, proteins and esters (created during the distillation process) precipitate out so that they are caught on the filter.

Chime

The extension of the staves beyond the head of the cask, into which the croze is cut.

Clynelish

clynelish-14-year-old-whisky

Distillery and brand of Highland single malt scotch whisky owned by Diageo.


Column or Continuous Still

thegirvan-patent-still-multi-pressure

A large industrial apparatus used for the continuous distillation of grain whisky. Continuous stills consist typically of two columns, named the Analyzer and Rectifier. Operating like a long tube of pot stills, the alcohol/water mixture is purified by introduction of steam and passing through several porous plates. The resultant alcoholic vapour extracted can be as concentrated as 96% ABV.


Condenser

Condensor

Attached to the Lyne arm, the condenser functions to return the vapour to its liquid phase. This is achieved by running cold water over the condenser tube. Traditional ‘worm tub’ condensers consist of a spiral tube immersed in a tub of cold running water. More modern tube-in-tube condensers (either horizontal or more commonly vertical) consist of a wide bore tube through which the vapour travels whilst cold water is run in a counter-current through numerous smaller tubes within it.

Cooper

Traditionally, a cooper is someone who makes wooden, staved vessels, bound together with hoops and possessing flat ends or heads.

Cooperage

Production facility for making and repairing wooden casks

Cragganmore

Cragganmore-12-Years-Old-single-malt-scotch-whisky

Distillery and brand of Speyside single malt scotch whisky owned by Diageo.

Craigellachie

Craigellachie 13 Years Old

Distillery and brand of Speyside single malt scotch whisky owned by Dewars.

Croze

A groove at the end of a cask or barrel to receive the edge of the head, also the cooper’s tool for making croze grooves.


Cut

The middle part of the distillation run between the Foreshots and Feints, also known as the Heart of the run. This contains the most desirable alcohols and runs from 80% down to 60% ABV during the run, giving an average ~ 70% ABV.

D

Dailuaine

dailuaine-16-year-old-whisky

Distillery and producer of Speyside single malt scotch whisky, released as a 16 year old expression as part of the Flora and Fauna range by owners Diageo, or more commonly released as a single malt by Independent Bottlers.

Dalmore (The)

Dalmore_Cigar_malt

Distillery and brand of Highland single malt scotch whisky owned by Whyte & Mackay

Dalwhinnie

Dalwhinnie-15-Years-Old-single-malt-scotch-whisky

Distillery and brand of Highland single malt scotch whisky owned by Diageo.

Deanston

Deanston 12 Years Old

Distillery and brand of Highland single malt scotch whisky owned by Distell. Established in 1966 in a former cotton mill on the bank of the river Teith near Doune.


Distill or Distillation

Purifying a liquid by heating it so that it vaporizes, then cooling and condensing the vapour and collecting the resulting liquid. The resultant liquid has been Distilled.


Distillery

A place where spirits are manufactured by the process of distillation.


Double-Distilled

Having undergone a process of two separate and sequential distillation events.


Draff

draff

The remains of the milled grain after the mashing process, mostly husks and coarse grits. This material is low in sugar but high in protein and traditionally was sold to local farmers as cattle feed. Most nowadays is collected and used in the manufacture of processed/pelleted animal feed.

Dresser

Rosebank Distillery - Malt dressing machine in the mill house

A Malt Dresser or Dressing machine is a device for clearing any stones or other unwanted particles from the malted barley before it goes into the mill, preventing damage to the mill and also the risk of sparks causing fire or explosion.

Dufftown

The-Singleton-Of-Dufftown-12-Years-Old-single-malt-scotch-whisky

Distillery owned by Diageo named for the town in which it is located. Produces Speyside single malt scotch whisky marketed under the Singleton brand released in Europe.


Dunnage

Dunnage Warehouse

A traditional type of warehouse for the storage of whisky, constructed of thick stone or brick with low walls, slate roof and and earthen floor. Casks are usually stored stacked no more then three-high and are hand-moved.

E

Edradour

Edradour_10YO_dist_ed

Distillery and brand of Highland single malt scotch whisky owned by Independent Bottler, Signatory Vintage.

Enzyme

Enzymes are macromolecular biological catalysts. Enzymes accelerate chemical reactions. The molecules upon which enzymes may act are called substrates and the enzyme converts the substrates into different molecules known as products. e.g. maltase and alcohol dehydrogenase

Ethanol

Ethanol

Ethanol, also called alcohol, ethyl alcohol, and drinking alcohol, is the principal type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages. It is a volatile, flammable, colorless liquid with a slight characteristic odor. Its chemical formula is C2H6O, which can be written also as CH3-CH2-OH or C2H5-OH (an ethyl group linked to a hydroxyl group), and is often abbreviated as EtOH. Ethanol is mostly produced by the fermentation of sugars by yeasts,

F


Feints

Towards the end of a batch distillation run in a copper pot still, the feints are too low in alcohol as to be usable. Feints are collected and re-distilled with the next batch.

Fermentation

Fermentation is a metabolic process that converts sugar to acids and gases, or alcohol. Before fermentation takes place, one glucose molecule is broken down into two pyruvate molecules. This is known as glycolysis. During Ethanol Fermentation, one glucose molecule is converted into two ethanol molecules and two carbon dioxide molecules:C6H12O6 → 2 C2H5OH + 2 CO2

Fettercairn

fettercairn-fior

Distillery and brand of Highland single malt scotch whisky owned by Whyte & Mackay


Finish

The after-effect of the whisky following tasting as experienced by the senses.


Finishing

A specific maturation technique where whisky is matured in one cask type and then transferred to a second, different cask type to obtain the properties from the ‘finishing’ cask (commonly ex-bourbon followed by ex-sherry, but any combination is possible).

Firkin

A small cask or barrel equivalent to one quarter of a standard barrel, its capacity depends on the current size of a barrel, but at present: 1 firkin = 0.25 barrel = 9 imperial gallons = 10.8 U.S. gallons = 41 litres.

Flocculation

In colloid chemistry, flocculation refers to the process by which fine particulates are caused to clump together into a floc. Called flocculent as it is woolly in appearance. The floc may then float to the top of the liquid (creaming), settle to the bottom of the liquid (sedimentation), or be readily filtered from the liquid as in the process of chill-filtration of whisky.


Foreshots

The initial distillate off of the still during the distillation run, containing the most volatile and undesirable alcohols (e.g. Methanol), these are normally returned and mixed with the feints for further distillation.

G

Glen Elgin

glen_elgin_12

Distillery and brand of Speyside single malt scotch whisky owned by Diageo.

Glen Garioch

Glen-Garioch-Virgin-Oak

Distillery and brand of Highland single malt scotch whisky owned by Beam Suntory. For more about Glen Garioch Distillery visit our profile page.

Glen Grant

glen-grant-the-major-s-reserve-whisky

Distillery and brand of Speyside single malt scotch whisky owned by Campari. For more about Glen Grant Distillery visit our profile page.

Glen Moray

glen-moray-classic-whisky

Distillery and brand of Speyside single malt scotch whisky owned by La Martiniquaise. For more about Glen Moray Distillery visit our profile page.

Glen Ord

the-singleton-of-glen-ord-12-years-old

Distillery owned by Diageo located in the Muir of Ord. Produces Highland single malt scotch whisky marketed under the Singleton brand released in Japan. For more about Glen Ord Distillery visit our profile page.

Glen Spey

Glen-Spey-12-Years-Old

Distillery and producer of Speyside single malt scotch whisky, released as a 15 year old expression as part of the Flora and Fauna range by owners Diageo, or more commonly released as a single malt by Independent Bottlers.

Glenkinchie

Glenkinchie-12-Years-Old-single-malt-scotch-whisky

Distillery and brand of Lowland single malt scotch whisky owned by Diageo.


Grain

Whisky produced from a continuous still can be made from any type or combination of cereal grains including barley, wheat, maize (corn) and rye and hence is known as grain whisky.


Grist

Milled grain in preparation for the making of beer or whisky. Grist is composed of the husks and coarse grits, fine grits and flour. The majority of sugars released are present within the flour. The presence of the other components however helps with the mashing process by allowing percolation of the water through the grist while the sugars are dissolving.

H

Head

The flat end of a cask or barrel.


Hogshead

An oak container of 250 litre capacity, hogsheads are often constructed by rebuilding ASB and incorporating extra staves producing a more curved barrel shape.

Hopper

A container for a loose bulk material such as grain or grist, typically one that tapers downward and is able to discharge its contents at the bottom.

I


IB [Independent bottling]

Denoting a bottle of whisky that has been bottled by a third party or Independent Bottler and not the originator of the whisky.

J

Johnnie Walker

johnnie-walker-red-label-whisky

Brand of Blended Scotch Whisky named after John Walker, established in 1820 and produced by Diageo.

K

Kilderkin

A small cask or barrel for liquids or other substances, holding 16 or 18 gallons.


Kiln

A large furnace or oven used for drying germinated (malted) barley grains. Traditionally peat-fired giving the resulting malt and whisky a peaty, smoky flavour. Traditional kilns have a wirecloth floor and a distinctive pagoda roof chimney.

L

Lagavulin

Lagavulin 16 Years Old

Distillery and brand of Islay single malt scotch whisky owned by Diageo.

Lauter mashtun (or Lauter tun)

A lauter tun is the traditional vessel used for separation of the extracted wort. The false bottom in a lauter tun has thin (0.7 to 1.1 mm or 0.028 to 0.043 in) slits to hold back the solids and allow liquids to pass through. The solids, not the false bottom, form a filtration medium and hold back small solids, allowing the otherwise cloudy mash to run out of the lauter tun as a clear liquid. A good quality lauter tun has rotating rake arms with a central drive unit. Cutting blades hang from these arms. The blade is usually wavy and has a plough-like foot. Each blade has its own path around the tun and the whole rake assembly can be raised and lowered. Attached to each of these arms is a flap which can be raised and lowered for pushing the spent grains out of the tun. The brewer, or better yet an automated system, can raise and lower the rake arms depending on the turbidity (cloudiness) of the run-off, and the tightness of the grain bed, as measured by the pressure difference between the top and bottom of the grain bed. There must be a system for introducing sparge water into the lauter tun. Most systems have a ring of spray heads that ensure an even and gentle introduction of the sparge water.

Lautering

A process in brewing in which the mash is separated into the clear liquid wort and the residual grain. Lautering usually consists of 3 steps: mashout, recirculation, and sparging.


Low Wines

Following the first pot still distillation run, the wash is commonly concentrated from 8% ABV to a distillate from the Wash Still of 20% ABV termed Low Wines. The Low Wines are then charged into the Spirit Still for a subsequent distillation to 60-70% ABV.


Lyne Arm

The tubular structure attached to the top of the neck of the pot still, through which the vapour is carried to the condenser. Both the size, shape and angle of the Lyne arm will affect how the vapour escapes and subsequently the nature of the new make spirit produced.

M

Mallet

Bung Mallet

Large soft-headed wooden hammer for loosening and removing bung from casks. Used to strike the bung stave either side of the bunghole, releasing the bung by vibration.


Malt

Malted-Barley

Or Malted Barley, germinated barley cereal grains. Using water and heat, dormant cereal barley grain is tricked into germinating, a biological process during which Maltase enzymes are released and breakdown of the cereal starch stores into maltose occurs. Malting is halted before the sugar is utilised by heating and drying in a kiln. Whisky produced from 100% malted barley is also known as malt whisky.

Maltase

Maltase catalyzes the hydrolysis of maltose to the simple sugar glucose.


Marriage

Or Marrying, the process of mixing whisky from different casks. When the casks are a product of one distillery they result in Single Malt or Single Grain whisky.

Mashing

In brewing and distilling, mashing is the process of combining a mix of milled grain and water, known as “liquor”, and heating this mixture in a Mashtun. Mashing allows the enzymes in the malt to break down the starch in the grain into sugars, typically maltose to create a malty liquid called wort. Mashing involves pauses at certain temperatures notably 45°C–62°C–73°C, known as the three waters. The first two are high in sugar and make up the wort, the final water from each mashing is usually retained, cooled and used as the first water in the next mash and termed recirculation.

Mashout

Mashout is the term for raising the temperature of the mash to 77 °C (170 °F). This both stops the enzymatic conversion of starches to fermentable sugars, and makes the mash and wort more fluid.


Mashtun

Mashtun

A large tank or vessel in which the milled malted barley (or grist) is washed with typically three volumes of water at increasing temperatures in order to extract the dissolvable sugars released by the malting and milling processes. Normally the first and second water are saturated with enough sugar to become Wort and be used for fermentation in the Washback. The final and hottest wash is usually too weak in sugar and so is reused as the first wash for the next batch.

Mill

A mill is a device that breaks solid materials into smaller pieces by grinding, crushing, or cutting. A Malt Mill is a machine for crushing malted barley or grain into Grist. The common Malt Mill found in scotch distilleries was manufactured by Porteus and is a 4 roller vertical mill, rarer are Boby Mills found at 3 distilleries and Teaninich Distillery employs a Mash Filter.

Milling

The process of crushing malted barley or cereal grains to aid with the extraction of sugar in the mashtun. Most distilleries have specific milling requirements of grist, husks and flour as the insoluble portions of the grain aid in drainage or percolation during mashing. Over-milling of the grain, producing too much fine particles, prevents drainage and blocks the mashing process.

Mortlach

Mortlach_Rare Old

Distillery and brand of Speyside single malt scotch whisky owned by Diageo.

N


New Make

Or New Make Spirit, the name given to the spirit distillate directly as it come off the still.


Nose

The aroma of whisky as detected and experienced by the sense of smell during Nosing.

O


OB [Official Bottling]

Denoting a bottling of whisky that originates from the original producer (as opposed to IB)

Oban

Oban-14-year-old

Distillery and brand of Highland single malt scotch whisky owned by Diageo.


Outturn

A measure of the amount of whisky extracted from a matured cask, usually in standard 70cl bottles at cask strength.

P


Palate

The flavour and structure of the whisky as experienced by the sense of taste (and smell) during tasting.

Peat

Peat is an accumulation of partially decayed vegetation or organic matter that is unique to natural areas called peatlands or bogs. Peat is harvested as an important source of fuel in certain parts of the world and as such was used traditionally for kilning (drying) malted barley during the production of scotch whisky. This gives the whiskies a distinctive smoky flavour, often called “peatiness”. The peatiness, or degree of peat flavour, of a whisky, is calculated in ppm of phenol.

Phenol

Phenol2

Phenol, also known as carbolic acid, is an aromatic organic compound with the molecular formula C6H5OH. Phenol is a measurable component in the aroma and taste of peated scotch whisky. Phenol once was widely used as an antiseptic, and from the early 1900s to the 1970s it was used as a soap, known as carbolic soap, giving rise to the ‘medicinal’ or ‘coal-tar soap’ flavour notes in whisky as well as ‘smoky’ association.


Pot Ale

The residue resulting from the distillation of wash in the copper pot still, commonly also sold as animal feed. Pot Ale requires to be cleared out of the still and the still cleaned after each batch distillation.


Pot Still

A traditional copper pot still is a large copper kettle or alembic in which alcohol/water mixtures are boiled. As the alcohol has a lower boiling point than water, the early vapours are enriched in alcohol and thus fractional distillation is achieved. Most whisky is either double or triple distilled, undergoing this process either two or three times and reaching a higher alcoholic purity with each distillation. The size and shape of the still will affect how the vapours rise and purify, hence affecting the final nature and flavour of the new make spirit produced.

Puller

Bung Puller

Corkscrew-like device for careful removal of bungs from casks

Q

R


Receiver

A large closed vessel used for the receiving of distillates from the stills, typically a Low Wines and Feints Receiver and Intermediate Spirits Receiver are employed during double or triple pot still distillations

Recirculation (Mashing)

Drawing off wort from the bottom of the mash, and adding it to the top. Lauter mashtuns typically have slotted bottoms to assist in the filtration process. The mash itself functions much as a sand filter to capture mash debris and proteins.

Rundlet

A small cask or barrel of no defined dimensions of around 3-20 litre capacity, also an old British measure of capacity, about 15 imperial gallons (68 liters).

S


Scotch

Whisky made, matured for a minimum of 3 years and bottled in Scotland.


Sherry

A fortified wine made from white grapes in the region around Jerez de la Frontera in Andalusia, Spain.


Single

Produced by or belonging to only one distillery.

Sparging

Sparging is trickling water through the grain to extract sugars. This is a delicate step, as the wrong temperature or pH will extract tannins from the chaff (grain husks) as well, resulting in a bitter brew. Typically, 1.5 times more water is used for sparging than was for mashing. Sparging is typically conducted in a lauter mashtun.


Spent Lees – The residue resulting from distillation of Low Wines & Feints in the spirit still. Spent Lees require treatment before returning to waste or water courses.


Spirit

Or spirit alcohol, between new make but before it can legally be called whisky (i.e. After 3 years maturation for Scotch) the distillate is termed spirit or spirit drink (when consumed).


Spirit Safe

Spirit Safe

A large, glass-walled and secured container which allows the distiller to manage and analyse the spirit coming out of copper pot stills without coming into contact with it. Traditionally made of brass and visibly barred and padlocked with keys held by both the Distillery Manager and the Customs and Excise Officer.


Spirit Still

Spirit Still

Or Low Wines & Feints Still the second, often smaller copper pot still used in batch distillation.

Stave

A vertical wooden post or plank in a building or other structure, such as those in a cask.


Still

A device used for the distillation and purification of alcohol from alcohol/water mixtures.

Sulphur

A non-metallic multivalent chemical element, essential for life and present usually as sulphide or sulphate minerals, raw sulphur has an aroma associated with matches. Present as by-products of fermentation as well as cask maturation. Anaerobic sulphur metabolism can result in the production of hydrogen sulphide with a ‘rotten egg’ aroma.  The use of copper in stills allows the reduction of sulphur compounds in the distillate due the reactivity between the two elements to make crystallisable copper sulphate. Organic sulphur compounds however can add beneficial; meaty, rancio, rubbery, burnt, firework and grapefruit aromas to the whisky. The amount of sulphur removal will depend upon copper contact (i.e. still shape) and speed/temperature of distillation. Sulphur dioxide has long been used in winemaking as an antioxidant and antibacterial agent, and fumigation of casks (e.g. sherry casks) to be stored dry performed with sulphur candles, both of which may introduce sulphur based compounds into whisky during maturation – more commonly associated with ‘burnt’ and ‘rubbery’ notes.

T

Talisker

Talisker-10-Years-Old-single-malt-scotch-whisky

Distillery and brand of Island single malt scotch whisky owned by Diageo.


Triple-Distilled

Having undergone a process of three separate and sequential distillation events.

U


Underback

A small open-topped vessel through which the wort is sparging or leaving the mashtun. This allows the visual inspection of the clarity of the wort as well as control its flow.

V

Valinch

A tube for drawing liquors from a cask by the bunghole.


Vintage – Denoting a single specific year in which a cask or batch of casks of whisky were distilled and laid down for maturation. A bottling of such casks can claim that year as its Vintage (similar to wine).


Virgin Oak

An oak cask utilised to mature whisky that has had no previous occupants.

W


Warehouse

A warehouse is used for the storage and maturation of casks of whisky.


Wash

The liquid produced during the fermentation step which is then distilled.


Wash Still

Wash Still

In batch distillation the wash is first distilled in a larger copper pot still termed the Wash Still, producing the Low Wines


Washback

auchentoshan-distillery-washbacks

A large vessel in which wort and yeast are mixed and fermented to produce an alcoholic beer, typically of around 8% ABV and termed wash, for further distillation. Washbacks typically hold tens of thousands of litres and traditionally were constructed from Scots Larch or Oregon Pine, more modern examples are made from Corten or Stainless Steel.


Whisky or Whiskey

A distilled alcoholic beverage made from fermented mashed grain or grains, aged in a wooden cask typically made of oak.


Wort

The sugary liquid extracted during the mashing process in the production of beer or whisky. The sugar is fermented by yeast to produce alcohol.


Worts Cooler

Worts Cooler

A heat-exchange device used to cool the Wort, typically from 60-70 degrees Celsius as it leaves the Mashtun to a more yeast-friendly temperature below 40 degrees so as not to kill the yeast added for fermentation. Efficient worts coolers can be used to transfer heat from the Wort back into future waters for the Mashtun.

X

Y

Yeast

Yeasts are eukaryotic, single-celled microorganisms classified as members of the fungus kingdom. By fermentation, the yeast species Saccharomyces cerevisiae converts carbohydrates to carbon dioxide and alcohols.

Z

Zymogen

A zymogen, also called a proenzyme, is an inactive precursor of an enzyme. A zymogen requires a biochemical change (such as a hydrolysis reaction revealing the active site, or changing the configuration to reveal the active site) for it to become an active enzyme. Fungi  secrete digestive enzymes into the environment as zymogens. The external environment has a different pH than inside the fungal cell and this changes the zymogen’s structure into an active enzyme.

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