Distillation Celtic Whisky Distillerie

Distillation,

Repasse distillation and stills

Our stills and distillation method

To achieve a successful distillation process, a number of factors must be taken into consideration that will influence the character of our single malt. Celtic Whisky Distillery is committed to a slow distillation method, in the purest Celtic tradition. Beyond our know-how, the type of still used (material, size, shape) will also have a decisive influence.

Distillation: the magic happens at Celtic Whisky Distillery

From a scientific point of view distillation is a process that allows the different components of a liquid to be separated, each of them reacting at a different boiling point and atmospheric pressure. Alcohol evaporates at a lower temperature than water and it will therefore rise as a vapour in the still before the water. Once cooled, the vapours become liquid again.

Celtic Whisky Distillerie has opted to use two small onion-shaped copper pot stills to produce high-quality distillate. They offer a higher ratio of copper surface area to volume of liquid distilled. These stills have a swan neck the length of which affects the quality of the finished product. At the end of the swan neck is a serpentine condenser which cools the alcohol vapours as they leave the still.

Alambics pot stills Celtic Whisky Distillerie

Our pot stills

A traditional and authentic distillation process: Repasse distillation

Batch or “repasse” distillation consists of distilling in two stages. This is the traditional distillation method for Scotch whiskies. The first distillation takes place in a wash still, which is used to distil the beer and transform it into a brouillis or bas-vin, called “imparfait” (“imperfect”).

The second distillation takes place in a smaller still, the “spirit still”. Also known as the “bonne chauffe,” its purpose is to distil the imperfections from the first heating.

 

After the first distillation, the first few litres that are produced or the “heads of distillation” are discarded as they are unfit for consumption and put into the imperfects vat. This is a crucial stage as the distiller will have to use all their patience, experience and olfactory knowledge to proceed to cutting the head by the aroma.

Next comes the “heart of the distillate,” the precious spirit that will become whisky which is then about 70°. Once again, the distiller cuts the heart from the spirit. Finally, the “distillation tails” are removed and are put into the imperfects vat.

Contrary to the practice that has become commonplace in the whisky world, Celtic Whisky Distillerie still prefers open flame distillation, which makes the spirit more complex, rather than steam distilling.

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