Originally, we were a winery out on the Saanich Peninsula, and we bought the still, started experimenting with Spirits. We wanted to make all sorts of Spirits, but the Victoria Gin was the first Spirit that we came out with. It's been a very amazing experience coming together with the whole family and making this business happen.
The day before distillation, we will blend a neutral grain Spirit with spring water from the property here and the 10 different botanicals, juniper, coriander, lemon peel, orange peel, star anise, orris root, angelica, cinnamon, roses, and a secret ingredient. We let those steep overnight before the distillation. Then, we'll put those into the still, and we'll get the fire started. It takes a couple of hours to get everything up to a nice rolling boil. And then we'll be boiling off the Alcohol, and it's gonna work its way up through the still, up through the rectification column, and then going from one floor to the next in the rectification column, purifying a little bit further at each step. It's gonna work its way over into the condenser. The condenser has cool water running through it.
It's gonna condense all the vapors that make it that far. It'll come running out of the still, and then we'll need to taste it along the way, making sure it's running at the right speed. The faster it runs, the more flavor we're gonna get through, but if we run it too fast, we're gonna push through all these musty fusel Alcohols as well that we don't want in our product, so we have to find the right rate.
We also need to decide what portion of the run to keep for bottling because not everything that comes out of the spout is actually gonna taste good. The first bit that comes out of the still is called the heads. That's gonna be very high in Alcohol, and we actually give that portion to a biofuels co-op and they make biodiesel out of it. So somebody has a Gin-powered car.
Once all the bad smells dissipate, then we'll switch to the second portion of the run called the hearts. We're gonna collect about 50 liters or so of that. It's still gonna be quite high in Alcohol. It's gonna be about 86% Alcohol, but that's where all the nice flavor is. As we get close to the end of the run, again, we're gonna have to start smelling and tasting for these musty fusel Alcohols that we've been trying to leave back in the pot. And, then, when we can sense those things coming through, we'll stop collecting the hearts and start collecting the tails, which is the third part of the run. The tails we hold onto and we can redistill, and later make bitters and that kind of thing out of that.
Then, once we've done our distillation, it takes about six hours per distillation, so sometimes we do one, sometimes two distillations in a day. But, once we've done several distillations, we'll blend the hearts of all those runs together, and then we'll blend it into one of our large 2,000 or 3,000-liter tanks. And then we'll add spring water to bring it from 86% Alcohol back down to 45%. And, then, we like to give a month or so and let all those flavors come together. It's kind of like soup the next day. Everything comes together nicely, and then we'll pump it up into our little bottling tank. It'll gravity-feed down into our bottler. We'll hand bottle it, and it'll get capped, and labeled, and have the batch number written on it, and boxed up and sent off. We're also working on new products, more Bitters. We've also got a Whisky that we're working on, which we're really excited about. You know, then we... And we love showing these products to our customers in the tasting room, and people really get a kick out of coming to see us. It makes for a great afternoon coming and checking out the tasting room and doing a tour of the distillery. It really is a lot of fun.