Traditional Distillation Art & Passion
by Hubert Germain-Robin

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Connoisseurs of brandy will recognize the name Hubert Germain-Robin as a world-class master distiller and master blender. Germain-Robin is the current generation of a cognac distilling tradition that dates back to 1782 in Cognac, France. Since the early 1980s Germain-Robin has made Mendocino Co., California his home and has become recognized and respected in America for his brandies and eaux de vie. He was among a handful of small artisan distillers, mainly in California, who were revolutionizing America’s attitudes toward spirits and cocktails and he remains a leader in the art and craft of distillation.

Traditional Distillation Art & Passion is both a guide to technique and a musing on the fundamental aspects of eau de vie. Eau de vie or “water of life” is the distillation of fresh ingredients (fruit, plants, herbs, roots, grain, etc.) and it is the starting point for creating many types of spirits that may eventually be aged and/or blended. There is an art to distillation as well as the science and this book speaks to both—the practice of distillation and the nuances that make an extraordinary eau de vie.

Traditional Distillation Art and Passion reads like a journal addressing the conditions a craft distiller must be mindful of in the vineyard, the winery and throughout distillation. Germain-Robin shares his 40 plus years of expertise in growing grapes, winemaking, distilling, blending and aging so that the reader can acquire a vision of their inventories so that they may prepare for the future of their product. Some spirits can age for decades to reach their potential.

Germain-Robin keeps to the traditional methods of distillation and an entire chapter on the Alambic copper still and double distillation provides the reader with signposts that are both practical and encourages the distiller to use all their sensory perceptions in creating their product. Many can distill but less are able to finesse a superior product. It takes time, patience and the sensibility of an artist to create a spirit that imparts its true origin. And Traditional Distillation Art & Passion is like that slow, meandering path to a truly great spirit.



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