We will be adding to the glossary as new material is published to the website. But in the meantime, if you come across a whisky related word or phase that you’d like defined, please drop us a line. We will be happy to add it to the glossary.

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  • a
  • ABV
    Alcohol by volume (abbreviated as ABVabv, or alc/vol) is a standard measure of how much alcohol (ethanol) is contained in a given volume of an alcoholic beverage (expressed as a volume percent).
  • aldehydes
    any of a class of organic compounds containing the group −CHO, which yields acids when oxidized and alcohols when reduced.
  • amylase
    any of several digestive enzymes that break down starches.
  • aqua vitae
    Latin for "water of life" or aqua vita is an archaic name for a concentrated aqueous solution of ethanol
  • c
  • char
    partially burn (an object) so as to blacken its surface.
  • congeners
    a minor chemical constituent, especially one that gives a distinctive character to wine or liquor or is responsible for some of its physiological effects. Cogeners include small amounts of chemicals such as methanol and other alcohols, acetone, acetaldehyde, esters, tannins, and aldehydes.
  • d
  • draff
    dregs, as in a brewing process; lees; refuse.
  • dram
    Of Scottish origin meaning a small drink of whisky or other spirits.
  • e
  • enzymes
    any of various proteins, as pepsin, originating from living cells and capable of producing certain chemical changes in organic substances by catalytic action, as in digestion.
  • esters
    Esters are responsible for much of the flavor and aroma within a whisky. They are a compound produced by the reaction between an acid and an alcohol with the elimination of a molecule of water, as ethyl acetate, C4H8O2, or dimethyl sulfate, C2H6SO4.
  • ethanol
    (also called ethyl alcohol, grain alcohol, drinking alcohol, or simply alcohol) is a chemical compound, a simple alcohol with the chemical formula C. 2H. 6O. Its formula can be also written as CH. 3−CH. a colorless, limpid, volatile, flammable, water-miscible liquid, C2H5OH, having an(...)
  • f
  • finish
    The flavor of the whisky will linger on the palate and will change over time as the flavor decays in the mouth. The process of transferring aged whisky from oak casks to casks made from other types of wood or have previously held another beverage such as wine, port or rum.
  • foodie
    a person with a particular interest in food; a gourmet.
  • fusel oils
    a mixture of volatile, oily liquids produced in small amounts during alcoholic fermentation.
  • l
  • lactone
    any of a group of internal esters derived from hydroxy acids.
  • lactones
    Whisky lactones are found in the oak barrels that whisky is aged in, and picked up by the spirit during the maturation process. The two types of lactones we are concerned with are the trans isomer lactones, which gives a woody, mild coconut flavor, and the cls isomer lactones which have a(...)
  • lauter tun
    Lauter tun is a vessel for separating the wort from the solids of the mash.
  • m
  • malt
    grain (as barley) softened by steeping in water, allowed to germinate, and used especially in brewing and distilling
  • Malting
    steeping grain (as barley) in hot water, softening it, allowing to germinate.
  • maltose
    a white, crystalline, water-soluble sugar, C12H22O11⋅H2O, formed by the action of diastase, especially from malt, on starch:
  • maltster
  • mash
    Mash is a liquid composed of grist (crushed malt or grain) stirred with boiling water to create worts. Worts is the liquid that drains from the mash and is fermented in the wash; this is the liquid that contains alcohol and is used to distill whiskey.
  • mash bill
    the mix of grains used to make a particular type of whisky.
  • mash tun
    a vessel used in the mashing process to convert the starches in crushed grains into sugars for fermentation.
  • moonshine
    Illegally produced alcohol
  • mouth-feel
    refers to the physical sensations in the mouth caused by food or drink, as distinct from taste. It is a fundamental sensory attribute which, along with taste and smell, determines the overall flavor of a food item.[1][2] Mouthfeel is also sometimes referred to as texture
  • mouthfeel
    the tactile sensation a food or liquid gives to the mouth:
  • n
  • neutral spirits
    nonflavored alcohol of 95 percent, or 190 proof, obtained chiefly from grain or molasses or redistilled from brandy, rum, etc., used for blending with straight whiskies and in the making of gin, cordials, liqueurs, and the like.
  • new make spirit
    New-make spirit is the clear, colourless, high-proof alcoholic liquid that comes off the still during spirit production.
  • p
  • Pear Drop
    A pear drop is a British boiled sweet made from sugar and flavorings.  The artificial flavors isoamyl acetate and ethyl acetate are responsible for the characteristic flavor of pear drops: the former confers a banana flavor, the latter a pear flavor. 
  • s
  • sparging
    Sparging is the spraying of fresh hot liquor (brewing water) onto a mash to rinse out residual sugars.
  • spirit safe
    an enclosed device used in the distillation of whisky. The desired distillate from the still passes into it, and can be seen through the glass sides or windows, but cannot be directly accessed.
  • w
  • wash
    Wash is the finished product of fermentation destined to be distilled for the first time. 
  • washback
    The washback is a large metal or wooden container to which the wort and yeast is added.
  • white lightning
    Very high proof Moonshine. Borders on being 200 proof; it's pure grain alcohol and is illegal. 
  • wort
    the sweet infusion of ground malt or other grain before fermentation, used to produce beer and distilled malt liquors.