Saturday, February 3, 2018

Where Did the Still Come From?

Very Early Clay Still
     Stills of various types play a huge part in out lives.  They make it possible for us to separate
selected components from a mixture by making use of the different temperatures that liquids turn to vapor.  It would be hard to have things like gasoline, solvents and "Booze" without them.

     The first indications of distillation was The Ancient Indian Subcontinent during the Common Era or Before Christ, where there have been some clay retort pots unearthed in Taxil and Charsadda in the area that is Pakistan today.   These Gandhara stills and were only capable of making weak liquors. This style of still was found in Rome, Egypt and China,

Classic Late 1700's Caribbean Rum Still
   Alcohol distillation comes from Arab chemist Al-Kindi in the 9th century in Iraq.  The process later spread to Italy, where it was described as the "School of Salerno" during the 12th Century.    Serious beverage distillation in China didn't get underway until the 12th and 13th centuries during the Southern Song Dynasty.   Fractional distillation was created in Qinglong Herbei Province, China in the 12th century.  Distilled beverages became commonplace during the Yuan Dynasty in the 13th and 14th centuries in China.

Modern Multi Column Still
     German writer, Hieronymus Braunschweig wrote the book "The Art of Distillation" in 1500.  Today there have been many many improvements in the stills, but the principles of distillation haven't changed since it was discovered during the "common era".  Today our stills are very efficient, but the separation of elements of a liquid into the components is still the same.

     Today we have every type of still from the very basic pot still to very sophisticated column and hybrids of the two available to us for making the finest spirits.