The Art of Blending Distilled Spirits

The art of blending distilled spirits

Blending distilled spirits is both an art and science that is highly complex. This process involves everything from mixing different distillates together to achieve consistency across a brand to formulating entirely new products using scores of spirits. The spirit industry is quite varied, with each type having specific aging, bottling, filtering and/or selling requirements; once these requirements have been fulfilled, spirits can then be blended, bottled and sold on for sale.

Distilled beverages start as agricultural products; such as agave or fruit which contain naturally-occurring sugars; while grains must be cooked to convert their starch into fermentable sugars. Mixing this mixture with yeast produces alcohol as a byproduct, which can then be separated from its parent mash by heating at low temperature, so that its vapour evaporates first before condensing back to liquid form. The “heads or foreshots”, as the first vapors are known, contain toxic methanol and acetone along with low boiling point chemicals that must be disposed of safely. The “hearts”, on the other hand, contain much of the alcohol intended to be used in final product; thirdly come “tails”, watery remnants containing only a fraction of original creation’s alcohol production.