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single/double/triple malt

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Re: single/double/triple malt

Postby borgom » Sun Sep 13, 2009 1:20 pm

jmrl wrote:This made me wonder if the companies that produce a variety of malts at one distillery can use the term single to describe a mixture thereof?

I think they can use the term single as Bruichladdich have done for both their 3D and Infinity series which mixed Bruichladdich and Port Charlotte.
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Re: single/double/triple malt

Postby Pure Pot Head » Sun Sep 13, 2009 10:05 pm

I'm not really that knowledgable of Scottish Single Malts. My understanding is that a single malt is basically a whiskey made using only malted barley at one distillery (although, what exact processes have to be carried out on site I'm not sure, distillation sure, but not necessarily malting or maturation?)

But I've never heard of double or treble malts. It wouldn't have occurred to me that it made any difference to the classification 'Single Malt' if a distillery uses a single type of distillate or mixes different styles using different cuts during distillation, or simply different ages and cask types. I would enjoy further posts on this subject and further insight into how the Scottish clasify these things.

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Re: single/double/triple malt

Postby John Barleycorn » Mon Sep 14, 2009 9:16 pm

jmrl wrote:I believe William Grant called Monkey Shoulder a triple malt. This made me wonder if the companies that produce a variety of malts at one distillery can use the term single to describe a mixture thereof? E..G a mix of peating varieties, PC+Bruichladdich or more different double+triple distilled, Springbank+Hazelburn.


It may be that I'm old fashioned or just don't understand, but to me a single malt is a single expression from one distillery. If that same distillery makes a different expression by say either adding peat or maturating in sherry or bourbon casks, then that too is a single malt, but if they then mix the two expressions together then it becomes a vatted or as it is called today blended malt. So, I just don't see how Bruichladdich can call their 3D3 expression single malt, if it contains malt from Port Charlotte then as that is a different distillery and a different expression it is therefore a blended malt.

I don't think Grants have ever marketed Monkey Shoulder as single malt. They are just playing with words, if you go to any whisky outlet you'll find it marked as blended malt.

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Re: single/double/triple malt

Postby Pure Pot Head » Mon Sep 14, 2009 10:35 pm

The authorities in the United States only recognise the term 'single malt' when referring to whisky made in Scotland.


Are you serious? :? This is amazing! What's that all about? Fascinating thread. The American thing has astonished me.

Are there some Singel Malts (as on the label that is) then, that combine malt whiskey from more than one distillery under their ownership or have I picked that up wrong?

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Re: single/double/triple malt

Postby Reggaeblues » Tue Sep 15, 2009 10:59 am

Pure Pot Head wrote:
The authorities in the United States only recognise the term 'single malt' when referring to whisky made in Scotland.


Are you serious? :? This is amazing! What's that all about? Fascinating thread. The American thing has astonished me.

Are there some Singel Malts (as on the label that is) then, that combine malt whiskey from more than one distillery under their ownership or have I picked that up wrong?

Pure Pot Head


"Single" refers to "one" distillery. In the case of "Monkey Shoulder" the three malts used are under the same ownership.

However, to add to the confusion, PPH, you will not that "Springbank" make three distinct malts at the same distillery - Springbank, Longrow and Hazelburn,

...same with Bruichladdich.

Now what, i wonder , would one call a combination of,say, Springbank, Longrow, and Hazelburn? Single? Blended? Triple malt?
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Re: single/double/triple malt

Postby Pure Pot Head » Tue Sep 15, 2009 1:09 pm

So is a single distillery one location/building/complex or is it one ownership entity? And if it's one owenership entity(say Diageo), can it encompass several production units spread geographically? The plot thickens. ]

However, to add to the confusion, PPH, you will not that "Springbank" make three distinct malts at the same distillery - Springbank, Longrow and Hazelburn,


I can certainlyu get the idea of one distillery producing more than one type of Single Malt. But I never thought there was such a thing as a single malt made from different components from seperate 'units' of a distillery company which to me is seperate distilleries?

Thanks for all the insights so far.

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Re: single/double/triple malt

Postby Spirit of Islay » Tue Sep 15, 2009 7:08 pm

Willie JJ wrote:Presumably if they ever get a cask of Tobermory it will have a different number from Ledaig (42)


Thought 42 was Tobermory Willie and hey hadn't had a Ledaig ?
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Re: single/double/triple malt

Postby Lawrence » Tue Sep 15, 2009 9:09 pm

http://www.jdawiseman.com/papers/trivia/smws-distillery-numbers.html

The SMWS numbers should be viewed as bottling codes and not distillery codes, if you take my point. I'm not sure if in the Scottish sense that all the Japanese & Irish whiskies that are on the list are not single malts in the Scottish sense??

As for Springbank, Longrow, Hazelburn and the Loch Lomond family; the names are merely to differentiate between peating levels and the course the wash takes through the stills (Springbank 2.5, Longrow 2 and Hazelburn 3) but actually no idea what Loch Lomond get up to in that regard.
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Re: single/double/triple malt

Postby Lawrence » Wed Sep 16, 2009 12:57 am

[quote="Reggaeblues
Now what, i wonder , would one call a combination of,say, Springbank, Longrow, and Hazelburn? Single? Blended? Triple malt?[/quote]

It would be a single malt, the three variations come from the same distillery and the same stills.
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Re: single/double/triple malt

Postby Pure Pot Head » Wed Sep 16, 2009 7:31 pm

Now, can someone look up the current status of SWA's ingenious set of rules and let us know if single malt has to be from a single set of stills or if multiple stills at a distillery under one license is still considered a single malt?



Yeah! Come on, someone out there must be able to absolutely and definitively, unambiguously and precisely explain what the legal definition of a Single Malt is. Especially seeing as they are particularly popular in this forum. Someone must know everything that can be known :)

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Re: single/double/triple malt

Postby borgom » Thu Sep 17, 2009 10:31 am

According to the SWA:
"What is the legal definition of Scotch Whisky?
Scotch Whisky has been defined in United Kingdom (UK) law since 1909 and recognised in EU legislation since 1989. The Scotch Whisky Act 1988 and the Orders made under it, which came into effect in June 1990 state "Scotch Whisky" means whisky:

(a) which has been produced at a distillery in Scotland from water and malted barley (to which only whole grains of other cereals may be added) all of which have been:

1. processed at that distillery into a mash;
2. converted to a fermentable substrate only by endogenous enzyme systems; and
3. fermented only by the addition of yeast;

(b) which has been distilled at an alcoholic strength by volume of less than 94.8% so that the distillate has an aroma and taste derived from the raw materials used in, and the method of, its production;

(c) which has been matured in an excise warehouse in Scotland in oak casks of a capacity not exceeding 700 litres, the period of that maturation being not less than three years;

(d) which retains the colour, aroma and taste derived from the raw materials used in, and the method of, its production and maturation; and

(e) to which no substance other than water and spirit caramel has been added.

Both the Scotch Whisky Act and EU legislation specify a minimum bottling strength of 40% by volume.

What are the different categories of Scotch Whisky?

According to traditional practice, there are five categories of Scotch Whisky:

(a) Single Malt Scotch Whisky: A Scotch Whisky distilled at a single distillery,

1. from water and malted barley without the addition of any other cereals, and
2. by batch distillation in pot stills.

The industry is also seeking legislation that would require Single Malt Scotch Whisky to only be bottled in Scotland.
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Re: single/double/triple malt

Postby Pure Pot Head » Fri Sep 18, 2009 3:05 pm

(a) Single Malt Scotch Whisky: A Scotch Whisky distilled at a single distillery,

1. from water and malted barley without the addition of any other cereals, and
2. by batch distillation in pot stills.


Thanks for taking the time to quote that leglislation. In relation to the point referred to in the quote I have selected though, and this is where I think some interesting subtle nuances might exist...does a Single Distillery have to be a Single Location, with a Single set of Stills or...do some distilleries with more than one location under their ownership blend Pot Still malt whiskey's together produced in seperate sets of Pot Stills, either under the one roof or in seperate locations, to create a Single Malt under the one company name?

And does the 'principle' of batch production suggest in some way that to be a Single Malt in the sense that a lot of consumers view it, a batch should be of a specific composition and not blended with other different compositions from the same stills? Not sure if this makes sense but I find the whole 'legalities' of whiskey really interesting. In fact, should Single Malts really be composed of different cask matured composition brought together? (controversial!) What's the point of a whiskey being a Single Malt if it's kind of like a blend? Any takers :)

A lot of marketing rests on these definitions.

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Re: single/double/triple malt

Postby FirewallXL5 » Fri Sep 18, 2009 6:31 pm

A distillery is a distillery is a distillery.... it would have to be bound by physical location otherwise I suspect Customs & Excise would insist on separate licences although I can't imagine any logic in having a split-site distillery.

There's no limit on size nor on number of stills - I believe Tomatin used to have the most - but the output of various stills within a single distillery can be mixed and matched at will, it doesn't matter, it's still (sorry!) the same distillery.

As long as the bottled output is the product of a single licenced distillery it is legally classed as single malt from that distillery. If the bottled output is blended from different malt distilleries (whether from same company or not) then it's a blended malt and cannot carry a distillery name.

A distiller may produce an infinite number of 'variations' or 'expressions' from the stills within his distillery, it doesn't matter, each variant is still single malt from the producing distillery. One or 2 distillers gratuitously confuse things by hiding their product behind defunct distillery names (I'm sure you know who I mean) but again they are just different expressions of the producing distillery whatever the 'alias' used.

However if the distillery name is not stated on the label then you have to take it on trust that it comes from where they claim. (How many people know that Octomore is actually manufactured in a chemical works in Govan?).

Pot still distillation is by it's nature a batch process, it has been a standard industry technique for a long time for malt distillers to blend different batches to produce a generic distillery style and there's nothing controversial about it. It's done primarily to maintain continuity. The word SINGLE simply applies to the DISTILLERY of origin, not the CASK or the STILL or the BATCH.

Don't over-complicate things, it's really not that difficult!
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Re: single/double/triple malt

Postby Pure Pot Head » Fri Sep 18, 2009 7:28 pm

Don't over-complicate things, it's really not that difficult!


Hey no need to be so condescending. Sorry for asking.

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Re: single/double/triple malt

Postby borgom » Sat Sep 19, 2009 7:51 am

I think the real question is what happens when a super distillery opens. Say it produces a number of different brands from the one location, if these are blended is it still a single malt?
Based on Bruichladdich 3D3 i'd say it is at the moment but I wonder if this shouldn't be tightened up?
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Re: single/double/triple malt

Postby FirewallXL5 » Sat Sep 19, 2009 12:03 pm

I think it would be very dificult to legislate (base legal or industry defintions) on the basis of a brand name because a brand name is made-up and not constrained in terms of it's content (the whisky in the bottle).

I do think Roseisle poses certain threats to the whisky industry as we currently know it. For instance, looking 20 years on, is it outlandish to consider that as a result of bringing it on-stream Diageo will have subsequently shut down a swathe of distilleries. Suppose Inchgower, Glen Lossie, Mannochmore, Dufftown, Linkwood, Glen Elgin, Mortlach.......and then throw in Lagavulin just to make the point.

Once the licenses are terminated, by following the example currently set by Springbank and Bruichladdich, they could market a Roseisle-made single malt under various 'brand' names which happen to be those of discontinued distilleries (Mortlach, Linkwood, Lagavulin etc.,) a practice which appears to be perfectly permissible.

I don't doubt they could create adequate 'replica' whiskies (maybe in some cases even an improvement!) and the average consumer would see the name on the label and not give it a second thought. Technically or legally they would all be Roseisle Single malt but I suspect only a small number of anoraks would get het up about it.

An unlikely scenario? Well perhaps, but is it any different in principle from what the Irish did when they decanted almost their entire whisky production to Midleton? After all the Jameson distillery was in Dublin, not Cork.....
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Re: single/double/triple malt

Postby upright » Wed Oct 07, 2009 3:27 pm

I started stilling 3 weeks ago using only malted barley. I have to still 5 times to fill a 25 liter sherry cask. Can i call it a South african single malt in 3 years time?
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Re: single/double/triple malt

Postby Pure Pot Head » Fri Oct 09, 2009 8:22 pm

Maybe you can call it a South African Single Malt right now. I think the three year rule only applies to Irish and Scottish whiskey. In America it's only two years in law as far as I remember.

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