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Whisky Fundamentals

Picture of Whisky Barrel Char Level

Whisky Barrel Char Level

Published 02/10/2022

American oak casks are toasted and charred before being used to mature Bourbon whiskey. Toasting not only breaks down the structure of the oak and allows the spirit to penetrate more easily, but also creates new flavour compounds. This is due to the structure of the wood itself. Oak is made up of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin. The former gives the oak its strength, the other two begin to break down when heated, forming flavour compounds that are soluble in ethanol and impart desirable aromas to wines and spirits.

Whisky Barrel Char Level
Picture of What is the solera system?

What is the solera system?

Published 25/08/2022

The solera system is a method of aging and blending liquids, such as wine, beer, and spirits. It involves the continuous blending of older and younger batches of the liquid, resulting in a consistent flavor profile from one batch to the next. The solera system is commonly used in the production of sherry, port, and other fortified wines. The oldest part of the blend, known as the “solera,” is kept in barrels, and each time a portion of the liquid is removed for bottling, it is replaced with an equal amount of younger liquid from the next oldest barrel.

What is the solera system?
Picture of What is a Mash Bill?

What is a Mash Bill?

Published 22/08/2022

The mash bill of a whisky is the grain combination used when making multigrain spirits such as bourbons. Unlike single malt these do not consist of a single grain, but are instead produced using a mixture of different grains such as corn, rye, wheat and barley If you’re a Scotch Single Malt fan, you won’t come across the term mash bill or grain recipe. The raw material on which this spirit is malted barley.

What is a Mash Bill?
Picture of What do the streaks in a nosing glass mean?

What do the streaks in a nosing glass mean?

Published 12/07/2022

Streaks in the glass: a sign of quality? We are familiar with the picture of wine and whisky tastings: those who consider themselves to be tastings experts wave their glasses and then examine the streaks forming on the inner glass walls with a critical eye (sometimes called “church windows”, “legs” or “tears”). We are constantly told that these allow us to draw conclusions about the composition or even the quality of the liquid.

What do the streaks in a nosing glass mean?
Picture of What is an ogee?

What is an ogee?

Published 12/07/2022

An ogee is the name sometimes given to the a bulge (or boil ball) on the upper part of a pot still. While this usage is not the most accurate it does serve exactly the same purpose as a reflux ball. An ogee as defined by Forsyths of Rothes refers to the ‘S’ shape or double bend of a still. The presence of an ogee on a pot still increases the amount of reflux in much the same way a taller still, or an upward slanting line arm does.

What is an ogee?