LEXICON: from Daftmill to Duty

Shall I compare ‘D’ to a summer’s day? I probably shouldn’t, because they are
very different things, very much like apples and oranges. Even more so, actually.
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Daftmill is a micro distillery with an annual capacity of 20,000 litres of alcohol.
The Dailuaine distillery used to bottle just 2% of its output as a single malt.
When Dallas Dhu distillery was built in 1899, that whisky bubble burst.
Dalmore was quite mundane in the 1990's, but they invested heavily in PR.
The Dalmunach distillery (owned by Pernod Ricard) is just starting up.
The Dalwhinnie distillery can be found between Speyside and Highlands (W).
Distillers Company Ltd. (from Scotland) was taken over by Guiness in 1986.
Deanston used to be a cotton mill until 1966 and I feel that I can still taste it...
A special glass container that allows wine or whisky to breathe heavily.
Unattractively priced product, making the rest of the portfolio appear cheaper.
Some bottlings of Balmanach have been sold under the 'Deerstalker' brand.
A brand / bottler of Scotch whisky, owned by Aberko company in Glasgow.
French wine cask (barrel) containing between 500 and 600 litres.
Deveron is a whisky region in Speyside - but has just 1 active distillery left.
The name ‘Deveron’ has been used at times as a MacDuff brand name.
Dewar Rattray was renamed to A. D. Rattray after a lawsuit from Dewar's.
Dewar’s is a brand of blended whisky, sold by Diageo to Bacardi in 1998.

Diageo was born from a merger and owns more than two dozen distilleries.
Adding pure water to whisky improves the nose and reduces the ‘burn’.
Distell owns Burn Stewart Distillers, which in turn owns three distilleries.
The art of distillation produces spirit through evaporation and condensation.
Most distiller’s yeast (often Saccharomyces Cerevisiae) has a high yield.
A distillery is a facility where distillation takes place - preferably of whisky.
Dornoch distillery plans to start production somewhere in 2016.
Douglas Laing released a few affordable beauties around the year 2000.
The remains of the grain after fermentation, often used as cattle food.
A 'dram' is a measurement of whisky - not necessarily a generous one.
The ingestions of drams - which may commence until expulsion starts.
Leftovers after whisky distillation - or the last bit of whisky in a glass.
The previous contents of a 'dry' cask (often litres) absorbed by the wood.
You need to drink each day, but if you need alcohol each day it’s a problem.
Driving can be a enjoyable, as long as it’s not combined with drinking.
A drum is a (Madeira) cask with a size of +/- 650 litres (173 US Gallons).
Drum maltings have mostly replaced floor maltings and saladin boxes.
The name Drumguish is used for a young bottling from the Speyside distillery.
A state that is fun approaching, but achieving it should be avoided.

The roots of the town of Dufftown are Mortlach Church, established 566 AD.
Dufftown is a whisky region within Speyside - and the town at its heart.
Dufftown was one of Diageo's obscurest distilleries, but now it's a 'Singleton'.
One of the recently closed grain distilleries was Dumbarton near Glasgow.
The Dumbuck heavily peated malt whisky was made at Littlemill distillery.
The word dłn is Gaelic for 'fort'; often an old neolithic or medieval hill fort.
The Dun Bheagan range is one of the brands from Ian Macleod & Co. Ltd.
Dun Eideann is a name for IB's by Andrew Symington and Antonino Donato.
Scottish region - not to be confused with the Dumbarton distillery.
Independent bottler Duncan Taylor built their business on a private collection.
The Dunglass unpeated malt whisky variant was made at Littlemill distillery.
Traditional ‘dunnage’ warehouses have stone walls and earthen floors.
The duty on a bottle of whisky is the taxman’s due - often more than 50%.

A so-called 'dłn' in Scotland


The word ‘dłn’ is (Scottish) Gaelic for (hill) 'fort'.
We can find it in the names of many locations and
even some whisky brand names like Dun Bheagan.
The words in Welsh and Irish are very similar.

A broch is a larger structure, only found in Scotland.
The word broch is related to the Lowland Scottish
word 'brough', the Norse ‘borg’ and the Dutch ‘burcht’.

Hundreds of these Iron Age roundhouses can be
found along the Scottish coast and on the Hebrides.
The exact origin of brochs is still being debated, but
their strategic positions and defensive structures do
suggest some kind of military function. They may
have been the equivalent of later castles - the fort
or even residence of local chieftains.

In the names in Scotland it often refers to an ancient
neolithic or (slightly less) old medieval fort. Very much
like big parts of Hadrian’s wall, the older forts are
often hard to distinguish from the landscape.

DCL - Distillers Company Ltd.

The Distillers Company Ltd. (DCL) was one of the giants in the Scotch whisky industry before it was
fraudulently taken over by Guiness & Co in 1986. DCL itself was founded in 1877 - and in turn based on
the even older Scotch Distillers’ Association - a trade association that involved (among others) illustrious
names like John Haig & Co and MacNab Bros. Its remaining facilities are mostly owned by Diageo now.


Once a wine has sufficiently matured, the cask may contain some sediment as well. Decanters were initially
used (primarily) to separate the sediment from the wine before serving. An added benefit was discovered
later; the shape of a decanter allowed for more contact between the wine and the air. Some wines improve
after some ‘breathing’ - oxidation through contact with air. Whisky and oxygene is a trickier combination.
Besides, many whisky bottlers use chill filtration to remove residue from whisky before bottling.


Whisky dilution

Adding ice cubes to a blended whisky isn’t a problem; the fact that the
cold numbs your tongue can actually be a good thing. When you’ve paid
10 Euro’s for a bottle of Scotty McScott’s Exquisite Enema you probably
don’t expect to find many fine nuances in that particular whisky anyway.

However, when it comes to malt whisky things are very different.
The average nose is able to detect many interesting chemical compounds
in the bouquet of a properly matured malt whisky. And better yet, adding
a few drops of water in various stages helps release even more of those
esters and phenols. If you finish your dram within a few minutes, you will
be missing out on most of what could be going on in your glass.

Diluting your whisky isn’t a luxury when it comes to cask strength malts.
With some ‘training’ you should be able to drink cask strength whiskies of
up to 60% ABV easily - but why would you want to? You will be missing
out on a lot in the nose-department and It’s not really healthy anyway...

Distell Group Limited

The Distell Group Limited is one of the larger drinks conglomerates in the world. It was born in 2000 out
of a merger between two South-African drinks companies; Stellenbosch Farmers' Winery (SFW, est. 1925)
and the generically titled Distillers Corporation (est. 1945). In 2016 the group owned three Scotch malt
whisky distilleries through it’s Burn Stewart subsidiary; Bunnahabhain, Deanston and Tobermory.


The word ‘draff’ is derived from the Old Norse word ‘draf’ and refers to the dregs or residue of husks
that remains after distillation or brewing. It is often used as cattle feed - and the cattle doesn’t get drunk.


Opinions are divided about whether or not you are really ‘dramming’ when you are sampling just one
dram of whisky. Once you’ve poured your 2nd glass, you most definitely are. Based on my personal
experience I’d say that dramming can easily devolve into debauchery after 5 or 6 generous ‘drams’.

Drink-in Liquid

After a cask of whisky has been emptied, it is
often re-used again for a fresh batch of whisky.
However, the old cask isn’t actually completely
‘empty’ after the whisky has been poured out.

Drink-in liquid

During the years of maturation, the wood of the
staves has soaked up quite a bit of the whisky.
This locked up alcohol is called drink-in liquid
and in the past some people were willing to go
to great lengths to get a cheap buzz.

Distillery workers and michievous locals found
that washing and rolling old casks could release
a few litres of slightly alcoholic liquid. It probably
didn’t taste very good, but the times were rough.


The dregs (in relation to whisky) can refer to the draff that remains after the distillation process - but also
to the whisky residu that you can find in your glass the next morning after a night of heavy ‘dramming’.

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Dunnage warehouse

There used to be thousands of dunnage warehouses in Scotland; traditional low buildings with stone
walls and earthen floors. Most distilleries had several of these warehouses right by the distillery buildings.
That was where the casks of whisky were moved as soon as they were filled - and they usually remained
there until the contents were bottled. The whiskies matured ‘on site’, so if you believe in whisky regions that
would be good. However, nowadays most distilleries store their casks ‘off site’ in a few bonded warehouses
on central locations. Those are ‘racked warehouses’ where casks are stored up to 12 rows high in massive
steel racks. Wood-supported dunnage warehouses can’t stack their casks higher than three rows.

Drum maltings

The sprouting / germination of barley used to be done on large malting floors where the grain was turned
manually by large shovels. During the 20th century so-called ‘Saladin boxes’ that mechanised part of the
process were installed at many Scotch whisky distilleries. Nowadays some distilleries don’t even bother
with doing their own malting any more while many others have switched to drum maltings to do the work.

Distiller’s Yeast

Yeast is very important to malt whisky - and every location has its own unique microbiome.
However, most brewers and distillers use standardized yeast cultures these days. The ‘brewers’ yeast’
and ‘distiller’s yeast’ classifications are not officially defined, but generally speaking distiller’s yeast
can withstand higher temperatures during fermentation and offers a higher yield (= more alcohol).

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