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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

P

The Pagoda roof is a familiar symmetrical and triangular shaped chimney that sits above the kiln. The first Pagodas were seen in the late 1800s and the shape was designed by the Elgin based architect Charles Doig who also designed several distilleries.
Peat (turf) is partially carbonised, decayed vegetable soil that has been compressed over hundreds of years. It gives off a distinctive smoke when burnt which is very influential in the aroma of some whiskies. It is particularly notable in the Island malts, especially Talisker, Caol Ila and Lagavulin.
PPM is the abbreviation of Parts Per Million – the scientific measurement for showing the amount of phenols present in the malt used to make whisky, that have been absorbed from the burning of peat. The phenolic content of the malt does not necessarily correlate with the phenolic content of the final matured whisky.
Pot ale is a residue left in the wash still after the first distillation which is often mixed with draff to produce animal feed. Some distilleries also use it as fertilizer on fields.
A copper distillation vessel, resembling a large kettle and onion or pear shaped. The size and shape of pot stills varies from distillery to distillery, and pot still variables play an important part in determining the character of spirit produced. Traditionally distillers are very reluctant to change the shape or size of their stills for fear of changing the character of their spirit. The pot stills can be categorized into Plain, Ball and Lamp Glass shaped types.
Proof is a standardised measurement to determine the alcoholic strength. Originally when a mixture of water and alcohol where poured on a small amount of gunpowder it was possible to determine if the mixture was of high or low proof. If the powder did not ignite, the mixture had too much water and the proof was considered as low. Spirit that is 100 degrees proof equals to 57.1% alcohol so 70% proof equal to 40% alcohol according to the British definition. In the United States the proof number is twice the percentage of the alcohol content measured at a temperature of 60°F or 15.5°C.
A Purifier is a pipe reversing some distillate from the lyne arm of the spirit still back to the swan neck. This produces more reflux which results in a lighter spirit.