Malt Whisky Production: The Starting Point

As one heads north of the border, the rolling hills and grain fields of the Scottish countryside stretch almost as far as the eye can see. Across the Highlands and into Speyside, peat meadows and soft soil support the prolific growth of heather, adding a picturesque purple hue to the landscape.

This unique area also benefits from several freshwater springs and protected wells, essential sources of the pure, clear water required for the best malt whiskies. Of course, distilleries also need to be near rivers to have an adequate water supply to cool the pot stills, a vital part of the centuries-old whisky-making process.

Within the distillery, producing new-make spirit is relatively straightforward. Later, the refinements of bouquet and taste come with ageing in the cask over several years.

First, the barley germinates so that the starch content of the grain turns into malt sugar. The next step is to dry and then grind the malt. When the barley dries above a bed of peat, the finished liquor has a characteristic smoky flavour.

whisky barrel