A Glossary of Whisky Words




ABV (acronym)

An abbreviation of Alcohol By Volume. This is the standard method of measuring the alcohol concentration in a liquid, measured by percentage. Many of our core range malts have an ABV of 50% in order to showcase the most essential compounds in the whisky.  Find out more about why we bottle at 50% ABV here.

ACE  (acronym)

A laddie-made acronym which stands for Additional Cask Enhancement. You may see this acronym used in our product spec pages, it refers to any additional maturation of our whisky where the spirit is transferred from one cask to another to develop supplementary character and complexity. ACE-ing and all other aspects of maturation are the sole responsibility of Head Distiller Adam Hannett.

Age (noun)

[ eɪdʒ ]

“Age is a number, not a feeling” as they say in teen romance. Nor is it necessarily an indicator of a whisky’s quality. Our approach is to release whisky whenever our Head Distiller deems it ready, whenever the character of that whisky is at its peak. So, for example, if it’s something from our  barley exploration series where we’re wanting to taste flavours from a specific barley, he’ll likely let that out of our warehouses when it’s younger, so that the cask influence doesn’t take over. Whiskies that are older are rarer and more expensive, and that has been open to exploitation in the past, meaning that now the law dictates that only the youngest whisky in any bottling can be declared. But that law prevents the full transparency that we would like to give about makes up a whisky like our Classic Laddie.  More about the whole interesting area of transparency here .



Auger  (noun)


A machine with a rotating spiralled screw, which can often be found within a tube, used to transport liquid or grain from one area to another. At Bruichladdich this is used to transport the malt and grist to the mill and mash tun. The rotating part of the conveyor is called an auger.

Awns  (noun)


The fine hairs or bristles on barley which help contribute to seed dispersal, burial, and photosynthesis. According to Haystack Mountain  most barley species tend to have long awns however their appearance and length can vary between barley varieties. Through their awns, barley varieties are described as “expressing their beards”.

Bairds Maltings (noun)


Our malting partners based in Inverness who have been malting barley since 1823.
The malting process is about converting the grain into malt by inducing germination of the barley. First the barley is soaked in water, allowing it to sprout and then drying it out to stunt the growth. One of the skills of the maltster is stopping germination at the optimum time to preserve the enzymes which are later extracted during mashing. Bruichladdich have been working closely with Bairds since the reopening of the distillery in 2001. Read more about our visit to Bairds Maltings here.

Balance Drainer (noun)


A small, open-top holding vessel connected to the mashtun which mirrors the fluid level of the tun in order to guage whether the mash is operating correctly. The balance drainer should always always reflect whats happening in the mash tun; if there are disparities between the level of liquid in the balance drainer and the tun it signals to the mashman that something isn’t performing. For example if the mash tun is full and the balance drainer is empty it signals that there is a blockage and therefore the mash needs to be stirred.





Barley Loft (noun)

[bɑːr.li lɒft]

The newest meeting room at the distillery with views out towards the Lochindaal. The perfect spot for making important whisky decisions. Formerly, barley was brought in by “puffer” (coal powered boat) to the pier and stored in one of two barley lofts on the top storey, above the mill house and above what is now the Laddie Shop. It was steeped up there, then carried down gangways to the kiln in the centre of the courtyard. See more of the original distillery layout from 1881 at canmore.org.

Baudoinia Compniacensis (noun)

[ˈhæv(ə)nt a kluː ]

A black fungus found commonly on distillery and warehouse buildings. It feeds on the maturing whisky vapours which naturally evaporate through the cask and into the air. This fungus thrives when alcohol vapours come into contact with moisture in the air.

Bere Barley  (noun)

[ beərˈbɑːr.li ]

Bere barley (pronounced “bear”) is one Scotland’s oldest remaining cereals in cultivation. It has six rows of kernels as opposed to the two or four rows on conventional barley varieties.  It’s a robust crop that can withstand poor soil conditions and harsh climates and has been growing in the North of Scotland for over a thousand years. This variety of barley not only ticks our boxes of provenance and heritage, but also flavour.

Blood Tub  (noun)

[ blʌd  tʌb ]

The smallest cask in the whisky industry which can store between 30-40 litres of spirit. They are seldom used commercially but there are a few which are privately owned nestles in Bruichladdich’s warehouses. Due to their small size, maturation is intensified in a blood tub as more of the spirit comes in contact with wood.

Boby Mill  (noun)


A common type of mill for the whisky industry, designed by Robert Boby. The mill is made up of two sets of rollers, one of which cracks open the barley and the other grinds it down to become grist which is then used for mashing.

These mills are built to last. Bruichladdich’s has one of the last belt driven boby mill left in Scotland, built in 1913. While most distillers got rid of the saddle leather belts which drive the rollers, Bruichladdich has sustained the traditional. Read more about the intricacies of our Boby mill here.

Bouncer  (noun)


A large dense foam sponge found in the laddie warehouses used for dropping casks onto to protect the wood. This is especially used during the moving of casks from dunnage warehouses where each cask has to be moved manually without the use of machinery.

“Budgie” / “the Budgie”  (noun informal)

[ ˈbʌdʒi ]

Longest serving employee, since 1989 non-stop; before that a Creamery man. Never short of a story, he’s notoriously knowledgable and softly spoken. His mother was born in a house that stood where our warehouse 12 is now. Christened Duncan, he got the name Budgie in his school days at Gorton, no one can remember why.

Bung Hole (noun)

[ bʌŋ həʊl ]

The small round hole in the bilge of a cask to allow for spirit to be filled or emptied. You will often find a bung cloth on our casks; this hessian material makes it easier to extract the bung and forms a seal around the hole to minimise any leaking. A bung of wood or rubber fills a bung hole. A bung hammer screws in to remove a bung from a bung hole.

Bung Up (watchword)

[bʌŋ ʌp]

“Bung up” is the best position for a cask to sit while its contents mature to avoid leaks, and to make it easier for Adam to obtain his samples periodically. The full casks are heavy, and working conditions down the stows can be tight, so it’s better to roll them in carefully from the ends so they naturally come to rest with the “bung up” than it is to manoeuvre them once they’re in position. The warehousemen make adjustments as the stow fills up, and have developed a shorthand about what position the bung needs to be in at the start of its roll based on the clock face. If it comes to rest too far over the vertical it is “Fast”, shy of the vertical, it’s “Slow”, and they adjust the starting position accordingly.

Also the name of a computer game about efficient warehouse storage invented by programme guru, Andy Fisher, who worked for five years in the warehouses.





Cask (noun)


The vessel used for maturing whisky. Also a frequent component of payment, negotiations and deal-sealing in the early cash-strapped days of Bruichladdich.

Charging (verb)


The act of switching on steam pressure inside the stills to begin distillation. In the stillhouse, steam is ‘charged’ inside the coils (in the spirit stills) and radiators (in the wash stills) which provide the heat for distillation.

Chateaux (noun)


Literally translating to ‘castles’ in French, in the wine (and whisky) industry it refers to the name of an estate which produces wine. Thanks orginally to Bruichladdich’s founders’ connection to the wine world through their prior business La Reserve, wine casks from well known producers all over the world are used for maturation. For legal reasons, disclosing the identity of any chateaux is not allowed. More about transparency in casks here

Chocolate Malt  (noun)

[ˈʧɒkəlɪt mɔːlt]

Barley which has been roasted rather than air dried or smoked. Bruichladdich have released a chocolate malt valinch in the past which was aged in a Syrah wine cask for 14 years. The limites-edition release had notes of sweet dried fruit and dark chocolate.

Copan  (Scottish Gaelic)


Gaelic word for ‘cup’. At 10am on the dot, Mary McGregor from the shop team announces ‘time for a copan’ which is follwed by a trip to the kitchen to make the team a tea or coffee. The ‘copan’ sheet in the staff kitchen keeps her right with everyone’s bespoke ‘copan’ order.

Coultorsay (noun)


The site of our newest warehouse complex situated behind the distillery. Before the erection of these new buildings, production manager, Allan Logan made the decision to slow down production of spirit due to lack of cask storage space on Islay. He insisted that maturation of Bruichladdich whisky would only ever take place on the island, rather than shipping any over to the mainland- which is important in order to impart a subtle coastal influence into the spirit. Each warehouse at Coultorsay can hold c. 10,000 casks. Planning permission has been grants for the construction of 16 warehouses in total, of which 12 are almost complete and four and a half already filled with casks. It’s a huge investment on Islay.





Decanting (verb)


The act of emptying a bottle or cask from one container into another.

Dipstick (noun)

[ˈdɪp.stɪk ]

A very long stick with centimetres marked along its length, used to take measurements in liquid storing vessels. A set triangular notch rests on the top of the vat while below the marked stick dips into the liquid e.g. wash/worts.

Because our vessels are all strictly calibrated, when filled with liquid the depth level read on the dipstick above the liquid line (dry dip) and the level below the liquid line (wet dip) correspond to the calibrated dip tables for each vessel.

For example:
The gin blending vat in WH2
100.0 wet cms = 5983 bulk litres
100.2 wet cms = 6000 bulk litres

Dram (noun)


A Scottish word for measure of whisky. Also known as a nip, shot or measure.

The Ditch (noun)

[ ðiː dɪtʃ ]

More formally known as ‘The Lochindaal Hotel’, situated in the village of Port Charlotte and owned by Iain MacLellan. The Ditch is the venue of the unofficial after-party of Bruichladdich Open day during the Feis. A pub where many drams have been drunk; “every good night ends in The Ditch”.

Disgorge  (verb)

[ dɪsˈɡɔːdʒ ]

The emptying of whisky casks once maturation is complete. The spirit is emptied through the cask bunghole into the disgorging trough.

Distillation  (noun)

[ dɪs.tɪˈleɪ.ʃən ]

The purification process of heating alcohol until it evaporates into vapour and then cooling to condense it back into a liquid state. Most Scottish distillers distil twice to further purify the alcohol and create a stronger spirit. In the Bruichladdich Still House, this is done in our long swan-necked copper stills. The distillation is controlled manually at a trickle to achieve the light, smooth and floral character of our whisky.

Draff  (noun)

[ dræf ]

Also known as spent grains, this refers to the leftover grain in the mash tun after the sugars have been extracted. The draff from the distillery is never wasted and is in fact a useful co-product for our farming community, who collect and use as cattle feed.





Dumping  (verb)


The emptying of casks during the vatting process.

Dunnage  (noun)

[ dʌn.ɪdʒ ]

A centuries old style of warehousing in which casks sit on their sides, no more than three rows high. They are held in place with lengths of wood called skeeds and triangular wedges called scutches – Mesopotamian technology. Dunnage warehouses are usually made with stone walls and natural dirt flooring to help retain moisture in the warehouse, limiting spirit evaporation during maturation.  Dunnage storage is significantly less efficient than palletised or racked warehouses as the ceilings are much lower meaning machinery cannot operate inside, so most casks need to be moved manually.

E150 (noun)

An ingredient you will NOT find in any of our whiskies. E150 is the name of the colouring agent used widely in the whisky industry that imparts a caramel colour to the spirit. Colouring is added during the bottling process and can vary in shade from brown to red depending on usage.

At Bruichladdich, we NEVER use E150. We understand that whisky is a natural product and believe that the colour should be attained exclusively from the oak of the casks the whisky was matured in. In Germany, if any whisky has added colouring it must be stated on the label however this isn’t the case for most other countries.

Feints (noun)


The final cut of spirit after the foreshots and middle cut, also known as tails. This cut is lowest in alcohol but still has lots of flavour compounds which are not to be wasted. This cut is collected along with the foreshots and stored in the feints receiver to be re-distilled as part of the next distillation.

When distilling different barley types or peating levels, different feints are kept separate in our commitment to keeping provenance and variance.

Flagging (noun)


A natural reed that is fitted into the edges of cask ends and staves to seal the cask and avoid leaking. Watch a video of how this is done at Bruichladdich >>  here. ]





Flogging (verb)


The act of bashing the area of an empty cask around the bung hole with a wooden mallet. The bungs “pop” out; a quicker method than extracting by hand. We only flog bourbon barrels, as their staves are thicker and more robust. The more costly wine casks have thinner staves so you could easily crack or break them.

Fèis Ìle (noun)

Gaelic for ‘Islay Festival’. The festival originated in 1984 as a local celebration of Gaelic language and culture and has since grown substantially where it now sees visitors world-wide visiting Islay to attend. Every year the whole island hosts a multitude of event from ceilidhs to tastings. Each distillery releases a limited-edition festival bottle and hosts an open day where attendees can soak up the distillery atmosphere, listen to Scottish music, and enjoy a few drams.

Flash (noun)


The distillery news page released once a fortnight to update employees on the goings on at different departments. Insiders only!

Foreshots (noun)


The first fraction of spirit during distillation of the low wines. This spirit has the highest alcohol concentration and is collected into a separate tank to then be re-distilled along with the feints during the next distillation. This cut of spirit is also known as the heads. The cut point between distillate fractions is determined by the distiller, typically at Bruichladdich the foreshot cut runs for 30 minutes.

Goldfish Bowl  (noun)

[ˈɡəʊld.fɪʃ bəʊl ]

A meeting room with a glass wall where many a heated discussions have taken place at the distillery over copious cups of coffee and frantic note-taking. A place where the world of whisky is put to rights.

Of the 77 members of staff working at the distillery on Islay, 36 of them are desk jobs. Over the years more distillery buildings are being converted into office spaces and meeting rooms. Being Islay-centric like that is part of what has made Bruichladdich the largest private employer on the island.

Gravity (noun)

[ ɡræv.ə.ti ]

A measurement which identifies the density of a solution compared to the density of water, which is rendered as 1.000 on a hydrometer scale. Gravity of the wort, wash and spirit are recorded throughout production.

There are a few specific terms when referring to gravity. Firstly, Original Gravity (OG) measures the density of the wort before fermentation, final gravity (FG) is recorded after the fermentation stage and specific gravity (SG) is taken during any time throughout the fermentation or distilling process.

Grist (noun)

[ ɡrɪst ]

A term used to describe the malted barley after it has passed the mill. Grist is made up of three parts: husks, grist (also knows as middles) and flour. The ratio of the grist is important to allow maximum sugars to be extracting during the mash. Our grist ratio is altered by hand and varies to accommodate the variety of barley types we use.

Hydrometer (noun)

[ haɪ-drɒm-ɪ-tər ]

An instrument found inside the spirit safe used to measure the correct density or gravity of the liquid in order to test the amount of alcohol. This information is recorded by our skilled production team to assist them with finding the optimum times to cut the spirit into foreshots, middle cut and feints. Our warehouse team also use hydrometers to check the alcohol strength in our whisky during maturation.

HPLC (acronym)

High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) is an analytical method to separate, identify and quantify one substance within a mixture. In the whisky industry, HPLC is used to measure the phenol content in malt which is calculated in PPM (see PPM for further explanation). It is considered one of the most accurate methods to use in the whisky industry. To read a bit more about the phenol content of Octomore spirits, click here.





Inch (noun)

[ ɪntʃ ]

The way we measure how many gallons of water are in our brewing tanks in the Mash House. 1 inch= 44 gallons of water.

Jurançon (pronoun)

A historic wine appellation in the South West of France known for both dry and sweet white wine. Their native grapes are Gros Manseng, Petite Manseng and Camaralet de Lasseube.  As one of the first distilleries to mature whisky in wine casks, we have an opulent number of casks in our warehouses from wine regions all over the world.

Kilning (verb)

[ kĭlnɪŋ ]

This is part of the malting process which involves drying malted barley or grain. At the moment all of our malting is completed in Inverness through our partnership with Bairds. However this process is the missing piece of our fully Islay production process.   We intend on building our own malting facility by 2023 that will allow us to dry all of our Islay grown barley. As we grow the majority of our barley as well as mature and bottle everything on the island, this is the natural next step for us.

Lochindaal (noun)


The sea loch in front of the distillery which stretches from the south to the west of the island. Lochindaal means ‘Loch of Delay’ and got it’s name due to ships who would sail into the bay for shelter and would often get delayed for days.





Maturation (noun)

[ mætʃ.əˈreɪ.ʃən ]

After the new-make spirit is transferred into a cask it is moved to a bonded warehouse to begin maturation. For a spirit to legally be named whisky it must remain in a cask for a minimum of three years and one day. At Bruichladdich, this entire process is done on the island across 15 warehouses.

Time in the cask brings about many changes to the taste, colour and aroma of the new make spirit. Character is added from the contact with the wood and also through evaporation of the spirit through the wood and into the atmosphere, known as the Angel’s share. The exact process of maturation is remarkably complex, and a full understanding is yet to be obtained. Ten of our casks are currently being analysed by Professor Otto Hermelin of Stockholm University to gain a more scientific understanding of what happens during maturation and how certain conditions in the warehouse affect it. Read more about his study here.

Mini-Market (noun)

[ˈmɪn.i ˈmɑː.kɪt ]

The shop/bank/post office/café/coffee shop next door to the distillery, also known officially as ‘Debbies’ and colloquially as ‘Aileen’s’. Aileen and Donie had the last milking herd on the island at Esknish. They are head of the dynasty that includes our Assistant Production Manager, Gordon, local entrepreneur, Debbie, and 4 other siblings. The Mini-Market is a common eatery and communal space for many employees, with arguably the best coffee on the island. It is also the base for G.S. Ristorante Debbies who meet on Sundays for cycling and espresso.

Moisture content (noun)

[ˈmɔɪsʧə ˈkɒntɛnt]

The moisture content of the barley at harvest time, usually displayed as a percentage. It’s critical for the success of the drying and storing prior to malting that the moisture content of the grain is less than 20%. Farmers in Islay, where the average rainfall exceeds the definition of a temperate rainforest, often carry moisture meters around the fields to judge the best day and even time of day to cut the crop. See Octofad for where the Islay barley is dried.

Mothballed (verb)


A term used to describe something which is no longer used. Bruichladdich was mothballed in 1994 for 6 years before being bought over by a group of pioneering private investors in 2000 who built the ethos and values which the distillery still stands for today.

New-make (spirit) (noun)

[njuː meɪk ˈspɪrɪt]

The name given to the middle cut  before it has been matured in a cask. It must remain in a cask for a minimum of three years before new-make spirit can legally be classed as whisky. Bruichladdich’s new-make spirit has a distinct light and floral character which has a lot to do with the long, swan-necked stills and slow, simmer distillation.

Non chill-filtered (verb)

[ nɒn-tʃɪl-fɪl.tərd ]

Chill filtration is an industrial process which removes esters and other haze producing compounds from whisky. The process involves lowering the temperature of the whisky (between -2’c and +10’c) until the haze-producing compounds bunch together. The spirit is then passed through several filters to remove these compounds resulting in a whisky which doesn’t look cloudy when stored at a low temperature or when water is added.

Chill filtration takes out the haze of whisky, but it can also take out aldehydes and fatty acids which give flavour, aroma and texture. Added character is something we’re not prepared to sacrifice for the sake of aesthetics. Our whisky is not just non chill-filtered, it’s NEVER chill-filtered.





Octofad (noun)

[ˈɒk.tə.fæd ]

A farm four miles south of the village of Port Charlotte owned by the Wood Family. It was originally a dairy farm. For the last 10 years, Octofad farm has been drying and storing all of the Islay Barley for the farmers who grow for Bruichladdich, among their other ventures.

Octomore spring (noun)


Once the water source for the village of Port Charlotte, the spring at Octomore farm is now collected from the ground and transported to the distillery and used at the bottling stage to water down whiskies to the required ABV. Octomore spring water has been filtered through ancient rocks and is completely pure having had no chemicals added; just 100% Islay water.

Over-sticker (verb)


The act of sticking a label containing a new piece of information over a cock-up on an item of packaging.

Plain oak (noun)

[pleɪn əʊk]

Also more commonly known as ‘refill’ casks, this refers to casks which have been filled more than twice. These casks still have subtle amounts of sugars and compounds, but don’t influence the spirit character as much as first or second fills would. Plain oak casks are often used to mature older whisky for long periods of time, in doing so ensures the cask doesn’t dominate the spirit inside. In the Bruichladdich warehouses plain oak or refill casks are painted laddie aqua.

Popmaster  (radio show)

[ pɒp ˈmɑːstə ]

A quiz about popular music broadcast on BBC radio 2 every weekday morning since 1998. Usually coincides with tools-down on the whisky bottling line, as they unleash their phenomenal brain power, competitive instincts, and taste for obscure music.

Pot Ale (noun)

[pɒt ˌeɪl/]

The residual dead yeast and water leftover in the still at the end of the wash distillation. 

PPM (acronym)

Abbreviation of Phenol Parts per Million. Phenols are chemical compounds which attach to the barley when being smoked over a peat fire in the kiln. This number is found on any of our heavily peated whisky bottles. Octomore aficionados may notice we divulge the readings to the decimal point in our commitment to be as transparent as possible. The number refers to the phenol content of the malted barley before distillation and is measured in parts per million. This data is measure by our malting partners in the north of Scotland, Bairds, using High Performance Liquid Chromatography (see HPLC).

Peat (noun)


The fuel used to provide the heat for malting which is what gives some whiskies their smoky flavour. Peat is an early formation of coal that forms in boggy, wetland areas where plant material doesn’t fully decay in acidic, anaerobic conditions. The organic matter therefore doesn’t fully break down and is instead preserved in the ground, stopping any carbon dioxide being released into the ground. Peat formed in different areas will impart different characteristics to malt and id one of the variable factors of the ‘terroir’ of whisky.





Racking (verb)


A modern and increasingly popular type of warehousing in which casks are stored in horizontal rows of steel racks up to 10 or 12 rows high. Casks when full weigh upwards of 1/4 tonne, so this storage style involves a mechanical stacker that can lift and retrieve the casks to/from the required heights. 

Reflux (noun)


The cooling of vapours causing them to condense and turn into liquid form. This happens inside the still during distillation. The condensed liquid falls back down into the body of the still and is re-distilled. Bruichladdich’s tall narrow necked stills causes more reflux to take place as the vapours have to travel up a steeper incline

Regional Trials (noun)

[ˈriːʤənl ˈtraɪəlz]

An experimental programme exploring variation in character between barley grown in different regions of Scotland. The regional trials set out to demonstrate that terroir matters in whisky by highlighting the subtle flavour nuances of spirit made with barley from Lothian, Aberdeenshire and the Black Isle. To read more about the Regional Trials from Production Director, Allan Logan, click here.

The Rhinns (noun)

The large peninsula on the western side of Islay which is home to the picturesque villages of Bruichladdich, Port Charlotte, Portnahaven and Port Wemyss.

Rye (noun)

[ raɪ ]

For Scottish distillers, rye is tricky to work with especially when it comes to mashing. The grains are much smaller than those of barley and the kernels have no husks. This, along with its high sugar content means that during mashing it retains more water resulting in a gloopy consistency which proves difficult to drain.

So why use it? As Progressive Hebridean Distillers we have a duty to explore new flavours and grain varieties. Curiosity is in our DNA. The first Islay grown rye was distilled in 2017, grown by Andrew Jones at Coull Farm. We are since coming to understand the interesting benefits rye presents to farmers such as improving soil quality.

Saladin box (noun)

[ˈsælədɪn bɒks]

A large vessel used at Bairds for malting barley with replaces traditional floor maltings. This concept was designed in the 19th century by the French engineer Charles Saladin. Saladin boxes are big rectangular troughs with slatted floors which air and water can pass through but not barley. The steeped barley is placed into the box and air is blown through the floors and then giant screw like mechanisms turn the barley to avoid the germinating barley sticking together. Each of the Saladin boxes at Bairds malting can handle around 49 tonnes of grain at any one time.

Scutch (noun)


The small wooden wedge used in the warehouse which is placed underneath the cask to hold it in place.

Shoe (noun)


An innovative wooden device invented by Stillman PG that holds bottles perfectly for hand labelling.

Single malt (noun)

[ˈsɪŋgl mɔːlt]

A malt whisky from any single distillery. All Bruichladdich whisky is 100% single malt whisky.

Skeed (noun)


The wooden beams in a dunnage warehouse used to store the rows of casks.

Slàinte (mhath) (Scottish Gaelic)

[ sLaːNʲdʲə væ ]

A Scottish Gaelic phrase used to toast, usually with a dram, meaning good health.

Sparge (noun)


The third and fourth water during the mashing process which are added to the mash at a much higher temperature than the first and second water in order to extract the last remaining sugars from the grist. The sparge, once drained, is stored in large brewing tanks until the next mash and then re-used as the first and second water.

Spile (noun)


A small wooden peg used to plug a hole in a cask at the bottom of a stow after it has been drilled to retrieve a sample. This allows samples to be taken easily without having to unload the whole stow to access the bunghole.

Stow (noun)


A row of casks packed in a warehouse.




Terroir (noun)

[ terˈwɑː ]

A French term, used commonly in the wine industry, relating to how a particular region’s climate, soil and terrain affect the final character of the wine. For whisky production this could allude to where the barley was grown, the weather and soil conditions of the farm, the location of the warehouses in which the whisky was matured and many other influences.

At Bruichladdich we believe terroir matters; whisky should speak of where it was made. This imparts subtle nuance and variety to the flavour, aroma and texture of our whisky.

Tropos (noun)


Bruichladdich’s process management system; A sophisticated database that tracks all movements of barley, bulk stock, dry goods, and money.

Mentioning of this system can often be followed by heavy sighs, tightening of jaws and clenching of fists. Bruichladdich have Tropos gurus that turn the above reactions into satisfied zen smiles.

Uisge Beatha (Scottish Gaelic)

[ ɯʃgʲə bɛhə ]

The Scottish Gaelic term meaning ‘water of life’ which translates in Latin to ‘aqua vitae’.  Over time this phrase has been shortened and skewed. ‘Uisge’ is pronounced ‘oo-ish-qu’ which later became “whisky.”

Ullage (noun)

[ˈʌlɪʤ ]

The amount of empty space in a cask. The ullage of a cask will naturally increase over time due to the natural evaporation of spirit through this cask (angel’s share).

Vatting (noun)

[ væt-ɪŋ ]

Also described as blending, this process involves the marriage of multiple different casks hand selected by head Distiller Adam Hannett for a specific whisky. Blending combines different ages, cask types and barley varieties to give a batch of whisky a broad spectrum of character and flavour. Our flagship unpeated whisky The Classic Laddie, for example, is made up of around 80 casks aged between seven and twelve years. Once the vatting is complete, the batch of whisky is transferred into a neutral cask for up to three months to allow all the flavours to combine.  Read more about vatting here. 

Valinch (noun)

[ˈveɪ·lɪntʃ ]

A long tube, traditionally made from copper, used for extracting spirit from a cask. This apparatus is used frequently in the warehouse for sampling whisky via the bung hole without having to empty the contents of the cask.

Virgin Oak (noun)

[ˈvɜː.dʒɪn əʊk ]

A cask which has not previously been used to mature any spirit or wine, but has come to us after being newly built at the cooperage. All of the flavour from maturation is drawn from the wood. Virgin Oak matured whiskies are relatively rare in the industry and Bruichladdich were one of the first to produce Virgin Oak matured spirit. Our parent company Remy Cointreau have owned a substantial cooperage in Bordeaux since 1970s, which is one source of our virgin oak casks.





Wash (noun)

[ wɒʃ ]

The name of the low alcohol from the fermenting/fermented worts, as the sugar is converted to alcohol by yeast. Our wash ferments for up to 100 hours which results in a fermented alcohol at between 6-8 % ABV.  This process takes place in one of our six washbacks. They are made from douglas fir – wood makes a good vessel for heat regulation during fermentation.

Wort /”worts” (noun)

[ wɜːt ]

The name of the liquid made from the mashing process where the grist is mixed with hot water to extract the fermentable sugars. It’s sweet from the natural sugars in the barley; apparently keeps many a mashman going through the night shift. After mashing, the wort is cooled to around 18 degrees and then transferred to our washbacks for fermentation.

X4 (noun)

Shorthand for a spirit which has been quadruple distilled. The creation of Octomore X4 spirit was one of Bruichladdich’s biggest experiments. After the Octomore spirit had been double distilled the stills were then re-charged an additional two times to create a middle cut at a perilous 89%. This strength of spirit hadn’t been distilled since the 17th century.

Yeast (noun)

[ jiːst ]

A micro-organism used to ferment the sugary water called wort after mashing. Wort is cooled down to around 18’c and transferred into one of our six wooden washbacks. The addition of yeast to the wort is often referred to as ‘pithing’. After several controlled experiments to decipher the best choice of yeast, we use a mix of fast and slow acting compressed wet varieties in order to extend the activation stage.

Yield (verb)

[ jiːld ]

The amount of an agricultural or industrial substance produced. For many distillers when buying barley, yield is often the most significant factor in the production of whisky. However, at Bruichladdich, we pursue a farmer and flavour first mentality.

Zinfandel (noun)

A dark skinned red wine grape variety grown throughout California making both dry and sweet wines. Casks from this wine region are shipped to the distillery to mature spirit in our warehouses.


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Bruichladdich Distillery
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