Fractioning a role model gin with the birectifier
This was a very exciting experiment because I have long suspected that the birectifier can be applied to gin development and quality control. I am even trying to robustly design the birectifier automation kit to scale to some gin prototyping ideas. I expected some monstrous concentrated fractions, but did not find them. There was no sinister juniper-wraith like the fusel oil fraction 4 of a sturdy rye. There was a strong personality fraction 5, but there was no emulsion of essential oils like in the previously studied rums, pear eau-de-vie, and bonded rye whiskeys.
Gin, sadly has most incomplete literature about its production. I’ve collected all the bibliographies and written a post about originating a gin. My big hypothesis is that a lot of gin production decisions such as distillation proof, time under heat, and cutting routines relate to optimizing the phenomenon of contrast enhancement through terpene removal.
A major work I have not released yet is the lost Seagram botanical assay protocols for standardizing a botanical charge. I have accumulated nearly all of the equipment, but need to allocate the time. Eventually you will be able to use the birectifier to create standardized botanical concentrates which can be vatted into test gins then slowed scaled upwards respecting time under heat and co-distillation of the botanicals. The goal is to fabricate the highest quality gins with a fraction of the development costs and a high degree of technical confidence which can take things as far as sales allow. The birectifier will absolutely be at the heart of it followed by the Seagram protocols.
The role model gin was Tanqueray and the charge for the birectifier was scaled as usual to 100 ml of absolute alcohol watered to 250 ml so that fractions will align if we want to make fraction to fraction comparisons across gins. A lot more work needs to be done and interesting questions were raised. It would be beneficial to perform distillations with the birectifier botanical by botanical to give a clearer picture of where they exist in the spirits run and where they overlap. Patterns may emerge.
For organoleptic tasting, the modified German protocol was used taking only 5 ml of each fraction to allow for future work. The dilution was 3x for the first four fractions and 2x for the last four fractions.
Fraction 1. No notes of fermenation character which indicates a very clean neutral spirit base. Angular notes, but nothing especially gin-like. Only a slice of a complete juniper experience. Ever so slightly cloudy in its undiluted form.
Fraction 2. Similar to fraction 1. Angular notes and no distinct notes of roundness.
Fraction 3. Growing citrusy character. More significant differentiation between fractions 1 and 2.
Fraction 4. Ever growing citrusy character, possibly from the coriander.
Fraction 5. Unique botanical character. A lot of stuff lives here like the personality fraction of spirits from distinct fermented products. Far more intensity than the other fractions. Palatable unlike some rum oil fraction 5’s. This fraction is very low alcohol, but something else contributes to a unique viscosity and mouthfeel, likely the essential oils. I would not be surprised to find a unique surface tension measurement.
Fraction 6. Subtle staleness. I suspect everything is baseline laissez-faire here, but this contains a character I’ve noticed in some past prime botanicals. No sensation of acidity.
Fraction 7. Similar to fraction 6.
Fraction 8. Similar to fraction 6 and 7.
The last three fractions seem to contain no sensory information about the juniper.
Don’t be confused about the last three fractions which are nearly all water. Fractions 4 and 5 represent decisions about the tails cut. To optimize the tales cut decision, we may keep an eye on fraction 5 relative to role models and possibly consider a ratio between qualities in 6,7 and 8. If abnormal qualities grew in the last three fractions beyond that of role models, the tales cut would have to be made earlier. We could also split fraction 5 into 5a and 5b by dividing the volumes. If we can observe the abruptness of where it ends, we may gather clues to what proof an idealized tales cut is made. Don’t forget, the birectifier has a thermometer on it. Fraction 5 is a roller coaster where the alcohol sharply drops off, but it is collected slow enough that if repeated, we may be able to capture the temperature and thus the proof quite well. The temperature (and thus the proof) will not translate too directly to a full scale gin production because gins are distilled at lower proofs than the birectifier operates at. We will know what direction to go and after a few iterations and comparison between the role model, we will have honed in closed.
Fraction 5 may also represent the complexity and intensity of the supporting auxiliary botanicals. In Tanqueray, this fraction is extraordinary and enigmatic with no plebian, ordinary, obviousness. If any single botanical stuck out like a sore thumb or skewed a blend to the ordinary, it should likely be changed. We cannot say much about intensity until we examine other role models.
The heads cut of a gin is likely very important and should be made relative to a measure of absolute alcohol taken from a standardized charge, distillation proof, and output pacing of the still. A good indicator of where it should be made may be at a point where it does not louche during birectifier analysis. I did not assess the fractions in the best lighting, but I detected no obvious louching from terpene separation when diluting with my normal modified German protocol of 3x dilution for the first four fractions and 2x for the last four fractions. The first fraction in undiluted form did appear to be ever so cloudy relative to the second fraction. I would really need better lighting or a second opinion. The first fractions of birectifier analysis can always be compared to a role model to hone in an ideal cut.
Keep in mind, I cleaned the birectifier by distilling a neutral spirit before hand. If a large production still is not cleaned, louching may occur as a result of fatty acids dissolving in the high proof spirit. If that is the case, the aroma of the heads fraction would reveal any faults from that phenomenon. If a long chain fatty acid contaminated a gin, even though it was collected in the beginning by being dissolved by the output, it would appear as usual at the end of the birectifier fractions.
In the future we will be able to say a lot more, trouble shooting problems and creating best bets. Protocols for analyzing gin create a great value proposition for owning a birectifier. It is not just for rum. Production is up and running and our lead times are slowly decreasing, email me if you need one.