Words by Simon Difford
The term ‘Single Malt Scotch’ refers to a whisky that fulfils all three elements of the term:
SINGLE – the whisky must be from only one distillery.
MALT – the raw material used must be malted barley and no other grain or fermentable material may be used.
SCOTCH – the whisky must be distilled and matured in Scotland.
In addition to the above, to be termed a single malt scotch whisky:
1. The natural enzymes within the barley must also be the only enzymes used. No enzymes are permitted to be added to aid fermentation.
2. Distillation must be in a copper pot still.
3. The distillate (known as 'new make spirit') must be aged a minimum of three years in an oak cask with a capacity no larger than 700 litres.
4. The only ingredients permitted are malted barley, water and yeast with spirit caramel used in small quantities for colour correction the only permitted additive.
Surprisingly perhaps, there is no specified minimum or maximum still size. The maximum strength the distillate comes off the still is also not specified.
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