Saladin Box A type of maltings named after its French inventor. Barley is placed in a long metal box and continuously turned by large revolving forks which move along the inside of the box. It came into use in the 1950s, originally at the North British, Tamdhu and Glen Ord distilleries.
Scotch A spirit obtained by distillation from a mash of cereal grains saccharified by the diastase of malt. By law, it cannot be called Scotch whisky unless it has been distilled in Scotland and has matured in an oak cask in Scotland for at least three years.
Shiel A traditional wooden shovel used to turn the barley in the Floor Maltings.
Silent Season A period in summer of around four to six weeks when the quality of the water supply can drop during the warmer weather and distilleries usually close down. The time is used to carry out essential maintenance, for staff holidays, etc. Traditionally harks back to the time when locals were otherwise occupied on the farms during the harvest.
Single Cask, Single Barrel Sometimes called a Single-Single Malt (as in single distillery, single cask), it is malt whisky taken from just one individual cask, the product of just one distillation run from just one distillery. It is usually sold at cask strength (around 55% abv - 65% abv depending upon the particular distillery) and the process of chill filtration is frequently omitted. The information on the label is usually extended to include the cask number, date of distillation, date of bottling and usually the number of bottles produced from that cask. It may also be authenticated by the signature of one of the distillery's management. See also "Single Malt", "Pure Malt", "Vatted Malt" and "Blended Whisky".
Single Grain Grain whisky made at just one distillery and that has not been mixed with any from elsewhere. However, the whisky may come from many different casks of varying ages. Any age statement on the bottle refers to the youngest component whisky. See also "Vatted Grain" and "Blended Whisky".
Single Malt Malt whisky made at just one distillery and that has not been mixed with any from elsewhere. However, the whisky may come from many different casks of varying ages. Any age statement on the bottle refers to the youngest component whisky. See also "Single Cask", "Pure Malt", "Vatted Malt" and "Blended Whisky".
Singlings (US term) An old moonshiner word for low wines.
Slàinte Maith . . . Slàinte Mór A toast of "Slàinte Maith ... " with a response of " ... Slàinte Mór" (pronounced "slahnje vay ... slahnje vor") - meaning "Good Health ... Great Health" - is the equivalent of the English toast of "Cheers" and is almost exclusively used when drinking whisky.
Slit Window A narrow window in the upper part of the Wash Still which allows the stillman to see if the contents are starting to boil up (in much the same way that a milk pan will suddenly boil up).
Small Batch Whiskey (US term) A product of mingling select barrels of whiskey, that have matured, into a specific style.
Small Grains (US term) Cereal used in the making of bourbon, rye or Tennessee whisky that has grains smaller than those of corn (maize).
Sour Mash Whiskey Bourbon or Tennessee whiskey made using at least 25% backset, soured yeast mash and a fermentation period of at least 72 hours.
Sour Yeast Mash (US term) A mash, usually of corn or rye, which is 'soured' overnight, or to which lactic bacteria is added before yeast is cultivated therein.
Sparge The name given to the liquor from the final water of the mash in the Mash Tun. This is used as the first water of the next mash.
Sparging The process of pouring hot water onto malt grist in the steel's masher or Mash Tun.
Specific Gravity The density of a given substance. In the case of spirits, it is measured in grams per cubic centimetre.
Spent Beer See "Stillage".
Spent Grains See "Draff".
Spent Lees Residue left in the Spirit Still after the second or Low Wines dislillation. It is mostly de-oxygenated water and is usually run to waste after treatment.
Spent Wash See "Pot Ale".
Speyside One of the major districts of the Highlands region, Speyside contains more distilleries than any other region or district in Scotland, so many, in fact, that there are a number of sub-districts defined (see "Malt Whisky Regions Map" ). In alphabetic order, the sub-districts are :-
Bogie - The area adjacent to the River Bogie with such distilleries as Ardmore.
Deveron - The area adjacent to the River Deveron with such distilleries as Banff, Glen Deveron, The Glendronach, Glenglassaigh, Macduff.
Dufftown - The area adjacent to the town of Dufftown with such distilleries as The Balvenie, Convalmore, Dufftown, Glendullan, Glenfiddich, Mortlach, Parkmore, Pittyvaich.
Fiddich - The area adjacent to the River Fiddich with such distilleries as Allt-a'Bhainne.
Findhorn - The area adjacent to the River Findhorn with such distilleries as Benromach, Royal Brackla, Dallas Dhu, Glenburgie, Glencraig, Tomatin.
Inverness - The area adjacent to the town of Inverness with such distilleries as Glen Albyn, Glen Mhor, Millburn.
Livet - Braeval (formerly Braes of Glenlivet), The Glenlivet, Longmorn, Tamnavulin, Tomintoul.
Lossie - The area adjacent to the River Lossie with such distilleries as Benriach, Coleburn, Glen Elgin, Glenlossie, Glen Moray, Linkwood, Mannochmore, Miltonduff, Mosstowie.
Rothes - The area adjacent to the River Rothes before it enters the River Spey with such distilleries as Caperdonich, Glen Grant, The Glen Rothes, Glen Spey, Speyburn.
Speyside - The area adjacent to the River Spey, itself, with such distilleries as Aberlour, Balmenach, Benrinnes, Cardhu, An Cnoc (formerly Knockdhu), Craggenmore, Craigellachie, Dailuaine, Dalwhinnie, Drumguish, Glenallachie, Glenfarclas, Glentauchers, Imperial, Inchgower, Knockando, The Macallan, The Singleton of Auchroisk, Speyside, Tamdhu, The Tormore.
Strathisla - The area within the Strathisla district around Keith adjacent to the River Isla with such distilleries as Aultmore, Clockserrie, Glen Keith, Isla, Strathisla, Strathmill.
Speyside whiskies tend to be on the lighter side but still with a wide range of characteristics. The peat used mainly comes from the heathery sources of the area rather than the mossy sources used in other parts of the Highlands and, consequently, there is much evidenmce of this in the final whisky output.
Spirit A distillate, the liquid containing ethyl alcohol (ethanol) and water that is distilled from an alcoholic liquid or mash.
Spirit Filling Vat The Spirit Filling Vat is a vessel where the abv (alcohol by volume) of the raw spirit from the Spirit Receiver is adjusted to 120° or 68.5% abv (alcohol by volume) which is the level at which thw requires newly distilled spirit to be filled in casks. This adjustment is done by the addition of water, taken from the same pure source as the whisky was made, prior to it being put in casks for maturation.
Spirit Receiver The Spirit Receiver is a collecting vessel to collect the wanted output of the spirit still(s) (the middle cut) prior to it being passed into the spirit filling vat.
Spirit Safe The Spirit Safe is a large, usually highly-polished, brass box, divided into 2 chambers (or 3 in the case of triple-distillation), with a brass-bound glass door at the front secured by a stout brass bar with large padlocks at either end. Each chamber is fitted internally with large glass funnels, shaped like brandy balloon glasses, between which the distillate flowing down a chute fron the associated still can be re-directed by means of external levers, and the hydrometers to measure the specific gravity of the distillate to determine when the flow should be re-directed. Usually, the left-most chamber is associated with the distillate from the Wash Still and its Wormtub, the next chamber is associated with the distillate from the (1st) Low Wines or Spirit Still and its Wormtub whilst the third chamber, if fitted, (triple-distillation) is associated with the distillate from the 2nd Spirit Still and its Wormtub.
Spirit Still See "Low Wines or Spirit Still".
Stainless Steel Material increasingly used in the manufacture of Mash Tuns and Washbacks. Easy to keep clean and does not harbour bacteria as wood does.
Starch Carbohydrate food material stored in plants.
Steam Cans Steam cans are cylindrical attachments to the steam coils which distribute the heat more evenly throughout the liquid in the (more usually) Spirit Still.
Steam Coil A steam coil is a coiled copper pipe in the bottom of a (more usually) Wash Still through which steam is passed in order to heat the liquid contents of the Still. It does not scorch the liquid like an open flame can (see "Rummager").
Steel's Masher A device attached to the bottom of the Malt Grist Hopper which mixes the grist with hot water from the Copper and introduces it into the Mash Tun.
Steep (or Steep Tank) The Steep is a vessel in which the mixture of unmalted whole barley and regularly-changed, fresh water is left to soak prior to the soaked grain being spread on the Floor Maltings to germinate (or, as a verb, the action of soaking the barley in water).
Still See "Low Wines or Spirit Still" or "Wash Still".
Stillage In North America, the residuethe bottom of a still aftermentation, containing solids but no alcohol.
Stillhouse The Stillhouse is the building in which all the stills are located together with their associated Wormtubs, Receivers/Chargers and Spirit Safes.
Stillman The distillery worker responsible for operating the Stills. The quality of the end product depends upon his expertise in judging which part of the distillation will be retained as the middle cut.
Stirrer The Stirrers are used to keep the mash agitated in the Mash Tun to ensure the maximum extraction of sugar from the grist.
Sugar An energy source from which alcohol and carbon dioxied can be produced by the action of enzymes. A member of the carbohydrate family.
Surfactant A substance which reduces surface tension, and thus reduces foaming and frothing, during fermentation in the Washback.
Swan Neck See "Lyne Arm".
Sweet Mash In North America, mash containing no backset.
Switcher Motor and Blades The Switcher Motor and Blades is a motor (usually electric, these days) driving a series of mechanical rotating arms, called switchers, employed to reduce the foaming and frothing produced during fermentation in the Washback by cutting through the bubbles in the froth and releasing the carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.
Switchers See "Switcher Motor and Blades".