Click a letter to alphabetically locate a whisky related terminology or phrase.

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


A

ABV

The alcoholic strength of a drink is measured in ABV. The percentage of ethanol present determines its potency and affects the drinking experience greatly; water has an extremely low level (0%), while pure alcohol can reach up to 100%.

See also: Cask Strength | Proof

Aberfeldy

Aberfeldy is a brand of single malt whisky that is produced at the Aberfeldy Distillery in Perthshire, Scotland. The distillery was founded in 1896 by John Dewar & Sons, and it is currently owned by Bacardi. Aberfeldy whisky is made from Highland malt, which is then aged in oak casks for a minimum of 12 years. The resulting spirit has a light, honeyed flavour with notes of citrus and vanilla.

See also: Highlands Single Malts | Whisky Regions

Abhainn Dearg

Abhainn Dearg is a single malt whisky that is produced in Uig on the west coast of the island of Lewis, in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. The whisky is made using locally-grown barley and water from the Abhainn Dearg burn, which runs through the peaty soils of the island. The Abhainn Dearg distillery was founded in 2008, the most westerly in Scotland and it is the only distillery on Lewis. Abhainn Dearg produces both peated and unpeated whiskies, using ex-Bourbon American Oak casks and ex-Sherry European Oak casks for its maturation.

See also: Island Malt Distilleries | Lewis | Whisky Regions

Additive Maturation

When whisky passes its immaturity phase, it will eventually react to the wooden cask used to store it. Subsequently, the whisky matures, adopting new and more complex flavours and aromas.

See also: Age | Cask | Maturation | Subtractive Maturation | Interactive Maturation

Age

The duration of which a whisky is matured inside its cask. For example, if a bottle of Scotch whisky shows an age statement of “15 Years Old” this means that the youngest whisky in the bottle is 15 years old. As soon as the whisky is removed from the cask, the ageing process ceases. If whisky is bottled after 5 years, it will forever remain a 5-year-old whisky.

See also: Cask | Maturation | NAS Whisky | Vintage Whisky

Alligator Char

A description for the burnt interior surface of an oak whisky cask as it resembles the rough textured skin of an alligator. The process of ‘charring’ manipulates and enriches the flavour profile within the cask, often releasing notes of vanilla and caramel.

Charring is measured by the amount of time the oak’s surface is exposed to flames, ranging from 1 to 7. A lightly charred cask is only burned between 15 to 40 seconds, whilst a heavily charred cask can exceed 90 seconds. Most distilleries use a level 4 char which is also known as an ‘Alligator char’. Stronger char levels of 5 to 7 are uncommon.

See also: Cask | Charring | Toasting | Red Layer

American Whiskey

Whisk(e)y is a popular spirit made in America from various grain. The most common types are bourbon whiskey, rye whiskey, rye malt whiskey, malt whiskey, wheat whiskey, Tennessee whiskey, and corn whiskey.

See also: Bourbon | Kentucky Whiskey | Tennessee Whiskey | Whiskey

American White Oak

The deciduous hardwood native to eastern and central North America to make whisky casks. This timber imparts soft sweet tasting notes with hints of vanilla and caramel.

See also: Cask | European Oak | First Fill | Maturation

AnCnoc

AnCnoc is a single malt whisky that is produced at the Knockdhu distillery in Banffshire, north east Scotland. The name AnCnoc comes from the Gaelic word for “hillock” or “knoll”, which is fitting given the distillery’s location in the Highlands. AnCnoc whisky is made using traditional methods and is matured in oak casks for a minimum of 12 years.

See also: Highlands Single Malts | Whisky Regions

Angel’s Share

Angel’s share is a term used to describe the portion of liquor that is lost to evaporation during the aging process. Whisky is typically aged in oak barrels, and over time, a small amount of the liquid will evaporate through the porous wood. This phenomenon is known as the “angel’s share” and it can vary depending on the type of barrel used, the storage conditions, temperature and the length of aging.

In Scotland, angels share averages at a 3-5% loss for each year the whisky matures inside the cask. It warmer regios such as India, angels share can be much higher at nearly 10%.

See also: Age | Cask | Maturation

Arran

Arran whisky is a single malt Scotch whisky that is produced on the Isle of Arran. The Arran distillery is located in the village of Lochranza, in the north of the island. The flavour profile of Arran 10 year old single malt whisky is citrusy and honeyed, with a light peatiness. Arran was the first new distillery to be built on the Isle of Arran in over 150 years. The distillery began production in 1995, and the first Arran single malt was released in 1998. Arran whisky is now exported to over 30 countries around the world.

See also: Island Malt Distilleries | Whisky Regions

Ardmore

Ardmore is a Highland single malt whisky that has been distilled in Scotland since 1898. The Ardmore distillery is located in Kennethmont, a village in the heart of Speyside. Ardmore whisky is renowned for its distinctive smoky flavour, which comes from the unique way that the kilns are fired.

See also: Highlands Single Malts | Whisky Regions

Ardnamurchan distillery

The Ardnamurchan whisky distillery is located on the Ardnamurchan peninsula near Lochaber in the western highlands of Scotland, one of the most remote in the country. Having only been built in 2014, it’s one of the newest distilleries in Scotland. The distillery produces single malt whiskies, both peated and unpeated, which is made using water from nearby springs and barley from the local area.

See also: Highlands Single Malts | Whisky Regions

ASB

The American Standard Barrel, or ASB, is the most common type of barrel used for bourbon and whisky production in the United States. ASBs are made of white oak, which imparts a subtle yet distinct flavour to the spirit. ASBs are typically charred on the inside, which helps to further extract flavours from the wood. The char also acts as a filter, trapping impurities and helping to produce a smooth final product. ASBs are often reused multiple times, each time imparting a different flavour profile to the spirit. As a result, many bourbons and whiskies have a complex flavour that is derived from the ASB barrels in which they are aged.

See also: Barrique | Blood Tub | Butt | Cognac Transport | Demi-Muid | Gorda | Hogshead | Madeira Drum | Octave Cask | Port Pipe | Puncheon | Sherry Butt | Quarter Cask

Aqua Vitae

Latin for ‘water of life’ which refers to the earliest form of distilled spirit.

See also: Uisge Betha | Uisge Beatha

B

Balblair

Balblair whisky is a single malt Scotch whisky produced in the Edderton area of Ross-shire, Scotland. The Balblair distillery was founded in 1790 by John Ross, and it is one of the oldest working distilleries in Scotland. Balblair whisky is distilled using traditional methods and matured in oak casks for a minimum of 12 years.

See also: Highlands Single Malts | Whisky Regions

Balvenie

Balvenie is a single malt Scotch whisky that is produced at the Balvenie distillery in Dufftown, Scotland. The Balvenie distillery was founded in 1892 by William Grant. The Balvenie whisky has a distinctively honeyed flavour profile, and it is aged in oak barrels that have previously been used to age sherry. The Balvenie whisky is known for its smooth taste and its notes of vanilla, citrus, and cinnamon. The Balvenie distillery offers tours of their facility, and visitors can observe the traditional methods that are used to produce their whisky.

See also: Highlands

Barley

Barley is a cereals plant that belongs to the grass family. It’s scientific name is Hordeum vulgare and it’s an annual plant that’s cultivated in temperate climates. Barley is used in many different ways – as food for both humans and animals, in brewing and distilling, and even as a source of biofuel. When it comes to making whisky, barley is one of the most commonly used types of grains, especially in Scotch whisky. Barley is malted, which means that it’s germinated and then dried. This process helps to convert the starch in the barley into sugar, which is then fermented and distilled to create whisky. While there are other cereals that can be used to make whisky, such as wheat and rye, barley is the most commonly used grain due to its unique flavour profile.

See also: Malted Barley | Malting

Barrique

orda

Barrique is a term that is used in French wine-making. It refers to the use of small barrels, or casks, for aging wine. Barriques are typically made of oak, and they add flavour and complexity to the wine as it ages. The size of a barrique is usually about 225 litres, although there is some variation depending on the winemaker. Barriques are often used for red wines, although they can also be used for white wines and Champagne. The term derives from the French word “barrique”, which means “barrel”.

See also: ASB | Blood Tub | Bourbon Barrel | Butt | Cognac Transport | Demi-Muid | Gorda | Hogshead | Madeira Drum | Octave Cask | Port Pipe | Puncheon | Sherry Butt | Quarter Cask

Beer

The fermented mixture of sugary liquid (wort) mixed with yeast. Otherwise known as wash, this ferment is a basic type of beer (omitting hops). Whisky beer is made inside wooden vessels called washbacks over a period ranging between 2-4 days.

See also: Wash | Washbacks | Wort | Yeast

Ben Nevis

Ben Nevis is a Single Malt Scotch Whisky from the Ben Nevis Distillery in Fort William, Scotland. The Ben Nevis distillery was founded in 1825 by “Long John” Macdonald, and it is currently owned by Japanese spirits company Nikka. The Ben Nevis distillery uses water from a spring that runs down the side of Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the British Isles.

See also: Highlands Single Malts | Whisky Regions

Blair Athol

Blair Athol is a whisky distillery located in Pitlochry, Perthshire in Scotland. The Blair Athol distillery was established in 1798, originally as the ‘Aldour distillery’. The Blair Athol whisky is a Single Malt Scotch Whisky and is distilled using water from the nearby Allt Dour burn. Matured in sherry casks, Blair Athol whisky is generally considered quite sweet.

See also: Highlands Single Malts | Whisky Regions

Blended Grain Whisky

A whisky blend made from two or more grain whiskies from different distilleries. These can be made of corn, barley, rye, maize or wheat.

See also: Blended Malt Whisky | Grain | Single Malt Whisky

Blended Malt Whisky

A whisky blend made from two or more single malt whiskies from different distilleries. Generally, these are made from malted barley.

See also: Blended Grain Whisky | Grain | Single Malt Whisky

Blood Tub

The smallest kind of whisky casks used to mature 30-50 litres. Distilleries rarely use this size of cask unless for a limited run or for small cask investments.

See also: ASB | Barrique | Bourbon Barrel | Butt | Cognac Transport | Demi-Muid | Gorda | Hogshead | Madeira Drum | Octave Cask | Port Pipe | Puncheon | Sherry Butt | Quarter Cask

Body

The way whisky feels in your mouth in terms of viscosity and fluidity.

See also: Colour | Palate | Finish

Bootlegging / Bootlegger

The illicit production, transportation and sale of alcohol in America between 1920 and 1933 during the era known as Prohibition.

See also: Moonshining | Prohibition

Bottling

The final stage in the whisky making process where whisk(e)y is poured into its final bottle for retail, storage and consumption. Prior to bottling, cask strength whisky or barrel proof whiskey is sometimes ‘cut’ with purified water and to reduce its alcoholic content.

See also: Cork | Labelling

Bottled in Bond

An American term for a spirit (normally whiskey) which has been distilled within a *season by one distiller, at one distillery, aged for at least 4 years and then bottled at 100 proof. The barrel must be stored in a federally bonded warehouse under US government supervision.

The Bottled in Bond act of 1897 was implemented as a benchmark of authentic and compliant spirit production which met government standards. This was in reaction to the adulteration of American whiskey whereby substandard whiskeys were being poorly made.

In today’s market, Bottled in bond is a divisive term. Some say it’s a statement of quality. Others deem this standard to be outdated and unnecessary.

*A ‘season’ can be either January to June or July to December.

See also: Ageing | Bottling | Proof

Bourbon

Bourbon is a type of American whiskey that is made from a mash of at least 51% corn. Bourbon must be aged in new, charred oak barrels and it can be produced in any state in the United States. Bourbon gets its unique flavour from the char on the barrels as well as the particular type of yeast used during fermentation. Bourbon must be aged for at least two years, but many brands allow their whiskey to age for much longer.

See also: Lincoln County Process | Kentucky Straight Bourbon | Kentucky Whiskey | Tennessee Whiskey

Bourbon Barrel

Also known as an ASB (American Standard Barrel) these are the most common type of casks used for bourbon and whisky production in the United States. By American law, they’re only allowed to be used once to make bourbon, which is why they’re so commonly transported and used for Scotch whisky maturation.

ASBs are made of white oak, which imparts a subtle yet distinct flavour to the spirit. ASBs are typically charred on the inside, which helps to further extract flavours from the wood. The char also acts as a filter, trapping impurities and helping to produce a smooth final product.

ASBs are often reused multiple times, each time imparting a different flavour profile to the spirit. As a result, many bourbons and whiskies have a complex flavour that is derived from the ASB barrels in which they are aged.

See also: ASB | Barrique | Blood Tub | Butt | Cognac Transport | Demi-Muid | Gorda | Hogshead | Madeira Drum | Octave Cask | Port Pipe | Puncheon | Sherry Butt | Quarter Cask

Briquette/s

A brick shaped lump of peat which is cut from the ground (bog) then dried and burned as a fuel source. During whisky making, peat briquettes are used to create smoke and heat to dry malted barley in a process known as kilning.

See also: Kilning | Malting | Peat | Peat Reek | Peat Smoke

Bruichladdich

Bruichladdich is a whisky distillery on the Rhinns of Islay in Scotland. The Bruichladdich distillery produces various single malt Scotch whiskies which have caught the attention of the whisky world for their progressive branding, flavours and sustainable practices. Originators of the most heavily peated whisky in the world, Bruichladdich represent the next generation of whisky distillers.

See also: Islay | Single Malt Whisky

Bung

A wooden or cork stopper used to seal a cask.

See also: Cask

Butt

A large cask made from Spanish Oak or American White Oak with a capacity of 475-500 litres. Usually used to mature sherry.

See also: ASB | Barrique | Blood Tub | Butt | Cognac Transport | Demi-Muid | Gorda | Hogshead | Madeira Drum | Octave Cask | Port Pipe | Puncheon | Sherry Butt | Quarter Cask

C

Campbeltown

Campbeltown is a town located on the Kintyre peninsula in southwest Scotland. It is best known for its whisky production, with over 30 active distilleries at the height of the industry in the 19th century. Today, only three active distilleries remain, but Campbeltown is still considered an important region for whisky production.

Active distilleries: Glengyle, Glen Scotia and Springbank

See also: Highlands | Islands | Islay | Lowlands | Speyside | Whisky Regions

Carbon Dioxide

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is created during whisky making when yeast is added to the wort (malted grain and water mixed together). The yeast feeds on the natural sugars in the malted grain which begins to ferment, thus creating ethanol and carbon dioxide.

See also: Fermentation | Wort | Yeast

Cask

A cylindrical wooden vessel used to mature, store and transport alcoholic liquids. Casks come in varying sizes and can be used for storing multiple kinds of beverages including sherry, wine, port, beer and whisky.

See also: Age | Cooper | Cooperage | Finishing | Hoops | Maturation | Staves

Cask Strength

Whisky which has been bottled directly from a cask without being diluted with purified water. Cask strength whiskies typically range between 50-80% ABV. For consistency and increased yields, distillers often reduce the alcohol levels of their spirits down to the minimum of 40% ABV by diluting them with water

See also: ABV | Cask | Cutting | Dilution | Proof

Centre Cut

The portion of distillate which occurs between the heads and tails (feints and foreshots) of a spirit during distillation. This term is also known as ‘Heart of the run’ or the ‘middle cut’ and is the priority portion of whisky distillate that is kept and matured inside casks.

See also: Beer | Distillation | Feints | Foreshots | Heart Of The Run | Low Wines | Mash | Middle Cut | Spirit Still | Tails | Wash | Wash Still

Cereal Grains

7 types of grass cultivated for their edible grains. These crops are grown in large volumes and consist of wheat, corn (maize), rice, barley, oats, rye and sorghum. For making whisky, these grains are often malted prior to mashing.

See also: Grain | Malting | Malted Barley | Unmalted Barley

Charcoal Mellowing

Also known as the Lincoln County Process, Charcoal Mellowing is a method of filtering Tennessee whiskey through sugar maple charcoal before going into the barrel. This is one of the differentiating factors in the production of Tennessee whiskey compared to other American whiskeys.

See also: Lincoln County Process | Tennessee Whiskey | Kentucky Whiskey | Bourbon

Charring

The controlled burning and extinguishing of the interior of a wooden whisky cask via a brazier. This process creates a layer of charcoal within the vessel which imparts flavour and filters impurities from the spirit to later be contained within. Charring may also be referred to as toasting.

See also: Alligator Char | Red Layer | Toasting

Chichibu Distillery

The Chichibu Distillery is located in Chichibu, in the Saitama Prefecture of Japan. The relitively small distillery produces a range of tremendous whiskies, including single malt and blended expressions. Made in small batches, their highly sought-after bottles usually sell out quickly.

See also: Fuji Gotemba | Hakushu | Miyagikyo | Shinshu Mars | White Oak | Yamazaki | Yoichi

Chill Filtering

The process of chilling whisky down to between -2 to +5°C and passing it through a series of very fine absorption filters to remove any impurities such as acids, proteins and esters. This method prevents the whisky from becoming cloudy at low temperatures to maintain clarity and good aesthetics.

Chill filtering is argued to impede the flavour of the finished drink as it removes subtle characteristics which can differentiate it from other whiskies. Because of this, it’s common to see distilleries state ‘non chill filtered’ on their bottle labels and other commercial messaging.

Clearic

Also called a new make spirit, clearic is raw distilled whisky which hasn’t been matured in a cask. Fresh from the spirit sill, the spirit is clear in colour. In recent years, new make spirits have grown in popularity as they demonstrate distillery character and allow distilleries a quicker way to monetise their spirit without having to wait for it to mature inside a cask.

See also: Distillation | Distillery Character | New Make Spirit

Clynelish

Clynelish is one of the four core single malts that make up Johnnie Walker, the world’s best-selling blended Scotch whisky. The Clynelish distillery is located in Brora, Sutherland, in the Highlands of Scotland. The distillery gets its name from the Clynemilton burn, which flows nearby. Founded in 1967, Clynelish is known for its high-quality whisky, which has a floral and malty hints with its signature ‘waxy’ body. The malt is used in both Johnnie Walker Blue Label and Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve. Clynelish is also bottled as a single malt whisky and is highly regarded by whisky connoisseurs.

See also: Highlands Single Malts | Whisky Regions

Coffey Still

Aeneas Coffey invented the column still in 1830. It is more efficient than the pot still and can produce higher ABV spirits. The device consists of two columns which contain a number of compartments separated by heated plates. The plates have small holes to permit the upward passage of steam and spirit vapor, which is condensed to become spirits.

Coffey stills are one of the most prevalent types for grain whiskies and are commonly used to make grain whiskies or other spirits such as gin or vodka. Coffey stills are also referred to as Continuous stills, Column stills or Patent stills.

See also: Column Still | Continuous Still | Doubler Still | Lomond Still | Pot Still | Patent Still | Single Pot Still | Thumper Still | Twin Still

Cognac Transport

A 300 litre capacity cask, predominantly used to store cognac or wine.

See also: ASB | Barrique | Blood Tub | Bourbon Barrel | Butt | Demi-Muid | Gorda | Hogshead | Madeira Drum | Octave Cask | Port Pipe | Puncheon | Sherry Butt | Quarter Cask

Collector

Someone who invests in rare or limited-edition whiskies without drinking them. This hobby can be for enjoyment or for the intention of buying and holding the bottles for a period of time before selling for a profit.

Colour

In whisky making, colour can come from either the cask in which the spirit is matured or from additional artificial colouring such as E150a. Natural colouring occurs from the cask’s timber and interior charring which can give whisky its colour. The longer the whisky is inside the cask, generally the darker it gets.

Artificial colouring such as E150a, otherwise known as spirit caramel, is the only kind which is permitted to be added to Scotch whisky. This colouring allows certain distillers more consistency between batches.

See also: Body | Palate | Finish

Column Still

Column stills (also known as Coffey stills, Continuous stills or Patent stills) are a continuous type of still and are commonly used in the American grain whiskey and vodka making industries. Consisting of two stills, they are tall and narrow, with a series of internal perforated plates that allow steam to rise up through the liquid. The steam helps to strip away impurities, leaving behind a purer and often stronger spirit than that of pot stills. Column stills are very efficient as they provide a continuous production output unlike pot stills.

See also: Coffey Still | Column Still | Continuous Still | Doubler Still | Lomond Still | Pot Still | Patent Still | Single Pot Still | Thumper Still | Twin Still

Commercially Malted Barley

Barley which has been malted by a specialist ‘malting plant’, usually outsourced by breweries or distilleries who do not malt on their own premises. Many distilleries choose to source their malts from commercial malting plants as it saves a lot of space, energy and specialist skill.

Springbank distillery in Campbeltown is the only Scottish distillery to malt 100% of their own barley. Other Islay distilleries such as Laphroaig or Bowmore do in-house malting, however a portion of their grain is commercially malted offsite.

See also: Floor Malting | Malting | Malted Barley | Unmalted Barley

Continuous Still

The Continuous Still (also known as Coffey stills, Patent Stills or Column stills) are commonly used type of still in the American grain whiskey and vodka making industries. It is a highly efficient method of separating alcohol from fermented mash, and it can produce a high-proof spirit in a relatively short amount of time.

Continuous stills consist of two main sections: the analyser column and the rectifying chamber. The mash is first fed into the analyser column, where it is heated until the alcohol begins to vaporize. The vapours are then directed into the rectifying chamber, where they are condensed back into liquid form. The resulting spirit is then ready for aging and bottling. Continuous Stills are capable of producing large quantities of whisky quickly, making them an essential piece of equipment for large commercial distilleries.

See also: Coffey Still | Column Still | Doubler Still | Lomond Still | Pot Still | Patent Still | Single Pot Still | Thumper Still | Twin Still

Cooper

A trained and highly skilled craftsperson who specialises in the making of wooden casks or barrels for the production, storing and maturation of alcohol such as whisky, brandy sherry or wine. Cooper apprenticeships last between 4-5 years before being fully qualified. Like Smith or Webster, this historic and specialised trade also paved the surname Cooper.

See also: Cask | Cooperage | Staves

Cooperage

A term used to describe the factory where whisky casks are made. Using timber staves, workers known as Coopers skilfully steam and bend sections of timber to create the casks.

See also: Cask | Cooper

Cork

The outer bark of a cork oak tree (Quercus suber) which is used to make bottler stoppers for whisky bottles.

See also: Bottling | Labelling

Corn Whiskey

A type of American grain whiskey made from corn. Corn whiskey, also known as Maize whiskey, is strongly associated with the illicit spirit of moonshine.

See also: Grain Whiskey | Maize Whiskey | Millet Whiskey | Oat Whiskey | Rye Whiskey | Wheat Whiskey

Cresol

A sub type of phenol which imparts a medicinal, earthy, tar-like flavour in whisky.

See also: Guaiacol | Phenols | Syringol | Xylenol

Cutting

Also known as dilution, cutting is the method of reducing the alcohol level of a cask strength whisky by mixing it with purified water. Dilution is a common practice used to create consistent ABV percentages as well as to increase yield.

See also: ABV | Cask Strength | Dilution

D

Dalmore

The Dalmore whisky distillery is located in Alness in the northern highlands of Scotland on the Cromarty Firth. The distillery was founded in 1839 by Alexander Matheson, and it remains in operation today. Dalmore whisky is made using water from the nearby River Averon and barley from the local area. Their flagship 12 year old whisky is matured in white oak ex-bourbon casks and then oloroso sherry casks for a minimum of 12 years, and it is characterized by notes of winter spices, citrus, chocolate, and vanilla.

See also: Highlands Single Malts | Whisky Regions

Dalwhinnie

The Dalwhinnie whisky distillery is located in the Highland village of Dalwhinnie Scotland as part of the Highlands region. The distillery is situated at 1,000 feet above sea level, making it the second highest in Scotland. The whisky made at Dalwhinnie has a reputation for being smooth and sweet, with notes of honey and heather. The distillery uses clear spring water water from the nearby Lochan-Doire-Uaine (a fresh water loch) which is said to contribute to the flavour of the whisky.

See also: Highlands Single Malts | Whisky Regions

Deanston

The Deanston whisky distillery is located in the town of Deanston, near Stirling, Scotland. The relitively young distillery occupies an old cotton mill, situated directly on the banks of the River Teith and has been in operation since 1965. Flowing over granite, the nearby river provides very soft water which the distillery uses as their main water source. The whiskies produced at Deanston are predominantly unpeated single malts, known for their light, fruity flavours. The distillery is open to visitors, and offers tours and tastings throughout the year. Deanston also has a visitor centre, which houses a museum and a shop selling whisky-related merchandise.

See also: Highlands Single Malts | Whisky Regions

Demi-Muid

A French phrase to describe a large oak barrel used for wine. They typically have a capacity of 600 litres.

See also: ASB | Barrique | Blood Tub | Bourbon Barrel | Butt | Cognac Transport | Gorda | Hogshead | Madeira Drum | Octave Cask | Port Pipe | Puncheon | Sherry Butt | Quarter Cask

Dilution

Also known as cutting, dilution is the method of reducing the alcohol level of a cask strength whisky by mixing it with purified water. Dilution is a common practice used to create consistent ABV percentages as well as to increase yield.

See also: ABV | Cask Strength | Cutting

Distillation

The purification of a liquid via heating and cooling. Whisky requires double distillation where the ‘wash’ is heated inside a large ‘wash still’ to separate the alcohol from the water. This first distillate is known as ‘low wines’ which are then distilled again inside a second smaller ‘spirit still’ to further purify the spirit.

See also: Centre Cut | Distillation | Feints | Foreshots | Heart Of The Run | Low Wines | Mash | Spirit Still | Wash | Wash Still

Distillery

A specialist factory that produces alcoholic spirits such as gin, vodka, brandy or whisky.

See also: Distillation

Distillery Character

The flavour profile of a whisky which occur before maturation in casks. Processes such as raw ingredient selection, malting and distillation all contribute towards distillery character which differentiate the whisky from others.

Some distillers purport that local water supply, coastal proximity, altitude and even dents on their pot stills can influence the character of their whiskies.

If available, a good way to experience distillery character is through their new make spirit as it hasn’t yet been matured inside a cask and is often lower cost than whiskies.

See also: Distillation | Malting | New Make Spirit

Distillery Map

A map which indicates the location of distilleries within a particular region or country.

See also: Whisky Regions

Doubler Still

Often used for grain whiskey, gin or vodka production, a doubler still is a copper vessel similar to a small pot still. Used downstream to the initial column still, Doubler stills provide a second phase of distillation to further remove unwanted impurities from the first distillate. Doublers only accept liquid spirit, whereas Thumper stills accept vapourised spirit.

See also: Coffey Still | Column Still | Continuous Still | Lomond Still | Pot Still | Patent Still | Single Pot Still | Thumper Still | Twin Still

Draff

Spent grain from a distillery which has been mashed inside a Lauter tun or Mash tun. This by-product is usually protein-rich and is often sold and used as animal feed

See also: Mash | Mashing | Wort

Dram

A measure of mass or volume which stems from ancient Greece. The more accurate and original term is a fluid dram which in modernity refers to a standard measure of alchol – usually whisky. Depending on a country’s licensing laws, a standard measure can vary between 25 to 35.5ml.

In Scotland (UK) a standard single measure is 25ml, whereas in Ireland, it is 35.5ml.

Another colloquial term for a dram is a ‘nip’ which means a small amount of something.

See also: Nip | Measure

Drinking Temperature

The recommended temperate of a whisky for optimum flavour.

See also: Neat | On The Rocks

Drumgruish

Drumgruish whisky distillery, located near the hamlet of Drumguish in the Speyside region of Scotland, has been producing award winning whiskies since 1990. Their signature expression is ‘Spey’ single malt and they also produce other expressions such as ‘Beinn Dubh’ single malt and ‘Byron’s’ Hand crafted gin.

See also: Highlands Single Malts | Whisky Regions

Dunnage Warehouse

One of three ways to store whisky casks, a ‘Dunnage’ is a small, low-roofed warehouse with thick walls and earthen floors used to store whisky casks stacked on their sides. Dunnage warehouses are a traditional style of building usually onsite at whisky distilleries and offer stable climatic storage conditions for whisky casks. Compared to racked or palletised storage, Dunnage warehouses are the most expensive to operate. Due to their low ceilings, forklifts cannot be used therefore rely on manual labour for cask handling. Dunnage warehouse casks are never stacked more than three barrels high.

See also: Racked Warehouse | Rickhouse | Palletised Warehouse

E

Eastern Canadian Whisky

Whisky made in eastern Canada which is predominantly made with corn, wheat or rye. Canadian whisky is commonly referred to as ‘rye whisky’ despite low percentages of rye actually being used in the mash bill. Eastern Canadian whisky distilleries include Hiram Walker, Forty Creek and Valleyfield.

See also: Western Canadian Whisky | Rye Whiskey

Edradour

Edradour Distillery is situated in the Perthshire village of Pitlochry (Highlands) and is one of the smallest distilleries in Scotland. Production is run by just three men and the distillery produces 12 barrels per week.

See also: Highlands Single Malts | Whisky Regions

European Oak

A timber usually originating from France or Spain which is often used to make sherry casks. Many whisky distilleries use these ex-sherry casks in which to mature their whiskies. The biological name for European Oak is Quercus rober or Quercus patraea.

See also: American White Oak | Cask | First Fill | Maturation

Excise Act

Also known as the ‘Wash Act’, this was the legalisation of whisky making in the UK in 1823 led by Lord Wallace. This enabled the legal production of whisky which could be regulated and taxed and marked the end of illicit distillation in Scotland.

See also: Prohibition

F

Feints

The last third of distillate during the distillation process. Also known as tails or ‘the final cut’ the feints occur after the desired centre cut distillate or ‘heart of the run’ has been captured from the spirit still. Near the end of distillation, the feints often contain fusel oils which are undesirable and impede the spirit’s purity.

See also: Beer | Centre Cut | Distillation | Feints | Foreshots | Heart Of The Run | Low Wines | Mash | Spirit Still | Tails | Wash | Wash Still

Fermentation

The process of sugar being turned into alcohol by yeast. This stage in the whisky making process is when distillers yeast is added to the sugary liquid from the mash (wort).

See also: Mash | Mashing | Wort | Yeast

Fettercairn

Fettercairn whisky distillery is located at Fettercairn, a small village in the Howe of Mearns area of Scotland. Nestled at the foot of the Grampian Foothills, Fettercairn is owned by Whyte & Mackay Distillers and has been producing spirits since 1824. Old Fettercairn is one of their

See also: Highlands Single Malts | Whisky Regions

Finish

A term used in whisky to describe either; (a) The lingering taste notes of a whisky or (b) the secondary maturing of a whisky in another type of wooden cask such as a sherry butt. The latter is usually referred to as ‘finishing’.

See also: Body | Colour | Palate

Finishing

When a whisky is taken from its first cask and stored in a different secondary cask. Considered a relitively modern technique, this method adds new dimensions of flavour and colour. Typically, the first cask is American white oak but the second ‘finishing’ cask can be a sherry, port or wine cask.

See also: Age | Cask | Maturation

First Fill

A cask previously used to mature sherry, bourbon or port which is then used to mature whisky for the first time. Because the cask has only held its original-purpose alcohol, it imparts the most flavour to the secondary liquid (whisky) being matured inside. Compared to second fill or refill casks, these imbue the strongest flavours hence their prominence in the whisky industry.

See also: Cask | Finish | Maturation | Refill

Floor Malting

The traditional and manual process of manually processing barley to let it germinate on a malting room floor. Wet grain which has been ‘steeped’ in water is laid out on a floor to initiate germination. The grain is manually turned by maltmen with shovels or small ploughs for even air exposure, thus ‘fooling’ the barley to begin growing as if it were springtime.

Very few distilleries continue the tradition of floor malting as most of them now source their barley from commercial malting plants.

See also: Germination | Kilning | Malting | Steeping

Foreshots

The first third of distillate during the distillation process. Also known as the ‘heads’ or ‘the first cut’ the heads are an unpleasant and potentially toxic liquid containing acetone, ethyl acetate and acetaldehyde. Undesirable and harmful, the foreshots are separated from the centre cut during distillation from the spirit still.

See also: Centre Cut | Distillation | Feints | Heads | Tails

Fuji Gotemba

Fuji Gotemba distillery is located on the south eastern flank of Mount Fuji in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. Its water source is from the same glorious mountain and it resides 620 m above sea level. Owned by the renowned Kirin group, Fuji Gotemba produces an exquisite single-malt whisky, drawing on both traditional and modern techniques which are used to create liquors that are full-bodied and balanced in flavour. The distillery’s location was apparently chosen as its climate closely simulated Scotland’s.

See also: Chichibu | Hakushu | Miyagikyo | Shinshu Mars | White Oak | Yamazaki | Yoichi

G

German Whisky

Whiskies produced in Germany from distilleries such as Liebl, Blackwood, Blaue Maus, Hammerschmiede and Höhler.

Germination

To make whisky, a grain such as barley is ‘fooled’ into growing. This process involves soaking the grain in water multiple times to initiate growth. Biologically, this is known as germination which converts the starch within the grain to malt sugar, breaking the husk via development of the first roots.

See also: Kilning | Malting | Malted Barley | Steeping

Glencadam

Glencadam distillery, located in Brechin, Angus, Scotland and currently produces one type of single malt Scotch whisky. Glencadam is owned by Angus Dundee plc and the majority of their whiskies are sold either for use in blended brands or by blenders.

See also: Highlands Single Malts | Whisky Regions

Glencairn Glass

A small, tulip-shaped drinking glass specifically designed for drinking whiskey. The name derives from its designer and developer (Raymon Davidson) from Glencairn Crystal Ltd who took inspiration from nosing copitas used in whisky labs. The tulip-shape is designed to funnel a whisky’s aroma towards the nose during nosing and tasting. The Glencairn glass is also known as a snifter, stem or nosing glass.

See also: Nosing Glass | Quaich | Snifter | Tumbler

Glen Deveron

Made in the Macduff distillery in Banff (north eastern Scotland) Glen Deveron is a single malt whisk. Glen Deveron and The Deveron were both named after the nearby Deveron River that runs alongside the Macduff Distillery.

See also: Highlands Single Malts | Whisky Regions

Glendronach

Glendronach Distillery is a renowned whisky distillery located in Forgue, near Huntly, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. It is known for its smooth, traditional Highland Single Malt Scotches. Glendronach’s malts are made from the highest-quality malted barley and crystal-clear water coming from the nearby Dronac Burn. Glendronach offers several signature malts including the original 12 year old, alongside their 15, 18 and 21 year old expressions.

See also: Highlands Single Malts | Whisky Regions

Glen Garioch

Glen Garioch whisky distillery has a long, distinguished history in Scotland dating back to 1797. It is located in the quaint, historic market town of Oldmeldrum near Aberdeen in North East Scotland and sits within the fertile green landscapes of Aberdeenshire. Glen Garioch produces a delicious Highland malt whisky only in small batches and avoids chill-filtering.

See also: Highlands Single Malts | Whisky Regions

Glengoyne

Glengoyne Distillery is a prestigious whisky distillery with a rich history, having been in continuous production since 1833. Located north of Glasgow, Scotland at Dumgoyne, Glengoyne prides itself on its unique process of producing Highland single malt whisky that is matured in the Lowlands. Glengoyne stands out amongst other distilleries in being able to retain the character of Highland whisky while bringing the subtle sweetness of Lowlands whisky to each cask-aged batch.

See also: Highlands Single Malts | Whisky Regions

Glenmorangie

Glenmorangie is a distillery situated in the Highland town of Tain, Ross-shire, Scotland. Glenmorangie has been producing single malt Scotch whisky since 1843 and has the tallest stills in Scotland. It is owned by The Glenmorangie Company Ltd which is a subsidiary of Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy. Glenmorangie offers a range of Oak-aged whiskies that vary from 10 years old to 25 years old, as well as regular cask finishes, extra matured bottlings, and a selection of special edition bottlings.

See also: Highlands Single Malts | Whisky Regions

Glengyle Distillery

The Glengyle distillery is located in Campbeltown, Argyll & Bute, Scotland. Established in 1872, Glengyle closed in 1925. Following a 75 year closure, the distillery was reinstated in 2004 producing a new range of whiskies under the brand name Kilkerran. Once more, the distillery uses traditional techniques to produce its single malts in what was once the whisky capital of the world.

See also: Campbeltown | Glen Scotia | Springbank

Glen Scotia Distillery

Glen Scotia distillery, often referred to as The Scotia or Old Scotia, is a single malt Scotch whisky producer located in Campbeltown, Scotland. Established in 1832, Glen Scotia whisky distillery is one of only three remaining distilleries that remain in the small Campbeltown region. Glen Scotia produce a range of peated and non-peated whiskies using malted barley and water derived from the nearby Crosshill Loch.

See also: Campbeltown | Glengyle | Springbank

Glenturret

Glenturret Distillery is the oldest in Scotland, having produced single malt Scotch whisky since 1763. It’s located in a hidden glen two miles northwest of Crieff in Perthshire. The distillery water from the nearby Loch Turret for its whisky making process, allowing the distillery to craft characterful and complex whiskies that have earned it its legendary status as the ‘Spiritual Home of Highland Whisky’.

See also: Highlands Single Malts | Whisky Regions

Grain Whiskey

Whisky made from cereals such as corn, rye, wheat, millet or oats. Most American and Canadian whiskies are considered grain whiskies. This is because they use these cereals as their main grain component with a minority portion of malted barley to provide the necessary enzymes for fermentation.

See also: Corn Whiskey | Grain | Maize Whiskey | Millet Whiskey | Oat Whiskey | Rye Whiskey | Wheat Whiskey

Green Malt

Wet barley that has been steeped in water, has begun germination but is yet to be dried.

See also: Floor Malting | Kilning | Malting | Steeping

Grist

The collective term for barley which has been ground in a malt mill into three grades of coarseness; husk, grits and flour. The grist is mixed with hot water inside a Lauter tun or Mash tun to extract starches and fermentable sugars to make a sugary liquid known as wort.

Example grist ratio;

  • 20% husk (Coarsest)
  • 70% grits
  • 10 % flour (Finest)

By varying the coarseness of the mixture, this allows the maximum extraction of starches from the barley during mashing. The husks assist with drainage whilst the grits and flour release the majority of the starch.

See also: Lauter Tun | Steeping | Malting | Mash | Mashing

Guaiacol

A sub type of phenol which imparts a brunt, smoky flavour in whisky.

See also: Cresol | Phenols | Syringol | Xylenol

H

Hammer Mill

A motorised mill for processing malted grain. Hammer mills are a sub-type of malt mill featuring a cylindrical drum containing a central rotating spindle with a series of hammers mounted to it. As the spindle rotates, the hammers ‘flail’ outwards due to centrifugal force whilst grain is simultaneously fed into the drum. The hammers crush the grain against the inner walls of the drum, thus producing a coarse mixture known as grist.

One of the few whisky distilleries to use a hammer mill is the Teaninich whisky distillery in Alness, Scotland. Uniquely, they also use a mash filter instead of a mash tun to make their wort.

See also: Grist | Malting | Malt Mill | Mashing | Roller Mill | Teaninich

Hakushu

Hakushu distillery is one of the premier Japanese whisky distilleries renowned for its exemplary single malt and blended whiskies. Located in the Toribara locality of Hakushū, Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan, the Hakushu distillery was established in 1973 on the slopes of Mount Kaikoma. It is part of the Suntory group and overlooks pristine forest scenery. The distillery draws its water source from nearby Mount Kai Komagatake, which produces some of the purest water in Japan.

See also: Chichibu | Fuji Gotemba | Miyagikyo | Shinshu Mars | White Oak | Yamazaki | Yoichi

Heads

The first third of distillate during the distillation process. Also known as foreshots or ‘the first cut’ the heads are an unpleasant and potentially toxic liquid containing acetone, ethyl acetate and acetaldehyde. Undesirable and harmful, the heads are separated from the centre cut during distillation from the spirit still.

See also: Centre Cut | Distillation | Feints | Foreshots | Tails

Heat Exchanger

A device used by distilleries to cool wort after mashing. Heat exchangers (or more commonly, plate heat exchangers) use cold freshwater to cool the wort without mixing the two liquids.

See also: Distillation

Heart Of The Run

The portion of distillate which occurs between the heads and tails (feints and foreshots) of a spirit during distillation. This term is also known as the ‘centre cut’ and is the priority portion of whisky distillate that is kept and matured inside casks.

See also: Beer | Distillation | Feints | Foreshots | Heads | Low Wines | Mash | Middle Cut | Spirit Still | Tails | Wash | Wash Still

Highlands

One of the 5 Scottish whisky regions.

See also: Campbeltown | Islay | Lowlands | Speyside

Highland Park

Highland Park distillery, located in Kirkwall on the Orkney Islands in Scotland, is the second northernmost single malt Scotch whisky distillery in the country. Highland Park uses local peat to give their whisky its unique flavour; this peat contains more heather than other peats. The whisky is aged in sherry casks made from either American or European oak and procured from Oloroso sherry producers in Spain.

See also: Peat | Whisky Regions

Highlands Single Malts

Whisky which has been distilled in the highland region of Scotland. See list below

  • AnCnoc
  • Aberfeldy
  • Ardmore
  • Balblair
  • Ben Nevis
  • Blair Athol
  • Clynelish
  • Dalmore
  • Dalwhinnie
  • Deanston
  • Drumguish
  • Edradour
  • Glencadam
  • Glen Deveron
  • Glen Eden
  • Glendronach
  • Glenfoyle
  • Glen Garioch
  • Glengoyne
  • Glenmorangie
  • Glenturret
  • Singleton of Glen Ord
  • Highland Park
  • Knockdhu
  • Loch Lomond
  • Loch Morar
  • Macphail
  • McClelland
  • Millburn
  • Oban
  • Old Fettercairn
  • Old Pulteney
  • Royal Brackla
  • Royal Lochnagar
  • The Singleton
  • Teaninich
  • Tullibardine
  • Tomatin
  • Wolfburn

Hogshead

Also known as a ‘Hoggie’ a hogshead is a reconstructed whisky cask made from deconstructed ex-bourbon cask ‘staves’. Bourbon casks are usually 200 litres in capacity; however, hogshead casks are rebuilt to hold between 225 to 250 litres. Upon reconstruction, Coopers will add new heads (ends) to the cask.

See also: ASB | Barrique | Blood Tub | Bourbon Barrel | Butt | Cognac Transport | Demi-Muid | Gorda | Madeira Drum | Octave Cask | Port Pipe | Puncheon | Sherry Butt | Quarter Cask

Hoops

Metal bands that secure the staves of casks together.

See also: Cask | Staves

I

Independent Bottler

A company who bottles its own whiskies but does not distill their own. Independent bottlers source their whiskies from external distilleries to make their own whisky, which is often blended.

See also: Bottling

Indian Whisky

Whisky that is produced in India. Famous brands include Rampur, Paul John and Amrut.

See also: Whisky Regions

Interactive Maturation

The relationship between distillery character and how a whisky matures within a cask. Distillery character is formed through water source, malting and distillation. Maturation comes from the cask/s in which the whisky is stored. This combination results in a unique interaction which informs the resultant flavour of the whisky.

See also: Additive Maturation | Cask | Distillation | Distillery Character | Subtractive Maturation

Irish Distilleries

Distilleries located in the republic of Ireland (South) or Northern Ireland (UK). Irish distilleries include;

  • Achill Island Distillery, County Mayo
  • Ballykeefe Distillery, County Kilkenny
  • Baoilleach Distillery, County Donegal
  • Blacks of Kinsale, County Cork
  • Blackwater Distillery, County Waterford
  • Boann Distillery, County Meath
  • Boatyard Distillery, County Fermanagh
  • Burren Whiskey Distillery, County Clare
  • Clonakilty Distillery, County Cork
  • Connacht Whiskey Company, County Mayo
  • Cooley Distillery, County Louth2
  • Copeland Distillery, County Down
  • Crolly Distillery , County Donegal
  • Dingle Distillery, County Kerry
  • Dublin Liberties Distillery, Dublin
  • Echlinville Distillery, County Down
  • Glendalough Distillery, County Wicklow
  • Glendree Distillery, County Clare
  • Great Northern Distillery, County Louth
  • Hinch Distillery, County Down
  • Kilbeggan Distillery, County Westmeath
  • Killowen Distillery, County Down
  • Lough Gill Distillery, County Sligo
  • Lough Mask Distillery, County Mayo
  • Micil Distillery, Galway
  • New Midleton Distillery, County Cork
  • Old Bushmills Distillery, County
  • Pearse Lyons Distillery, Dublin
  • Powerscourt Distillery, County Wicklow
  • Rademon Estate Distillery, County Down
  • Roe & Co Distillery, Dublin
  • Royal Oak Distillery, County Carlow
  • Shed Distillery, County Leitrim
  • Slane Distillery, County Meath
  • Sliabh Liag Distillery, County Donegal
  • Tipperary Distillery, County Tipperary
  • Teeling Distillery, Dublin
  • Tullamore Distillery, County Offaly
  • Waterford Distillery, Waterford
  • West Cork Distillers, County Cork

See also: Irish Whiskey | Munster | Ulster

Irish Whiskey

Whiskey made in either the Republic of Ireland (south) or Northern Ireland (UK).

See also: Munster | Ulster | Whisky Regions

Island Malt Distilleries

Island single malts are the single malt Scotch whiskies produced on the islands around the perimeter of the Scottish mainland.

  • Abhainn Dearg (Lewis)
  • Arran (Isle of Arran)
  • Highland Park (Orkney)
  • Isle of Barra distillery (Barra)
  • Isle of Harris distillery (Harris)
  • Isle of Raasay (Raasay)
  • Jura (Isle of Jura)
  • Scapa (Orkney)
  • Talisker (Isle of Skye)
  • Tobermory (Mull)
  • Torabhaig (Skye)

See also: Highlands Single Malts | Whisky Regions

Islay

Islay is an large island off the west coast of Scotland. The region is best known for producing some of the world’s most distinct single malt whiskies, often identified for their peaty aroma and flavouring. Islay itself is one of the five whisky regions in Scotland and is home to several distilleries including;

  • Ardbeg
  • Ardnahoe
  • Bowmore
  • Bunnahabhain
  • Bruichladdich
  • Caol Ila
  • Kilchoman
  • Lagavulin
  • Laphroaig

See also: Campbeltown

| Highlands | Lowlands | Speyside

Isle of Barra Distillery

Established in 2003, Isle of Barra Isle of Barra is currently in the process of constructing a future whisky distillery at Borve, a small landholding the island of Barra off the west coast of Scotland. When completed, Isle of Barra Distillery will produce its own single malt whisky to accompany its current range of gins.

See also: Island Malt Distilleries

Isle of Harris Distillery

The Harris distillery is one of the youngest and remotest in Scotland, located on the Hebridean island of Harris. Established in 2015, the company have achieved multiple awards with their signature ‘Isle of Harris Gin’ whilst they eagerly wait to bottle their first single malt whisky.

Titled “Hearach” the whisky is named after the Gaelic name for someone who comes from Harris. Their signature expression is distilled and matured entirely on Harris made with water from the nearby Abhainn Cnoc a ‘Charrain burn (stream).

See also: Island Malt Distilleries

Isle of Raasay

Isle of Raasay Distillery is a traditional Scotch whisky distillery located on the Isle of Raasay, an inner Hebridean isle in northwest Scotland. Established in 2014 by R&B Distillers, it is the first-ever legal whisky distilling operation on the island.

See also: Island Malt Distilleries | Whisky Regions

J

Jameson

Jameson whisky is an iconic Irish whiskey produced by the world-renowned Midleton distillery located in Cork, Ireland. Jameson is known for its smooth finish and robust, inviting aroma. Jameson whiskey is triple distilled made from both malted and unmalted barley.

See also: Irish Whiskey

Jura

Jura distillery is located on the isle of Jura in the Inner Hebrides – off Scotland’s West Coast. The distillery is owned by Glasgow-based company Whyte and Mackay and produces an array of whisky styles including unpeated Jura Origin, Jura Superstition, Jura Prophecy, Jura Elixir and Jura Seven Wood.

See also: Island Malt Distilleries | Whisky Regions

K

Keeper of the Quaich

An honorary title awarded by the Keepers of The Quaich Society to someone who has demonstrated outstanding achievement in their work, writing or evangelism related to Scotch Whisky.

See also: Quaich

Kentucky Straight Bourbon

American whiskey made in the state of Kentucky which has been matured for at least 2 years in accordance with the regulations of the Bourbon Act, 1964. Bourbon must contain a minimum of 51% in the mash and be aged in new oak barrels.

No age statement (NAS) straight bourbons must be matured for at least 4 years.

See also: Bourbon | NAS

Kentucky Whiskey

American whiskey made in the state of Kentucky in accordance with the regulations of the Bourbon Act, 1964. Bourbon must contain a minimum of 51% in the mash and be aged in new oak barrels.

See also: Tennessee Whiskey | Kentucky Straight Bourbon

Kilning

The final stage of the malting process used to halt the germination of a grain such as barley. Traditionally, a large fireplace known as a kiln was used to generate heat to dry malted barley above. Distilleries or commercial malting plants may/may not use fuels such as coke, wood or peat to give their malted grain a smoky or peaty flavour.

See also: Germination | Steeping | Malting | Malted Barley | Peat | Phenolic Content

Knockdhu

Knockdhu distillery is located in Knock, Aberdeenshire, Scotland and was founded in 1893. There they produce the award winning anCnoc range of peated and unpeated single malt whiskies, ranging from 12, 16, 18, 24 and 35 year old expressions.

See also: Highlands Single Malts | Whisky Regions

L

Labelling

Part of the bottling process, labelling is the addition of an adhesive label to the bottle to communicate company branding, age, ABV and other information about a particular type of whisky.

See also: Cork | Bottling

Laphroaig

Laphroaig distillery is a single malt Scotch whisky distillery located on the south coast of the isle of Islay, Scotland. Established in 1815, Laphroaig famously uses peat that is traditionally cut near the Kilbride Dam to smoke barley for their whisky. Its unique flavour and aroma are attributed to local barley, peat and clean spring water from Loch Laphroaig used during production. Laphroaig whisky is known for its distinctive smoky, peaty and iodine flavours making it a firm favourite among peated whisky lovers around the world.

See also: Islay | Malted Barley | Peated Barley | Peat

Lagavulin

Lagavulin distillery is located in the small island village of Lagavulin on the south side of the isle of Islay, Scotland. Lagavulin is one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland, founded in 1816 by John Johnston. Lagavulin produces single malt whisky that is both robust and full-bodied with a peaty flavour. Lagavulin’s water source comes from Solum Lochs which are adjacent to the distillery, providing pure water containing peat and minerals essential for Lagavulin’s distinct whisky-making process.

See also: Islay | Malted Barley | Peated Barley | Peat

Lauter Tun / Full Lauter Tun

A large cylindrical tank for mixing grist with hot water. Lauter tuns are a modernised method of mashing which use motorised rakes to agitate the mash mix. This agitation encourages extraction efficiency of the starches and sugars within the grist.

There are two types of Lauter tun.

  • Semi Lauter Tun, where the rakes simply rotate in a circular sweeping motion through the mash
  • Full Lauter Tun, where the rakes both rotate and vertically undulate for increased agitation of the mash.

Lauter tuns and Mash tuns both use drainage slots at the base of the tank which allows the sugary liquid (wort) to be drained and collected for the next stage of production (fermentation).

Many distilleries mash several times from one batch of grist in a process known as batch infusion mashing. The grist is mixed with batches of increasingly hot water, with each phase being drained before the next. Batch infusions can happen up to four times to extract the maximum amount of sugars for the wort.

See also: Lauter Tun | Semi Lauter Tun | Steeping | Malting | Mash | Mashing | Mash Tun

Lewis

The Isle of Lewis is the northern portion of Lewis and Harris, the largest island of the Western Isles or Outer Hebrides archipelago in Scotland. These two regions are often deemed as separate islands despite being part of the same land mass.

See also: Abhainn Dearg

Lincoln County Process

Also known as charcoal mellowing, the Lincoln County Process is a method of filtering Tennessee whiskey through sugar maple charcoal before going into the barrel. This is one of the differentiating factors in the production of Tennessee whiskey compared to other American whiskeys.

See also: Bourbon | Charcoal Mellowing | Kentucky Whiskey | Tennessee Whiskey

Loch Lomond

Loch Lomond is one of the most famous lochs in Scotland, located in The Trossachs National Park. It is a freshwater loch and is around 24 miles long, making it the largest inland body of water in Great Britain.

See also: Highlands Single Malts | Whisky Regions

Lomond Still

A Lomond still is a type of modified pot still which contains three perforated plates which can be independently controlled and cooled during batch distillation. This modularity enables the character of the spirit to be manipulated by the distiller, all from the same still. For this reason, Lomond stills were once popular for distilleries who supplied their spirits for blends as they could be honed for a particular character. Lomond stills are rare nowadays, but offer advantageous versatility compared to single pot stills due to their controllability.

See also: Coffey Still | Column Still | Continuous Still | Doubler Still | Pot Still | Patent Still | Single Pot Still | Thumper Still | Twin Still

Lowlands

The Lowlands whisky region of Scotland describes the southernmost mainland area that makes whisky. It’s geographical boundaries begin at the imaginary line between Dundee on the Firth of Tay and Greenock on the River Clyde. Lowland single malts were previously known for their triple distilled process which uniquely creates a subtler flavour profile and lighter body compared to other whisky regions in Scotland. Lowland whiskies include;

  • Ailsa Bay
  • Annandale
  • Auchentoshan
  • Bladnoch
  • Bonnington Distillery
  • Borders
  • Clydeside
  • Daftmill
  • Eden Mill
  • Jackton Distillery
  • The Glasgow Distillery
  • Glenkinchie
  • Holyrood
  • Kingsbarns
  • Lindores Abbey
  • Lochlea

See also: Campbeltown | Highlands | Islay | Speyside

Low Wines

A term to describe the liquid produced from the first distillation phase. Low wines are produced from a wash still and contain low alcohol levels of around 30% ABV. The low wines are then placed into the second smaller ‘spirit still’ for secondary distillation and further purification.

See also: Beer | Centre Cut | Distillation | Feints | Foreshots | Heart Of The Run | Mash | Spirit Still | Tails | Wash | Wash Still

Lyne Arm

The connecting copper tube from the top of a pot still to condenser. The Lyne arm is sometimes also called the lye pipe.

See also: Lye Pipe | Pot Still | Still

Lye Pipe

The connecting copper tube from the top of a pot still to condenser. The lye pipe is more commonly referred to as the Lyne arm.

See also: Lyne Arm | Pot Still | Still

M

Madeira Drum

A short, stout wine cask made from European oak with a capacity of 650 litres.

See also: ASB | Barrique | Blood Tub | Bourbon Barrel | Butt | Cognac Transport | Demi-Muid | Gorda | Hogshead | Octave Cask | Port Pipe | Puncheon | Sherry Butt | Quarter Cask

Maize Whiskey

A type of American grain whiskey made from maize. Maize whiskey, also known as corn whiskey, is strongly associated with the illicit spirit of moonshine.

See also: Corn Whiskey | Grain Whiskey | Millet Whiskey | Oat Whiskey | Rye Whiskey | Wheat Whiskey

Malt

Any cereal grain which has been steeped, germinated and kilned. This means the grain has been soaked in water, encouraged to sprout and then ‘halted’ via heating. For making whisky, malted grains are usually barley, rye, wheat or corn (maize).

See also: Cereal Grains | Floor Malting | Malted Barley | Malting | Unmalted Barley

Malt Mill

A two-stage motorised mill which cracks the husks of malted grain and grinds it into a mixture known as grist. Milling the malt allows the maximum amount of sugar to be extracted during ‘mashing’ where the grain is repeatedly soaked in increasingly hot batches of water. In Scotland, malt mills are usually made one of two manufacturers; Porteus or Robert Boby.

See also: Grist | Hammer Mill | Malting | Mash | Mashing | Roller Mill

Malting

A controlled three step process that encourages the correct level of germination of a grain such as barley. Malting involves, steeping, germination and kilning. First, the grain is soaked in water (steeping) multiple times and left to air dry to initiate growth (germination). To halt the germination, the grain is then heated in a process known as kilning. Malting makes the sugars and starches more available for extraction during the process of mashing.

See also: Commercially Malted Barley | Germination | Green Malt | Floor Malting | Kilning | Malted Barley | Single Malt Whisky | Steeping | Unmalted Barley

Malted Barley

Barley grain which has been undergone the process of malting which involves, steeping, germination and kilning. First, the grain is soaked in water (steeping) multiple times and left to air dry to initiate growth (germination). To halt the germination, the grain is then heated in a process known as kilning. Malting makes the sugars and starches more available for extraction during the process of mashing.

See also: Commercially Malted Barley | Floor Malting | Malting | Single Malt Whisky | Unmalted Barley

Maple Whiskey

Whiskey which has been matured in maple syrup casks.

See also: Bourbon

Mash

When a roughly ground grain (grist) is mixed and agitated with hot water to extract starches and fermentable sugars. In a process called mashing, this mixture of hot water and grist happens in a Lauter tun or Mash tun to produce a sugary liquid known as wort.

See also: Grain | Grist | Lauter Tun | Mash Tun | Sparge | Wort

Mashing

The process of mixing and agitating roughly ground grain (grist) with hot water to extract starches and fermentable sugars. Mashing occurs inside a large cylindrical tank called a Lauter tun or Mash tun to produce a sugary liquid known as wort.

See also: Grist | Lauter Tun | Mash | Mash Tun | Sparge | Wort

Mash Bill

An American term for the grain recipe used to make whiskey. A mash bill states the ratio of grain/s percentages used to make the mash.

Mash bill example: 75% corn / 20% rye / 5% malted barley

Bourbon must contain at least 51% corn in its mash bill, however other types of grain may added such as rye or malted barley. Malted barley is almost invariably used to provide enzymes for the yeast to feed-on during fermentation.

See also: Mash | Mashing

Mash Tun

A large cylindrical tank for mixing grist with hot water. Mash tuns are the older, more traditional method of mashing which use a motorised rotating arm with paddles attached to agitate the mash mix. This encourages extraction efficiency of the starches and sugars within the grist. The modernised version of a mash tun is the Lauter Tun or Semi Lauter Tun which uses multiple motorised rakes for improved mash agitation.

Lauter tuns and Mash tuns both use drainage slots at the base of the tank which allows the sugary liquid (wort) to be drained and collected for the next stage of production (fermentation).

Many distilleries mash several times from one batch of grist in a process known as batch infusion mashing. The grist is mixed with batches of increasingly hot water, with each phase being drained before the next. Batch infusions can happen up to four times to extract the maximum amount of sugars for the wort.

See also: Lauter Tun | Semi Lauter Tun | Steeping | Malting | Mash | Mashing | Wort

Master Blender

The person responsible for mixing specific spirits such as single malts whiskies to achieve a particular flavour profile known as a blend.

See also: Blended Malt Whisky

Master Distiller

The person responsible for the distillation of a spirit such as whisky.

See also: Distillation

Maturation

The secondary stage of making whisky where the spirit is aged inside a single or a series of casks to imbue further flavours, aromas and colour. Beyond distillery character, maturation comprises of three main stages; additive maturation, interactive maturation and subtractive maturation.

See also: Additive Maturation | Interactive Maturation | Subtractive Maturation

Measure

The standardised legal minimum volume of alcohol which can be served in multiples thereof. In the UK, a standard single measure can be either 25ml or 35ml depending on the establishment you’re in.

See also: Dram | Nip

Middle Cut

The portion of distillate which occurs between the heads and tails (feints and foreshots) of a spirit during distillation. This term is also known as ‘Heart of the run’ or the ‘centre cut’ and is the priority portion of whisky distillate that is kept and matured inside casks.

See also: Beer | Distillation | Feints | Foreshots | Heart Of The Run | Low Wines | Mash | Spirit Still | Tails | Wash | Wash Still

Midleton Distillery

Midleton whiskey distillery is the largest whiskey producer in Ireland and one of the most modern distilleries in the world. Located in Midleton, County Cork, Midleton boasts three 75,000 litre pot stills (the largest currently in operation worldwide) and three column stills. These enormous stills are used to create a variety of whiskeys, such as Jameson, Midleton, Powers, Redbreast, Writers Tears, The Irishman, Green Spot and Yellow Spot. With a total production capacity of 64 million litres per annum, Midleton’s distillery stands as the largest whiskey producer in Ireland.

Redbreast 12yo review

See also: Irish Whiskey | Munster | Ulster

Millburn

Milburn whiskey distillery was located in Inverness, Scotland and operated by the Distillers Company Ltd. Founded in 1807, the distillery eventually closed 1985. Milburn sourced its main ingredient, water, from the nearby Loch Duntelchaig and had one wash still and one spirit still.

See also: Highlands Single Malts | Whisky Regions

Millet Whiskey

A whiskey made from millet grain. One of the most prominent brands who make 100% millet whiskey is KOVAL based in the US. Millet is a round whole grain which is predominantly grown in India and Africa boasting high levels of protein, fibre and antioxidants. It is commonly used to make spirits in Nepal.

See also: Grain Whiskey

Milling

A two-stage process using a motorised mill to crack the husks malted grain and grind it into a mixture known as grist. Milling the malt allows the maximum amount of sugar to be extracted during ‘mashing’ where the grain is repeatedly soaked in increasingly hot batches of water. In Scotland, malt mills are usually made one of two manufacturers; Porteus or Robert Boby.

See also: Hammer Mill | Malting | Malt Mill | Malted Barley | Mash | Mashing

Miyagikyo

Miyagikyo distillery is located in Miyagi Prefecture, Japan. The distillery first opened its doors in 1969 and is owned by Nikka Whisky Distilling. Miyagikyo has 8 expertly crafted pot stills which are used to make their range of exquisite Japanese whiskies.

See also: Chichibu | Fuji Gotemba | Hakushu | Shinshu Mars | White Oak | Yamazaki | Yoichi

Moonshine

A clear, non-barrel aged whiskey which is distilled illegally in America. The term moonshine originated from the time of which the illicit distillation occurred, which was usually done at night to avoid detection from excisemen. The raw spirit of Moonshine was usually made from corn, oats, barley or wheat with a high level of alcohol content.

See also: Bootlegging | Moonshining | Prohibition

Moonshining

An American term to describe the illicit distillation of clear, non-barrel aged whiskey during the night to avoid detection from excisemen. Moonshine was usually distilled using homemade stills which can be easily dismantled and concealed.

See also: Bootlegging | Moonshine | Prohibition

Munster

One of Ireland’s whiskey regions.

See also: Ulster

N

NAS Whisky

An acronym for No Age Statement on a whisky bottle.

See also: Age | Labelling | Maturation

NFT

An acronym for Non Fungible Token. Distilleries or whisky brands may issue an NFT to accompany rare, small batch or collectable whiskies. This means ownership can be easily verified and tracked via blockchain technology.

See also: Web3

Neck

The narrow upper portion of a still above the bulbous tank beneath. Still necks can vary in length/height which is argues to influence flavour.

See also: Lyne Arm | Pot Still | Still | Swan Neck

New Make Spirit

Also called clearic, new make spirit is raw distilled whisky which hasn’t been matured in a cask. Fresh from the spirit sill, the spirit is clear in colour. In recent years, new make spirits have grown in popularity as they demonstrate distillery character and allow distilleries a quicker way to monetise their spirit without having to wait for it to mature inside a cask.

See also: Clearic | Distillation | Distillery Character | White Whiskey

Nip

A colloquial Scottish term used to describe a standard measure (or small amount) of whisky. The term nip is also used in other countries such as Australia.

See also: Dram | Measure

Nosing Glass

A tulip shaped glass that is designed to funnel a whisky’s aroma upwards towards your nose. Nosing glasses are called a snifter and are argued to be a better way of smelling whisky than a wide-rimmed tumbler/rocks glass.

See also: Glencairn Glass | Snifter | Quaich | Stem Glass | Tumbler

Nosing Wheel

A circular chart which categorises the scents and flavours of whisky to make it easier for the drinker to describe its aroma and tasting notes. Also called a tasting wheel, these charts come in different styles and are generally used by whisky enthusiasts who relish the whisky drinking experience, often with friends.

See also: Body | Colour | Finish | Palate

O

Oak

A deciduous hardwood used to make whisky casks. Oak staves are usually either European or American white oak and are relitively resinous.

See also: American White Oak | European Oak

Oat Whiskey

A whiskey made from oats. More common in America in whiskeys such as Oregon’s Ransom, The Emerald, Oatrage, Stone Barn and Koval.

See also: Corn Whiskey | Grain Whiskey | Maize Whiskey | Millet Whiskey | Rye Whiskey | Wheat Whiskey

Oban

Oban distillery is located on the west coast in Oban, Scotland, and was established in 1794, before the town of Oban sprung up around it. Owned by Diageo, Oban only has two stills – one wash and one spirit – and sources its water from two lochs in Ardconnel.

See also: Highlands Single Malts | Whisky Regions

Octave Cask

Octave whisky casks are a very small vessel, with a capacity of between 40-50. Being 1/8th of the size of a sherry butt, its name originates from music referring to the poetry octaves of 8. Octave casks have a higher wood to whisky ratio, allowing for an influx of aromas and colour in an accelerated timeframe.

See also: ASB | Barrique | Blood Tub | Butt | Cognac Transport | Demi-Muid | Gorda | Hogshead | Madeira Drum | Port Pipe | Puncheon | Sherry Butt | Quarter Cask

Octomore

A series of whisky made by the Bruichladdich whisky distillery on the isle of Islay. Famously, it is regarded as some of the most heavily peated whisky on the market.

See also: Bruichladdich | Peat | Peated Whisky | Islay

On The Rocks

An American slang phrase for drinking whisky with ice.

See also: Tumbler

Orkney

Orkney is an archipelago off the north eastern coast of Scotland. It boasts Neolithic sites, tall sandstone cliffs and a plethora of seal colonies. Orkney also hosts two renowned distilleries, Highland Park and Scapa, where they produce outstanding whiskies using from local peat which contain uniquely high percentages of heather.

See also: Highland Park | Islands | Island Malt Distilleries | Scapa

P

Pagoda Roof

A curved chimney cover to protect a distillery’s kiln from rain. More correctly referred to as cupolas, pagoda roofs are a characteristic chimney cap seen on the roofs of distilleries such as Laphroaig, Highland Park or Balvnie who malt their own barley.

See also: Kilning | Peat | Peat Reek | Peat Smoke

Palletised Warehouse

One of three ways to store whisky casks, a palletised warehouse uses stacked pallets upon which casks can be stored upright. Unlike a traditional low-roofed, earthen-floored Dunnage warehouse, palletised warehouses are much taller in height with concrete floors. This allows machinery such as forklifts to operate which results in cheaper and more efficient operation.

See also: Dunnage Warehouse | Rickhouse | Racked Warehouse

Palate

The initial taste and flavours of a whisky.

See also: Body | Colour | Finish

Patent Still

An alternative name for a Coffey still which was invented and then patented in 1830 by Irish inventor and distiller, Aeneas Coffey.

See also: Coffey Still | Column Still | Continuous Still | Doubler Still | Lomond Still | Pot Still | Single Pot Still | Thumper Still | Twin Still

Peat

Peat is an earthy matter formed by partially decomposed vegetation in the waterlogged and often acidic conditions of moors and bogs. Plentiful, dense and naturally occurring, peat was and still is traditionally cut from bogland, stacked and then dried for use as fuel for burning.

Read: What is peated whisky?

See also: Peat Reek | Peat Smoke | Peated Whisky | Phenols | PPM | Tairsgear

Peat Reek

An informal term used to describe peak smoke which is used to flavour malted barley. Notoriosuly, peat has a pleasant but incredibly pungent smell when burned. In Scotland, reek is both a north eastern surname and a word used to describe smoke.

See also: Peat | Peat Smoke | Peated Whisky | Phenols | PPM

Peat Smoke

The aromatic but pungent smoke emitted from peat fire. Also known as ‘peat reek’ this smoke is used to flavour malted grain such as barley as it dries during the process of kilning.

See also: Kilning | Malting | Peat | Peat Reek | Phenols | PPM

Peated Whisky

Peated whisky is made with malted barley which has been steeped in water and then dried with heat from a peat fire beneath. Peat (a dense bog soil) is burned to create the fire which imparts a characteristic and smoky flavour via aromatic hydrocarbons known as phenols.

Read more about peated whisky

See also: Peat | Phenols | Kilning | Malting

Pedro Ximenez Sherry Casks

Ex sherry casks used to mature Pedro Ximenez, a type of sherry made in Spain from intensely sweet wine grapes. Whisky matured in these casks adopt a heightened sweetness from the cask such as the 18 year old Balvenie Pedro Ximenez Cask.

See also: Sherry Butt

Phenols

A group of chemical compounds imparted to malted grains such as barley in peat-fired kilns. During the firing process where peat is burned to dry the barley, the grain is exposed to the peat smoke which imparts aromatic hydrocarbons. This exposure creates a smoky flavour in the malt with notes of tar and ash.

See also: Cresol | Guaiacol | Syringol | Xylenol

Phenolic Content

A term to describe the measured parts per million (PPM) of phenols present in malted barley after kiln drying. Phenols are a type of aromatic organic compound which derive from peat smoke used to flavour and dry malted barley.

See also: Peat | Phenols | PPM

Port Pipe

The industry standard size of cask to mature port wine with a capacity between 550-650 litres.

See also: ASB | Barrique | Blood Tub | Bourbon Barrel | Butt | Cognac Transport | Demi-Muid | Gorda | Hogshead | Madeira Drum | Octave Cask | Puncheon | Sherry Butt | Quarter Cask

Port Wine Casks

A wooden cask used to mature port wine. Whiskies which have been matured in these casks are often referred to as ‘port finished’.

See also: Maturation

Pot Ale

The residual liquid left over from the first stage of whisky distillation. The wash still separates the low wines from the wash and leaves behind the pot ale.

See also: Distillation | Spent Lees | Wash | Wash Still

Pot Still

Pot stills are the simplest and most traditional type of still used for the batch distillation of whisky or brandy. Pot stills are a singular vessel usually made of copper, in which the liquid to be distilled is heated. As the liquid boils, the vapours rise and are collected in a condenser. The vapours are then cooled and condensed back into a liquid state, producing a higher-proof spirit. When used alone, pot stills tend to produce spirits that are rich in flavour and aroma with average ABV percentages of between 60-80%.

See also: Coffey Still | Column Still | Continuous Still | Doubler Still | Lomond Still | Patent Still | Single Pot Still | Thumper Still | Twin Still

PPM

PPM is an abbreviation for Parts Per Million and is a measure of phenolic content present in barley after the kiln drying process. Phenols are a type of compound that contributes to the smoky or peaty flavour of the whisky. The higher the PPM, the more smoky and peaty flavour the whisky has.

See also: Phenols | Phenolic Content | Peat

Preparation of Casks

The process of heating the interior surface of a cask to make the staves pliable and to activate the cellulose within the wood to impart flavour in a whisky. Using a heat source called a brazier, the staves are heated to 150°C which allows them to be curved.

See also: Alligator Char | Cask | Charring | Cooper | Cooperage | Staves | Toasting

Prohibition

The banning of the production, transportation and sale of alcohol in America between 1920 and 1933 under the Eighteenth Amendment. The only alcohol permitted by the federal government was that which was prescribed by a doctor, usually in the format of whiskey. Prohibition last 13 years and incited illicit black-market trades known as bootlegging or moonshining.

See also: Bootlegging | Excise Act | Moonshine | Moonshining | Prohibition whiskey

Prohibition Whiskey

Whisky which was produced between 1920 and 1933 during the US prohibition. During the ‘drought’ the only alcohol permitted by the federal government had to be prescribed by a doctor, usually in the format of whiskey.

See also: Bootlegging | Excise Act | Moonshine | Prohibition

Proof

The previously used measure of alcohol strength. Proof measures the ethanol content within alcohol which was replaced with ABV in Britain on January 1st 1980.

See also: ABV

Pulteney Distillery

Pulteney Distillery is located in Pulteneytown of Wick, Caithness, near the northernmost part of Scotland’s Highland area. This malt whisky production and aging facility is known for its single malt whisky, Old Pulteney, which comes in a variety of ages.

See also: Highlands Single Malts | Whisky Regions

Puncheon

A wooden cask with a capacity ranging between 450-500 litres. Generally, puncheons are made with Spanish oak staves.

See also: ASB | Barrique | Blood Tub | Bourbon Barrel | Butt | Cognac Transport | Demi-Muid | Gorda | Hogshead | Madeira Drum | Octave Cask | Port Pipe | Sherry Butt | Quarter Cask

Q

Quarter Cask

The smallest of whisky casks with a capacity of between 45-50 litres. Due to their size, the whisky has greater surface contact with the interior which can hasten the maturation period.

See also: ASB | Barrique | Blood Tub | Bourbon Barrel | Butt | Cognac Transport | Demi-Muid | Gorda | Hogshead | Madeira Drum | Octave Cask | Port Pipe | Puncheon | Sherry Butt

Quaich

A traditional, two handled shallow drinking vessel, usually made from wood, stone, horn or soft metals such as pewter or brass. Quaichs have been used for centuries in Scotland and remain a part of the country’s culture until this day, being popular items for social gatherings and even gifted at ceremonies such as the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

See also: Glencairn Glass | Keeper of the quaich | Nosing Glass | Snifter | Tumbler

R

Racked Warehouse

One of three ways to store whisky casks, a racked warehouse uses steel frames upon which casks can be stored upright. Unlike a traditional low-roofed, earthen-floored Dunnage warehouse, racked warehouses are much taller in height with concrete floors. This allows machinery such as forklifts to operate which results in cheaper and more efficient operation.

See also: Dunnage Warehouse | Palletised Warehouse | Rickhouse

Red Layer

The middle layer between a cask’s charred interior surface and the un-charred original timber. In a cross-section of a cask stave, the red layer lies between the innermost and outermost surfaces which often has a reddish hue to it, hence the name.

See also: Alligator Char | Charring | Staves | Toasting

Refill

A cask which has already been used to mature whisky. A refill cask often imparts less flavour compared to a ‘first fill’ cask.

See also: First Fill | Reused Cask | Second Fill

Reflux

When vapourised alcohol recondenses into a liquid state before being redistilled once more, evaporating back into vapour. Reflux can occur due to the shape of the still being used as well as connecting components such as the swan neck or lyne arm.

A good example of reflux is within American style column stills. Inside, the spirit repeatedly refluxes, becoming stronger and stronger as it makes it’s way up the column.

See also: Still

Rejuvenation

A method where the interior surface of a used cask is stripped and re-charred to extend its lifecycle.

See also: Alligator Char | Cask | Charring | Red Layer | Second Fill | Toasting

Reused Casks

When a cask has already been used to mature whisky and is used again. This can be known as a second fill.

See also: First Fill | Refill | Second Fill

Rickhouse

An American term used for a warehouse where whiskey barrels are being aged. Inside the building, barrels are stacked on ‘ricks’ for space efficiency and left to mature.

See also: Dunnage | Racked Warehouse | Palletised Warehouse

Roller Mill

A two-stage motorised mill for processing malted grain. The first set of rollers crack the grain’s husks. The second pair of adjustable rollers grinds the grain into a coarse mixture consisting of husks, grits and flour. This mixture is often called grist.

Milling allows the maximum amount of sugar to be extracted during ‘mashing’ where the grain is repeatedly soaked in increasingly hot batches of water. In Scotland, malt mills are usually made one of two manufacturers; Porteus or Robert Boby.

See also: Grist | Hammer Mill | Malting | Malt Mill | Mash | Mashing

Royal Brackla

Royal Brackla distillery is located in Scotland, near the picturesque town of Nairn. Established in 1812 by William Fraser, Royal Brackla was the first Scottish whisky to be granted a Royal Warrant and today it is operated by John Dewar & Sons Ltd for Bacardi. Royal Brackla is a Highland single malt whisky which is crafted in two wash stills, and two spirit stills. The distillery obtains its water from Cawdor Burn, Cursack Springs and Airfield supply – all of which produces water that contribute to Royal Brackla’s unique character.

See also: Highlands Single Malts | Whisky Regions

Royal Lochnagar

Royal Lochnagar distillery, founded in 1845, is situated on the Abergeldie Estate near Balmoral Castle in Royal Deeside, close to the munro Lochnagar. It sources their water from springs located in the hills of Lochnagar and holds a Royal Warrant. Royal Lochnagar makes single-malt Scotch whisky and is owned by Diageo. Its founder, John Begg, started Royal Lochnagar as a small Aberdeenshire distillery that has since become world-renowned for its single malt Whisky.

See also: Highlands Single Malts | Whisky Regions

Rummager

A motorised agitator used within directly-fired pot wash stills to prevent the wash from burning. Because the wash still contains a small portion of solids, these can catch and burn on the base of the still resulting in an unpleasant taste in the whisky. The rummager agitates the wash which is being heated directly via gas flame beneath. Very few distilleries directly-fire their stills, with only Glenfarclas, Glenfiddich and Macallan doing so.

See also: Wash | Wash Still

Rye Whiskey

An interchangeable term used to describe either American whiskey or Canadian whisky. The former use (American) denotes whiskey made from at least 51% rye. For the latter, this rule doesn’t apply and can refer to a Canadian whisky made with or without rye in its blend along with another grain such as corn or wheat.

See also: Corn Whiskey | Grain Whiskey | Maize Whiskey | Millet Whiskey | Oat Whiskey | Rye Whiskey | Wheat Whiskey

S

Saladin Box

A large rectangular concrete trough in which germinated barley (green malt) was agitated and turned via mechanised paddles to prevent their roots from tangling. The Saladin box was invented in the late 1800’s by Charles Saladin to alleviate the intense manual labour involved with traditional floor malting. Saladin boxes are rare nowadays as they’ve predominantly been replaced with drum malting technology which is carried out by commercial malt plants. Very few distilleries malt their own barley, with only a handful in Scotland who still use the traditional floor malting technique.

See also: Commercially Malted Barley | Floor Malting | Germination | Malting | Malted Barley | Single Malt Whisky | Unmalted Barley

Scapa

Scapa whisky distillery sits at the edge of Scapa Flow in Orkney, Scotland. This sprawling distillery is situated just 1⁄2 mile (800 metres) south of the Highland Park Distillery, making Scapa Scotland’s second-northernmost whisky distiller. Scapa prides itself on its ‘natural nature,’ producing a range of discreetly smoky single malt whiskies that contrast tones of honey and heather with a wisp of peat smoke.

See also: Island Malt Distilleries | Orkney | Whisky Regions

Second Fill

A cask being used again to mature whisky. Second fill casks are less intense when it comes to imbuing flavour and are therefore used for longer periods to mature whiskies beyond 21 years.

See also: Cask | First Fill | Maturation

Semi Lauter Tun

A large cylindrical tank for mixing grist with hot water. Semi Lauter Tuns are a modernised method of mashing which use motorised rakes to agitate the mash mix. This agitation encourages extraction efficiency of the starches and sugars within the grist.

There are two types of Lauter tun.

  • Semi Lauter Tun, where the rakes simply rotate in a circular sweeping motion through the mash
  • Full Lauter Tun, where the rakes both rotate and vertically undulate for increased agitation of the mash.

Lauter tuns and Mash tuns both use drainage slots at the base of the tank which allows the sugary liquid (wort) to be drained and collected for the next stage of production (fermentation).

Many distilleries mash several times from one batch of grist in a process known as batch infusion mashing. The grist is mixed with batches of increasingly hot water, with each phase being drained before the next. Batch infusions can happen up to four times to extract the maximum amount of sugars for the wort.

See also: Lauter Tun | Semi Lauter Tun | Steeping | Malting | Mash | Mashing | Mash Tun

Sherry Butt

A large cask made from Spanish Oak or American White Oak used to mature sherry. Usually has a capacity of 475-500 litres.

See also: ASB | Barrique | Blood Tub | Bourbon Barrel | Butt | Cognac Transport | Demi-Muid | Gorda | Hogshead | Madeira Drum | Octave Cask | Port Pipe | Puncheon | Quarter Cask

Sherry Cask

A large cask made from Spanish Oak or American White Oak used to mature sherry. Usually has a capacity of 475-500 litres.

See also: ASB | Barrique | Blood Tub | Bourbon Barrel | Butt | Cognac Transport | Demi-Muid | Gorda | Hogshead | Madeira Drum | Octave Cask | Port Pipe | Puncheon | Quarter Cask

Shinshu Mars

Shinshu Mars is a whisky distillery located in Miyada, a village in Nagano Prefecture, Japan. Founded in 1985 and operated by Hombo Shuzo Co. Ltd, the distillery was temporarily closed between 1992 and 2011 due to a period economic stagnation in Japan.

See also: Chichibu | Fuji Gotemba | Hakushu | Miyagikyo | White Oak | Yamazaki | Yoichi

Single Cask

A whisky which has been matured and then bottled from one single cask.

See also: Cask | Maturation

Single Malt Whisky

Whisky made by a single distillery using malted barley, yeast and water.

See also: Commercially Malted Barley | Highlands Single Malts | Floor Malting | Malted Barley | Unmalted Barley

Singleton of Glen Ord

Singleton of Glen Ord whisky distillery has been producing single malt Scotch whisky since 1838, making it the last one standing on the Black Isle. The distillery has a capacity of 12 million litres and is equipped with seven wash stills (17,000 L) and seven spirit stills (16,000 L). The water used for Singleton’s production comes from Loch nam Bonnach and Loch nan Eun which are sourced from the White Burn.

See also: Highlands Single Malts | Whisky Regions

Single Pot Still Whiskey

Irish whiskey which has been distilled only using pot stills.

See also: Coffey Still | Column Still | Continuous Still | Doubler Still | Lomond Still | Pot Still | Patent Still | Thumper Still | Twin Still

Sláinte Mhath 

A Scottish Gaelic term said when toasting a drink which means ‘to your good health’.

See also: Glencairn Glass | Nosing Glass | Quaich | Stem Glass | Tumbler

Small Batch

A limited number of whisky bottles. Sometimes called a short run or limited bottling.

See also: Vintage

Snifter

A tulip shaped glass designed to funnel a whisky’s aroma upwards towards your nose. A snifter glass is also called a nosing glass and are argued to be a better way of smelling whisky than a wide-rimmed tumbler/rocks glass.

See also: Glencairn Glass | Nosing Glass | Quaich | Stem Glass | Tumbler

Sour Mash

An American method of fermenting a new mash mixture with a small portion of previously used mash. Known as ‘draff’ or ‘spent grain’, the leftover mash is highly acidic (sour) containing dead yeast which provides a food source for the new batch. The addition of ‘the sour’ helps acidify and lower new mash’s PH, thus controlling the fermentation to prevent unwanted flavours. Sour mashing creates greater consistency between mash batches.

Most, if not all bourbon manufacturers use the sour mash method, as famously labelled on Jack Daniels bottles.

See also: Bourbon | Draff | Mash

Sparge

The final batch of water added to the grist during mashing. This liquid contains very little starches when drained from the mash tun, hence why it’s kept separate to the wort.

See also: Lauter Tun | Mash | Mashing | Mash Tun | Wort

Spent Lees

The residual liquid left over from the second stage of whisky distillation. The spirit still separates the new make spirit from the low wines and leaves behind the spent lees.

See also: Distillation | Low Wines | New Make Spirit | Pot Ale | Sprit Still

Speyside

A sub-region of the Highlands, Speyside is its own whisky making region located in the north east of Scotland surrounding the river Spey. This region is home to over 60 whisky distilleries some of whom identify their whiskies as Speyside or as Highland. The distilleries include;

  • Aberlour
  • Allt-A-Bhainne
  • Auchroisk
  • Aultmore
  • Balmenach
  • Balvenie
  • BenRiach
  • Benrinnes
  • Benromach
  • Braeval
  • Cardhu
  • Cragganmore
  • Craigellachie
  • Dailuaine
  • Dalmunach
  • Dalwhinnie
  • Dufftown
  • Glen Elgin
  • Glen Grant
  • Glen Keith
  • Glen Moray
  • Glen Spey
  • Glenallachie
  • Glenburgie
  • Glendullan
  • Glenfarclas
  • Glenfiddich
  • Glenlivet
  • Glenlossie
  • Glenrothes
  • Glentauchers
  • Inchgower
  • Kininvie
  • Knockando
  • Knockdhu
  • Linkwood
  • Longmorn
  • Macallan
  • Mannochmore
  • Miltonduff
  • Mortlach
  • Roseisle
  • Speyburn
  • Speyside
  • Strathisla
  • Strathmill
  • Tamdhu
  • Tamnavulin
  • Tomintoul
  • Tormore

See also: Campbeltown | Highlands | Islay | Lowlands

Spirit Receiver

A storage vessel which receives the raw whisky from the spirit still during distillation. The spirit receiver gathers the re-condensed distillate which is then put into casks for maturation or bottled as new make spirit.

See also: Distillation | New Make Spirit | Spirit Safe

Spirit Safe

An enclosed brass case with glass window panes through which distillate flows. The spirit safe is used by a stillman or master distiller to control the distillation process via control valves. Through the glass, the distillate can be seen in its two stages; low wines and spirit. Using the valves, he/she can make the ‘centre cut’ which is the desired middle portion of the spirit distillation phase (ethanol) before fusel oils begin to flow.

The spirit safe is inaccessible (traditionally padlocked shut) as it measures the volume of alcohol produced by the distillery which is calculated for tax.

See also: Distillation | Foreshots | Feints | Heads | Tails

Spirit Still

The final still used for distilling low wines into new make spirit.

See also: Beer | Centre Cut | Distillation | Feints | Foreshots | Heart Of The Run | Low Wines | Mash | New Make Spirit | Tails

Springbank Distillery

Springbank whisky distillery was founded in 1828 and is located in Campbeltown on the Kintyre Peninsula, Scotland. As one of only a handful of Scottish distilleries who malt their own barley, they produce over 750 thousand litres of their single malt scotch yearly with one wash still and two spirit stills using water from the Crosshill Loch. Springbank distillery is renowned as one of the few remaining distilleries of Campbeltown which was once the epicentre of Scottish whisky making. 

See also: Campbeltown | Glengyle | Glen Scotia

Starch

A type of carbohydrate produced by most green plants for energy storage. For whisky making, starch is released during the mashing phase when grain such as barley is mixed with hot water. Starch is more easily accessed in barley if the grain has been malted and milled prior to mashing. This yields higher sugar levels in the wort.

See also: Mash | Mashing | Wort

Staves

The long strips of wood which are used to make a cask. The staves are heated and bent to give the cask its bulbous shape, strength and manoeuvrability.

See also: Cask | Cooper | Charring | Hoops | Red Layer | Toasting

Steeping

The process of soaking grain such as barley in water, sometimes multiple times, to encourage growth (germination). Steeping can last between 24 and 48 hours and is the first stage of malting.

See also: Kilning | Malting

Stem Glass

A tulip shaped drinking glass featuring a thin stem and wide base. Akin to a wine glass but smaller, these are popular for drinking whisky as their shape funnels the aroma through the narrow rim.

See also: Glencairn Glass | Nosing Glass | Quaich | Snifter | Tumbler

Still

A distillation apparatus used to purify liquids such as alcohol. To make whisky, there are several kinds of still which yield differing purities and flavours of spirit. The simplest and most famous kind of still is the ‘pot still’ which notoriously produces more flavoursome whisky.

See also: Coffey Still | Column Still | Continuous Still | Doubler Still | Lomond Still | Pot Still | Patent Still | Single Pot Still | Thumper Still | Twin Still

Stillman

Person who operates a still.

Straight Bourbon

American whiskey produced by a single US-distillery which has been aged for at least 2 years in new American Oak barrels and contains 51% corn in its mash bill.

No age statement (NAS) straight bourbons must be matured for at least 4 years.

See also: Kentucky Whiskey | Mash Bill | Tennessee Whiskey

Subtractive Maturation

The loss of a spirit’s immaturity within a cask. This is when harsh unrefined characteristics are diminished within the cask during the maturation phase.

See also: Additive Maturation | Interactive Maturation

Sugar

Sugar is created from the breakdown of starch within a grain such as barley. During whisky making, sugar is extracted and dissolved from the grain during the mashing stage which is then collected as a sugary sweet liquid called wort.

See also: Mash | Mashing | Wort

Syringol

A sub type of phenol which imparts a burnt, smoky scent in whisky.

See also: Cresol | Guaiacol | Phenols | Xylenol

T

Taste

The flavour profile of a whisky which is detected through the tongue and mouth.

See also: Body | Colour | Palate | Tasting

Tasting

The analytical and descriptive process of determining a whisky’s colour, smell and taste. Tasting or tastings can be carried out on your own or in a group. Comparing two or more different whiskies is common for group tastings, especially on whisky experiences or tours as they can be compared and to each other.

See also: Body | Colour | Palate | Taste

Tails

The last third of distillate during the distillation process. Also known as feints or ‘the final cut’ the tails begin to flow after the desired ‘centre cut’ distillate has been captured from the spirit still. Occurring near the end of distillation, fusel oils begin to appear which are undesirable and would otherwise impede the spirit’s purity.

See also: Beer | Centre Cut | Distillation | Feints | Foreshots | Heart Of The Run | Low Wines | Mash | Spirit Still | Wash | Wash Still

Tairsgear / Tairsgeir

A traditional tool used in Scotland and Ireland to cut peat. It has a long wooden handle with an angled metal cutting blade. This blade is swung into the face of the peat bank (ditch) which cuts a long block of the soil which is then tossed and later ‘stacked’ to dry.

Read: What is peated whisky?

See also: Peat

Talisker

Talisker Distillery is located on the Isle of Skye the Minginish Peninsula, Scotland. Founded in 1830, it was the only operational distillery on Skye until 2017 when it was joined by neighbouring distillery Torabhaig. Talisker is owned by Diageo and produces a range of peated and unpeated single malt Scotch whiskies via their two wash stills and three spirit stills. The water used in Talisker whisky comes from Carbost as well as from a source high atop Fire Mountain, known as Cnoc nan Speireag, which translates to Hawk Hill.

See also: Island Malt Distilleries | Torabhaig | Whisky Regions

Teaninich

Teaninich is a whisky distillery located in Alness, Highland. It was founded in 1817 by Hugh Munro who built Teaninich Castle on his estate. Teaninich distillery makes whisky with its three wash stills and three spirit stills, and is unique among other Scottish distilleries in that they employ a hammer mill and mash filter rather than using the usual mash tun. Teaninich currently is owned by Diageo, one of the world’s largest liquor producers.

See also: Hammer Mill | Highlands Single Malts | Whisky Regions

Tennessee Whiskey

Straight whiskey produced in the US state of Tennessee which is often legally defined as bourbon. Most Tennessee whiskeys are filtered through maple charcoal before being stored in virginal oak barrels for a minimum of two years.

See also: Bourbon | Kentucky Whiskey | Kentucky Straight Bourbon

Thumper Still

A secondary type of pot still used in American whiskey distilling used for secondary distillation of the spirit. Thumper stills or ‘thumpers’ get their name from the noise they make during operation.

See also: Coffey Still | Column Still | Continuous Still | Doubler Still | Lomond Still | Pot Still | Patent Still | Single Pot Still | Twin Still

Toasting

The process of heating the interior surface of a cask to make the staves pliable and to activate the cellulose within the wood to impart flavour in a whisky. Using a heat source called a brazier, the staves are heated to 150°C which allows them to be curved.

See also: Alligator Char | Charring | Cooper | Cooperage | Preparation of Casks | Red Layer | Staves

Tobermory

Tobermory whisky distillery is located in the beautiful town of Tobermory on the scenic Isle of Mull in Scotland. It was founded in 1798 by John Sinclair and has changed hands several times since, with a few periods of closure over the intervening years. Tobermory is currently owned by beverage company Burn Stewart, and it’s the only distillery on Mull. Boasting four wash stills and four spirit stills, Tobermory produces fine single malt whiskies that have been enjoyed for centuries by whisky connoisseurs from around the world.

See also: Island Malt Distilleries | Whisky Regions

Torabhaig

Torabhaig is located on the coastal village of Teangue on the Isle of Skye, Scotland. Opening its doors in January 2017, it is the second ever licensed distillery on Skye alongside the fellow famous Skye distillery; Talisker. Torabhaig distillery produces top-grade single malt Scotch whisky, made with pure water sourced from Allt Gleann Thorabhaig and Allt Breacach. The distillery makes two different types of whisky, the Torabhaig ‘Allt Gleann’ and the Torabhaig ‘Legacy’ single malts.

See also: Island Malt Distilleries | Talisker | Whisky Regions

Tomatin

Tomatin Distillery is nestled in the village of Tomatin, located 25 minutes south of the city of Inverness in the Highland region. Founded in 1897, the distillery sources its water from the nearby Allt na Frìthe burn to produce its whisky which is then distilled in their six wash and six spirit stills each year. The distillery has an annual capacity of almost 5 million litres.

See also: Highlands Single Malts | Whisky Regions

Tullibardine

Tullibardine distillery is located in the town of Blackford, Perth and Kinross. Established in 1949, its main water source is from two local rivers, the Ochil Hills and Danny Burn. Along with the classic Tullibardine single malt whisky they produce several other varieties such as Aged Oak Edition Single Malt Whisky and Sherry Finish Malt Whisky. Tullibardine also produces its own related liqueurs. It is owned by Takara Shuzo Corp., a subsidiary of Kirin Holdings Co Ltd., and has an operating capacity of 5,050,000 litres per year.

See also: Highlands Single Malts | Whisky Regions

Tumbler

A wide-rimmed drinking glass with a uniform shape and heavy bottom. Tumblers are usually made of glass or crystal and can be either plain or patterned with textured flutes and hatchings.

See also: Glencairn Glass | Nosing Glass | Quaich | Snifter | Stem Glass

Twin Still / Sister Stills

A rare distillation set-up where two spirit stills are used instead of one. Twin stills work in synchronisation as a way of greatly increasing the surface area contact between the low wines against the copper. This unusual method maximises copper complexing and produces a very smooth and fruity spirit.

Distilleries that use twin stills include Annandale distillery in Dumfries and Galloway (Scotland) and Lindores Abbey distillery in Fife (Scotland).

Twin stills was a concept developed by chemist and biologist Jim Swan who consulted many distilleries, new and old, around the world.

In most distillation scenarios, stills work in pairs; one wash still and a spirit still.

See also: Coffey Still | Column Still | Continuous Still | Doubler Still | Lomond Still | Pot Still | Patent Still | Single Pot Still | Thumper Still

U

Uisge Betha

Irish Gaelic for ‘water of life’ which refers to the earliest form of distilled spirit.

See also: Aqua Vitae | Uisge Beatha

Uisge Betha

Scottish Gaelic for ‘water of life’ which refers to the earliest form of distilled spirit.

See also: Aqua Vitae | Uisge Betha | Uisge Beatha

Unmalted Barley

Barley which has not been steeped, germinated and kilned. Unmalted barley is particularly prevalent in Irish whiskeys and produces a more prominent spiced taste.

See also: Commercially Malted Barley | Highlands Single Malts | Floor Malting | Malting | Malted Barley | Single Malt Whisky | Steeping | Unmalted Barley

V

Vintage Whisky

Similar to a NAS (no age statement) whisky, this is when a label states the year of distillation but not the time of which it was matured.

See also: Age | Maturation | NAS Whisky

Virgin Oak

A cask which has never contained any alcohol or spirit before being used to mature or finish a whisky. In America, it is stated by law that all US whiskey must be matured inside virgin oak casks for at least 2 years. These casks are then dismantled and sent to countries such as Scotland and Ireland to be rebuilt and used again.

Interestingly, the Lowland distillery Deanston use virgin oak casks to finish some of their whiskies which is relatively unusual in Scottish whisky making.

See also: ASB | Bourbon | Cask | Cooper | Cooperage | Maturation

W

Warehouse

A dedicated building used to store whisky casks. Warehouses were originally called a Dunnage, however in today’s modernised industry there are now palletised and racked iterations.

See also: Dunnage Warehouse | Palletised Warehouse | Racked Warehouse | Rickhouse

Wash

A sugary liquid which has been fermented with yeast to make a basic form of beer. The wash is fermented inside large vessels known as wash backs which can take between 2-4 days, depending on the distillery’s desired flavour. This wash is the initial liquid which is distilled inside a wash still.

See also: Beer | Centre Cut | Distillation | Feints | Foreshots | Heart Of The Run | Low Wines | Mash | Spirit Still | Tails | Wash Still

Wash Still

The first of two sequential stills which distils the fermented wash (beer) into low wines. Wash stills are usually made of copper and are larger than spirit stills.

See also: Beer | Low Wines | Spirit Still

Washback

A large cylindrical fermentation tank. Washbacks are used to store and ferment the sugary liquid known as wort with yeast to make it into a beer known as ‘wash’. Traditionally, washback tanks are made with uniform timber such as larch or Oregon pine, however stainless-steel versions exist also.

See also: Beer | Wash | Wort | Yeast

Water

One of the three key ingredients used to make whisky. Mixed with a grain and yeast, the water source for any distillery plays an important role in their whisky’s flavour. Local water sources provide minerals and flavour from the surrounding geology, flora and fauna. Certain distilleries actually bottle and sell supplementary water sets to accompany their whiskies.

See also: Grain | Yeast

Web3

The next version of the internet which is built on blockchain technology. Instead of using centralised databases, Web3 utilises vast groups of peer-to-peer networks. This decentralised evolution of the internet is powered by tokens, both fungible and non fungible. Non fungible tokens (NFTs) can be used to verify ownership, provenance and legitimacy for rare or collectible whiskies.

Related: Web3 whisky investments

See also: NFT

Western Canadian Whisky

Whisky made in western Canada which is predominantly made with corn, wheat or rye. Canadian whisky is commonly referred to as ‘rye whisky’ despite low percentages of rye actually being used in the mash bill. Western Canadian whisky distilleries include Alberta Distillers, Highwood Distillers and the Black Velvet Distilling Company.

See also: Eastern Canadian Whisky | Rye Whiskey | Whisky Regions

White Oak

White Oak distillery is a Japanese whisky distillery located in Akashi, Hyōgo Prefecture of Japan. Founded in 1984 by Eigashima Shuzo Co., Ltd., White Oak has two pot stills and released its first single malt under the “Akashi” label in late 2007.

See also: Chichibu | Fuji Gotemba | Hakushu | Miyagikyo | Shinshu Mars | Yamazaki | Yoichi

Wheat Whiskey

Whiskey, usually American, with a mash bill containing at least 51% wheat.

See also: Corn Whiskey | Grain Whiskey | Maize Whiskey | Millet Whiskey | Oat Whiskey | Rye Whiskey

Whiskey

The Irish and US-American spelling of Whisky.

See also: American Whiskey | Irish Whiskey | Whisky

Whisky Buff

A slang term for someone who is abnormally interested or knowledgeable about whisky. Similar to wine buff or art buff.

Whisky Regions

This term describes one of two definitions; the country or the area within the country where whisky was made.

Broadly speaking, there are 5 main whisky producing countries in the world, consisting of Scotland, Ireland, Canada, America and Japan. However, other countries such as India, Finland, Australia, France, Germany and Taiwan make their own whiskies too.

Within these whisky making countries are areas which can also be categorised as whisky regions. For examples of each whisky making countries whisky regions, see the lists below.

Scotland

  • Campbeltown
  • Highlands
  • Islands
  • Islay
  • Lowlands
  • Speyside

Ireland

  • Munster
  • Ulster

Canada

  • Eastern
  • Western

America

  • Kentucky
  • Tennessee
  • *America has multiple distilleries in various states around the country however Kentucky and Tennessee are considered the two most prominent whisky making regions.

Japan

To date, there are 8 active distilleries in Japan located in various regions (or prefectures) around the country. See the list below

  • Chichibu
  • Fuji Gotemba
  • Hakushu
  • Miyagikyo
  • Shinshu Mars
  • White Oak
  • Yamazaki
  • Yoichi

Whisky

Scottish, Canadian and Japanese spelling of whisky.

See also: Whiskey

Whisky Glass

A drinking glass made for enjoying whisky. Whisky glasses can adopt various shapes and sizes, but are usually ‘tuliped’ to funnel the aromas towards the drinker’s nose.

See also: Glencairn Glass | Nosing Glass | Quaich | Snifter | Tumbler

Whisky Neat

Undiluted whisky, free from any additives such as water, ice or mixers.

See also: Dram | Nip

Whisky Shelf

A commercial or residential storage place for whisky. Sometimes arranged by region or for aesthetic impact.

White Oak

White Oak distillery is located in Akashi, a city in the Hyōgo Prefecture of Japan. Established in 1984, White Oak released its first single malt under the ‘Akashi’ label in late 2007. The distillery employs only two pot stills with an annual capacity of 60,000 litres

See also: Chichibu | Fuji Gotemba | Hakushu | Miyagikyo | Shinshu Mars | Yamazaki | Yoichi

White Whiskey

Raw, unmatured whiskey. Usually, American.

See also: New Make Spirit

Wolfburn

Wolfburn Distillery, located in Thurso, Caithness is the most northerly whisky distillery on the Scottish mainland. Wolfburn made its first distillation in 1821, but production ceased in the 1860s until it was rebuilt and reopened in 2013. Wolfburn has a capacity of 125,000 litres and produces a variety of single malt whisky.

See also: Highlands Single Malts | Whisky Regions

Worm Tub

A traditional type of condenser used to liquify vapourised spirit. Stemming from the spirit still via the Lyne arm, a long copper tube (worm) is coiled downwards inside a cylindrical tank (tub) of cold water. As the vapour is cooled inside the tube, it condenses back into liquid spirit. Compared to modernised ‘shell and tube’ condensers, worm tubs are rare nowadays. However, distilleries such as Talisker still use the worm tub method.

See also: Lyne Arm | Spirit Still

Wort

The sugary liquid resulting from mashing. Wort is drained and collected from Mash/Lauter tuns and then fermented with yeast to make the ‘wash’.

See also: Fermentation | Lauter Tun | Mash | Mashing | Mash Tun | Sparge | Wash

X

Xylenol

A sub type of phenol which imparts a sweet, medicinal flavour in whisky.

See also: Cresol | Guaiacol | Phenols | Syringol

Y

Yamazaki

Yamazaki distillery is a notable whisky producer located in Shimamoto, Osaka Prefecture, Japan. Founded in 1923 and owned by Suntory, Yamazaki was one of the first Japanese distilleries to produce commercial whisky. The Yamazaki distillery employs a total of twelve stills (six wash stills and six spirit stills) to bring its aged single malts to life.

See also: Chichibu | Fuji Gotemba | Hakushu | Miyagikyo | Shinshu Mars | White Oak | Yoichi

Yeast

A type of fungus which converts sugar into alcohol. To make whisky, distiller’s yeast is added to the sugary liquid (wort) which ferments into a basic type of beer called the ‘wash’ inside a large cylindrical tank called a washback. Yeast is one of the three key ingredients used to make whisky including water and a type of cereal grain such as barley.

Predominantly, distillers’ yeast is used to make whisky however distilleries are now experimenting with using naturally cultivated yeast from on-site sources such as fruit trees. Lindores Abbey distillery (Lowlands, Fife) is trialling natural yeast sourced from their onsite apple and pear trees.

See also: Grain | Water | Wash | Wort

Yoichi

Yoichi distillery is a beautiful whisky distillery located in Yoichi, a town in the Yoichi District of Shiribeshi Subprefecture in Hokkaido, Japan. Established in 1934 and owned by Nikka Whisky Distilling, Yoichi is the oldest of Nikka’s two distilleries.

See also: Chichibu | Fuji Gotemba | Hakushu | Miyagikyo | Shinshu Mars | White Oak | Yamazaki