How we make our whisky
We've been handcrafting Glen Moray in Speyside since 1897. As a single malt Scotch whisky, Glen Moray is distilled from malted barley and water, in copper pot stills, at one single distillery. Here's our step-by-step guide to making our smooth, well-balanced whisky.
First the barley is malted. This involves steeping grain in water to begin germination, then laying it out as it continues sprouting, to make 'green malt'. At a particular point, the barley is transferred to a kiln where it is dried with hot air, to stop further germination. When we make our Peated Single Malt some of the barley is dried in a kiln with peat smoke, to create its distinctively smoky taste.
Milling & Mashing
The malt is then ground up in our mill to make grist. We add this grist into our large mash tun, where we mix it with water, which is sourced from the River Lossie, heated initially to about 64°C. During mashing, we convert the starch in the barley into sugar. Dissolved in the water, it makes a liquid called sweet wort.
Next, we pump the wort into our washbacks, where yeast is added to begin fermentation. As the yeast feeds off the sugar, it makes alcohol and creates fruity and floral compounds, such as esters, which will influence our whisky's taste. After 60 hours of fermenting, our 'wash' is ready to be distilled. At this stage, it is around 8.7% ABV.
To distill our spirit the wort is first distilled in our three wash stills. Here the wash is heated to create a vapour, which rises up the stills and is cooled in a condenser making a spirit of around 24% ABV known as low wines. The low wines then passes into one of our six spirit stills, where it is distilled for a second time, to create our new make spirit.
Making the cut
We collect only a select part of each spirit run as it runs through our spirit safe. This is known as taking the cut, or separating the head, the heart and the tail. The heart is the new make spirit that we will go on to fill into casks which will eventually become our whisky. The heads which come before and the tails which come afterwards are collected separately and put back into the cycle to be distilled again.
We fill our new make spirit into oak casks, most usually American oak but we also use many different cask types giving our spirit different flavours. Then we store them in our warehouses to age where they will remain for many years. As wood and spirit interact, adding complexity and flavour to our whisky, the casks are watched over by our warehouse team who will eventually take the cask back out when it is time for bottling.
Sharing with the angels
Here at Glen Moray we enjoy a milder climate as we are sheltered from the extremes of Scotland's weather by the nearby Cairngorm and Monadhliath Mountains. The temperature and humidity in our warehouses stays relatively stable throughout the year. These conditions are great for maturing whisky and helps ensure the angels get their share. This is the term we use to describe the evaporation of liquid in our casks over time, usually around 2% of each casks contents will evaporate each year.
We've been maturing our spirit in an array of different casks for more than 120 years. It's this tradition which inspires our diverse range of single malt whiskies. Using skills passed from generation to generation, our craftsmen are expert in marrying contrasting whiskies, 'finishing' aged single malt into port casks, wine casks and more. In this way, they bring new flavours to our Speyside whisky. Enjoy the results in our Classic Collection and our Heritage Collection, and discover our most intriguing cask innovations in our Curiosity Collection.