HOW STANDARD’S WORMWOOD RYE I S DIFFERENT
The herb goes in early
The mash (all rye starts with a mash) is combined with wormwood macerated in a high-proof spirit before distillation. Done this way, the grains temper the sharpness of the wormwood.
‘We didn’t want the wormwood to be just there, in your face. We wanted to use it like a bitter in a cocktail, rounding out the flavour of the grain and modifying the final spirit with its huge range of long flavours, so that each sip is different.’
Direct vapour infusion
Standard uses a technique normally employed when making gin: Botanical ingredients are placed in a basket in the still above the spirit. The liquid turns to vapour that rises and gets infused with all those botanical flavours, then condenses back into now-delicious liquid. (Making rye, though, Standard uses fresh grains rather than the herbs used in gin-making.)
‘As the last thing the vapour touches before it returns to liquid, this unadulterated contact gets you really close to the grain flavours.’
Drop in the wood
At around 115 proof (57.5 ABV), the spirit is transferred to stainless-steel tanks and aged by dropping wood staves directly into the tanks.
‘ This allows us to curate the aging with different oaks and different char levels. So we still get the gradation of char in the depth of the oak, meaning that the flavour range coming off the wood is complex and layered. And the wormwood opens up all those layers by drying out some of the sweetness from the American oak and allowing the deeper char notes to come through.’
When the spirit is transferred to the proofing tank, the distillers allow the sediment to sink to the bottom.
‘We don’t filter the spirit because we feel it strips out the complexity of flavours we preserved through our whole process.’