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flyhigher87

Gin flowers

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Hey guys,

 would like some tips here. I would really like to try using some flowers in my botanical list for a gin. What type right now I don’t know. However, I have tried a dozen different types. I have tried maceration distilling in the pot. I have tried maceration and remove petals and distilling. I have tried gin basket. All of them are frankly terrible. Like dirt or like grass.  

Do you guys have any tips on how to improve my taste and aroma distilling flowers?  

The only info I have found on here is a few lines from Odin about using a gin basket with higher abv Lower temps but that didn’t work for me. And I know it’s possible there are elderflower and lavender gins and liquors out there. So please let me know. 

 

Thanks guys and gals!

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I would bet against flowers as part of distilling generally, although there are probably some notable exceptions. Some flavors just don't translate well. I've had similar failures trying to get flavors out of some types of exotic mushrooms I work with. If though, you are trying to recreate the purple gin that changes to pink - what you need are purple pea flowers - readily available through mail order from Thailand. The purple pea flowers also have some color fastness to them which tends to be a rare commodity with flower based coloration. 

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I used lavender and rose petals in my gin. But I use them sparingly because if you use too much it'll obviously turn the corner into perfumey.

Florals do very poorly soaked in the boiler and really belong in a gin basket, if you're using them at all, in my own view. Building a flavor profile for a gin is really hard, as you want the aromas and flavors to layer on each other pleasantly and roll along without clanging against something else.

If you feel like you're really stuck, you could try distilling individual botanicals and then blending them together to get the flavors you want.

None of it's easy! Good luck.

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Rosehips contribute some nice floral aroma without being overwhelming

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5 hours ago, flyhigher87 said:

All of them are frankly terrible. Like dirt or like grass.  

Perhaps you have your answer there?? We've done elderflowers in the gin basket to some success. As others have said, they turn unpleasant when macerated. 

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This poses a question.

 

Delicate botanicals / flowers can not be macerated and distilled in the kettle.  Juniper, coriander etc. can.  Delicates are far better suited in the hot vapour path and here's the question;

 

How far above the kettle fill level do they need to be. ...... Is it okay for them to be just above (base of column) or, is it essential for them to be as high as possible ??

 

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3 hours ago, Silk City Distillers said:

Butterfly Pea Flower (pH color change) is not GRAS.

Did not know that - Thanks!

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Depending on your equipment or how much money you want to spend....... I would vacuum distillation.

You could experiment with a rotavap but it will still run you a few 1000$.......I think....

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On 11/29/2018 at 1:09 AM, richard1 said:

This poses a question.

 

Delicate botanicals / flowers can not be macerated and distilled in the kettle.  Juniper, coriander etc. can.  Delicates are far better suited in the hot vapour path and here's the question;

 

How far above the kettle fill level do they need to be. ...... Is it okay for them to be just above (base of column) or, is it essential for them to be as high as possible ??

 

The higher you go above your fill level, the lower the temperature, relatively, because of the higher alcohol content in that zone. One of the differences between a suspended basket and boiling is also time under heat. Heat up can be quite long, dramatically increasing the time under heat until vapor makes it way to the column.

Co-distillation of botanicals may reveal botanicals that are limiters as far as where cuts can be made. Traditional gin botanicals likely all have a lot in common as far as volatile aroma that would influence cutting decisions. If you add odd botanicals that require a unique cutting routine, you may need to produce the gin from at least two distillates which is doable, but increases production complexity and introduces consistency issues.

I've developed a birectifier protocol so you can systematically learn where in the distillation run each botanical's characteristics are volatile and where a limitation may appear. Fractions can be faithfully compared across botanicals. This kind of homework can add a lot of insight before you scale up and start investing a lot of money per batch.

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1 hour ago, bostonapothecary said:

you may need to produce the gin from at least two distillates which is doable, but increases production complexity and introduces consistency issues.

So this begs the question.... would this product be classified as a compound gin? Labeling minds want to know!

 

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On 12/2/2018 at 1:54 PM, indyspirits said:

So this begs the question.... would this product be classified as a compound gin? Labeling minds want to know!

 

I think the precedent is Hendricks. Don't they blend two different distillates? Compounded gins are typically thought to be inferior, but I wouldn't worry about it if you were stuck in that category. I'd control the language and say "compounded from two distillates to fully realize the potential of the rare botanicals".

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12 minutes ago, bostonapothecary said:

I'd control the language and say "compounded from two distillates to fully realize the potential of the rare botanicals".

Ahhhh.  You've not experienced the vagaries of the TTB COLA group.  I believe that when compounding a gin the producer should place, on the front label, the term "Compounded Gin". We do have "redistilled gin" on our label. Many who I know redistill have "distilled" on the label. Shrug. Hopefully @dhdunbar will chime in here regarding exact labeling requirements. Notwithstanding, I'm fairly certain you'd be limited to the back label for the phrase you mention (a good one if I might say so myself).  

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20 minutes ago, bostonapothecary said:

I think the precedent is Hendricks.

Regarding Hendricks, if they can manage that flavor profile through pure distillation or redistillation I'll buy everyone a round of drinks. Clearly their label states "distilled" to which I play my bullshit right bower. That cuke flavor must be from compounding. I've tried for the cucumber flavor to zero success. I believe @Silk City Distillers has done some rotovap work with it with some success.  

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Paging Dr. Dunbar, Dr. Dunbar.

Hendricks is labeled as "Gin", not does not include a type or "further designation".

(c)Class 3; gin. “Gin” is a product obtained by original distillation from mash, or by redistillation of  distilled spirits, or by mixing neutral spirits, with or over juniper berries and other aromatics, or with or over extracts derived from infusions, percolations, or maceration of such materials, and includes mixtures of gin and neutral spirits. It shall derive its main characteristic flavor from juniper berries and be bottled at not less than 80° proof. Gin produced exclusively by original distillation or by redistillation may be further designated as “distilled”. “Dry gin” (London dry gin), “Geneva gin” (Hollands gin), and “Old Tom gin” (Tom gin) are types of gin known under such designations.

How I interpret this is you *may* label as a distilled gin, or a redistilled gin, if you fit those designations, but you do not need to.  But this is another area where the CFR and the BAM appear to not be in 100% alignment.  The CFR does not reference "compounded gin" at all, but the BAM is specific:

“Gin” is sufficient as class and type designation. “Compounded” may appear but is not required as part of the class and type designation. Compounded Gin may not be referred to or described as “Distilled”

I think the big key to interpreting this is focusing on the "may" and "may be" in the language.  Why anyone would label as "redistilled gin" or "compounded gin" is beyond me, just take the class and be done with it.  No confusing terminology.

We label as "Gin", and we do rotovap neutral with specific parts of a specific type of cucumber to produce the second "half" of what becomes our gin.  Vacuum distillation or Rotovap is the superior way to distill botanicals that are heat sensitive.  I've distilled cucumber at absurdly low pressures, where my boiling point was less than what a cucumber would be exposed to on a hot summer day, it creates a very pure, clean, distinct cucumber flavor.  Hot vapor distilling cucumber is a far second or third place, and is distinctively "cooked".  Maceration/infusion might edge out slightly, but leaves color problems, and subtle off flavors (sulfur).

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1 hour ago, Silk City Distillers said:

But this is another area where the CFR and the BAM appear to not be in 100% alignment.  The CFR does not reference "compounded gin" at all, but the BAM is specific

A wise man (cough, cough, DUNBAR!) once told me, and I'm paraphrasing, to throw the BAM in the shitter. It's neither USC nor CFR but rather a document that causes more confusion than answer especially when it's not in agreement with the CFR.

Edit: Apologies to the OP as I've hijacked your post

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@Silk City Distillers has the right reference. Description is typically Gin if there was any compounding. It is Distilled Gin only if there is no compounding. The BAM is giving guidance beyond the CFR requirements as to what descriptions might be considered misleading or false, which the CFR prohibits. The interpretation here is that if there is any compounding, a description that includes "distilled" would not be allowed. Remember, you can add adjectives to many descriptions, provided they are true, not misleading, and fit within the category and type. Like American Single Malt Whiskey for malt whiskey.

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We produce a number of "floral" gins, a few under our brand name and some contract - I hear we just won a best in class for one of them.  Regardless, we make a lot of gins, all of them include at least some flower component, even our London dry (which we don't call a london dry).  But even in our most floral gin, one of which is even named after a flower, by weight, the flowers are a tiny proportion of the gin botanical charge. And, as mentioned earlier, these are all vapor extracted botanicals.  

Flowers are tough, not unlike getting the balance correct on spicy components (cassia, ginger, cubeb, grains of p, black/white pepper, etc.).

Overuse of of specific floral components is key flaw in some of the worst gin expressions I've tasted. Too much rose can go perfume.Too much lavender can go towards laundry detergent (no coincidence, laundry, lavender, and lavage all are the same root word). Chamomile is a bit safer to play heavy if you feel so compelled, elderflower is a common one (sort of a honey flavor in the gin).

 

In the end, though, the best suggestion I have is to use a small still to develop your formulas, so you can dispose of less successful experiments that have less cost in time, spirit, and botanicals. Years ago we did about 4 or so experiments a day, lots of strange things.  Some don't get used in gin for a reason.  Some good memories, those little experiments. 

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