The distillation secrets
The distillation process in two stages
This still is made with a copper pot, heated over an open fire (in the pot itself) and surmounted by a capital, prolonged by a swan neck that turns into a serpentine and passes through a cooling basin called a “pipe”.
We use our two family stills from 1914 and 1968.
• 2nd stage : The “brouillis” is put back in a boiler for a second distillation process (=”la repasse”) that we called « la bonne chauffe »
This distillate will be cut in 4 parts :
The « theads » represent only 1 to 2% of the volume, the selection is made thanks to human presence, each liter is carefully smelled to make a choice.
• The alcohol content gradually decreases, flows the clear and limpid “heart” eau-de-vie which will become Cognac.
• Then come the seconds that will be partially preserved to give the characteristics of our Cognac.
• This delicate operation is called “the cut”, it is the delicate moment when the distiller keeps his attention near the still to select the best moment to stop the selection of the day.
• Then the tails mark the end of the distillate, devoid of aromas and with a low alcoholic strength.
“Heads” and “tails” will be re-distilled with the wine. The final result will be place in oak barrels, and will be able to start its ageing.
By intervening in the distillation techniques (proportion of fine lees, recycling of “seconds” in the wines or “brouillis”, temperature curves…) we will be able to give our Cognac eaux-de-vie elements of its personality for future years.
These are the ones that make up the main elements of the bouquet. Alcohol (ethanol) is in a way the carrier that carries the volatile compounds.
Distillation also makes it possible to concentrate the alcohol.
This year, nearly 7 litres of wine will be needed to obtain one litre of Cognac eau-de-vie. This must not exceed 72.4% vol. at 20°C.
Distillation – Cognac Guillon Painturaud – Cognac
But the best is to visit us to talk about it, smell and taste it…but be careful, the 2017 harvest is small and the 2017 distillation will not last more than a month… Make an appointment for your guided tour quickly!