Glossary

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z



Absinthe

An alcoholic drink popularized in France in the early 20th century associated with Bohemian life and also known as “The Green Fairy” made from wormwood, aniseed and other aromatic plants such as star anis, fennel, hyssop, veronica, lemon, lemon balm, angelica root, dittany, coriander, juniper and nutmeg. Wormwood is its principal ingredient and lends it its characteristic bitter taste and green colour.


Absolutes

Concentrated essential oils extracted by means of the enfleurage method - used to obtain delicate fragrances such as jasmine, rose, gardenia, orange blossoms, angelica and other flowers. In the enfleurage method delicate flower petals, collected in the early morning are placed on glass plates and covered with fatty oils. Once these petals are spent they are replaced with fresh ones. The fatty oils that cover the petals absorb the essential oils (concretes) and are rinsed with alcohol afterwards. Once the alcohol evaporates you are left with concentrated essential oils known as absolutes.


Agave

This is the plant from which drinks such as Tequila, “Mixto” and “Pulque” are made from. It may take 10 to 12 years for this plant to reach full maturity.


Aging

Period during which eau-de–-vie is stored in barrels to acquire the characteristics of the wood and improve the quality. Most eaux-de-vie are placed in oak barrels to impart colour and a pleasant bouquet. The same distillate may be of varying quality, have a different aroma or colour depending on the length of time it is allowed to age.


Aguardente

Portuguese term for eau-de-vie.


Alcohol Concentration

%v/v - is an abbreviation for percentage volume of a substance of the total volume - e.g. 12.5 % v/v ethanol. = 12.5 ml ethanol in approx. 87.5 ml water Alcohol concentration is stated as ethanol as it is the predominant alcohol in wine often seen on wine labels as 12.5 % Alc. or 12.5 ALC/VOL or ALCOHOL 12.5% BY VOLUME (note the predominant alcohol in wine is ethanol).


Alcohol hydrometer


Alcoholic volume

Term used to designate the level of alcohol present in an alcoholic beverage. The alcoholic volume is presented in percentage value.


Alcoholmeter

Oenology instrument also known as Alcohol hydrometer which allows for the measurement of the density of an alcoholic distillate. This instrument is calibrated at 20º C and should be used in conjunction with a thermometer for determining precise cutting points of a distillate.


Alembic

Distillation apparatus employed for the distillation of eau-de-vies, essential oils and floral waters. It is made up of 3 parts: a) pot b) swan neck lid c) condenser. Depending on the model the system may include different parts such as a preheater (Charentais Alembic) or column such as the Rotating Column Alembic or Reflux Column Alembic). The origin of the word alembic comes from the Arabic “al-ambiq” which lends weight to the argument that the Arabs invented this distilling apparatus.


Alembic head


Alquitar

Distilling apparatus suitable for distilling eau-de-vies, essential oils and floral waters. The alquitar still is made up of 2 parts (pot and condenser) as opposed to the alembic still which has 3 parts (pot, swan neck lid and condenser). The head incorporates a vapour chamber inside and a bowl shaped condenser for holding cold water on top. The distillate vapours collect inside the vapour chamber and condense to liquid form once they come in contact with the cold surface of the condenser. Due to its characteristic shape, the space necessary for distilation is reduced considerably.


Amygdala

Structure that forms part of the limbic system responsible for processing memory and emotions.


Analgesic

A generic term that describes the various pharmacological substances used for relieving pain. Most analgesics also have antipyretic properties.


Angelica

An herbaceous plant from the Nordic regions with a flavour similar to juniper. It is much used for the making of essential oils due to its therapeutic properties (calming, antiseptic, tonic, digestive), for flavouring liqueurs and for making perfumes.


Angels’ share

Portion of alcohol that is lost through evaporation when aging wines and eau-de-vies. This phenomenon occurs because alcohol is a volatile substance.


Aniseed

An herbaceous plant from the Mediterranean. It has excellent antiseptic properties and is often used as a condiment, for flavouring eau-de-vies, for oral hygiene, as an insect repellent and to for making essential oils due to its therapeutic properties.


Anthelmintic

Pharmacological agent used to combat intestinal worms.


Anti-inflammatory

Pharmacological agent used to combat inflammation. These substances may also act as analgesics.


Antipyretic

Pharmacological agent for reducing fever and its associated symptoms.


Antiseptic

Pharmacological agent that stops the proliferation of bacteria on the external regions of the body.


Antispasmodic

Pharmacological substance that helps prevent and calm muscle spasms (involuntary muscle contraction frequently accompanied by localised neuromuscular pain) and relieve cramps.


Aragh

Tradicional Iraq's Moonshine made from raisins and with an alcoholic grade never below 45%.


Arak

A strong tasting middle-eastern drink made from aniseed.


Armagnac

A French eau-de-vie with an alcoholic volume greater than 40% from 3 distinct regions (Bas Armagnac, Tenarèze and Haut Armagnac) and distilled exclusively from selected white grape varieties: “Ugni Blanc”, “Bacco 22 A”, “Colombard”, “Jurançon”, “Plant de Grèce”, “Folle Blanche et Jaune”, “Meslier”, “Clairette”, “Blanguette” and “Mauzac”. The production of Armagnac reached its prime in the 19th century but suffered a crisis in 1980 because of the phylloxera plague that afflicted the region.


Aroma

Distinctive smell or odour perceived by the olfactory system. Wine or perfume fragrance. With regard to wine the primary aroma comes from the grapes, the second from the wine making process and the thirdly from the aging process (bouquet).


Aromatherapy

A complimentary therapy for restoring emotional and physical wellbeing with the use and application of essential oils. The experiments conducted by the French chemist Gattefossé laid the basis for Aromatherapy


Aromatic bath

The addition of essential oils turns an ordinary bath into an aromatic bath. It is recommended for relieving bruising, muscular pains, for fatigue and stress. A simple and relaxing combination is made up of 3 drops of lavender essential oil and 3 drops of sandalwood.


Aromatic herbs

Herbs with aromatic leaves, flowers, stems or roots that impart flavour and aroma to food or spirituous beverages. Many aromatic herbs have therapeutic properties that have been known since antiquity and have been used for making essential oils used in aromatherapy.


Aromatic plants

Plants with aromatic leaves, flowers, stems or roots that impart flavour and aroma to food or spirituous beverages. Many aromatic plants have therapeutic properties that have been known since antiquity and have been used for making essential oils used in aromatherapy.


Avocado

Fruit of the avocado tree originally from Mexico. This fruit is very rich in sugars, proteins, vitamins and fats. Avocado carrier oil may be extracted from the flesh of the fruit.


Bagaço

Traditional Portuguese Moonshine, resulting from the mix of the skins and branches of the grapes from last year's wine production.


Bain-Marie

Method employed to heat a substance slowly and gently by immersing one recipient in another with hot water and thus distributing the heat uniformly. The name comes from Marie, the French chemist who invented this technique. This method is much used in food preparation, in laboratories and is often employed for distilling essential oils or hydrolats from delicate organics such as flower petals. The distillation of fruits with high sugar content in an alembic using this technique is more advantageous as the organic compounds do not suffer alterations or burn from direct contact with the heat source.


Barik

Glass used to serve the Arak mixed with water and ice.


Bas Armagnac

The name of one of the 3 French districts where Armagnac is produced. The Bas Armagnac region produces the best wine grape varieties for the distillation of Armagnac. They are of an excellent quality with a light prune aroma.


Bergamot

A citrus fruit originally from China, similar yet more bitter than orange. In aromatherapy bergamot is considered as having antidepressant, diuretic, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. Bergamot is also used in the perfume industry, for cosmetics and for essential oils.


Bois Ordinaires

One of the six Cognac producing regions in France. This coastal region produces earthy eau-de-vies.


Bons Bois

One of the six Cognac producing regions in France. Cognacs with a high alcoholic volume and pleasant aroma are made in this region.


Borderies

One of the six Cognac producing regions in France. This region has chalky soils and is designated the heart of the cognac region. Aromatic eau-de-vies with a full bouquet are made in this region. These eau-de-vies tend to age rapidly.


Bouquet

This is the fragrance or aroma of a wine that has undergone the aging process. It may also represent the floral notes present in a perfume.


Bourbon

This is the renowned American corn whiskey. It may also include wheat, rye or malted barley. The production of bourbon is regulated by strict statutory laws according to which it may not have less than 51% corn; it should be distilled to a minimum of 80% alcohol; no additive is permitted with the exception of distilled water and it should be bottled at a minimum of 40% alcoholic volume. The Whiskey produced according to these guidelines is called “Straight Bourbon”.


Brandy

Term that designates alcoholic spirits distilled from wine or the residue of the wine making process (grape skins). Fruit brandies are made from fermented fruit mash. Brandies are traditionally served after dinner.


Brass union

A threaded union that that facilitates the fastening of different parts of the alembic and sealing off the escape of vapours. Depending on the model this union may be found between the alembic head or vapour chamber and the swan neck pipe and between the swan neck pipe and condenser.


Cachaça

Tradicional Brazil's Moonshine, made from sugar cane, produced in small farms.


Calvados

Cider Brandy from the French region of Normandy.


Camomile

One of the oldest medicinal plants used by man, native to Europe and used in aromatherapy, for cosmetics, for making essential oils and floral waters. Camomile essential oil has a characteristic deep blue colour due to the presence of chamazulene, an anti-inflammatory compound.


Carrier oil

A vegetable oil, also known as base oil, used to dilute essential oils for massage treatments orfor any other topical treatment.


Cask

A wooden container, usually oak or some other wood, with a bulging midsection. Wines or alcoholic distillates are stored in barrels to allow for aging. The alcoholic beverage acquires certain characteristics from the wood such as the tannins or colouring.


Cassis

Famous French liqueur often used to make desserts made from the cassis berry or blackcurrant.


Cedar

This tree is native to the Middle East and the Himalayas and often used in landscaping, for wood, resins and for the extraction of essential oils. The wood from the cedar is highly aromatic but is not much used because of its fragility. Essential oils extracted from the cedar where among the first used. The Egyptians used Cedar essential oils to embalm their dead.


Chauffe

A French term that refers to the distillate from the first distillation process.

Bonne Chauffe: French term that refers to the distillate from the second distillation.


Choco

Small cylindrical cup on which sake is served.


Chord

Fragrance resulting from a combination of various notes.


Cider

A low alcoholic beverage made from fermented apples or apple juice. The famous French brandy, Calvados is made from cider.


Clove

An oriental aromatic plant cultivated all over the world, used in cuisine, for making cosmetics, essential oils, for relieving toothache and for masking bad breath.Its antiseptic qualities are well known. As far back as the 3rd century it was customary for Chinese to chew on a few cloves before addressing the Emperor.


Cognac

A well known eau-de-vie or brandy produced in French region of Charante. There are six delimited areas where cognac may be produced, these are: Grande-Champagne, Petite Champagne, Borderies, Fins Bois, Bons Bois, Bois Ordinaires. Cognac is made from selected white wines aged in oak barrels


Compress

Piece of gauze or cloth (linen or cotton) applied on wounds. In aromatherapy the compress is soaked in a solution with essential oils and applied cold or hot on the affected area.


Concretes

Concentrated essential oils extracted by means of the enfleurage method - used to obtain delicate fragrances such as jasmine, rose, gardenia, orange blossoms, angelica and other flowers. In the enfleurage method delicate flower petals, collected in the early morning are placed on glass plates and covered with fatty oils. Once these petals are spent they are replaced with fresh ones. The fatty oils that cover the petals absorb the essential oils concretes and are rinsed with alcohol afterwards. Once the alcohol evaporates you are left with concentrated essential oils known as absolutes.


Condensation

Physical phenomenon that occurs when a substance passes from its gaseous phase to its liquid phase once the vapours cool sufficiently.


Condensation unit

Part of an alembic or alquitar where the vapours are cooled and condensed by the cold water in the condenser or condensing recipient. In the alembic the condenser is separate from the pot but in the alquitar it is incorporated in the unit, sitting on top of the vapour chamber.


Condenser

Part of an alembic or alquitar where the vapours are cooled and condensed by the cold water in the condenser or condensing recipient. In the alembic the condenser is separate from the pot but in the alquitar it is incorporated in the unit, sitting on top of the vapour chamber.


Copper

Copper has been known and used for centuries. It is an excellent conductor of electricity, purifying agent, is malleable and has anti-pathogenic properties. Copper has been used in the fabrication of electrical conductors (wire, cables), metal alloys such as brass, alembics and for numerous other applications.


Coriander

An aromatic plant native to South East Asia and North Africa with a characteristic aroma and much appreciated in the Mediterranean for its culinary uses. The leaves, roots, flowers and seeds of the coriander may be used to flavour perfumes, liqueurs and for making essential oils with antispasmodic, stimulant or digestive properties.


Cut off points

Term that designates the points of separation of the different parts of the distillate. The three cut off points are: heads, hearts and tails. The heads and tails correspond to the first and last parts of the distillate and should be discarded as they are not fit for human consumption. To determine the precise cut off points of a distillate a thermometer and alcoholmeter are used. Basic distillation laws should be followed.


Cypress

A tree native to Southern Europe but also found across Europe and North America. It is known for its longevity hence the name “cupressus sempervirens”, literally “he who lives forever”. Cypress trees are used for wood, for extracting resin and essential oils. The Greeks highly appreciated its therapeutic properties and used it to stop bleeding.


Dermis

Layer of skin directly below the epidermis that consists of connective tissue and contains nerve endings, sweat and sebaceous glands, and blood and lymph vessels. Together with the epidermis and the hypodermis it forms the skin to protect the human body from external harm.


Desalination

Process of obtaining potable water from sea water by the elimination of dissolved salts and may be done by distillation. This process may be used in coastal areas where potable water is not freely available.


Distillate

This is the final result from the distillation of a fermented wash in an alembic or alquitar.


Distillation

The extraction of components of a substance by heating and collection of resultant vapours by condensation. This process may be used for the extraction of alcohol, essential oils and floral waters, for purifying water, desalination and in the petroleum industry. The four different processes of distillation are:

Simple: Describes the basic distillation method for the traditional alembic by heating a liquid or mash in an alembic pot to encourage the evaporation of volatile substances and subsequent condensation.

Steam: Employs steam to heat a substance sufficiently so as to release its volatile components. This is the process for the rotating column alembic and may be used for extracting essential oils and floral waters.

Fractional: Allows for the separation of a complex solution into its different components in a single distillation run by taking advantage of the difference in their boiling points. When employed for alcohol distillation the resultant distillate will have a higher alcoholic volume than with other methods. The liquid in a fractional column is continuously redistilled in a single run.

Continuous: A process of continuous uninterrupted collection of distillate


Diuretic

A substance that stimulates the kidneys to increase the amount of urine produced.


Draining pipe

An alembic accessory that facilitates cleaning and discharge after a distillation run.


Eau-de-Vie

A generic term for alcoholic beverages obtained from the fermentation and subsequent distillation of various fruits, cereals and aromatic plants.


Ebullition

Refers to the boiling point of a liquid when a substance passes from a liquid phase to a gaseous phase. Water evaporates at 100º C at sea level. Alcohol being a more volatile liquid evaporates at 78,35º C. The difference in boiling points allows for the separation of different components in a liquid solvent by distillation.


Emenogogue

Pharmacological substance that induces a menstrual flow.


Enfleurage

A traditional method of extracting essential oils from delicate flowers such as rose or jasmine which involves placing successive layers of petals on a glass plate covered with warm fatty oils (lard or wax was once used) This process is very costly and laborious though still used for the production of perfumes.


Epidermis

The outer layer of the skin that together with the dermis and hypodermis protects the body from external harm.


Escherichia coli O157

The Escherichia coli is a bacterial parasite found in the human intestine. The presence of E. coli in food is proof of contamination with faecal matter. The Escherichia coli 0157 is one of the more dangerous strains of this bacteria and may cause internal infection accompanied by bleeding.


Essencier

A recipient that allows for the simultaneous collection and separation of essential oils and floral waters produced in an alembic or alquitar.


Essential oils

Highly aromatic, volatile and insoluble substances extracted from leaves, flowers, stems and roots of plants by means of steam distillation or by means of some other method.


Esters

Chemical substances resultant from the interaction of acids from organic materials with alcohol (etherification), they impart the characteristic aroma of the fruit to the distillate.


Ethanol

Is the colourless alcohol soluble in water and other organic compounds present in alcoholic beverages, fuels, perfumes, lotions and antiseptics. Ethanol is the result of enzyme action during fermentation. During this process yeast cells convert sugars to alcohol.


Ethyl carbamate

A toxic substance which results from the conversion of cyanide in the stones of fruits during the fermentation process. The risk of contamination is reduced by the removal of the stones or pits before fermentation.


Eucalyptus

A tall tree native to Australia used for timber, to extract resin, to produce cellulose, charcoal and for the extraction of essential oils. Eucalyptus essential oils have therapeutic value, are antiseptic and may also be used.


Evaporation

Physical phenomenon that occurs when a substance passes from its liquid phase to its gaseous phase when heated.


Expectorant

Pharmacological substance that acts upon the respiratory system, promoting the release of phlegm or mucous from the respiratory tract.


Expression

Method of essential oil extraction, also known as cold pressing, used for citrus fruits such as lemon, orange, bergamot, tangerine and lime.


Fennel

An herbaceous plant from the Mediterranean often used in cuisine, for dental products and for making cosmetics or essential oils due to its therapeutic properties. It has diuretic and digestive properties and stimulates the production of breast milk.


Fermentation

Process of conversion of sugars (sucrose, glucose, fructose) into alcohol (ethanol) and carbon dioxide by the action of yeast cells.


Fins Bois

One of the six Cognac producing regions in France. The chalky soils of this region produce inferior quality cognacs with less bouquet.


Floral waters

Are a by-product of the distillation and are also known as hydrolats or hydrosols. Floral waters have therapeutic properties and may be used as skin toners and for cosmetics. They may be applied directly on the skin as the essential oils.


Foot bath

A traditional and simple method for relieving tired feet and legs by hot water immersion. By the addition of essential oils, bath salts and some pebbles the therapeutic benefits may be heightened. This treatment is effective as it stimulates the many nerve endings on the feet associated with the various organs of the body.


Fractionating column

The column allows for a fractional distillation process with a resultant high alcohol concentration equivalent to various distillation processes. The fractionating column is made up of various refining plates placed horizontally that permit successive evaporation and condensation of vapours. These plates may be substituted by packing in a (reflux column) to obtain a high alcoholic volume


Geranium

A garden plant native to Southern Africa and used for the extraction of essential oils, for perfumes, and pharmaceutical preparations. The geranium plant has antiseptic properties and is a great insect repellent.


Germination

Initial embryonic stages of plant growth from a seed, bulb or tuber.


Gin

This is the famed Dutch eau-de-vie made from juniper berries, at first introduced into England and now appreciated worldwide.


Grande Champagne

“Grand Champagne” has nothing to do with champagne, the sparkling drink but is one of the six Cognac producing regions in France. The cognacs produced in this region are considered to be of the best due to the quality of the soils.


Grappa

This is the Italian term for a vinic alcohol or grape spirit eau-de-vie. In Italy coffee may be accompanied by a shot of grappa (Caffè Corretto).


Haut Armagnac

One of the three French districts where Armagnac is produced. This district produces lower quality armagnac.


Heads

Refers to the first part of alcoholic distillate to flow from the condenser that is separated and discarded because of undesirable components that are present and that may spoil the distillate such as methanol.


Hearts

This is the part of distillate fit for human consumption, the part with the ethanol. The hearts are extracted after the heads and before the tails. To calculate the precise cutting off points an alcoholmeter is used.


Hydrolats


Hypodermis

The lowermost layer of skin with loose connective tissue and fat cells that together with the epidermis and dermis protects the body from external damage.


Hypothalamus

This is a region of the brain below the thalamus responsible for processing emotions, for the central nervous system, endocrine system, body temperature control, appetite and water balance in our organism.


Hyssop

An aromatic plant native to the Mediterranean and Central Asia, highly esteemed for its therapeutic properties. The leaves, flowers and stems are all used in aromatherapy treatments, for perfume making and liqueurs. It is known as an anti-inflammatory for the throat and tonsils.


Infusion

Method of extracting active components from plants by placing them in water or some other liquid close to or at boiling point.


Inhalation

The practice of breathing in of therapeutic vapours for the treatment of asthma, bronchitis sinusitis and flu.


Jabukovaca

Typical Serbian Moonshine, brandy made from apples.


Jasmine

Originally found in the European, Asiatic and African continents and highly appreciated for its exotic fragrance. Jasmine flowers are used in Aromatherapy treatments and in the perfume industry.


Jaundice

Yellow colouration of the skin and the white of the eyes from excess bile pigment in the blood deposited in these tissues.


Jeropiga

This is a sweet wine made in Portugal. A Jeropiga is made by suspending the fermentation process of a grape must with the addition of grape spirit (eau-de-vie) before all the sugars have been converted into alcohol. It may be used to sweeten Port wines.


Jiga

A Portuguese unit of measure used by the older generations. 1 Jiga is equal to 10 litres.


Jojoba

Native to arid regions of Central and South America. Jojoba oil is extracted from the flowers and used as a carrier oil, it is also used by the perfume industry and for cosmetics.


Juniper

This plant is native to the European continent. Its berries have many culinary uses including the flavouring of alcoholic drinks. Essential oils extracted from this plant are used in aromatherapy treatments by virtue of its antiseptic, calming and digestive properties.


Kirsch

Traditional German brandy made from black or red cherries.


Kóji

Raw material for the production of sake. It is a result of the elimination of excessive oil and protein of rice.


Lambanog

Typical Philippian Moonshine, made from coconut flower and with a high alcoholic grade (between 80% and 90%).


Lavanda


Lavender

An aromatic plant native to the Mediterranean whose flowers are highly prized by virtue of its therapeutic properties. It is used for making essential oils, perfumes and floral waters. It has antiseptic and analgesic properties.


Linden

An aromatic plant used for flavouring liqueurs, for making teas, pharmacological substances and essential oils by virtue of its calming and digestive properties.


Linseed

Linseed oil is extracted from the seeds and used for making varnish and various pharmacological substances with emollient and purgative properties.


Liqueur

Alcoholic beverage produced from alcohol, sugar, fruits and aromatic herbs.


Maceration

Method of extracting active ingredients from a substance. This method is used for making liqueurs and extracting essential oils. When making liqueurs, fruit or aromatic plants are placed in alcohol in order to dissolve its active components. Essential oils are extracted using solvents.


Malt

Barley or some other grains that have undergone the malting process.


Malting

This is a process in whiskey production which involves the soaking and germination of barley grains and subsequent drying. During this process some starches are converted to sugars.


Maromi

Mix of solid and liquid sake parts.


Mash

Material, welches durch das Zerdücken von Trauben oder anderen Früchten entsteht. Davon produziert man verschiedene alkoholische Getränke.


Mashing

During this whiskey process the malted grains are grinded so a greater quantity of starch may be released. This malt is then mixed with hot boiling water in a vessel called the mash tun and after a couple of hours the starch is transformed into maltose.


Masu

Traditional square wooden vessel where sake is served. It may be placed on a saucer or a cup can be placed inside it. In the feudal times it was used as a measure unit for rice.


Mead

An ancient alcoholic beverage enjoyed by the Celts, Saxons and Vikings made from the fermentation of honey with the addition of yeast and water.


Mestar

Result of the fermentation of the liquid harvested from the grapes/dates in Arak production.


Metallic belt structure

The metallic belt structure consists of a number of belts which are permanently welded along the bottom and sides of a large alembic A long metal bar is then welded to the top side of this structure to act as an axle. The copper pot is then assembled on a permanent brick structure to hold the axle and allow it to pivot. This structure facilitates the discharge of residues.


Methanol

Also known as methyl alcohol or wood alcohol and is a highly flammable and toxic alcohol. It is present in alcoholic distillates and is removed as part of the heads where it is concentrated.


Mezedes

These are Greek gastronomic delights similar to the Spanish “tapas” and are normally served accompanied by ouzo.


Mixto

Tequila made from 51% blue agave sugars and 49% from other sources.


Molasses

A thick sticky syrup produced as a by product of the sugar refining process.


Moonshine

Name given to high alcoholic grade beverages, characteristic of each Country, many times produced illegally. The expression means "by the shadow of the moon", reflecting its illegal nature.


Must

Pressed mass of grapes in their juice where fermentation will take place.


Notes

Term used to describe the various scents in a perfume released gradually as they evaporate when in contact with the warm surface of the skin.


Ouzo

Famous Greek eau-de-vie similar to Arak made from various berries and aromatic plants. Its main ingredient is aniseed.


Oxidation

The decomposition of essential oils when exposed to oxygen.


Oxyacetylene welding

A gas welding process using oxygen and acetylene gas to generate a very hot flame for joining two pieces of metal together.


Parrot spout

A fundamental accessory placed at the exiting spout of a condenser and used in conjunction with an alcoholmeter for taking constant alcoholic concentration readings of the distillate. It is useful for determining precise cut off points.


Patchouli

A plant native to India with therapeutic properties used to make essential oils and perfumes.


Peat

Decaying plant matter found in marshes and swamps and used as a combustible fuel.


Petite Champagne

One of the six French Cognac producing regions. The soil is similar to that of Grand Champagne, and a cognac of similar quality is produced there.


pH

Refers to the measure of acidity or alkalinity in a solution - the lower the pH the higher the acidity. A pH of 7 is considered neutral.


Phylloxera

This insect is native to the American continent and was introduced to Europe by vines brought over from there. These insects caused a terrible crises that destroyed many grape vines and continue plague wine growers.


Pot

This is the part of the alembic where the wash or mash is placed and heated to encourage the evaporation of the more volatile components for the extraction of alcoholic distillates, essential oils and floral waters.


Pre-heater

This is like a holding tank or reservoir for the Charentais Alembic. This recipient with its peculiar onion shape is filled with wine and is preheated by the swan neck pipe which passes through it. The heat is generated by the vapours from the pot or boiler. The pre-heated wine is subsequently passed to the pot for distillation. This unit is considered a time saver and is the traditional still for making Cognac brandies.


Pulque

An ancient fermented beverage made from aguamiel, the juice extracted from the agave plant. This beverage is still consumed in Mexico.


Puskar

Tradicional Estonian Moonshine, made from potatoes.


Raki

Traditional Turkish Moonshine made from aniseed.


Refining lentil

An alembic accessory placed between the vapour chamber of the alembic and the swan neck pipe. Its main purpose is to save time as the distiller has no need to proceed with a second distillation process to obtain higher levels of alcohol in the final distillate. The refining lentil carries out an initial condensation of vapors as heavier (less volatile) substances drop back into the still pot thus only allowing lighter vapours (higher alcohol concentration) to pass through to the water cooled coils in the condenser.


Refining plates

These plates or trays are placed horizontally in the fractionating column and allow for the successive condensation and re-evaporation of the distillate resulting in higher alcoholic concentrations equivalent to multiple distillations.


Reflux column

This horizontal column is placed on top of the alembic unit and functions much like the fractioning column. The refining plates in this case are replaced by packing. As the vapours rise up the column the heavier or less volatile components condense on the packing while the more volatile vapours continue to rise up and are drawn off.  This results in a distillate with a higher alcoholic concentration.


Rivet

This is a small round metal peg used in the construction of riveted union alembics and alquitars. The rivet is hammered into a small hole joining two plates together and hammered at the other end to form two heads and a permanent bond.


Rosemary

An aromatic plant of Mediterranean origin often used as a condiment, for teas and for flavouring liqueurs. It is also used for making essential oils and floral waters because of its therapeutic properties.


Rum

Rum is a distilled beverage made from molasses and may have distinctive properties depending on the country of origin.


Sakazuki

Vessel similar to a saucer used to serve sake.


Sake

Japanese liqueur made out of fermented rice and water with an alcoholic grade between 18% and 20%.


Sandalwood

A tropical Asian tree valued for its wood and used for extracting essential oils used in the perfume and cosmetics industry. It has a warm sweet fragrance and is used in India in religious rituals.


Schnapps

This is a German term for a strong clear unsweetened distillate or eau-de-vie made from various grains or fruits.


Serpentine coil

This is a spiral tube in the interior of the condenser or condensing unit which allows for the distillate vapours to condense and run off.


Sesame seeds

The oily seeds of this plant, native to India, are used for making vegetable oils, flour and cosmetics.


Sherry

Sherry is a fortified wine from the Jerez de la Frontera region in Spain. It is a strong sweet wine made from selected wine grape varieties.


Shubo

Grain paste result of the mixture between Kóji, water and vaporized rice. It is left to ferment on a vat for 30 days.


Sieve

This perforated plate is incorporated in some alembics especially for the steam distillation units to separate the organics from the water or eau-de-vie. It may also be sold separately for placing at the base of the alembic pot to avoid burning the mash or caramelising the sugars present.


Sljivovica

Typical Serbian Moonshine, brandy made from plums.


Soluble

Term that expresses the ability of a substance to dissolve in another substance.


Spirto

Result of the distillation of Mestar.


Spout

This is the outlet pipe for the distillate from the condensation unit of an alembic or alquitar.


Star Anis

This plant is native to China and Japan and is similar to aniseed although more potent .It has anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, calming, digestive, and diuretic properties. It is used in cuisine, for making essential oils and to flavour liqueurs. The main component of Tamiflu, the well known medication used against bird flu (H5N1), is star anis.


Stimulant

Pharmacological agent that acts upon the central nervous system for increasing physical activity, increasing levels of concentration, mood and cognitive abilities.


Sugar

Carbohydrate found naturally in fruits and vegetables. Sugar may be made from sugar cane, sugar beet or corn. When added to a must or wash it accelerates the fermentation process.

Invert sugar:Is obtained by heating sugar syrup and acidic substances to break down sucrose into its basic components - glucose and fructose.

Raw sugar:This type of sugar is not fully processed. It may include demerara and muscovado which do not undergo the refining process.


Sulphuric Acid

A strong mineral acid that is soluble in water and accumulates in alembics when not used for some time. High concentrations of this acid may be corrosive.


Swan neck

Connecting pipe between the vapour chamber and the condensing unit with the characteristic swan neck shape. Evaporating vapours from the alembic pass through the swan neck and liquefy in the condenser.


Tails

This is the final portion of distillate to exit the condenser and together with heads should be discarded as these contain toxic substances. The tails are collected once the distillate vapours descend to 82 º C. The tails of grape distillates can be distinguished from hearts which are clear by its milky opaque colour. Precise cut off points are measured using an alcoholmeter.


Tannins

Organic substances present in wine responsible for characteristics such as colouration and aroma. Tannins are found in grape skins, seeds and stems (soft or sweet tannins). Oak barrels, used in the aging process of wines also contribute to the tannins present in wines (hard tannins).


Tapetusa

Tradicional Colombia's Moonshine, made from corn.


Tenarèze

One of the three French districts where Armagnac is produced. These lands have chalky clay soils that give birth to violet flavoured armagnacs suitable for aging.


Tequila

Popular Mexican alcoholic spirit made from the fermentation of the blue agave plant juices. It is made exclusively in the Mexican states of Jalisco, Guanajuato, Michoacán, Tamaulipas e Nayarit.


Tetrahydrocannabinol

This is the active substance found in cannabis also known as THC that is responsible for the psychotropic effects of this plant.


Thalamus

Part of the diencephalon located at the base of the brain responsible for processing and classifying sensorial information.


Tharra

Tradicional Indian Moonshine, made from the fermentation of sugar cane pulp.


Thermometer

An alembic accessory which may be separated or incorporated in the alembic which allows for an exact temperature reading of the distillate vapours of alcoholic spirits, essential oils or floral waters. Precise cut off points of the distillate can be calculated with the use of a thermometer and alcoholmeter.


Thujone

The principle ingredient in Artemisia Absinthum or wormwood-used in making essential oils and absinthe. It is considered as a neurological stimulant and may cause sensory or psychic alterations if abused.


Tóji

Name given to the ones who produce sake. Highly respected job in Japan that is passed as a tradition from father to son.


Tonic

A substance or agent that that reinvigorates a debilitated organism.


Turf

Decaying plant matter found in marshes and swamps and used as a combustible fuel.


Vapour chamber

This is the onion shaped alembic dome lid where evaporating vapours from the pot or boiler collect before proceeding to the condenser via the swan neck pipe.


Vasodilator

This is a substance that dilates the blood vessels and thus decreases blood pressure.


Veronica

The leaves of this aromatic plant are used to flavour liqueurs, for making teas and ointments. The veronica plant has digestive and antispasmodic properties.


Vetiver

This plant is used to make essential oils, in the perfume industry and in aromatherapy. The leaves of this plant are also used for making mats and basketry.


Viljamovka

Typical Serbian Moonshine, brandy made from pears.


Vodka

This alcoholic spirit is made from various cereals (corn, rye and wheat), tubers (potatoes, beetroots), molasses soy beans, grapes and rice. Both the Russians and the poles claim to be the first to distill Vodka.


Volatile


Volatile component

Descriptive of certain substances, liquids or solids that evaporate easily. During distillation the more volatile components are the first to exit due to their low boiling points.


Wash

A fermentable solution for alcohol production that may be of fruit, cereals or sugar.


Whisky

Whisky may be made from malted or unmalted barley depending on the desired result. Barley is the main ingredient of Scotch and Irish whiskey whereas Canadian and American whiskies may be made from various cereals such corn, rye or barley.


White Lightning

Typical Moonshine from the Appalachia area, USA, made from corn and sugar.


Wormwood

A bitter extract is obtained from wormwood for flavouring liqueurs and wines.It was much used in traditional medicine as a tonic and due to its antipyretic and anthelmintic properties. It was also used in the beginning of the 20th century for making absinthe. Thujone is the active ingredient of this plant.


Yeast

This micro-organism is absolutely vital in the fermentation.


Ylang-ylang

A South East Asian plant from which essential oils with a sweet exotic aroma are extracted. Fine perfumes and cosmetics are made the essential oil. The name means “flower of flowers” and refers to its intense fragrance.