Popular Mechanics (South Africa) - - Things Come Apart -

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.’

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