abv, ABV See "Alcohol By Volume".
aftershots See "Feints".
Age An age statement on the bottle's label indicates the age of the youngest whisky in the bottle, the time the whisky has been ageing in the cask. This applies to both vatted and blended whiskies as well as single malt whisky. Note that a whisky ceases to age when it is finally bottled (unlike wine).
Ageing Whisky gets its individual character by maturing within the confines of an oak cask. Once bottled, the ageing process ends.
Alcohol Alcohol accumulates whenever yeast ferments and since yeast cannot utilise alcohol, it becomes one of the major by-products of fermentation, which may be summarised as:
                 C6H12O6  =  2C2H5OH  +  2CO2
                 Glucose     Ethanol        Carbon Dioxide
The word "Alcohol" is derived from the Arabic.
Alcohol By Volume Usually abbreviated to "abv", "ABV", "av" or "AV". This is the proportion of alcohol in a liquid expressed as a percentage of the total volume of liquid. For example, a liquid at 43% abv is a liquid that has 43% alcohol and 57% water.
American Barrel See "Casks".
Amylase Enzyme in barley that converts starch into maltose in the mash tun. See also "Cytase", "Diastase" and "Zymase".
Angels' Share A distiller's term for what accountants in the trade more prosaically refer to as maturation losses. Customs and Excise allow for a maximum loss during maturation of two percent by volume per year. This loss happens due to evaporation and the loss of alcoholic vapour through the porous wooden casks.
av, AV See "Alcohol By Volume".
Aquavitae The Latin for "water of life" from which the Gaelic "uisge beatha" and "usquebaugh" were derived. The modern "whisky" is just a corruption of "usque".