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Batch CCVI. Schwarzwald, Wednesday July 26, 2017 NO. 47
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The Ancient Alchemistic Art Of Distillation!

Picture a photo of a Black Forest meadow. Now imagine you're really there: the soft grass under your feet, the faint twitter of birds overhead, and the trees gently swaying in the warm, fragrant summer breeze. That’s the difference between the notion of conventional gin and the vibrant reality of Monkey 47.

In order achieve the ambitious goal of creating an “Opus Magnum” a complex distilling process involving a combination of maceration, distillation and steam extraction, where the alcoholic vapors are drawn off through fresh plant materials has been adopted. To bind the aromas of the raw plant materials in the alcohol, they are "macerated" (from the Latin "macerare", meaning "to soak") in ethanol for a certain period of time. Ethanol has the special ability to incorporate other molecules, such as aromas, into its own molecular structure. Apart from, of course, the choice and grade of the botanicals being steeped, the quality of the maceration process also depends on other factors, such as how they are processed. Individual ingredients, such as the peel from bitter oranges, lemons and pomelos, must be added fresh to the macerate prior to distillation, which requires the helping hands of hard-working locals from 7 o'clock every morning! Then, the ancient alchemistic art of distillation simply takes its course...In addition to the classical techniques of maceration and distillation, the principle of percolation, or steam extraction is applied. By employing this technique, the master distiller is able to selectively regulate the distillate, in which individual notes are brought out in a precisely controlled manner. The rising alcoholic vapors are drawn off using equipment (known locally as a "Geistkorb") specially developed for our distillery through precise amounts of a few carefully selected plant ingredients. By adopting this distillation approach, the master distiller is able to single out and highlight specific flavors within the composition of the distillate's aroma and intensify rather volatile and subtle notes, such as floral notes, to counter the more dominant components. The resulting new distillate is allowed time to become harmonized and perfectly balanced. Monkey 47 matures initially for three months in traditional earthenware containers, and as it reacts with oxygen, the distillate develops a greater overall harmony and balance. Good things come to those who wait. As everywhere else in life, this venerable proverb also applies to the quality of almost all distillates. After maturing in the earthenware container for at least three months, our raw distillate is then diluted to the required drinkable strength – in our case, the classic British London gin strength with an alcohol by volume of 47%.Here, too, the exceptional spring water is of crucial importance. With its extremely low mineral and salt content , the incredibly soft water of the central Black Forest is perfect for diluting distillates. Monkey 47 does not undergo any cooling treatment, which is otherwise customary for spirits of this nature. Intense cooling results in a clear loss of aromas and apart from coarse filtration using a sheet filter, Monkey 47 remains totally "unfiltered", thus retaining its full range of aromas.

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