|Old copper stills wear out. Or is that a Dalek?|
The wear patterns on those stills are exactly opposite. Harsh low wines, explains Forsyth, corrode the upper parts of a still within 10-12 years, while the pot may last 30-40. On the second distillation, it’s the other way around. Low wines and feints corrode the boiler, but the spirits rising through the upper parts are much more refined, so upper parts like such as the Lyne arm and swan’s neck may last 30-40 years, but the pot only 10-12 years.
Rather than replacing the entire still — an expensive proposition — Forsyths craftsman cut away worn areas and replace them with new materials. Those apocryphal stories about Scotch distillers replacing old stills with brand new ones that exactly replicate every dump and dent so that distillers can faithfully reproduce whisky that is exactly the same every single time? Turns out that’s just a good story for gullible drinkers.
“Replacing old stills down to the last ding, bump, and patch?” chuckled the chairman. “That’s not quite true; those old stills may have a dent or two. Rather than replace the entire still, we only replace the parts that require it. If we cut out a patch or replace a part, we will replicate angles and shapes religiously, so that the contours of the boiler or Lyne arm, for example, are exact duplicates. After all, if we built it, we still have the original plans. But every ding and bump? No, we don’t do that.”
So pour that in your glass and drink it.
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