The malting process takes place at the very start of the production process. First, barley is soaked in water prior to turning on a malting floor (see picture). It is then dried in a kiln, which catalyzes and then abruptly halts germination, releasing the starch in the grain.
During kilning, peat fires are sometimes lit beneath the barley, which is an important factor in the flavor of the finished spirit: peat is a partially decomposed layer of vegetation extracted from boggy ground, which, when burned, gives the barley smoky, salty characters that translate into the finished whisky.
The malted barley is then heated in a mash tun with hot water, converting the starch into fermentable sugars and producing a sweet liquid known as wort. Yeast is added to the wort to start fermentation, resulting in the production of a beer-like liquid of around eight percent alcohol.
Single Malt Whisky / Whiskey
This arguably the finest expression of whisky, made at a single distillery from malted barley, water and yeast. The style is produced in Japan, Ireland and most importantly (and famously) in Scotland. Indeed, single malt Scotch whisky is highly collectable and is easily one of the world's most sought-after and revered liquids, with many examples held in equal esteem with the world's top wines.
In addition, an increasing number of American craft producers have single malt whiskeys in their portfolio. The American Single malt Whiskey Commission was founded in 2016, and defined the category for distilleries in the USA; as of July 2018 the commission's membership had reached 100. However at this time the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau had yet to officially recognize the term.
Use of oak
While there may be some terroir factors associated with the distillery location and the environment within the buildings, it is the shape and size of the stills and number of distillations which is usually regarded as having the most significant effect on a young whiskey. Thereafter many other characteristics can be laid over this core character through aging in oak barrels.
Single malt Scotch whiskies age in oak casks for an extended amount of time; mostly between eight and 20 years, but sometimes as long as 50-80 years. Oak maturation helps to soften the harsher edges of the spirit, while imparting its own flavors and allowing these to meld with flavors already present in the whisky.
Blended / Vatted / Pure Malt Whisky
Blended or vatted malt whisky is a combination of two or more single malt whiskeys. In contrast, standard blended whiskey will include grain whisky. Not suprisingly given the components, a skilful blender can make a product that equals most single malts in terms of quality.
Pure Malt is a tricky term; it has now been phased out of use by the Scotch Whisky Association as usage was inconsistent between single and blended malts. The phrase still appears on Japanese whisky labels, but seems to be applied to both types of malt whiskey.
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A wine list from Flask published in the early 1970s
Driving down Ventura Blvd in Studio City in the 1960’s has something in common with today, Flask Fine Wine & Whisky- Flask first opened its doors to the public in 1962. Decades later and it still remains a respected fixture in the Los Angeles community.
We work directly with the wineries, distilleries and breweries to maintain a personal relationship with the creators of some of our favorite products.
We want to know their stories and how they produce bottles that fit into our unique collection. We make a point to keep our selection stocked with a wide variety, offering your classic Napa icons to your natural & organic wines.
We like to think of our whiskey and spirit section as more of a library where the rarest of bottles can be found.
We look forward to helping you find your next favorite bottle!