Distilling is a technique in which different liquids can be purified or separated from each other by means of evaporation and subsequent condensation
We let a mixture of alcohol, water (or extract) and herbs boil. The fine aroma substances evaporate from the herbs and we condense them. This is how we capture flavors, but mainly smells. The color of the mixture remains in the kettle. Bee Hooghoudt we use a traditional copper still, called Grietje.
Distillation is a separation method whereby liquids are separated or purified by heating liquids, in our case alcohol. We use distillation to obtain a higher alcohol percentage. The boiling point of water and alcohol differs, so alcohol will evaporate earlier in the distillation technique. The water vapor remains behind in the boiler, where the alcohol vapor 'evaporates'. By capturing this alcohol vapor and letting it cool down again, you obtain a higher and more pure alcohol percentage.
In the world of jenever we can use different types of grain. Each grain has its own specific characteristics in terms of composition and taste. The composition in grain consists of protein, fat, starch, minerals and vitamins. Proteins and starch are particularly important. The amount of starch (long sugar chain) ultimately determines the amount of alcohol that can be extracted from the grain. A distillation method is chosen depending on the taste and composition of the grain. Pot still or column still.
If we opt for firing in a pot still, we opt for an end result that is very grainy, has a greasy (filmy) structure and has the taste characteristics of the grain(s) we have selected for it. We call this result maltwine.
Definition of malt wine: A grain mixture or grain approved by the EU, which is fired in the traditional copper kettle with a minimum alcohol content of 46% and a maximum alcohol content of 80%. The malt wine forms the richly grainy part of the jenever, it provides viscosity and more complexity. If we want to give the malt wine even more complexity, we will age the malt wine in (used) oak barrels. We age our malt wine for at least 3 years for optimum complexity. Longer is of course also possible, depending on the desired jenever.
If column still (column distillation or continued distillation) is chosen, the aim is to distill the purest possible alcohol with the highest possible alcohol percentage (96 - 98%). You can use molasses (by-product of the sugar beet industry) or grain. Molasses gives a sharp result with a certain smell that we do not consider desirable as the basis for our jenevers. Therefore used Hooghoudt for all its gin grains. Important for the choice of grain is the starch ratio, which will have to be high to achieve the highest possible alcohol percentage. We call the result grain alcohol. The young gins consist for the most part of this grain alcohol. The essence of making a young jenever is to make a fresh, pure jenever and the best basis for this is grain alcohol. Graininess is less important in this type of gin.