Whisky Glossary

Here you will find, in alphabetical order, terms related to Whisky and their respective short definitions. Clicking on the term will take you to a more detailed description of the term.

A
ABV
Alcohol by volume â Proportion of alcohol by volume (not weight).
additive maturation
Aromas in a Whisky,that are absorbed from the cask.
Age
The time a Whisky matured in an oak cask.
Alligator char
A thick,cracked layer of charcoal on the inside of an oak cask.
American Whiskey
Whiskey produced in the USA.
American White Oak
Type of oak (Quercus alba) predominantly used in Northern America.
Angel's Share
As it matures,Whisky evaporates through the porous oak wood and rises to the angels in heaven.
ASB
Cask of American white oak,in which Bourbon previously matured.
B
Barley
Grain (Hordeum vulgare) from the genus of sweet grass.
barrique
Barrique is French for cask.
beer
Whisky beer contains a high alcohol level but no hops.
beer well
Large,mostly open storage tank for Whiskey beer,from which the distillation is constantly supplied.
beginner
Person who has not tasted many Whiskies yet.
Blended Whisky
Whisky mixture from different Whisky types and distilleries.
blood tub
The smallest of the Whisky casks contains a mere 30-50 litres.
body
Haptic Whisky feeling in the mouth.
bottling
Whisky used to be poured from a cask or jug. The bottle has dominated for 150 years.
Bourbon
US Whiskey produced according to the rules of the Bourbon Act.
Bourbon Barrel
Casks made of American white oak,which previously contained Bourbon.
Bung
Wooden stopper of a cask.
Butt
Large oak cask from Spain,usually holding 500 litres.
C
Campbeltown
City in Scotland. Town on the Kintyre Peninsula.
carbon dioxide
Colourless fermentation gas.
cask
Cylindrical wooden container holding liquids without contact to metal.
cask strength
Whisky that is bottled from a cask without dilution.
Charcoal Mellowing
Whiskey filtered through meter-thick layers of charcoal.
charring
Firing and extinguishing of casks with a bright flame and water to produce a layer of charcoal.
Chillfiltering
Whisky filtration at temperatures between -2 and +4°C.
Coffey Still
Column distillation apparatus.
Collector
Person who adds unopened Whiskies to a collection.
colour
Comes from a cask or is added.
Column Stills
Industrial distillation column.
continuous distillation
Uninterrupted distillation in column stills,with continuous addition and removal of products.
cooper
Manufacturer and repairer of barrels.
cooperage
Factory where casks are produced.
cork
Bottle stopper made from the bark of the cork oak.
Corn Whiskey
Whiskey made from corn.
D
dilution
Reduction of the alcohol content of a Whisky with water.
distillation
Separation of liquids with different boiling points by heating.
Distillery
Factory that produces a spirit – in this case Whisky - from an alcoholic liquid.
Distillery Character
Flavour components of a Whisky that are created during production (not maturation).
distillery map
Map showing the location of distilleries.
Doubler
Copper kettle downstream of a column distillation.
Draff
Mineral- and protein-rich spent grains which are used as animal feed.
Dram
Typical quantity of a poured Whisky: 28 to 35ml.
drinking temperature
Mostly room temperature.
dunnage warehouse
Low Whisky warehouse in Scotland with tamped,moisture permeable soil.
E
european oak
Particularly intense oak variety in taste.
Excise Act
Alcohol Tax Act.
F
faints
Longer chain oils,most of which are separated during distillation.
Fermentation
Transformation of sugar into alcohol with yeast.
Finish
Additional improvement (maturing) of a Whisky in another wooden cask.
First Fill
Casks used for the first time in Scotland after their original use (Bourbon,Sherry,…).
foreshots
Undrinkable first part of a distillation.
G
German Whisky
Whisky produced in Germany.
germination
Conversion of the starch in the grain to malt sugar,breaking the husk and development of the first roots.
Grain Whisky
Whisky,produced from unmalted barley.
Grist
Coarse ground material from a malt mill.
H
Hammer Mill
Mill that crushes grains instead of grinding them.
heat exchanger
Apparatus that takes the heat from one liquid and transfers it to another without mixing the two.
Hogshead
Larger new casks (ox head) assembled from dismantled Ex-Borbon barrels.
hoops
Metal bands that hold the staves of casks together.
I
independent bottler
Company which,as a non-owner of a distillery,bottles its Whiskies.
indian Whisky
Whisky produced in India.
interactive maturation
Combination of distillery character with barrel maturation.
Irish Whiskey
Whiskey produced in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
K
Keeper of the Quaich
Honorary title awarded to a deserving person for the promotion of Scotch Whisky.
Kentucky Straight Bourbon
US Whiskey produced in the State of Kentucky according to the regulations of the Bourbon Act.
Kiln
Furnace for the generation of hot air for malt drying.
L
label lore
Knowledge about the details with which Whisky bottles are labelled.
Lauter Tun
Large tank for separating solid and liquid parts of the mash.
low wines
Raw product of the first distillation stage (Pot Still).
Lyne Arm
Copper tube leading from the upper end of a pot still to the condenser.
M
malt
Mostly malted barley. However,malt can be made from any grain.
malt mill
Grain mill that processes germinated grain into coarse flour.
malting
Controlled germination process for the production of malt sugar from grain.
Maple Whiskey
American Whiskey matured in casks that previously held maple syrup.
Mash Bill
Grain recipe for the production of American Whiskey.
Mash Tun
Large tank for leaching the mash with hot water.
mashing
Leaching of malt sugar from malted grain and conversion of residual starch into sugar.
Master Blender
Responsible taster for Blended Whiskies.
Master Distiller
Person responsible for the distillation process - often also for the whole distillery.
maturation
After distillation,Whisky is colourless. Through years of aging in oak casks it takes on its aromas.
Middle Cut
Usable middle section during distillation in batches.
Millet Whisky
Whisky made from millet.
Moonshining
Illegal distillation of raw Whisky.
N
NAS Whisky
No Age Statement Whisky. Whisky without an indication of age.
Neck
Long part of the still,which is placed on the copper vessel.
New Make Spirit
Raw Whisky,as it comes straight from the last still.
Nosing glass
Glass that is particularly suitable for smelling Whisky.
Nosing Wheel
Circular arrangement of flavour components for classifying Whisky.
O
oak
Porous,not resinous but firm type of wood.
Oat Whisky
Whisky made from a mash of oats.
Octave Cask
Small cask with mostly 50 to 80 litres capacity.
on the rocks
Whisky on ice.
P
pagoda roof
Cover of the chimney of a kiln to prevent the rain from getting in.
palletised warehouse
Warehouse in which Whisky casks are stored upright on pallets.
peat
Dead plant remains that have been compressed close to the ground over thousands of years.
peat smoke
Whisky gets its smoky aromas from the drying of the malt over peat fires.
Pedro-Ximenez-Sherry-Casks
Sweet fruity ex-Sherry casks (fortified wine).
Port Pipe
Longish port wine cask with a capacity of around 600 litres.
Port wine casks
Fortified wine casks which previously contained port wine.
Pot Ale
Residue from distillation.
Pot Still
Copper distillation apparatus.
ppm
Parts per million – the degree of smokiness is given in this unit.
preparation of casks
Renewed thermal activation (toasting,charring) of used casks.
Production
Whisky making.
Prohibition Whiskey
Whiskey,which was produced during the US prohibition as medicine.
proof
Old alcohol strength instead of Alc. Vol.
Puncheon
Cask with about 600 litres capacity.
Q
Quarter Cask
Cask with a capacity of around 125 litres.
R
racked warehouse
Whisky warehouse where Whisky casks are stored on shelves and can be retrieved individually.
red layer
Separating layer between thermally activated and original oak in a cask stave.
Refill
Whisky cask filled for the second time or more often in Scotland.
Reflux
Alcohol condensed in a still early on before passing into the condenser.
rejuvenation
Casks are milled from the inside and then charred again.
reused casks
Wooden casks can be used several times for the maturation of Whisky.
roller mill
Grain mill in which the grain is ground between two rollers.
Rummager
Mechanically driven chain inside a directly fired still to prevent burning.
Rye
Whiskey made from at least 51% rye.
S
Saladin Box
Old form of a concrete tub in which barley was malted.
Sherry Cask
Oak cask that was previously used for the maturation of Sherry.
Signatory Vintage
Independent Scottish bottler who also owns the Edradour distillery.
single cask
High-quality Whiskies are bottled from one single cask.
Single Malt Whisky
A Whisky made from malted barley produced in a single distillery.
Single Pot Still Whiskey
Irish Whiskey produced exclusively in Pot Stills.
Slàinte mhath
Scottisch Gaelic: To your health (good health).
Small Batch
Number of Whisky bottles that were produced in a limited quantity.
Sour Mash
US-American pH value-reducing fermentation process for Whiskey production.
Spirit Receiver
Collecting vessel or storage container for the raw Whisky.
Spirit Safe
Closed brass case with glass windows for controlling low wines and new make spirit.
Spirit Still
Second or last still producing the new make spirit.
starch
White,powdery substance obtained from cereals and used in the food industry,among others.
stave
Long wooden bars of a cask,which make up the round shell of the cask.
steeping
Barley grains are steeped in water basins for 24 to 48 hours before malting.
stem glass
Glass with a stem and plate base.
Stillman
Employee of a distillery who works in the still house.
Straight Bourbon
Bourbon that is produced by a single US-distillery.
subtractive maturation
Even without an oak cask,raw Whisky changes its taste over the years for the better.
sugar
In connection with barley and Whisky,maltose is usually meant (disaccharide).
sugar maple
Special type of maple from which maple syrup is extracted.
T
taste
Properties of a Whisky that are absorbed by the tongue and mouth.
tasting
Enjoying a Whisky to determine its taste.
Tennessee Whiskey
Whiskey produced in the US state of Tennessee.
Toasting
Heating a cask from the inside to at least 150 degrees to split cellulose into wood sugar.
Tumbler
Cylindrical glass,usually with a thick bottom and a large rim.
U
uisge betha
Uisge betha = Gaelic for water of life. Whisky was created by sound shifting.
V
Vintage Whisky
Whisky with the year of distillation on the label.
Virgin Oak
Whisky cask which did not contain any other liquid before being filled with Whisky.
W
warehouse
Storehouse for Whisky casks.
wash still
First still,which is filled with Whisky beer after the completed fermentation.
washback
Tank used for fermentation.
water
wheat whisky
Whisky made from unmalted wheat.
Whiskey
Irish and US-American spelling of Whisky.
Whiskey Rebellion
Uprising of settlers against the first-time levying of alcohol taxes in the USA.
Whisky
Scottish,Canadian and international spelling of Whiskey.
Whisky connoisseur
Person who consumes Whisky for enjoyment.
whisky glass
Glass specially made for enjoying Whisky.
Whisky history
History of the origin of Whisky.
Whisky neat
Neat means not to dilute Whisky with water or other liquids.
Whisky shelf
Storage place for Whisky bottles.
White Whisky
American raw Whiskey.
worm tub
Large wooden tub filled with water,in which there is a copper spiral as a condenser.
wort
Mash with added yeast for fermentation.
Y
yeast
A unicellular tubular fungus that can convert sugar into alcohol.