It's all a matter of scale

William M. Dowd photos

The essential principles of distilling spirits remain the same, whether it's done on a mass production basis or in a one-pot "backyard" operation.

These photos shot at The Glenlivet distillery in Scotland show part of the main distillation complex (above) compared to the rudimentary process of a small still powered by a wood fire (below).

In the latter process, set up by brand manager Ian Logan (right), the heated liquid goes through a series of copper coils running into a cooling bath, then condenses into the clear distillate that dribbles out of the end into a copper pot.

Tasting the new make whisky is a treat, It begins with a light strawberry note, then quickly moves to banana as the chemistry relaxes. It's anything but oily, because of its estimated 70% abv (140 proof) at that point.

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