Making Single Malt

Scotch whisky involves the five processes of .....

  1. Malting: Conversion of the BARLEY grain into malt by soaking it in WATER and spreading it on a malting floor to allow it to germinate. Once germinated the growth process is stopped by killing the sprouted barley by using PEAT smoke.

  2. Mashing: The malt is ground (milled) and put in a large vat called a mashtun where hot WATER is added in three separate steps. The resulting sugary liquid called wort is drained off into vats called washbacks.

  3. Fermentation: YEAST is added to the wort and allowed to ferment for about two days. The result is a "sour beer or ale" containing about 8 percent alcohol.

  4. Distillation: The liquid, now called wash, is then double distilled in pot stills. The first distillation is done in a "wash still" and the second distillation is done in a "spirit still". The resulting "raw" spirit is about 75% alcohol and is stored in the intermediate spirit receiver. WATER is now added to reduce the spirit content to about 64% and then stored in the spirit vats from which the maturation casks are filled.

  5. Maturation: The spirit is now inserted into oak casks of various sizes for maturation. The oak cask employed were used previously to mature either wines of various types or American whiskies. The legal minimum number of years of maturation is 3, but good whiskies are matured for much longer. When the aged Whisky is bottled WATER is again added to reduce the alcohol content to not less than 40%.