Over our 2 previous distilling episodes we distilled a batch of wash through the Still Spirits Turbo 500 reflux distiller, then filtered the product through the Still Spirits Carbon Filter System.
Today we’re going to look at some important points regarding using the Still Spirits essences or flavor packs.
The essences come packaged in sachets and all of the blending instructions are clearly printed on each pack.
This makes it really simple to blend your favorite drinks, however there are a few points to look out for.
The first point is that not all of the packs make the same quantity of product. so you do need to read the instructions and yield quantities really carefully otherwise you may end up with an end product that is either too strong or too weak… be this in alcohol terms or flavor.
The second and most important point to keep in mind is the alcohol content of the drink you are making. For instance, if you are blending a whiskey, then the target alcohol ABV is 43%. This is easy enough, however, some spirits like spiced golden rum is only 37%. If you inadvertently mix it to 43%, it will be far stronger than it should be in alcohol terms. You can find the target alcohol contents on the labels of the original drinks you are emulating, or simply Google the respective drinks to find this information.
This point becomes particularly relevant when blending the liqueurs and cream based liqueurs. These can have an alcohol content spanning anything from 13% to 33% ABV. So as you can see, it is good to do your homework before mixing.
That said, Still Spirits make dozens of different flavoring essences, and you see these on the Brewcraft website… Brewcraft.co.za
Now you ask, “Just how good are the Still Spirits Essences?”
I mixed up a range of these including the Spiced Golden Rum, the Bourbon, a Single Malt Whiskey and a range of the liqueurs. I bottled these up and I was ready for the big test.
We live on a golf range, and the clubhouse is literally 500m from my front door. I dropped the load off with the owner, Frans Hartshorn, and asked him to conduct a blind taste test with a dozen of his high-end customers. Note that I gave them to him…. selling the stuff is illegal, unless you have the license to produce for resale.
After a few days, I checked back with him. No-one could distinguish the difference between the single malt whiskey and the corresponding famous commercial brand, and the same result came back for every single spirit and liqueur.
In summary, these essences are absolutely outstanding.
Some distillers who are more into alembic distilling, blending and aging do comment that this takes all of the art and fun out of distilling, however if you want to make super-high quality spirits and liqueurs comparably to high-end commercial brands, with no frustration and no aging time, this is a sure winner. For those wanting to get a little more creative, our next distilling episode will cover making a homemade essence and blending it with a T500 alcohol batch.
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