If you’re wondering what kind of poisons we’ve been drinking all these years and wishing your spirits could be smooth and stripped of toxins, you’ve come to the right place. We apply both the old school taste, smell, and texture method taught to us from a century of family distilling tradition combined with the refined techniques we grew up with in wine country. This allows us to make cleaner, healthier, and smoother spirits. To do this it takes innovative time consuming steps [and a few family secrets] that the production booze manufacturers will not even consider.
Why are Pleasure Spirits superior to the rest of the alcohol we have been drinking for years?
- fresh harvested local California ingredients, meticulous fermentation, hand made copper stills, maximum harmful congener removal, precise small batch distillation
technique, fresh ocean air, and lots of drop-by-drop love.
After our Home Grown California ingredients are harvested, our next equally important step is fermentation.
Before adding yeast, we cook our local plant ingredients along with fresh sierra snow melt
at 160 degrees (f) to pasteurize and purify the fermentable sugars to the perfect level. Our yeast is uniquely
developed exclusively for Pleasure. Our Rum yeast is higher in dactyl for a buttery finish while or Agave yeast
is matched to the natural yeast found in our Home Grown blue agave plants.
These strains takes longer to ferment and require precise temperature control to yield the ideal clean alcohol
“Wash”. Unlike bulk distilleries, we use no enzyme additives to boost (higher toxin) alcohols. We’ve worked
with several famed distilleries from Barbados to Mexico to Kentucky to Tennessee that all use open side-by-side
fermentation tanks. Tradition rules and we love the South, but California wine country life has taught us that
finer fermentation systems produce finer spirits. Each of our fermentation tanks is independently isolated
to prevent cross-pollination. Our agave yeast and our rum yeast are two very different animals that produce
two very distinctively different tastes. Each of our fermentation tanks use custom controlled temperature systems
with carbon dioxide ventilation locks. This configuration makes sure the perfect level of isolated fermentation occurs
during the precisely measured yeasting periods to capture the perfect wash before the yeast ever has the chance to oxidize (sour).
Small Batch Copper Stills
The tools you use dictate the product you produce.
Our US made 100% copper small batch stills are
hand crafted to our exact specifications to deliver the
cleanest distillents. As opposed to the industrial sized
steel stills that are in constant automated production
used to make the vast majority of bulk spirits today.
Our first distilling stage is “Stripping”. Our stripping run is a unique step we take to start our distilling process
with the cleanest version of our wash. Once the wash is fermented to perfection, we let it rest with a natural
sodium bicarbonate (crushed oyster shells) to break down the high toxin ethyl acetate. This stripping step
alone creates a cleaner taste before distillation even begins. From there the clean fermentation is run through
our copper pot still. This extra step removes any remaining yeast and concentrates the clean alcohol content
five-fold. By removing the bulk of large molecule congeners from the wash, we are able to make more defined
alcohol separations during our spirit run. Another time consuming step that helps us more deeply remove toxins.
The next distillation stage is our “spirit run”. This is where science and art marry.
The science of separating the alcohols begins very mathematically based on
temperature and vapor pressure variance. Separating the high toxicity/high volatile
“Foreshot” (acetone, ethyl acetate) and “Head” (methanol) is a primary step to
creating a smooth clean spirit. Once the Foreshot and Head are removed, the “Heart”
and a portion of the “Tail” are captured. In an absolute world, the Head vaporizes at
64.7 degrees (c) and the Heart vaporizes at 78.5 degrees (c). In actuality, the mixture
is not absolute. There is always some ethanol in the Head and some methanol in the
Heart making the vaporizing temperatures and vapor pressures fall somewhere in between.
This is where the art of taste, smell, and texture come into play.
At Pleasure, we first take the extra step of low temperature slow distilling.
This patient step allows the toxins to separate with more definition - one drop at a time (literally).
Next, we take costly measures to make sure each toxin is carefully extracted. Chemically, the
majority of harsh acetate and methanol is separated at the first .015 to .05 stage of this process.
The tradition of taste, smell, & texture distilling bred into us tells us there are still hidden remnants
of methanol, so we remove the first .10 of the process. Twice that of what bulk distilleries do.
The taste is significantly smoother and the morning-after effect significantly less. This is especially
true in the distillation of our Blue Agave, where some of our best family secret techniques come into play.
Our Agave suits a sipping glass more than a shot glass.
Once the harsh toxins are removed, we focus on capturing the smooth “Heart” section.
The cleanest most pure ethanol and the base of our smooth spirits. In this final stage
of distilling, it is entirely the art that defines a spirit’s taste. As the Heart begins to fade
into the Tail, constant taste, smell, & texture tests are imperative. There are only a few
degrees between the Heart and Tail, so purity cannot be measured by temperature alone.
This is one of the differences between small craft and industrial spirits. We taste and smell
the esters at intervals by the minute in small batches (an impossible and cost prohibitive feat
for bulk industrial production distilleries).
The points at which the we make the “cuts” from the ”Heart” to the “Tail”
defines the taste of our spirit. The fruity essences often described in finer
wines and spirits are not actually fruit, but the slight amount of esters
allowed to remain before the cuts.
- Pear (propyl acetate)
- Orange (octyl acetate)
- Banana (isoamyl acetate)
- Pineapple (ethyl butyrate)
- Apple (butyl acetate)
- Strawberry (methyl trans-cinnamate)
The end result being we get to choose the perfect moment to make the “cut” that defines Pleasure.
The final step is the aging process. While most distillers bottle their clear spirits direct from the still,
we take the extra step of allowing our clear spirits to settle for 1-6 months in 30 gallon stainless steel tanks.
This timely measure allows the larger (bitter) organic molecules to be broken into fine esters and other
flavor enhancing elements.
Furthermore, our California Anejo Agave and Anejo Rum are aged an additional 12+ months in new
American oak barrels to further allow the larger molecules to organize while absorbing the sweet
flavor and color of the natural wood.
All of these unique steps are what makes our spirits Pleasure in a bottle
Images and graphs courtesy of: Vendome Copper, HBS Copper, Criveller Group, Custom Metal Craft, American Distillers Institute, Whiskey Science, Penek & Boucher 1989,