The now grounded down malt, which is called 'grist' is added to warm water to begin the extraction of the soluble sugars. The water is normally from a pure, local source, which is why it is common for a distillery to have their own spring on their grounds.


The character of this water influences the final spirit as it contains minerals from passing over or through granite, peat or other rocks. The liquid combination of malt and water is called the 'mash'. It is put into a large vessel called a 'mash tun'  (right) and stirred for several hours.

The sugars in the malt dissolve and these are drawn off through the bottom of the mash tun. The resulting liquid is called 'wort'.