Scotch Whisky has only four ingredients, water, barley, yeast and time. Time is the most difficult to understand, many things happen over time when the new make whisky is filled into the cask. InchDairnie commissioned Fife born Marion Smith, www.marionsmithsculptor.co.uk/ to make a sculpture to show what happens over time in the cask. Marion designed an hour glass structure with drops passing down the glass changing in colour and reducing number. The structure uses two of the distillery’s key materials, stainless steel and copper.
The copper in the stills absorbs the sulphur compounds in the new whisky allowing the lighter more floral fermentation driven flavours to come through into the spirit.
The colour change illustrates the extractive process where the clear new make spirit extracts colour from the oak changing its colour. The colour will depend on the type of oak used in to make the cask and what use the cask was put to before coming to distillery.
The reducing number of drops illustrates the evaporative process, the angels share. Where the most volatile of the alcohols pass through the oak cask and into the atmosphere in the warehouse. This smooth’s the spirit flavour profile reducing the spirit burn when drunk.
Time is also expressed in seasons. InchDairnie produces its whisky differently according to season creating different flavours to reflect the season. It uses Spring barley in the spring and summer seasons and Winter barley in the autumn and winter season. InchDairnie is one of the very few distilleries in Scotland to use Winter malted barley.