Once fermentation is complete, we move our ‘Wash’ from the Wash Backs to our Wash Stills where it is heated to the point of evaporation. This evaporation rises to the top of the still, flows down the curved lye pipe to the condenser where it is cooled, and runs on to the low wines receiver. At this stage, the solution is still too weak and impure to be casked, so it is redistilled in a second still called a Spirit Still. With the tallest stills on Islay, which have unusually long swan necks, we are able to produce a lighter, more delicate flavour profile.
The second distillation flows through the Spirit Safe, where our stillmen watch for the anticipated middle cut, rejecting the first and final parts of the run. The middle cut, or heart of the run, is stored in the spirit receiver for casking, while the rest is returned to be re-distilled. The ‘heart’ is now our New Make Spirit and has the perfect percentage of alcohol for taking to the next stage of the process. Our stills have a total annual production capacity of 2,500,000 litres.