Learn A To Z Of Scotch Whisky Words (Part III)

Johnnie Walker

The glossary for words related to Scotch whisky continues! The previous two articles brought a lot of new words to your scotch-related vocabulary. This is the final article and has all the words you need to know to pick out the finest, tastiest bottle of scotch. Knowing these terms will help you understand the differences in the quality of different scotch whiskies. Check out the glossary below:

A To Z Of Scotch Whisky Words

Peat smoke

Peat, which is prominently used to fire up the kiln for malting in Eastern Highlands, Islay etc, gives the whisky a smoky flavour. Hence peaty is used synonymously with smoky by many drinkers. The smoky flavour is created due to the process of firing a kiln with peat, whose smoke gives the whisky the flavour. Some drinkers acutely describe peat smoke as having medicinal or iodine-like elements to its flavour.


Throughout Scotland, organic materials such as heather, mosses, and grasses which turn into bogs and then decompose result in the formation of peat. Peat has been traditionally used as an energy source in the country. A peated whisky is called so when the spirit is made using malted barley heated with peat in a kiln. The smoke from the peat gives the whisky its smoky flavour.

Pot still

A distillation vessel usually made of copper that is used on a batch-by-batch basis is called a pot still. It is heated using a steam jacket lining outside the walls or steam coil inside the pot or a burner underneath the pot. Single malt whiskies are made in pot stills.


PPM is short for phenolic parts per million. It determines the phenol content of whiskies after the kilning process. Phenol is released when peat is burnt to heat the kiln. It gives whisky its smoky character. The higher the PPM, the peatier the flavour of the whisky will be. A heavily peated single malt has a PPM of around 40 to 50; the highest-PPM whisky made so far is Bruichladdich’s Octomore 8.3, with a PPM of 309.

Whisky Cask


Teaspooning means blending very small amounts of other distillery's whisky into a single malt whisky cask. While single malt whisky remains virtually unchanged, it must still be legally labelled as blended malt. Producers will use teaspooning when they don't want their distillery associated with their product. But some brands have intentionally marketed their whiskies as teaspooned, for instance, The Balvenie, which adds a teaspoon of Glenfiddich to its Burnside expression.


The beer-like liquid that is formed when living yeast is added to the wort, or a mix of dried malt and hot water is called a wash.


The container in which wash is formed is called a washback. It is typically made of sturdy materials like wood or stainless steel.

Whiskey vs. Whisky

Whisky is the older spelling and used in Scotland, Japan, Canada and India. It is believed the Irish wanted to distinguish their product from the Scottish version, hence they add 'e' in whisky, making it whiskey. Whiskey is used in Ireland and the United States.


When dried malt and hot water are mixed, it results in the formation of wort, which kickstarts a chemical reaction that creates fermentable sugars.

While it is good to learn about liquors and enjoy them once in a while, remember to always drink in moderation. Make a note of always serving and drinking alcohol responsibly. Your actions can help you and your guests maintain a healthy body and keep out of harm's way. If you know anyone who is unable to control their alcohol consumption, refer them to a professional immediately.