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Hi everyone...been lurking here for a bit reading up as much as I can. My name is Phil and I call Adelaide home. I used to be quite active on a beer forum, but don't make beer anymore - I make wine instead :) - just finished my first vintage. I was able to source close to a tonne of grapes - making 7 different wines. I don't do things in half measures, but this distilling thing I won't be jumping in the deep end as such with how expensive equipment can be. I actually found this website and forum after getting some oak dominoes for the wine.
I'm here for basically one thing only - high quality whisky. My background in all grain mashing will help I reckon. Not shy to a mash tun, so I wouldn't even flinch at doing a triple decoction or a hoch kurz mash schedule - especially if it was going to make a better end product. I really like high end alcoholic beverages - wine being my absolute favourite (hence why I made over 400 bottles for my first vintage). The very first (and only) whisky distillery I went to was in Hobart (Lark Distillery) - just their cellar door really - and I fell in love with their best whisky (which at the time was about $200 for a small bottle). I knew then that if I ventured any further into whisky I would find that I just couldn't afford to keep up with my palete.
Like all my other hobbies, they usually start with me reading, watching YouTube videos, more reading and asking questions on forums. So far I have been lurking this forum and reading all the great information, as well as watching 'Still It', 'Whisky Tribe' and George from barley and hops on YouTube. The information available is great - but my head is full of so many questions about not just producing whisky, but how to create world class, high end whisky. So I'm hoping someone can confirm my thought process and correct or direct me to some source of info.
From brewing beer, I understand that the brewing equipment isn't as important as the process - but it doesn't seem like that is the case with distilling. For the equipment...I was thinking of getting a simple 30 litre pot still with copper worm coil setup from eBay - do you think that will be sufficient to make a high end product? Remember, I am not too concerned with quantity or efficiency...just quality.
My thoughts on process would be to only do spirit runs and no stripping runs - on a pot still (I could borrow a reflux if need be but that seems like it strips the spirit of everything making something very pure - I know a few people that make their own spirits, but add the little flavouring bottles :-& ). I gather doing 1 stripping run and then adding that to a spirit run with the mash would create something with character and be more efficient, but my thought process was to create absolute highest quality. Is that a bit over kill only doing spirit runs?
Also a question on blending. Are the $100+ bottles of whisky going to be typically mostly the hearts from the run, or are they blending in a lot more of the tails and aging the whisky to let it smooth out...I've watched a few videos on blending (mostly from Still It) and saw that he started in the middle and tasted up and down until he found flavours he didn't want in the end product. I am in no rush to be drinking what I make, very happy to put some down for several years if that is what it takes. I've got some wine that won't be drinkable for 2 years and will start to taste fantastic after about 4-5 years, so I am very patient when it comes to this sort of thing.
I am very excited about potentially making something really tasty - and learning more about whisky along the way.