Now here is a question that has been buzzing in my head for a while, and I have not found a statisfying answer to it yet.
We know that the shape of a pot still has a lot of influence on the distilled spirit. The still shape determines how aromatic components are separated from the water together with the alcohol and transported through the lyne arm and the condenser. It is also a well-known fact that copper is the best material for a still because it acts as a catalyst for favourable chemical reactions between the many substances that are present in the mash. So it is obvious that the still as a whole “does something” to the taste of the whisky.
It is also basic whisky knowledge that the size of a cask determines how quickly a whisky matures. The smaller the cask, the higher the ratio between surface and volume, so wood components and liquid remnants from the pores are diffusing into the whisky at a higher rate.
Now let’s combine these facts: Smaller stills have a higher ratio between surface and volume, so the catalytic reactions that happen during distillation should have a stronger influence on the spirit. Still sizes vary a lot between different distilleries. The Caol Ila spirit stills hava a volume of almost 30000 l whereas the Edradour still is just over 2000 l.
I am convinced that there is an influence, just because of the geometric fact. But how it can be nailed down escapes my grasp.
If you can shed light on this topic, please add a comment. If you know someone who could, please ask him.