Distilling Port Charlotte Spirit

IN

After a long run of unpeated Bruichladdich through the stills we have started to distill heavily peated Port Charlotte spirit this morning.  We plan to be running Port Charlotte for around a month before changing again, to Octomore, the heaviest peated whisky in the world.  The Octomore will take us through to the Christmas holiday.

The first 7.2 tonne batch of the pungent, peat-infused Port Charlotte grist was soaked in our lovely old cast iron mash tun on Wednesday of last week, the maximum amount of sugar being gently extracted to give a sweet wort.  Water was added and drained away from the grist in the mash tun four times, with the first and second ‘waters’ being used to charge the washbacks, while the third and fourth were recycled as the first and second waters of the subsequent mash.

Washbacks

Every stage of the process is enabled, overseen and controlled by people and people alone.

Yeast was added to the wort in the washbacks by hand, and a slow period of fermentation resulted in the creation of alcohol in a malty ‘wash’, which is akin to a beer.  It is this wash that charges the stills and is gently simmered and the vapours condensed to produce, first the low wines, and finally the precious spirit that will fill the oak casks.

Every stage of the process is enabled, overseen and controlled by people and people alone.  The quantities are measured, the flow regulated, the consistency checked and the speed determined by men whose responsibility it is to judge when to take the middle cut.  There are no computers telling them what to do, or when to do it, just a body of knowledge passed from man to man, father to son, generation to generation.

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