Dreaming of Enhanced Taste …


So here is the third post about me dreaming about … well, maybe about some future innovations that may benefit the Craft Distilling Industry. The first one was about magic potions. The second one about magic machines that combine the advantages of continuous distillation (bulk processing capacity) with batch distillation (cuts management). And sometimes I get inspiration from other industries. Like cooking …

Cryovac cooking

How that came along? Well, I happened to have dinner at a place where the chicken just tasted a-ma-zing! I called for the chef and he told me it was made “sous vide” or “under vacuum”-style. “Cryovac” is the name most often used name in the Anglo-Saxon world, I have been told.

Anyhow, I asked the chef about the procedure. And I asked him about the advantages.

The procedure is basically as follows:

  1. Vacuum seal the food;
  2. Because of the vacuum, you can now boil the food at much lower temperatures than the regular 100 Celsius.

As to the why, the chef told me that he personally found that especially more fragile and volatile flavors are better preserved, using cryovac cooking methods. Which made me think …

Don’t we need cryovac distilling?

After doing some more research, and after talking to some of our customers, here is what I learned:

  • Cryovac distilling could potentially help gin (and aquavit and flavored vodka) distilleries in harvesting subtle and volatile tastes;
  • By creating flavor essences out of substrates that would otherwise (at higher boiling temperatures) denature too rapidly;
  • Glass vacuum stills exist (for example Rotavacs). They are within the budget of the Craft Distiller, but are in general too small for efficient professional production procedures;
  • Bigger vacuum stills (20 to 50 liters) exist. They are suited for efficient professional production protocols, but come at a very high price: investments of 200 K to 500 K are the norm.

In conclusion I found that especially gin distillers would love to add cryovac distilling capacity, but the ones they can afford are usually too small. The ones they need are too expensive.

“Can we make cryovac stills bigger AND at the same time a less costly investment?” That would be the design challenge I’d put in front of my engineering team. Based on gut feeling and intuition as much as on the feedback our customers gave me, I’d say a size of 100 liter would be the goal, together with a 50% cost price reduction, for distilleries to be able to reap the benefits of cryovac distilling. But that’s just my take on it. What is yours?








Continuous Stills that know how to Cut?

Here’s another sorta “I had a dream” kinda iStill Blog post. The previous one was about magic potions … this one is about magic machines. For my thoughts on how magic potions could help the industry out, please read the following post:


The question at hand in this iStill Blog post? Here it is: “Don’t Craft Distillers need a magic distilling machine?” I mean, there already are some magic iStills out there, that can strip and finish in one go, and that can make neutral as well as taste rich spirits. But what about continuous distillation? It has been around for over a century and a half … isn’t it time we could magically integrate the efficiency and bulk processing performance of continuous distilling with cut management and ABV management of modern days pot and column stills?

What good such a magical device might do, one might ask? Well, let me give you an example or two:

  1. Such a magical machine would help bigger Bourbon distillers, that run continuous stills, at making more flavorful new make spirit. Imagine them running stills with much more effective Heads and Tails control … now that would help them create better late Heads and early Tails smearing for a more three dimensional end product!
  2. The same holds through for rum.
  3. And both whiskey and rum distillers could or should – by using the magic machine – be able to make spirits at different ABV’s. Higher proof for more purity, and lower proof for taste maximization. Heck, the magical distilling device I see we need, could go as pure as vodka or do single pass, fully cut, barrel aging strength whiskey and rum in one go …

What do you think? Does the Craft Distilling Industry need such a machine? In order to take the battle to big alcohol not just on taste, but on economies of scale as well? What say you?



How to Make single Malt Whiskey (1)

Here is a video on how to make single malt whisky. Not just any whisky, no, on the Islay Style: smokey and peaty. And not just on any machine, no. We’ll use the iStill 500. For mashing, for fermenting, and for distilling!


This first video is an introduction into the whisky making process in general and on mashing. The next one is about fermenting and distilling. The third one? Well, hold your horses! Let’s start with part one …


Neutralizing Taste and Recovering Feints …

This is the first iStill Blog post of a series. A series that could (or maybe should) be called “What if … ?” It’s a serie of posts about me dreaming of a bright new future for Craft Distilling, with all new technology to help them out.

Today’s dream? Here it is: “How easy would the life of the distiller be if he had a magic formula for taste neutralization and feints recovery?”

An Asterix & Obelix kind of magic potion … how could that help? Well, let me give you a few examples:

  1. Say you are a whisky or rum distillery and you produce Heads, and Hearts, and Tails. Okay, the Hearts you put in a barrel or bottle, but wouldn’t you love to reuse those Heads and Tails? Wouldn’t you want to be able – by adding the magic potion – to actually neutralize off flavors and recover basically all as good ethanol?
  2. Now, imagine the faith of a gin distiller. He (or she) in general cannot recover all the alcohol that goes into the boiler. So he has to make a Tails cut and either redistill those Tails into a clean and crisp neutral via rectification … or he has to toss it, loosing out on yield and money paid. What if he could instead add that magic potion to his gin Tails … and recover neutral GNS without rectifying or fractionating?
  3. A vodka distillery that aims for a neutral vodka needs to filter his 190 proof Hearts over activated carbon. What if we could just add a magic potion to his runs in order to bring his product to neutrality while distilling?

I think all three above examples prove that Craft Distilling could definitely use some kind of magic formula to achieve the above. Do you agree or not? Should we find our own Craft Distilled Panoramix and ask for him to come up with a concoction? Let me know what you think …



Meanwhile, at the iStill University …

We are currently training 8 more distilleries on how to make above top shelf product. Most have ordered iStills. Some are about to do so. If you want to learn how to make above top shelf spirits as well, please register for one of our workshops. The April 29 – May 2nd class in Utah still has places available! For more information or registration, please reach out to Veronika@iStillmail.com …




Advanced Gin School in the USA!

An update on the Advanced Gin School, guys! Where: Corgi Spirits in Jersey City. When: June 18th – 21st. Hotels and lunches and shuttle bus are included. But there is more: this is going to be the mother of all gin schools. We are going all in and it is going to be amazing and it is going to be exclusive!

Only 8 participants are allowed to join at what will be the only Advanced Gin School we are doing in North America this year. The reason for exclusivity is that we want to have you meet all of your goals … and become the very best gin makers on the continent. Quite frankly, I haven’t been very impressed by what I tasted. We are going to change that. And in order to do so, we need to go all in, yes, but so do you. So if you are interested, if you want to participate, please send an email to veronika@iStillmail.com. Explain us your goals (so we can prepare) and tell us why you should be allowed in. We only have 8 places and we want to make it count. Our goal is to make sure that each and every trainee will make a difference on the North American gin market the moment he or she walks out the door.

To realize our end of the deal, we’ll fly in a team from the UK and the Netherlands, homes and birthplaces of gin and its dad, genever. A gin team as the world has never seen before: the best of the best.

We’ll bring Seb, our Guru of Taste. Seb has designed many of the best gins and genevers that are currently on the market. A taste professional non plus ultra.

Willem, who heads our European laboratories, will be there too, helping you translate your ideas into feasible and achievable science. Or probably the other way around: he’ll bombard us with new, weird (and hopefully survivable) science to take the gins we’ll produce to the next level. When you meet him, you’ll know why we nickname him Captain America.

Avian, who is an award winning gin producer from the UK, will join us as well. He’s the only one on our team with a beard, but rest assured: this dude knows his spirits! Mouth feel is one of his specialties, gin and tonic pairing is another.

Jason is an award winning bar tender that worked his craft in both Boston and many of the Caribbean islands. He’ll show us how gin cocktails are made. He’ll explain how they help intensify your customers’ experience, boosting your reputation as well as your bank account.

Bob, the owner of Corgi Spirits, our generous host, is certainly going to be around, showing us how he used our theories and models and science and technology to create 9 gins (so far). He’ll also show us how to run gins on a professional scale and how his tasting room helps him sell more boze.

And last (and hopefully not least) I’ll be there, talking about the Holy Trinity of Distillation and how familiarizing yourself with this amazing model helps you create amazing spirits. Of course I’ll focus and tailor my models and presentations towards gin. I’ll be there all 4 days to explain, train, judge and help you move forward. I will also take some off-continent gins with me for you to taste and judge.

We’ll have test stills available as well as extractors. We aim to have at least 4 gin stills and 4 extractors, so that teams that cooperate in making a gin are 1 or 2 big. With every team having access to one personal trainer each and every hour of the day. And don’t worry, we’ll rotate!

I expect us to do a lot of theory behind gin and distilling on the first day, based on your background and your goals and plans and (current) distillery set-up. Day 2, 3, and 4 will be hands-on to the max, where we expect you (and help you) to make at least two gin runs a day.

Costs? Well, given the above, I’d advice you to look at it as an investment. An investment in and  a ticket to becoming one of America’s very best gin makers. Here it is at only USD 5,950,-.


New Workshops in North America!

Napa Valley Distillery

If you are not from Europe, but from America, please know that we organize another 4-day Certified Distilling Workshop from March 19th till 22nd. At Napa Valley Distillery. For more information please reach out to jason@iStillmail.com. Jason is our North American representative. For registration, please reach out to veronika@istillmail.com. Veronika manages the iStill University and its workshops globally.

Student feedback

We just finished another 4-day Certified Distilling Workshop in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Here are some pictures and feedback:

Cracking malted barley for single malt whisky …


Hello Veronika,

Just a note to thank you very much for the course last week.  It was immensely enjoyable and very instructive;  a great deal to absorb, and I’m finding the course notes invaluable when going over it in my mind.  Odin and Sebastian did a brilliant job.  I appreciate the enormous effort that went into the course.

I shall be continuing my experiments with my iStill, but with much greater confidence now.  I hope you will not mind if I contact you from time to time with questions or if I get stuck.

Very best wishes to you and the team.


A concentrated group of 16 students diving into advanced distilling …


Hi Veronika,

I’d just like to say a very big thank you to all the iStill team for a great week, the course itself, your hospitality and transport arrangements were faultless and the week far exceeded my expectations.

To the rest of the group, thank you, it was a pleasure to meet you and thank you for making the week interactive and equally important – fun !!

I’ve returned with even bigger enthusiasm to get moving on my venture with an iStill, conundrum now is which size !!

Good luck everyone in your venture too, let’s stay in touch.

Kind regards – Godwin

Learning all about Gouda cheese as a side project …


Beer and dinner at the 17th Century former arsenal now Stadshotel …



iStill University Workshop!

This week we had 14 visitors from all over the world. In 4 days we trained them in the noble art of craft distilling.

Topics that we dealt with were:

  • Mashing;
  • Fermenting;
  • Distilling;
  • Aging;
  • Vodka;
  • Gin;
  • Whisky.

We made the following products and did the following runs:

  • We mashed 2000 liters of peated single malt grains and water;
  • We fermented 2000 liters of single malt beer;
  • We stripped and finished the beer and low wines and created new make spirit;
  • We barreled the new make;
  • We made vodka (1) and gins (5!) and a number of extracts.

All in all, it was another great course with lovely students! Here are a few pictures we took:

No visit to the Netherlands can be complete without tasting Gouda …

And afterwards … dinner in the Stadshotel …


The students at the iStill University …


Making whisky in the iStill University …


Filling up barrels with new make spirit …



Contract Distilling by iStill!

Do you want to contract out distillation, barrel aging, and warehousing? iStill now offers those services! For more information reach out to christiaan@iStillmail.com

We are currently processing some beer that turned sour for a local craft brewer. “Some” being a bit of a understatement. And experienced distillers know: nothing better than a sour beer to start a great whisky from! See pictures underneath …

Beer kegs in the iStill Distillery …


Emptying the kegs …


Some initial degassing …


2,000 liters of beer ready for distillation …