Apart from the distiller’s craftsmanship, the quality of the still (the distilling vessel) is of vital importance in order to achieve the right result.
When they visit Rutte, visitors expect enormous stills but they are, in fact, a lot smaller. The distillate that flows from the still is not the end product. The natural herb or fruit flavour is extremely concentrated which is why a distillate is a semi-finished product. Malt wine, grain alcohol, water and other distillates and tinctures are added to turn it into genever or liqueur.
The very first still the Rutte family ever used still stands. We’re not sure why it was called De Vulkaan (the Volcano) but perhaps it’s because it causes an eruption of flavours.
These days, the still is used for small batches or testing.
Unfortunately, we don’t know anything about this one. One of the previous generations probably got rid of it, which is a shame, because we would have loved giving it a special place in our distillery.
In 1991, John Rutte discovered a beautiful old still at an antique dealer in Auvergne. He had it restored and designed the lid himself. Vulkaan 3 produced wonderful things but after almost 20 years of hard work, it was ready to retire.
A brand new copper still was installed in 2013, tailor-made for Rutte by craftsmen in Germany, true coppersmiths, a craft that has all but disappeared in the Netherlands. In contrast with the previous two, this still is heated up eau-bain-marie. This is done gradually, making it possible to pay extra attention to the distillation process.