It’s more time consuming. It’s more expensive. And it’s also absolutely unique – no other Single Malt Scotch Whisky goes beyond two distillations for every drop.
Why do we persist? The extra distillation takes our spirit to around 81% – not 70%. This dramatically affects the character of the new make spirit, helping to create a subtle whisky that matures beautifully in oak.
The Wash Still
The wash still receives the 8% alcohol wash from the washbacks. We heat this to 94 degrees Celsius, which moves the vaporised alcohol slowly up this elegant still, and through the lyne arm towards the condenser.
The shape of our stills really matters. The elegant forms allow the gentle flavours to become enriched, while leaving much of the heavier character behind.
The alcohol vapour travels from the lyne arm into the condenser. It's here we condense the alcohol – using pipes cooled by cold water. Now the alcohol vapour becomes a liquid – called low wines.
The Spirit Safe
This is where we control the condensed spirit – a process that demands precision and skill.
The actual spirit distillate begins life as fore-shots – the remnants of the previous distillation combined with the current distillation. But fore-shots don't make it any further – they're recycled through the spirit safe into the feints receiver.
After around eight minutes of fore-shots, the spirit runs clear. It's known as 'new make spirit', and it's only this that we mature into whisky. It's collected in the intermediate spirit receiver until the alcohol content drops to 80% ABV. Then we make a second cut, which is often called 'off spirit' – we use the spirit safe to divert this cut to be recycled by redistilling.
The intermediate still is charged with the low wines. The magic happens right here – creating an intermediate spirit that's twice as strong as the industry average. It's this intermediate spirit that then goes to the spirit still – the extra distillation at the heart of creating the unique gentleness of Auchentoshan.
The Spirit Still
Finally, we take the high strength feints and distil them in the spirit still – from 55% right up to the signature Auchentoshan strength of 81% ABV.
This high alcohol content liberates a complex compliment of congeners from the still, which we collect in the spirit receiver for maturation.
A True One-off
Without triple distillation, we simply couldn’t create the gentle, complex flavour of Auchentoshan. It’s why we insist on it for every drop we create.