The Making of Malt Whisky - Part One

STV visited the Balvenie distillery in Dufftown in the heart of Speyside to find out from Balvenie's Global Brand Ambassador David Mair how a malt whisky is made.

This first episode explains the beginnings of the whisky-making - the malting and kilning processes.

Barley, yeast and water are the only ingredients required in the production of single malt whisky.

The barley used to make the whisky is "malted" by soaking the grain in water for 2-3 days and then allowing it to germinate to convert starch (which is insoluble in water and not available for fermentation by yeast) to soluble sugars.

After being soaked, the barley is spread onto a malting floor where it is turned frequently to maintain a steady temperature.

After about a week, when green shoots have appeared, the germination is stopped, by drying the now green malt in a kiln.

Peat, which gives a smoky character to the malt, is the traditional fuel used in the furnace for the drying process.

The Balvenie distillery is only one of a few places left that still malt their own barley. Other places include Highland Park and Bowmore.

It has been owned and managed by an independent family company for over five generations, ensuring that this distillery is still dedicated to the traditions, care and craftsmanship of malt whisky making.