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Archiver > Scotch-Irish > 1998-02 > 0886434575

From: <>
Subject: Re: Scots Pot Stills?
Date: Mon, 2 Feb 1998 10:49:35 EST

Bonnie M. Fountain wrote to Colleen:
>The first stage in the process is the soaking of the barley in water so
>as to let it germinate, before it is dried by the application of heat to
>produce malt. The malt is then dried in a kiln with a floor of
>perforated iron or wire mesh beneath which is a ventilator which draws up
>the hot air from the fire through the malt. The dried malt is then
>ground and put into a 'mash tun' where it is extracted with hot water to
>produce a liquid called 'wort.' ..................... [and more
>paragraphs of the same technical jargon]

Excellent definition, Bonnie. There is one minor, yet significant detail the
description left out. The hot air used to dry the germinated barley is really
smoke from slow burning peat. The smoke adds a distinctive flavor to the wort
that carries on to the finished Scotch malt. My personal favorite is
Glenfiddich, a single malt.

My experise on the subject you ask? I was a distiller in the Research and
Development Engineering Department of Joseph E. Seagram and Sons. During my
tenure there, Seagram bought a "Scotch" Distillery in New Zealand (Don't
recall the brand name, maybe someone on the list knows. One can't call it
Scotch if it's not made in Scotland.) It was a very popular local brand in
New Zealand and Australia, but the distillery had fallen into disrepair. Much
of the barrelled "Scotch" was on the verge of ruin due to poor warehouse
conditions and rotten cooperage (barrell wood). I worked as part of a team to
save the barrelled "Scotch" for bottling. This helped keep the product on the
market while Seagram refurbished the distillery for future production. (I do
hope Seagram lived up to it's intent to save this brand. I do not know for
certain as I am no longer in their employ.)

To the issue of Copper versus glass or some other metal. This falls into the
"mystique" of distilling. For some reason, copper imparts desirable flavors
into the distilled spirits that other metals or glass do not.

Sharon in MO

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