We think distillation is art and science all rolled into one. Throughout the distillation we’re tracking temperatures and ABV, we’re also tasting and diluting to see which flavours pop. It’s a skill we’ve built up over years. A skill that’s been a lot of fun developing!
We begin with neutral grain spirit. We add juniper and our botanicals to the neutral spirit to infuse and bind our flavours. Using steam, we slowly heat Arnie – our 300lt Arnold Holstein still – and the botanical flavours are bound to the spirit and wind their way up the still’s column. Once the vapour reaches a high enough temperature, and bounces around a bit (reflux) it flows into the condenser. The distillate flows out of the condenser and is separated into 3 parts know as the heads, the hearts and the tails. Collectively this is known as ‘the run’. The heads and tails are taken away and we are left with the glorious heart. The heart is the very best part of the distillate and the bit we get to dilute, bottle and give to you!
THE BEGINNING – THE HEADS
This part of the run contains low boiling point alcohols like ethyl acetate. At this stage it is very astringent and volatile and we don’t include this in our gin. Over time the spirit flowing out of the still mellows, bright citrus and juniper pop and it sweetens up which is the beginning of the hearts. It is here we start to collect the distillate. Because we don’t include the heads in the gin this is called the heads cut.
THE MIDDLE – THE HEARTS
This is where the sweet spot is! Creamy juniper, sweet citrus and spicy savoury scents fill the distillery. We taste our spirits every ten minutes to track how they are changing through the run.
THE END – THE TAILS
This section of the run contains heavy bitter oils and declares itself with dark spice, herbaceous notes and a lingering astringent bitterness. Once we observe this we do our tails cut and isolate the tails from the heart.
The heart is then left to sit, until it is ready to be diluted and crafted into delicious Anther Gin.