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To begin the production of whiskey, barley grains are soaked in boiling water in order to kick start germination Germination is where the grain produces the sugars which will later become alcohol. After being steeped in water for 2 - 3 days, the barley is spread out on a floor for a week as it continues to produce sugars.


The barley is then added to a washback. It is ground down to a finer consistence, and water and yeast are added. The resulting mixture is called wash. This takes 48 -100 hours.


The wash is now ready to distill. It is transfered into a washstill. In this, heat is applied such that the alcohol evaporates, where water does not. The alcohol evaporate is fed into a water cooled pipe and, naturally, condenses. The condensed alcohol runs into a spirit safe.


By sight alone, the master distiller must separate the high quality ‘middle run’ from the low quality ‘4’ and ‘shot’. The middle run is what is barreled and becomes whiskey - the 4 and shot is often recycled and added to the next batch of whiskey made.


The middle run is taken to be barreled. Barrels, traditionally, are made from either bourbon or cherry oak. The wood gives whiskey its colour and adds flavour. In cold weather, the barrel contracts, and in hot weather, it expands. This keeps the whiskey mixed, and the flavour even. As such, the longer it is kept barreled, the darker it is, and the more flavour it has. Whiskey is kept in barrels for a minimum of 3 years, often longer, depending on the distillery.


Once the whiskey is ready, the barrels will be taken to a bottling plant. In contemporary bottling plants, each process is automated. The whiskey is bottled, the bottles are corked or capped, they are labeled, and they are packaged. The packaged whiskey is then, finally, sent to customers.


What to eat with whiskey?

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Strong, peaty whiskeys go well with salmon, smoked chicken, dark chocolate, and strong cheeses.

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Light Whiskeys go well with sushi, salmon, goats cheese, and parsnip soup.

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Medium bodied whiskeys go well with fruitcakes, venison, grilled steak, and ginger biscuits.

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Whiskey by Ronan and Amy