Greg sourced our beautiful copper still from the Cognac region in France. Cognac Master Distiller Miguel D’Anjou is the third generation distilling fine Cognac from his farm near Pons, and the still was commissioned by his grandfather in 1966. The still lay dormant since being decommissioned in 1994 when the family installed two much larger stills. When we brought it back from France it was black, covered in a rusty mould layer – but we know the glory this could become. Restoration began. It was sandblasted and polished and restored to its original beauty. Now fully refurbished, when you visit our distillery you can see our still trickling with the finest new-make spirit, or what we call ‘water of life’.
Fine whisky requires a fine copper still, and size and shape is important. You don’t want it to be too big or the spirit will have less contact with the copper which purifies the spirit. Shape is important because we want to encourage vapour ‘reflux’, and a steady condensing of the spirit vapours.
Our still is 1400 litres to receive a 1200 litre charge of beer wash. The head, leading to the swan neck is bulbous to maximise reflux, and a Master Distiller believes this is the reason for our very smooth, sweet new make spirit.
A central copper ‘wash warmer’ is incorporated, to pre-warm the wash for optimum efficiency, and double the period of time the spirit is in contact with the copper. Our condenser operates at a rate of 50 litres per hour, ensuring a gradual condensing of the spirit vapours.
Time lapse of us installing the still.
Our still fully working.
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The Old Town Hall, Town Hall Place, Bovey Tracey, Newton Abbot, Devon, England, TQ13 9EG
The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe investing in rural areas.
This funding was to support our project to renovate and develop our distillery.