Phase 4 - Distillation
Now it starts to get spanned, the firing starts! The wash is traditionally distilled twice in Scotland and three times in Ireland. The boilers that are used for heating (English: stills) are made from copper. The copper kettle is in the shape of a large bottle. The length and shape of the neck also determines the taste of the whiskey. A whiskey that is fired three times is generally softer in taste.
The English expression "pot still" can therefore best be translated as a distillation kettle.
The boilers often form a duo. Traditionally the boilers were heated with coal or wood, but nowadays the boilers are heated with steam or gas. As a result of the heating, the alcohol evaporates and rises to the top where, through cooling, the alcohol precipitates (condenses) and can be discharged to the second (smaller) boiler.
The alcohol that comes from the first kettle is not usable and is called "low wines". The alcohol from the second kettle is discharged in 3 phases. At the beginning of the distillation comes an alcohol that has a very high alcohol percentage and has a strong taste. This first alcohol is called the "foreshot" in English.
The alcohol at the end of the distillation process has a weak alcohol percentage but also has a sharp taste. This alcohol is called "feints" in English. Only the alcohol that is tapped between the foreshot and the feints is pure and suitable for the basis of whiskey. This has an alcohol percentage of 65% to 70%.
The foreshot and the feints are not thrown away. It is added again to the low wines that come from the first kettle and are distilled again.
Next phase: AGING