LEXICON: from fake to founded

Given the enthusiastic usage of various ‘F-words’ by Scottish lads, the number
of ‘whisky words’ starting with ‘F’ seems quite low. If none of the words that are
listed below peaks your interest, one of the other sections of Malt Madness might
do it for you. Because I’m a scatterbrain the content of MM is pretty eclectic... ;-)
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One problem with high whisky prices: producing fakes becomes profitable.
After the demise of Rosebank, Falkirk hopes to revive a local whisky tradition.
The final spirit coming from the spirit still, a.k.a. ‘after-shots’ or ‘tails’.
Ferintosh was the first semi-legal Scotch whisky distillery in 1690.
Fermentation is a bio-chemical process that converts sugars to alcohol.
In the olden days, whisky from this distillery was known as 'Old Fettercairn'.
A 'feuilette' is a 110 Litre cask used by French wine producers.
The Findhorn Valley Scotch whisky region is located within Speyside.
The 'finish' of a whisky is the taste and mouth feel that lingers around.
If (im)mature whisky needs a twist, it can be transferred into a wine cask.
Finlaggan is the name of a 'bastard malt' from Islay - and an ancient island.
Possibly the first Glaswegian distillery was converted from a brewery in 1824.

First Blending Co.
first fill cask
Fisher Row
fluid ounce
Fortune Brands
Fusion Whisky

A firkin was a cask of a quarter barrel or 9 imperial gallons (+/- 40 Litres).
The First Blending Company actually wasn’t the first blending company...
A first fill cask has been filled with Scotch whisky for the first time.
This Midlothian distillery operated between 1826 and 1837.
Grouping of similar or different whisky expressions during a whisky tasting.
The practice of buying rare whisky bottles and selling them soon at a profit.
The fluid ounce is an old Imperial measurement, roughly equal to 30ml.
A flute is a traditional champagne glass - not quite suitable for whisky.
The first alcohol that drips from the spirit condenser is later re-distilled.
Fortune Brands was the American holding company that turned into Beam Inc.
If you ask me, a distillery wasn't 'founded' until whisky was produced.
So far, Fusion Whisky seems more like a blender than a bottler.

Pot still (diagram) - feints and foreshots

Feints & Foreshots

In diagrams like the one on the right, the production process
of malt whisky is often (overly) simplified. For one thing, almost
all Scotch whisky distilleries use not one but TWO pot stills.
The wash still is used for the first distillation of the wash to
+/ 25% ABV, the second run in the spirit still takes it up to 75%.

Once the contents of the still are hot enough, vapour rises up
in the neck before condensing in the condenser and ending
up in the... cask? No, not quite - the spirit safe is first in line.

Furthermore, it is important to understand that malt whisky is
produced in a BATCH process. For each ‘run’, the pot still has
to be filled up and then heated to the appropriate temperature.
This can take quite some time...

After all, the government wants to make sure they receive their due duty.
The spirit safe or spirit receiver is also where the less desirable elements from the start and the end of the
distillation process are siphoned off to be re-distilled. The foreshots (also known as ‘heads’) are not unlike
a ‘premature ejaculation’ from the still, while the feints (a.k.a. ‘aftershots’ or ‘tails’) are the very last dribble.
The foreshots and feints are re-distilled and end up in the next whisky, thus completing the circle of life...

Falkirk Dist. Company

The Falkirk Distillery Company intends to revive the old Rosebank distillery in the Lowlands.
There was some activity on the site around the year 2010, but by the end of 2016 the developments seem
to have slowed down considerably.  We’ll have to wait and see how things turn out for the Falkirk distillery.


There are many rumours about Scotch (malt) whisky distillation in the 15th and 16th century, but the very
first distillery that’s mentioned in literature is Ferintosh (1690), located in Ryefield on the Black Isle. Most
businesses were family ventures in those days. The family behind Ferintosh was the Forbes clan who claim
to descend from Ochonchar Forbear. He had supposedly killed a bear in his native Ireland and by the time
the clan had anglicized their name to ‘Forbes’ they could afford a family crest with three bears on it.


There’s an entire branch of science dedicated to fermentation called ‘zymology’. This biochemical process
is the source of alcohol in beverages like beer and wine. Yeast is able to turn sugars into alcohol and gases.
Without further distillation it is possible to achieve alcohol percentages of up to 20 or 25% this way.


The finish of a whisky is the ‘aftertaste’ - the impression that hangs around after you’ve swallowed a sip.
During the 1900s (when many sherry casks were used for the maturation of whisky), even younger malt
whiskies had a distinctive and flavourful finish. These days most entry level malt whiskies are young and
mostly matured in ex-bourbon casks. Those often have a short, dry and fairly unremarkable finish.


Pouring or pumping a whisky into another cask
during maturation is nothing new. Distilleries
have been refilling casks for centuries, initially
mostly for straightforward reasons - for example
replacing a leaky cask so it could be repaired.

Refilling of casks

The so-called ‘finishing’ of whisky (a second,
shorter maturation in another cask to tweak the
whisky’s properties) had also been done before.

However, the general public wasn’t aware of it.
This changed when Glenmorangie launched
their first three wood finishes around 1990; a
sherry finish, a port finish and a madeira finish.

This was a genuine innovation in the Scotch
whisky world, later followed by many others.
It greatly increased the diversity in the Scotch
whisky world while mostly respecting tradition.
Most connoisseurs applauded finishing.

The recent push towards artificially flavoured whiskies has not been met with such broad approval.
Understandably - at the current price point for (malt and premium) whisky I’d rather save myself some cash
and go for something that offers more ’BFYB’ or bang for your buck - like a fine port or a nice liqueur.


Finnieston is an area within Glasgow - but it used to be a distillery as well. It was one of more than thirty
distilleries that have operated in Glasgow at some point.  Finnieston didn’t stick around for very long though.
Operations started in 1824 and were suspanded again just three years later in 1827.

First-fill cask

Cask filling equipment

You might imagine that a ‘first-fill cask’ would be a cask that is filled
for the first time - but that’s not the case. Within the whisky industry
it means a cask that it filled with WHISKY for the first time... 

All casks that are used for the maturation of Scotch whisky have
actually contained another beverage or spirit before - usually
bourbon or sherry but sometimes more exotic contents too,

Almost all casks are used again after their first filling, at
which point they have magically turned into refill casks.
If the cask is filled yet again, it becomes a re-refill cask,
and so on. Most casks are refilled multiple times, and
during each consecutive filling they impart less flavour.
Sometimes casks are ‘rejuvenated’ by re-charring them.

Fisher Row

The Fisher Row distillery in Midlothian was founded in 1826 by John Dodds. Fisher Row (often spelled as
‘Fisherrow’) wasn’t a smashing success; the distillery was closed again somewhere between 1833 and 1837.


The practice of ‘flipping’ is a fairly recent invention. Flipping involves buying and quickly re-selling one or
more (rare) whisky bottles at inflated prices. This practice may continue until the next ‘bubble bursting’.

First Blending Company

The First Blending Company has a misleading name; it was actually founded quite recently.
It is a subsidiary for La Martiniquaise - a French company that became involved with Scotch whisky quite
recently. On October 31, 2008 they acquired the Glen Moray malt whisky distillery and in 2010 the French
opened their very own Starlaw grain whisky distillery.

Do you know of a ‘F’ word, phrase or whisky brand I’ve missed?  Be a sport and let me know...
You can reach me through e-mail, Twitter or Facebook to help me make the Malt Madness site (a little) better.


Claims about when (and even where) a Scotch whisky distillery was founded should be viewed with some
caution. A distillery’s ownership and equipment have often changed numerous times since its foundation.

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