Latest happenings from our distillery
Our Unconventional Journey Begins
Starting the Unconventional Distillery has been a labour in time, patience, love, learning and creating. We wanted to begin with something different and yet adaptable for future projects and ideas, so starting with the still I went on numerous courses where I fell down learning ‘rabbit holes’, studying what, where and why things are done in a certain way across the world. One of the overriding things we found in this industry is that no one talks to each other. People are changing that but it is slow. Our eyes were opened up by a guy named Jesse who runs a channel called ‘Still it’ on YouTube. He is a great guy and really shared his journey which allowed us to learn and make mistakes along the way ‘with him’, almost. The comments section has also become a great way to pick up tips and ideas. So, the time came to invest and build our base, we rented a premises for housing the still and embarked on a trip to Ireland and London, followed by numerous emails to China. We had no help in negotiating trades and procedures and it was very much a cross your fingers and hope it arrives!
We decided on a reflux column still as it is used in rum but it is not the conventional way. A column still is traditionally used to get the purest ethanol (alcohol) out of your product which is the clearest neutral spirit you can make. Rum is traditionally created in pot kettle stills in a traditional copper alembic fashion. This produces a product that is rougher and sweeter than a traditional spirit. We went a different way and by doing this we wanted to create a purer and cleaner rum than ever before. It is very technical and one day I will write out the journey and science behind it but for now onwards…
So, we have our still, we have our sugars and yeasts, now we need to make it. We set about making it, however through our innocence we started using the still like a pot still rather than a column, which is a simple mistake but still a learning experience. Running the spirit straight through the column negates the idea of the column so after twisting a few knobs and levers we got it flowing to send the good stuff up and the bad stuff down. Now (months later) we can safely say that we have produced an incredibly smooth spirit through enhancements made by our still, and we have the knowledge to take it to new levels of taste and complexity. We have expanded into 6 boundary-defying varieties; Original (white) Pioneer (pink), Time Machine, Pathfinder (0%), OPUS (overproof) and XO Coffee.
Bring on the next Chapter! To be continued…