Photos of Pot Stills at Commercial Distilleries

Heres's some of the still heads used at commercial distilleries. Note the range of different sizes, shapes, proportions etc. These should give some indication of what hobby pot stills could be designed as.

Whiskey styles are as quoted by "the Malt Whisky file" by Robin Tucek & John Lamond. I've done this to see what correlation there is between shape/size and resulting flavour.
Bushmills at

Sweetness 7
Peatiness 0

Famous Grouse at

Sweetness ?
Peatiness ?

Laphroaig at

Sweetness 1-2
Peatiness 10

Quite a range of different styles in use here !

Glenfiddich at

Sweetness 8
Peatiness 3-5

Glenmorangie at

Size : 17ft tall
Sweetness 3-4
Peatiness 3-4

the Macallan at

Sweetness 7
Peatiness 4
Comments from their site:
The size and shape of the stills are crucially important. The more contact the wash and low wines have with copper the better, since it acts as a catalyst, removing sulphury impurities (in the wash still) and promoting the creation of esters (in the spirit still) - effectively cleaning and lightening the spirit. Small stills with a broad 'head' (the middle part of the still), such as those at Macallan, are best of all: a narrow head tends to increase the velocity of the ascending vapours and to reduce their contact with the copper walls.
Finally, while we are on the question of still design, there is the important matter of the length and angle of the 'lyne arm' - the pipe which connects the top of the still, known as the 'swan neck' to the condenser. Macallan's lyne arms are of average length, but they are acutely angled in a downwards direction. This means that once vapours reach the neck of the still they are more likely to go over and be condensed than to fall back as reflux and be re-distilled. Again, the Macallan is unusual in this: most distillers set out to increase reflux. But then, they may well not achieve such copper contact (with its spirit-enhancing properties) as do Macallan's small stills.


Sweetness 5-6
Peatiness 0     This page last modified Tue, 20 Jan 2015 20:51:05 -0800