Crafting a single malt whisky is like being an artist who uses paints, canvas and vision to create a painting where as I use spirit, casks and all my senses to make a Craft Works Distillery single malt whisky. Making a single malt whisky is a combination of science, art, black magic, skill, emotions, passion, money, stress, time and of course that thing called lady luck, so its challenging and sometimes its good to take a step back and think about it from a different perspective.
Over the course of the recent Summer holidays, besides having a break with the family, I took it as an opportunity to go down that whisky rabbit hole (again) but with a years distilling experience at my distillery under my belt and with my insatiable appetite to learn, I went a lot deeper down that whisky rabbit hole this time.
I asked myself a simple question "how do you build a whisky"?, what are the key factors in building a flavorsome whisky? and in asking that question of myself, I identified what I call the flavor building techniques or FBTs.
14 FLAVOR BUILDING TECHNIQUES ( FBTs).
1 - Malted barley selection.
2- Type of yeast selection.
3- Wort clarity (or lack of).
4- Fermentation length.
5- Fermentation stress (or lack of).
6- Secondary fermentation (or lack of).
7- Spirit cut points.
8 - Barreling strength ABV %.
9- Oak selection.
10- Char/Toast selection.
11 - Wood finish selection.
12- Barrel maturation length and seasonal timing.
13- Barrel storage conditions.
14- Post decanting activities.
Its clear to me that there are flavor building blocks that you can use to build a whisky and some of them I am only just starting to use recently brewing my own wash. I did understand FBTs and have apply them in my whisky making process but this is the first time I have looked at it from a model approach a template on how to build a whisky, so very interesting for me.
Its generally accepted that the cask wood contributes between 60-70% of the flavor of a whisky but the more I make, the more I learn and the more I apply my learning then the more I will use all FBTs to craft a more complex , flavorsome and interesting Craft Works Distillery single malt whisky.
If you are interested in building your own knowledge if you research each of these FBTs yourself you can find a lot of information. By sharing my thoughts on this, I hope it will spark someone new to go down that whisky rabbit hole.
I am a Craft Worker therefore I am ...