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THE LINGO

A lexicon of terms from the world of whisky.

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Find words begining with the letter

H

This is it – the perfect part of the run. It is the second fraction (part) of the distilled alcohol from the spirit sill - between the Foreshot and the Feints - which is collected, ready to be matured into whisky. See also “New make”
The Highlands is the biggest region and therefore embraces a wide variety of malts. Broadly speaking, these malts are warm and rounded with spicy notes. The Highland malts include Dalwhinnie, The Singleton of Glen Ord , Royal Lochnagar, Oban and Clynelish. Defining exactly where to draw the line between the Highlands and Lowlands has always been a bit of a movable feast. The Wash Act of 1784 drew a line across Scotland between Dunoon in the west to Dundee in the east. Then, in 1797, an intermediate area was defined which shifted the Highland line so that it ran from Lochgilphead to Findhorn.

Being so near the coast naturally affects the flavour of the whisky, many of them having a noticeable maritime character. The Northern Highland distilleries, such as Clynelish are all coastal except for Glen Ord, but that’s only a few miles from the sea. We sometimes refer to these whiskies as “Coastal East Highlands”. The West Coast (West Highlands) has a noticeably maritime influence on malts such as Oban.

The landscape of the Central Highlands is mainly mountainous, with hills divided by deep glens, lochs and valleys. Many distilleries in the region were built along the fertile glens carved out by the River Tay, the longest river in Scotland. Dalwhinnie, the highest distillery in Scotland, is at the gateway to the Cairngorms. Barley grew well in the lush valley bottoms and water and peat were in abundant supply. The whiskies produced tend to be lighter bodied and sweeter than other Highland malts.

See also “Cask types”.