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A lexicon of terms from the world of whisky

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The Keepers of the Quaich is an exclusive Scotch Whisky society and was founded to represent the Scotch Whisky industry worldwide. It promotes the goodwill of the industry and honours those who have made a significant contribution to it.
Both the oven and the buildings which house the oven are called the kiln. The process in the kiln is called kilning and the purpose of kilning is to arrest malt growth by drying the malt down to approx. 4.5% moisture. This is achieved by blowing warm air through the malt bed for up to 30hrs. It is important that the temperature of the air is not too high (55 degrees centigrade at the start) to avoid damaging the enzymes. Kilning serves another purpose; it is at this stage that peat smoke is added to impart the distinctive flavour which characterises some of our malt whiskies. The amount of peat smoke added, as well as the time during the kilning when this is done, influences the malt. The actual amount of peating varies depending on the source of the peat and the style of malt required for each individual distillery.

In general terms there are four key styles: heavy peated which is characteristic of our Islay malts, medium peated which is used by Talisker distillery and lightly peated used by the other distilleries. The fourth style is non-peated where no peat smoke is passed through the malt in the kiln. Some distilleries use this style of malt (for example, Clynelish and Glen Elgin). After kilning the malt is dressed to remove rootlets, stored (or rested) to improve its handling in the distillery and finally despatched to make some of the finest malt whisky in the world.

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