This is one of several tunes marking the crucial first steps of whisky production. “Malt” is what barley grain is called when it is has been soaked to germinate, then dried. The maltman was responsible for shepherding the grain through this first step in making both ale and whisky. The dried grain is then ground into meal. The barley “mash” is then then sent to the brewer and steeped in hot water to create the “wort.” The wort is the liquid filtered off of the steeped malted barley mash that makes its way to the fermenter and then the still. It is the primordial soup of whisky evolution. The maltman’s trade must have had a respected and valuable place in the old Highlands. Malted grain was the essential step before creating flour for sustenance as well as distilling whisky and the job involved more specialized skills and equipment than the what everyday crofters had on hand. Entire communities likely relied on their maltman to provide their supply of malted barley for its multiple uses.
View the score for “The Maltman.“