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Welcome to a Brief Tour to Scotch Whisky. Skye Gears Burns Night, January 25, 2008.

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welcome to a brief tour to scotch whisky

Welcome to a Brief Tour to Scotch Whisky

Skye Gears

Burns Night, January 25, 2008


Whisky (from the Gaelic word uisge beatha, "water of life") has been produced for hundreds of year in Scotland since at least the fifteenth century. Whisky is deeply rooted in Scottish history and an icon product of Scotland.


It is not only a cultural icon, but also an important part of Scotland’s economy. Today, more than one billion bottles of Scotch Whisky are sold worldwide per year.This compares with Irish whiskey at about 5% of that number, American at about 8% and Japanese about 3%.

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It is Scotland’s 3rd largest and UK’s 5th largest manufactured export. Its overseas sales amount to a staggering £2.5 billion per year. In total, whisky and other spirits are worth £3.3 billion per year to the Scottish economy and supports 41,000 jobs in Scotland.

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scotch whisky sales distribution
Scotch Whisky Sales Distribution


US: £400m

France: £275m

Spain: £195m

South Korea: £136m

Venezuela: £106m

Source: Scotch Whisky Association: 2006

Source [17]

you may have visited one of the whisky shops you may have been to one of the whisky tasting events

You may have visited one of the Whisky shops.You may have been to one of the Whisky tasting events.


Or, you may have been one of those lucky persons who have the chance to taste the finest Whisky straight out of a barrel.But do you know where Scotch Whisky comes from?

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In this tutorial, I would like tobriefly introduce you to the regions where Scotch Whiskies come from and the making process of Scotch Whisky.


Whisky is fascinating and important to Scottish economy, but do you know that it is made from three ingredients only. They are:


Spring water


Sometimes peat is also fired to enhance the flavour, but this is optional.


Scotland is divided into five whisky-producing regions. Each has its own style and its share of devotees. They are the Lowlands, Highlands, Campbeltown, island of Islay and Speyside. More than half of the distilleries are in Speyside.

whisky distilleries are often resided in scenic countryside and with interesting architectures

Whisky Distilleries are often resided in scenic countrysideand with interesting architectures.

to make whisky the single most important ingredient is barley there are 7 stages in making whisky

To Make Whisky… The single most important ingredient is: Barley.There are 7Stages inmakingWhisky.

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Stage 1: MaltingBarley are soaked in water to allow germination, so enzymes turn the starch into sugar.Grains of barley start to sprout to becomeso-called“green malts”.

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Stage 2: KilningTo smoke dry the green malts to stop germination and prevent sugar being used for growing.Sometimes, peat is fired to create smoke to add flavour to the malt. Traditionally, malts are spread thinly on the floor; modern systems make use of rotary drums to air and heat the malt.

floor kilning
Floor Kilning

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Stage 3: MillingIn this stage, barley malts are grinded to produce “grist” (65% husk, 25% middle, and 10% flour).

The Mill

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Stage 4: MashingMix hot water with grist in a large vessel called “Mash Tun” to extract sugars. The output is hot, sweet water, called “wort”

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Stage 5: FermentingTransfer cooled “wort” to “Wash-Backs”. Yeast is added to turn wort into weakalcohol, called“wash”.

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Stage 6: DistillingThe “wash” is transferred to a wash still that is typically heated to 80 degrees. Its vapour is collected to become “low wines”. This is repeated at a second (low wines) still to produce70%-79% spirit.

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Scotch Whisky Stills

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It may be worth mentioning thatthe shape of the still, the height, shape and length of its neck, and the fact that the still is copper rather than other metals all contribute to the characteristics of the whisky. Modern stainless steel stills do not remove impurities from whiskies.


Stage 7: MaturingScotch spirit is stored and matured in oak casks. The minimum legal requirement is 3 years. The type of wood used and what was stored in the barrel previously give additional flavour to the Whisky.

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  • Ian Bankier, the Whisky Shop, http://www.whiskyshop.com/
  • Royal Mile Whiskies.com: http://www.royalmilewhiskies.com/viewindex.asp?article_id=wb_making
  • BruichLaddich: http://www.bruichladdich.com/making_whisky.htm
  • Floor malting: http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/usfeatures/maltwhisky/maltings.html
  • Scotch Whisky Stills:
    • http://www.maltmadness.com/44-0004.jpg
    • http://www.whiskyacademy.com/images/distillers.jpg
  • Whisky map: http://www.scotchwhisky.net/distilleries/
  • Distillery:
    • http://www.entirescotland.co.uk/scottish_whisky_distilleries.html
    • http://www.entirescotland.co.uk/scottish_whisky_distillery_tours.html
  • Barley: http://www.freefoto.com/preview/9907-06-31?ffid=9907-06-31
  • Green Malt: http://www.schmohz.com/images/beer-malt2.jpeg
  • Barley grains: http://www.lethamshank.co.uk/crops.htm
  • Whisky WashBacks: http://www.whisky-distilleries.info/Bowmore2_EN.shtml
  • Whisky Barrels: http://www.harbour-inn.com/gallery/whisky_barrels.jpg
  • Strathisla Distillery: http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/keith/keith/
  • BBC News, DEC 18, 2007: (3.3bn) http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/7150219.stm
  • BBC News, Dec 29, 2007 (2.5bn): http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/7163649.stm
  • UK Parliament (41K jobs): http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200102/cmselect/cmscotaf/324/1103108.htm
  • BBC News, April 4, 2007 (sales distribution): http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6525279.stm
  • Scotland the official online Gateway Dec 2002 (1bn bottles) http://www.scotland.org/about/innovation-and-creativity/features/business/whisky.html