When we rectify our spirits we cut the distillate at certain points in the process. Initially when the still gets to temperature and begins to produce spirit there is a small run off, called The Foreshots, these are quite nasty and contain Methanol and Aceytol, which are disposed of. The next stage spirit which follows is called The Heads, this spirit contains volatiles, basically oils and compounds which contain a great deal of flavour, but in their nature would impare the clarity of the spirit, so these are separated out. We are then onto The Hearts, this is the spirit which we want, it’s the spirit which has all the flavour and mouthfeel, without the volatiles, so you get tasty and clear spirits. The final stage spirit is The Tails, this is a gradually weakening spirit, weaker in flavour and alcohol, including this in The Hearts would dilute the flavour and ABV, so these are separated.
Our stills are manual, so Becky checks three key things, many times throughout the run. ABV, whats the alcohol content? Flavour, does it taste amazing? Clarity, is it clear? These core parameters determine the quality and consistency of the final product. Bec’s skills have been perfected over hundreds of distillations, we don’t rely on programmed, computer controlled stills, anyone can press a button.
So, Stripping Runs!
The Head and The Tails we collect are re-rectified, basically we distill them again and strip out the volatiles and return it back to Neutral Grain Spirit at around 92% ABV, this can then be used in future distillations. Some distilleries blend these Heads and Tails into their final product.