Ben Nevis Distillery
“There are some who would have you believe that there exists a kind of divine secret, a miraculous ingredient or genius behind the manufacture of Scotch Whisky. I however, acknowledge no miracle other than that which is worked when science and nature combine.
The principal ingredients are three, notably water, barley and yeast, with a measure of peat smoke or reek.
Of these there can be no doubt that water is the foremost. On Ben Nevis I was fortunate to find a constant and consistent source of pure clean water in two small lochans.
In order of importance, the second ingredient is barley. This must be clean and plump, fully rounded and quite dry, containing exactly the right amount of protein.
Special distiller’s yeast is the third ingredient. This has the texture of dough or putty and is vital to the process of fermentation. Note: Around the year 2010, Ben Nevis and Benromach were the only malt whisky distilleries in Scotland that were still using brewers yeast for their whisky. Many people claim that brewer’s yeast gives more character to the freshly distilled spirit than distillers yeast. On the other hand, most producers favor distillers yeast for its higher yield.
And fourthly there is peat, which comes to the whisky through the water passing over peat bogs on its way down the mountain, and from the ‘reek’ from the fire lit during the manufacturing process.
Once again, we are fully fortunate in that nature in her magnificence, has created on the hill behind us, an ample supply of peat in our own banks to fuel the fires drying the barley.”
– 14th June 1827