Distiller’s Talk #76 with Alan Bishop & Christi Atkinson

I was the subject of Distiller’s Talk #76 hosted by the amazing duo of Alan Bishop & Christi Atkinson.

This started regarding conversation about the three chambered still design but snowballed into a two hour double episode spanning various topics. There is a lot of hardcore spirits conversation about large ideas that aren’t commonly discussed in the spirits world.

Charge up your airpods and tune in! Through the magic of editing, Christi wove together a million tangents into a soothing narrative of all the best ideas featured on the blog. This podcast is your shortcut to understanding the Bostonapothecary blog and the birectifier distillery analysis tool.

Below are links related to the conversation:

I quickly plug the Amphora Society PDA-1 still design and mentioned the cocktail-centric style of distillation explored in my Distiller’s Workbook.

I then introduce The Great Agricola, W.F. Whitehouse and the beginning of rum history (before that there was only proto-rum).

We touch upon documents I’ve collected that detail the mid 20th century mash bills of 42 American whiskey distilleries comprising 112 different whiskey mashes (85 Bourbons, 10 rye mashes, and 17 corn mashes). I mention my extensive work with vermouth as well as gin.

Eventually we touch upon translation where I tackle five languages in Operation Rum Babel Fish!

Rafael Arroyo pops up in the conversation! and we work up to a fated birectifier origin story and the finding of the photostat (I did not know what the hell a photostat was until I showed it to David Wondrich).

Alan looks at Fraction 5 of the Golden Devil Hampden 24. You’ll notice he gets absolutely captivated and we lose him for a moment in his private experience. He claims to have an erection but Christi edits that out because he refuses to prove it. The entire episode required very careful editing.

We talk radiance, a concept learned from the perfumers, and immune system theory where our immune system may actually bend around certain congeners in a state of relaxation. Alan tells a beautiful anecdote of his experience with absinthe that parallels my experience with the finest rums.

Alan mentions orange corn which is something new to me that I will definitely investigate. It is known for a unique carotene content and could no doubt be a source of profound carotene derived aroma. Describing this congener class leads to talk of the evaporation test.

The birectifier gets mentioned for gin which I think may be its greatest value proposal to a small distillery.

I try to give clients privacy, but reveal that Firestone Robertson has not one but two birectifiers, and this may have contributed to them having probably the sharpest team out there! They wade into the whiskey terroir conversation better than anybody and have done all the homework.

We move onto talking ethyl acetate.

I mention fermentation chemist, Cory Widmayer, who is pretty much responsible for any fission advancements demonstrated on this blog in the last two plus plus years. I spend some time discussing my analysis of Cory’s latest work with Brettanomyces.

More happens but I’m out of time!


Below are some notes I took when relistening. I was going to delete them, but may as well help people find a segment they are interested in.

9:00 Origin story

10:30 We plug the Amphora Society PDA-1

12:00 Mention cocktail-centric distillation

14:00 I introduce the Great Agricola

15:30 IRS papers mash bills / vermouth / gin

16:15 Translation

16:20 Rafael Arroyo

17:00 I introduce the photostat about the birectifier

21:00 Some editing trickery splices parts together and I explain things twice

24:25 Alan looks at Fraction 5 of the Golden Devil Hampden 24

26:25 We talk Radiance and the immune system theory

Alan Keeps going with his descriptors. He is captivated!

33:45 Alan mentions orange corn and its carotenoids

35:45 Cognac bed time watch glass test

38:45 I mention the birectifier for gin.

41:15 Firestone Robertson has two birectifiers

cupping coffee

44:00 We talk ethyl acetate

48:15 Assets and Liabilities framework

49:50 I mention Cory Widmayer

Brettanomyces case study

52:45 Alan looks at a high pH fission yeast rum (fission yeast #1)

I talk further about that case study; batavia arrack

Maturation to completion

Alan describes his fruit fly audience.

57:40 I mention Richard Seale.

1:00:00 I mention our business scale ideas

1:01:20 Aged to completion

1:02:15 The rum prophecy

1:03:15 I mention my research partners

1:04:45 Beer, and in through molasses / out through grain

fission yeast single malts / talk of aroma

1:08 Kveik yeasts

1:09:00 Fission yeasts returning to West Indies producers

1:11:00 How I got the resources

The importance of making stuff available

1:13:45 The three chambered still

My first hand experience that give insight into the workings of the still

1:22 We start talking about wild biomes

Alan drops a particularly interesting anecdote

Biome of civilization (and it is bland)

Ruminant biome

Fahrasmane’s anecdote

Ultra terroir

1:28:10 Early Kentucky distiller talks about setting up next to a pond that sets in a valley where cattle is raised around a pond.

1:29:30 We discuss the oldest Bourbon story

1:35 I mention the catatonic rum enthusiasts and the challenges of breaking new ground

I talk of investors and why we need heavy duty figures to truly break ground

I mention Andre Tchelistchef and Firestone

I mention the quests of a chain of scientists over the course of the 20th century

Finishing the quest

1:39:15 Being saved by Gwyneth Paltrow and mentioning the health benefits

“Don’t fuck me over”

Alan claims Ryan Reynolds next project

I sent Alan the complete set of Rabbit Hole rye

1:42:45 Heavy rum series 3 #2 and he describes it on air.

I mention the Pear eau-de-vie “you see god”

1:46:15 I mention the VA cash still

1:49:15 We talk terroir

Alan wants birectifier fractions available on a tour.

1:52:00 We start to talk about the missing distiller’s texts

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