TOUR OF THE DISTILLERY (4)
The first distillation separates the alcohol from the water and yeast, the solids of which are also used for animal feeds. Known as low wine the resulting liquid contains approximately 25 per cent alcohol by volume. At the start of the second distillation the compounds produced, the foreshots and the final elements called the feints are channeled off to be redistilled and it is only the heart of the run between say 70% and 63% ABV which is collected in the spirit receiver.
All the distillates pass through the spirit safe so called because it is padlocked on the instructions of Custom and Excise. The stillman, not permitted by C & E to taste the spirit uses all his years of experience to test and judge this fiery colourless spirit which has to be reduced from an average of 68 per cent by volume to 63.5 per cent before it can be placed in the casks.
Casks come in various types, their size, the oak they are made from, their previous use, the warehouse conditions, humidity etc. all have their own effect upon the resulting whisky. Oak casks from the sherry or bourbon industries give distinctive colours to the whisky that matures inside.
The age of whisky varies from one distillery to another some are blended from as early as three years. Here at Bladnoch it is hoped that the first of the new whisky distilled since its rebirth in the year 2000 will be raised in a toast after eight years. Cheers.
The first 3 casks (001, 002 & 003) of the new spirit