Malting - Mashing - Fermentation - Distillation - Maturation
Malting is a controlled germination that converts raw grain into malt. The enzymes produced during germination are needed to break down the starch for the brewer or distiller during the mashing process. As the first Italian whisky distillery we use 100% malt to create our whisky. We source the malt from Italy, Germany and Scotland and store it inside the cube in different silos.
Mashing allows the enzymes in the malt to break down the starch in the grain into sugars, typically maltose to create a malty liquid called wort. At each production day we ground 1 ton of malt and mix it with 6000 litres hot water. The clear wort is then pumped through a heatexchanger into one of our washbacks. The residue of the mashing - the so called draff - is collected by local farmers and used as kettle feed as it is rich in proteins.
To convert the sugar in the wort into alcohol it needs to be fermented with the help of yeast. We installed five wooden washbacks, each with a capacity of 10000 litres, made from local larch and built by the last cooperage in South Tyrol. Filled with 6.000 litres of wort and with the addition of yeast we let it ferment up to 96 hours. Due to the unusual long fermentation time it is not only an alcohol fermentation but also lactic acid bacteria can start produce different flavours which give our later whisky light and fruity notes.
The whisky is produced inside the 13 by 13 metres cube, below ground level. Since 2012 we distill 100% Malt in traditional scottish Pot Stills which are merged with state-of-the-art technology to ensure the premium quality of the whisky. Temperature control during distillation is vital to the taste of the whisky. Because of this we conceived a unique heating system: Instead of steam, overheated water is used to heat both stills. This makes it possible to control the temperatures very precisely during distillation and to be particularly careful when selecting only the best part of the spirit in the process.
The most significant factors that influence the whisky during maturation are the type of casks used and the climatic conditions inside the warehouse. Besides classic Ex-Bourbon casks we use Italian Wine casks, Spanish Sherry casks and many more to mature our whisky for at least 3 years. The South Tyrolean climate is characterized by warm summers and cold winters. These considerable changes in temperature promote an accelerated maturation inside our dunnage warehouses. This conditions are amongst the reasons for the mellow and distinguished taste of the Italian Malt Whisky, even after relatively short periods of maturation.