The Story of Millstone
Zuidam Distillers was started back in 1975 by Fred van Zuidam. The idea was to start a small distillery that only produced very exclusive products. He built a small distillery of 300 square meters with 1 small copper still and 1 small production line.
Millstone Whisky is still today hand crafted in the traditional distillery that is owned and operated by the Zuidam Family. More than 50 years of experience in distilling of exclusive spirits and a constant search for perfection has led to the birth of this exquisite whisky.
Windmills are used to mill the Millstone malted barley the distillery, helping to preserve this important Dutch heritage. Even more importantly, the traditional millstones of the windmills slowly grind the malted barley into flour. This method of milling causes almost no increase in the temperature of the grain and thus helps preserve the wonderful aroma’s.
Mashing the grain is done by adding hot water to the malted barley. The hot water triggers enzymes to convert the starch from the grain into sugars. This process takes approximately 5 hours per batch. The resulting Mash is cooled to 20° Celsius and pumped to the fermentation tank.
The Fermentation is carried out in small batches at a very low temperature to give this whisky its fruity flavours. The fermentation takes about 5 days, much longer than is customary but nevertheless essential to allow more delicate flavours to form.
Millstone Whisky is double distilled in handcrafted copper pot stills. The small stills have an extraordinary large copper surface especially when compared to the large stills used elsewhere. The extra contact between the alcohol vapours and the copper helps to eliminate any unwanted substances and also stimulates the formation of the complex and fruity esters. The small stills thus produce a very delicate and fruity new spirit.
After the careful distillation the whisky is aged in small barrels. Zuidam use new barrels of American white oak as well as barrels that have previously held Bourbon and Olorosso Sherry. As Zuidam use new or barrels used only once and store the barrels in a warm and dry warehouse, the whisky ages rather quickly. The downside is that the evaporation losses are rather high. Typically the “Angels Share” is between 4% and 5% per year. However, this is a scrifice Millstone are willing to take as the final product is so good.