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Scotch Glossary
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Age – The number of years the whisky has spend in a wooden barrel during maturation; blended whisky takes on the age of its youngest component.
Blended scotch – A blend of various whiskies to produce a standard, uniform whisky.
Cask – A large, oak barrel that is used to store whisky; since 1916, all scotch whisky must be aged in an oak cask for at least 3 years
Cask strength – Whisky bottled at the alcoholic strength at which it aged in the cask without being diluted by adding water; whisky often contains an alcohol content of over 50% ABV while stored in casks.
Charring – The process of exposing flames to the inside surface of new barrels opening fissures in the wood to help with the aging process.
Chill filtration – The process of removing congeners by chilling the whisky prior to bottling which could otherwise cause the whisky to become cloudy when stored at low temperatures.
Congeners – Chemical compounds created during the production of whisky which give the whisky its flavor; examples of congeners include esters, acids, aldehydes, and higher alcohols.
Distillation – The process of turning a substance into vapor by heat, cooling the vapor so that it condenses, and collecting the resulting liquid in order to purify it or separate its constituents.
Draf – During the mashing process, the leftover grist at the bottom of the mash tun once the wort has been drawn off; often recycled and used as cattle food.
Dram – A small glass of whisky.
Drum maltings – Process of malting carried out in large drums (large cylindrical containers) that turn the barley mechanically instead of by hand.
Feints – The final spirit at the end of the pot distillation process; low in alcohol and re-distilled.
Foreshots – The poisonous first part of the distillate.
Grain whisky – Whisky produced by a coffey or patent still using wheat, maize, unmalted barley, or other cereals instead of barley as ingredients; usually used in blends.
Grist - Dried malt grounded into a powder-like substance which is mixed with hot water in a mash tun during the mashing stage.
Highland - Whisky made from distilleries in the northern, highland region of Scotland.
Island - Whisky made from distilleries in the islands of Scotland except for Islay.
Islay – Whisky made from distilleries on the island of Islay.
Kiln – Traditional oven used for drying barley to halt the germination process during the malting stage; distinguished by pagoda-shaped chimneys.
Lomond still – A type of pot still first used in the Lomond Distillery that produces an oilier, heavier spirit; initially designed to allow widening of the character and style of the malts by using stills which had an additional condenser in the head altering the reflux action in a controlled manner.
Lowland – Whisky made from distilleries in the southern, lowland region of Scotland.
Low wine – The spirit resulting from the first distillation containing about 21% ABV; low wine is then passed through the spirit still in the second distillation to produce a stronger spirit.
Lyne arm – The arm running from the head of the still to the condenser in a pot still.
Malt – Barley prepared by steeping, germinating, and drying.
Malt floorings – Maltings where barley is spread out on a floor (usually concrete) and turned by hand during the initial malting process of whisky production.
Mash – Liquid composed of mixing grist with hot water.
Mash tun – Large vessel used in the mashing process.
Middle cut – The part of the spirit that contains the highest quality alcohol needed for maturation and aging.
Mash – The first stage of the brewing process where malt is mixed with pure hot water to extract sugar.
Peat – A decaying vegetable matter decomposed by the action of water in marshes used as fuel; the smoke given off when burnt is used in the malting of barley.
Pot still – Open fire still used for the distillation of single malt; usually made of copper or stainless steel; a common still for double distilling malt whisky.
Saladin box – Vessel that is mechanically turned while barley germinates.
Single malt – Whisky made entirely from malt at a single distillery and fermented in a traditional pot still.
Spirit still – The second still in the distillation process when using a pot still.
Still – A device that changes a lower strength spirit into a higher one by heating and separating the vapors.
Vatted whisky – Whisky blended from several distilleries.
Wash – The result of the fermentation of the grist; the alcoholic liquid distilled to make the whisky.
Wash back – The vessel where the yeast is added to the cooled wort.
Wash still - The first still in the distillation process when using a pot still.
Worm - A coiled copper coil used in condensing vapors in the still.
Wort - The hot liquid produced from dissolved sugars in the barley grist that is drained from the mash tun prior to entering the wash back for fermentation.
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