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TITLE
George Grant on Malt & Grain Whisky
EXTERNAL ID
GB232_MFR_GEORGEGRANT_18
PLACENAME
Ballindalloch
PERIOD
1980s
CREATOR
George S. Grant
SOURCE
Moray Firth Radio
ASSET ID
1657
KEYWORDS
distillers
distilleries
Grants of Glenfarclas
audio

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George S Grant (1923-2002) was chairman of Glenfarclas Distillery in Speyside for fifty-two years. His ancestor, John Grant, had purchased the distillery back in 1865 and it has remained in the Grant family ever since. George's son, John LS Grant, is the current chairman. In this audio extract, originally recorded for 'Moray Firth People' in 1983, George talks to Sam Marshall about the difference between malt and grain whisky.

Interviewer: You mentioned malt and grain. I've never clearly understood the difference between the two.

Well, we can go back to the classroom. Scotch whisky, as distilled, falls into two main categories; malt and grain. Malt whisky then falls into another four categories; Highland malts, that's malt distilled north of an imaginary line from Montrose to Dumbarton; Lowland malts which are malts distilled south of that line; Islay malts, which are malts distilled on the island of Islay; and Campbeltown malts, which are malts distilled in the Mull of Kintyre. All malts are distilled on roughly the same basis. I say roughly, because some distilleries do a triple distillation. Most do a double. But the grain whiskies are distilled on an entirely different principle altogether by using a continuous still, as we spoke of earlier, and they're called grain - it's called grain spirit because the raw material is not, in the main, malted. It's a - they use maize, or barley; they merely want as much starch as they can get for the - at the lowest price. And then they use a malted barley to get the conversion to sugar, after their cooking process, and followed with a continuous distillation which of course is a more cost effective method of distilling than the batch process we use in the malt distillery.

Interviewer: And the two have different characteristics?

Oh yes. The grain whisky is distilled at a much higher strength than the malt whisky, and it doesn't have all - can I say 'impurities' with inverted commas round it, because all the alcohol you drink, whether it's brandy, gin, rum, or Scotch, is ethyl alcohol. And the difference between the Scotch and brandy or gin and anything else, is what would be called 'impurities' by the chemist, but they're flavourings to us. Some of the flavourings, such as in gin, are added deliberately, as flavouring. Flavouring in the malt whisky come naturally just by the process. The grain whisky being distilled at the very high strength, of course, is a purer alcohol, with less flavouring

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George Grant on Malt & Grain Whisky

1980s

distillers; distilleries; Grants of Glenfarclas; audio

Moray Firth Radio

MFR: George Grant, Glenfarclas Distillery

George S Grant (1923-2002) was chairman of Glenfarclas Distillery in Speyside for fifty-two years. His ancestor, John Grant, had purchased the distillery back in 1865 and it has remained in the Grant family ever since. George's son, John LS Grant, is the current chairman. In this audio extract, originally recorded for 'Moray Firth People' in 1983, George talks to Sam Marshall about the difference between malt and grain whisky.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: You mentioned malt and grain. I've never clearly understood the difference between the two.<br /> <br /> Well, we can go back to the classroom. Scotch whisky, as distilled, falls into two main categories; malt and grain. Malt whisky then falls into another four categories; Highland malts, that's malt distilled north of an imaginary line from Montrose to Dumbarton; Lowland malts which are malts distilled south of that line; Islay malts, which are malts distilled on the island of Islay; and Campbeltown malts, which are malts distilled in the Mull of Kintyre. All malts are distilled on roughly the same basis. I say roughly, because some distilleries do a triple distillation. Most do a double. But the grain whiskies are distilled on an entirely different principle altogether by using a continuous still, as we spoke of earlier, and they're called grain - it's called grain spirit because the raw material is not, in the main, malted. It's a - they use maize, or barley; they merely want as much starch as they can get for the - at the lowest price. And then they use a malted barley to get the conversion to sugar, after their cooking process, and followed with a continuous distillation which of course is a more cost effective method of distilling than the batch process we use in the malt distillery. <br /> <br /> Interviewer: And the two have different characteristics?<br /> <br /> Oh yes. The grain whisky is distilled at a much higher strength than the malt whisky, and it doesn't have all - can I say 'impurities' with inverted commas round it, because all the alcohol you drink, whether it's brandy, gin, rum, or Scotch, is ethyl alcohol. And the difference between the Scotch and brandy or gin and anything else, is what would be called 'impurities' by the chemist, but they're flavourings to us. Some of the flavourings, such as in gin, are added deliberately, as flavouring. Flavouring in the malt whisky come naturally just by the process. The grain whisky being distilled at the very high strength, of course, is a purer alcohol, with less flavouring