My former student Gabriel RiCharde is now working for the pride of Waco, Balcones Distilling, and today he gave me a tour. It was really fascinating. I have read a bit over the years about the process of distilling spirits, and I knew that it is complicated — but when you actually get walked through each stage … wow. At every step of the process complex science is involved, but also decisions that require artful intuition.
Here’s a closeup of the door to the mash tun, which was bought from the Speyburn distillery in Scotland, and which has been used to make whisky for about 75 years:
And here’s one of the amazing new stills, just arrived a few weeks ago from Scotland:
And this steampunky thing is attached to the stills — I don’t know what it is, but it looks super cool:
Here’s the tasting and blending room, where I could have stayed for quite some time:
And here the aging process, in barrels made variously of American, French, and other European oak:
And finally, after all that hard work of listening and gaping, I had to take a couple of presents home for myself: