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Vapour, Vacuum and Pot – and the impact on mouth-feel and aroma

David T Smith, Sam Carter

Still waters run deep
Sam Carter Bombay Sapphire,
David T Smith Spirit Author

Many of us will be familiar with how the botanical mix of a gin impacts upon the flavours; from previous talks at the Ginposium, we have also found out how the base spirit and water used to proof a gin can affect its flavour. But how does the actual method of distillation impact upon a gin’s flavour and aroma?

The dynamic gin duo of Sam Carter and David T Smith aim to shed some light on this subject.

Maceration/Cold Infusion

Botanicals are steeped in neutral spirit (50% ABV), before the spirit is strained and proofed down.

Pot Distilled

Botanicals are added to pot/kettle of the still along with neutral spirit (50% ABV) with no pre-distillation maceration. The liquid is then heated and distilled before being proofed down.

Vapour Distilled

Neutral spirit (50.0% ABV) is added to the pot of the still whilst botanicals are placed in the custom vapour chamber. Alcohol vapour then passes through the basket and over the botanicals, extracting flavours and aromas.

Vacuum Distilled

Botanicals are added to the pot of a rotovap, which is then chilled down with dry ice and air is pumped out of the system, reducing the pressure. At this reduced pressure, the spirit boils at a much lower temperature than at  normal atmospheric pressure.

All samples are bottled at 40.0% ABV and the botanical recipe was as follows, using 14.5g of botanicals per LPA:

Juniper (6g)
Coriander (6g)
Angelica (1.05g)
Dried Orange Peel (0.3g)
Lavender (0.25g)
Black Peppercorns (0.3g)
Dried Ginger Root (0.6g)