"Smell it", says robert fleischmann, warms the glass once again between his hands and then hands it over "smell the joinery?" This is typical for whisky, where it is always about flavors between wood and chocolate. For production, for time, for traces. All this will be discussed at the international whisky fair in nurnberg this weekend. Right in the middle: the "blue mouse the fleischmann family.
In 1980, robert fleischmann could not have imagined that a schnapps idea would one day become germany's oldest single malt whisky distillery. Freshly returned from the navy to his hometown of eggolsheim in the district of forchheim, the trained baker acquired a distilling license and set up a distillery in his parents' residential and business house.
Why not mash up some malt!
Things were going quite well with his fruit growers when, in 1983, a customs official encouraged him to mix in and distill malt after all. "He explained to me exactly what I had to do to avoid problems with tax and customs", tells fleshman. He stands in the modern cultivation with the coarse copper pot stills, which since 2000 his son thomas and his wife petra operate as company successors. The room is also used for tours and tastings; windows set into the floor provide a view of the barrel storage area in the cellar.
Fleischmann senior has his kingdom in an adjoining room, where, in contrast to the representative show distillery, it looks like handicraft work: neat, but full of hoses and barrels, rubber boots in the corner, the door of the distillation plant open. Fleischmann laughs when he thinks back to his beginnings: making pure malt (malt) whisky wasn't that easy. "The first attempts were more tax than alcohol, and the results were sometimes frightening. So heave it, heave it, heave it", says fleischmann. In 1984, the annex with the crude combustion plant was built and the basement of the residential building was turned into a pub with maritime decoration. It got the same name as the distillery: blue mouse, a reminiscence of the naval days of father and son.
Only the middle run goes into the barrel
1996 then, finally, the first "good" whisky whisky: the sale could begin. Fleischmann now knew what was important. His whisky is made from barley malt, ten varieties from different french breweries. Malting is carried out, converting starch into sugars for cooking. The subsequent mashing process produces liquid barley malt, which is mixed with yeast and fermented. Then comes the king's discipline: distillation. It takes place in two stills with 200 and 150 liter capacities. The coarseness and shape of the stills and their firing play an important role for the finished malt.
Distilling means nothing more than boiling the barley malt. The water is largely left behind and the alcohol is extracted. Since water does not boil as quickly as alcohol, the vapors are very rich in alcohol. They are collected and condensed into an alcohol-water mixture. Distilled two or three times. Each time, there is a pre- and a post-run, which are not allowed into the barrel: only the mid-run belongs there. This is where the master distiller's skill is called for: he has to separate the fluxes exactly.
The separation of the impure distillate from the pure one takes place under observation of the distilled whisky in the "spirit safe". Now comes the "excise man, the customs officer in play. Without its key, no one can get to the safe. The customs officer is now closely monitoring what is happening with the "make" from evaporation to cask strength to storage of the barrels in the warehouses and the bottling process, which often takes many years.
But one more step back to distilling: the distillate is filled into oak barrels and has to mature for at least three years – otherwise it is not allowed to heave whisky – so that it becomes milder. The wood of the barrel has an influence not only on the taste, but also on the color of the whiskey. It can be golden, but it can also have amber tones. In the blue mouse, the malt stays on wood at ten degrees and 54 percent humidity for six to eight years.
The nine eggolsheim whiskies have sonorous names: blue mouse of course, green dog or spinnaker. Until this palette was in place, robert fleischmann auber had to clear up the question of production: scottish producers sued him and disputed everything to do with his whisky. Designation, pictures, writing coarse, a dispute that lasted for years. Until he gave up and changed his labels.
300 liters of alcohol are distilled per year in the blue mouse. 100 kilos of grain make 26 liters of alcohol, 100 kilos of plums make eight liters of schnapps. About 150 whiskey and 29,000 fruit and. Grain distilleries exist in germany. The state has a big hand in all of them: production and processing are subject to the distilled spirits monopoly. "When we mash, customs comes by, when we want to distill, we have to register it with the main customs office in stuttgart", fleischmann explains.
"Every schlauchla is sealed"
A distillery is the name given to the production of spirits whose distillates are under customs control during the production process. "Every hose, every screw on our coarse boilers is sealed. 52 seals so that you can not tap anything." Distilleries have to pay 13.03 euros per liter of alcohol to the state; a reduced tax rate of 7.33 euros applies to annual production of up to 400 liters.
For son thomas fleischmann, it's a difficult issue. As soon as the distilling is registered, the tax is due. "People pay in advance. It's a "gratuity hike, says the junior boss. "The whisky has to be stored for at least three years and you don't know whether to sell it or not." Thomas fleischmann, a trained merchant, has acquired the knowledge about whisky himself. Philosophizing about one's own products is not his thing. "We let experts taste and follow their judgment."
Blob not from the fridge!
Neither of them are heavy whiskey drinkers, father and son fleischmann. But they know everything about the production. "You have to pray the schnapps out, you have to take your time with the distillation. The whiskey must come out of the system as fine as wool thread." It is also important that it is mild. "You should be able to dip into the glass and attract the smell. This is not allowed to burn." What else? Room temperature! Fleischmanns shudder at the thought of schnapps from the fridge.
That's why robert fleischmann warms the glass into which he has poured a sip of his well-honed premiere brandy in his hands. And tells about the aromas: "the first is always vanilla. You can also taste chocolate or tannic sourness when the barrel is fresh." And leather, nut cake, malt natural. Or the carpentry in the 83? Eyes love. Thinking, smelling. Drinking. But: a little bit of carpentry is involved.
Whisky fair in nurnberg
Date parallel to the leisure fair in nurnberg (until 2. Marz) will take place on the weekend of 1./2. March the whisky fair "the village held in hall 12 of the exhibition center. It is on both days from 9.30 to 6 p.M. Open. A joint admission ticket is valid for both shows.
Exhibition in the setting of a village, 60 importers and distilleries present 800 different whiskies from 13 countries. Among them are international rarities as well as french specialties, including the blue mouse from eggolsheim.
Program during the fair a kilt maker will be on site, there will be whisky cooking shows, a cigar lounge, live music, dance performances, crime readings, lectures and whisky tastings.
Things to know
High castle in germany whisky is distilled mainly in swabia and northern bavaria. Most distilleries are located in upper and lower franconia, and the nurnberg region belongs to "the most venerable order of the highland circle" to the german whisky strongholds: the circle is the oldest whisky club in germany. He is a professional partner of the whisky fair and responsible for the seminars and whisky tastings (registration at the booth).
Meaning the word whisky, first mentioned in 1736, derives from the scottish-galish "uisge beatha" ab and means water of life.
Single malt is the term given to whisky from a single distillery (single cask bottling), hence single. Single malt is made from pure barley malt (malted barley, therefore malt) and distilled two or three times in copper pot stills (stills).
The addition of single malt is understood as a pradikat, the whiskies so distinguished are usually particularly high quality. In addition, their particularly long storage over a decade or longer.