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THE LINGO

A lexicon of terms from the world of whisky.

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Find words begining with the letter

W

The building where the spirit slowly matures in oak casks until it can be called Scotch whisky (a minimum of three years maturing in Scotland).
A liquid normally containing 7-8% ABV produced during the fermentation process. Wash is similar to beer and is pumped to the wash still for the first distillation.
Fermentation takes place in a “washback”, a large vat made of larch or pine, or more commonly these days, stainless steel. The type of material has no influence on the fermentation process.
The stills are critical for determining the character and the flavour of the whisky. They normally operate in pairs and the wash still is the first and usually largest of the two. The wash is heated and the alcohol vapours evaporate and are then cooled and reformed in to a liquid by a condenser. The resulting liquid has an alcohol level of 20-23% ABV.
The importance of water in the production of malt whisky has been known for a long time. Water is used at various stages throughout the process: malting, mashing, fermentation, distillation and maturation. The water used in the process is required to be of potable quality, which is free from contaminants, high levels of minerals and organic matter. The source used by the distillery is important to ensure this quality. In addition to the quality, the other key point in relation to water is that to help in operating distilleries consistently a constant high volume at a regular temperature is required. However water is insignificant when it comes to developing flavours.
See also “Worm tub”
The worm tub is normally a large tank or vessel containing the worm, a coiled copper pipe immersed in cold running water. They’re usually seen in large wooden or cast iron vats for example at Glenkinchie, Dalwhinnie and Talisker. The worms are used to slowly condense spirit vapours with minimum copper contact producing a rich spirit character.
A liquid that is drained off the Mash Tun, contains high amounts of soluble sugars from the grist dissolved in hot water. Wort is the liquid that gets cooled down and pumped into the washback where yeast is added for the fermentation process, where the sugars are changed to alcohol.