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About Wolfish

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  1. Thanks for trying it! Batch 3 is actually part of the second batch, for silly reasons. As you probably know, when making absinthe via traditional steps you reserve the end portion of your distillate from each batch and add it to the next. This section of distillate is very oily (but not too tasty) and improves the mouthfeel and louche of the next batch of spirit. As the oils build up batch by batch, you get a richer spirit. That's the main difference between Batch 1 and Batch 2+3. It's subtle, but the louche is thicker in the later batch and oils coat your tongue more, so the various botanical flavors are actually more distinct in the earlier batch. My best guess is that by batch 5 the louche and flavor should be about where it's going to stay. Best, Andrew
  2. Yup, that's me. We're a south Kentucky distillery, Bowling Green to be exact. Cheryl (Delaware Phoenix) let me know a long while ago that cochineal is a more correct colorant than hibiscus. We use organic herbs (though don't say so on the bottle due to TTB funniness) and I couldn't source organic cochineal - ground up cactus bug isn't high on the priority of organic agriculture I suppose. The formula came about when, just for fun and to be a contrarian, I added hibiscus to a blanche we'd made fooling around and it added a tang and floral note I really liked and we stuck with it. An accidental recipe, and not a true rouge. Worth a try, however, though I may be biased. -Andrew
  3. Yup, each physical plate forces a round of condensation and evaporation before the vapor can move on. Essentially, each plate in a column is like doing one distillation in a pot still and dumping the distillate back in the pot for another run. Each distillation increases the purity of the spirit. And purity is the enemy of flavor - you're separating the volatile flavor compounds from the alcohol. Distill anything too much and you get vodka. Modern hybrid pot stills that have plates in their column usually have a means of disabling the plates, which basically make the hybrid pot still an overpriced alembic. Having those plates would let someone make a nice base spirit much faster, then disabling them would let them make a good absinthe. If they forgot to switch off the plates, or couldn't, though, I can't imagine the spirit coming out would have much taste. ---- Edit: On the other hand, leopold has gone where my imagination fears to tread. Listen to his experience over my theory.
  4. I'd bet that two decidedly different still designs that boast the same theoretical plate value (number of complete cycles of evaporation and condensation forced by the still) will probably produce very similar absinthes. In my (limited) experience, different still shapes can notably change the character of a low proof charge, like a wine or whiskey wash (beer). Scotch producers are, perhaps, a bit anal about keeping the exact shape when they add stills, but there's cause. Relatedly, when the ABV of the still's charge is low, one theoretical plate results in a substantial concentration of volatiles, so the still design has substantial impact of the chemistry of the vapor at any point in the still. When dealing with a high ABV charge, as is the case with the traditional absinthe preparations I know of, the change in concentration of volatiles from wash to distillate is much less. The chemistry of the vapor in the still is less impacted by the shape of the still because the chemistry changes much less overall in the distillation. Different traditional pot stills (no physical plates) will concentrate alcohol slightly more or less (higher or lower theoretical plate value), but the variation should not be that much unless the column on one is extremely long or cooled in some way.
  5. Was it your formula reviewer or your COLA reviewer who wanted the "artificially colored" BS? If the latter, I've had three different COLA reviewers in the last few months, each of whom have disapproved various bits of our labels that the other reviewers had no issue with. It seems to be a crapshoot. If you bite the bullet and get your label approved with that line, you might want to submit a redesign in a few months just to see what gets by. But you're getting close! I'm looking forward to asking my biz partner to pick up some next time he's in up north. Best, Andrew at Corsair Artisan distillery
  6. baubel: back in the long-long ago, my mother came across a baggie of Skullcap I'd bought from a local store after reading up on Native American medicines. It was clearly labeled. She still had a moment of panic and called me at college. It didn't help that I didn't really remember buying the stuff. The tea is in fact relaxing, but not exactly appealing. Hurray for mums! -A
  7. baubel: classic Morgana: If you haven't bought the stuff from the hippie store yet, and you intend to, check to see if your area has a winemaking or homebrew store. They'll (usually) have fresher/better herbs.
  8. I don't have any practical advice, though it's used to flavor homebrew beers/wines and in some recipes. But useless ideas, I can provide. If it's reasonably fresh, it should smell great (at least in my opinion, a sweet minty floral/herbal sort of thing). Stick some in a little cloth bag to let people smell if you're introducing anyone to absinthe. Also, taste it. 4 or 5 flakes should be enough. It's called one of the world's bitterest herbs and boy howdy is it.
  9. It appears absinthe is all over Nashville, excepting the two stores I frequent. Bah! I and a pal have found three stores selling Lucid and Kübler, one selling just Kübler, and two selling just Lucid. Here's the interesting bit. The stores selling both all tell the same tale: Kübler is flying off the shelves, and Lucid is just kind of sitting. One owner opined that no-one he's talked to likes Lucid's "aftertaste" (his word), and that it's overpriced for what it is. Lucid here is between $72 and $75. Kübler's around $50.
  10. Apologies for veering back to topic. I wandered through one of Nashville's larger liquor stores today (Frugal McDougals), and next to the Pernod and Absente there was an empty row. Peering at the label, and expecting to see "Lucid", I instead saw "Kübler". They'd been sold out for a while, had no idea when the distributor would get more, and hadn't heard of Lucid. -W
  11. I'm a big fan of barley shochu. The koji does add a flavor that changes it from just a weak vodka. Sweet potato shochu is a bit funky tasting for me. My favorite at the moment is "iichiko", which is a barley. I like it on the rocks; the 25% abv makes it very drinkable straight, but it mixes well with Sprite too. Shochu is very variable in taste. The agricultural base product is the biggest determinant, but like scotches, each region has their own traditions that change the flavor. There's a bit of information on the different flavors at the bottom of this blog: http://pureshochu.com/
  12. Bruichladdich. A pal of mine liked it so little he left his newly-opened bottle with me last week. His loss; it's improved since being uncorked. -A Addendum: Hmm, the packaging says it'll cloud more than most other scotches if water's added. Gotta try that. Addendum Pt 2: Lies.
  13. I haven't eaten restaurant specials/seafood early in the week since reading that book. Thanks for pointing out the New Orleans episode, it was sitting on my Tivo playlist (which I never look at any more). I'm looking forward to it. -W
  14. Thanks again for the welcomes, all. M'boro! Howdy, neighbor! Between TN and Hotlanta, perhaps one day the region can even support an Event.