All whiskies have naturally occurring oils and fats. These provide a lot of the texture, palate weight and finish of good whisky, also helping to enhance the flavour like the olive oil on your salad, or the butter on your bread.
At cask strength, these compounds are held in solution by the alcohol, but when whiskies are diluted for bottling, these compounds can fall out of solution and cause the whisky to appear cloudy, or form a sediment at the bottom on the bottle.
Watch the video below or read on for an explanation of our process for flocking at the distillery.
Large commercial distilleries will often employ a process called chill-filtration to remove these oils and make sure the whisky will always stay clear. This process involves cooling the whisky down to force the oils out of solution, then passing the whisky through a very fine filter.
Most small craft distilleries avoid this process to preserve the natural texture and flavour of their whiskies, and Sullivans Cove is no exception, never using chill filtration on our single malt whiskies. This means that adding water or ice to your Sullivans Cove, like most non-chill filtered whiskies, may cause it to go cloudy.
At Sullivans Cove, we instead employ a process called “flocking”. In this process, the diluted whisky is allowed to settle in tanks for a number of weeks or months. This allows the largest and heaviest particles to fall to the bottom of the tank where they can be removed with a simple paper filter before bottling. With this method, we preserve the natural texture of our malts while still making sure you’re bottle doesn’t look weird.
However, from time to time you may see cloudiness or sediment in forming in your bottle of Sullivans Cove, especially if it’s been sitting around for a while, or stored in cool temperatures. If you notice this in your bottle, don’t worry, it’s all perfectly natural!