CRAFT by Under My Host® Issue No. 14 Sci-Fi & Fantasy - Page 167

spective. The aficionados among us may talk about esters, aldehydes, ketones, lactones, and phenols. These are groups of flavour or aroma compounds derived from the process- ing of the raw ingredients. We may even try to pinpoint these and say esters are derived from fermentation, phenols from smoking and maturation and talk about how these present themselves at different times during a still run. We can speak of the evaporative, additive and chemical stages of maturation and how fla- vours develop, change and are even created during the aging process. These debates can carry on long into the night but do have the tendency to lose over half of the audience. Peeling back another layer and we begin to look past the science. This is where we get to the heart and soul of your glass. We get to look at the people that come together to craft this complex array of flavours. We begin to see all of the people we distillers rely on and, more importantly, the people who rely on me as a distiller, to craft the best whiskies possi- ble from their time and effort. At this level, our mind may firstly drift to the distillery, after all this is where the spirit is crafted. We envision brewers and distill- ers milling, mashing, brewing, and distilling. They will be adjusting the mill for consistency, testing their wash for off-notes and their wort for yeast calculations. They will be watch- ing their stills and making the cuts to ensure only the flavours they desire make it into their new make spirit. On the distillery floor, they also rely on the barley farmer who took the risk to sow the barley desired in the spring time knowing exactly when it needed to be brought it in from the fields. He then had to entrust the barley to a maltster in Tasmania who would soak and germinate the barley and dry it to the distillers’ specifications. In Scot- land, these guys may also need to start and maintain a peat fire to give the smoky malts their peaty characteristics. Finally, the whole industry relies on the haulage companies that shift ingredients, spirit, and casks to where they need to be so we can enjoy these whis- kies all around the globe. Moving from the distillery to the warehouse, we must think of the cask the spirit has spent its maturation time in. Whether a few months or 50 years, we need to raise a glass to the local Cooper who may have taken a couple of smaller casks and reconstructed them into a larger cask by hand testing it for water tight- ness and possibly re-charring and treating the cask to realise maximum flavour influence. He cannot deliver the best cask possible with- out the craftsmanship of the coopers who put those original couple of casks together whether in the USA, Europe or more recent- ly Australia. And most of these folks cannot deliver the best casks without the skills and expertise of the brewers, winemakers, and distillers who crafted wines and spirits in the first place to season these casks for our single malts. And these masters cannot pro- duce these wines, beers or spirits without the forestry industry who grow and fell the trees used for casks, or the viticulturists and farm- ers who grow their raw materials and none of this is possible without the coppersmiths, steelworkers, builders, engineers, architects, and investors who get all of these production houses off the ground in the first place. Multiply all of this by the fact that most whiskies are results of the blending of many casks, often from a number of distilleries and suddenly our one glass of whisky becomes a meeting place for hundreds of craftsmen and craftswomen from all over the planet de- livering their expertise at various times over the last century and converging on a point in time where a skilled bartender or salesperson has delivered a product that we can share right now to bring the world we can influence slightly closer together, even if we do occa- sionally forget our solutions to Scotland win- ning the World Cup. I suppose that we distillers envision whisky as not so much a drink as a journey. To Life As We Make It! © Hundred-to-One LLC 2017. All rights reserved.