Purple Palate Blog

The Column Still=Coffey Still, Patent Still and Continuous Still-innovations in distillation

Distillation is the process of physically separating/purifying component products from a liquid mixture by the use of evaporation and steam. The process was (probably) first discovered by the Greeks, creating flammable, intoxicant substances from wine (fermented grapes). It travelled throughout the known world through travels of monks (carrying alcohol medicines(tinctures)) and the invasion of Europe by the Moors (Ottoman empire). The first stills were Pot Stills, which was a large single chambered Pot that boiled the fermented mixture(mash, wort etc) separating the components at different volatility (boiling points). These liquids become gases and rise to the top of the still, […]

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Irish Whiskey-A turning of the tide.

Currently I am studying WSET4, and the notes, and history of Irish Whiskey is one of a vibrant and strong industry, well supported and loved, then a massive crash all but deleting the industry. To give you an idea, a very brief overview of the history of Irish Whiskey. 1200s Irish monks bring the distillation process (including tincturing, and steeping) to Ireland. 1405 Recipes were handed down orally, rather then written. so first written in 1405 with the death of a landed man from a “surfeit of Acqua Vitae” , with the Latin “Acqua Vitae” in Gallic being “uisce beatha”, […]

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Oloroso-Oxidative handled Sherry.

Oloroso is a Sherry style made in the DO (Denominazian of Origin) of Spain, particularly Jerez-Xerxes, and Sanluca de Barrameda. Oloroso literally means Ordorous or Scented.  Rightly too. Where Fino style sherries, are biologically aged under a covering of flor (yeasts-mainly Saccharomyces), Oloroso has no biological aging after initial full fermentation, but the flor dies off when fortified to the 17.5% alcohol. It instead undergoes Oxidative aging in old barrels or Butts, to produce a Dry style, Pale to Medium tawny looking wine that has medium noses of coffee, nuts, almond meal and tobacco.  With a Palate of Dry, very low […]

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Sherry Industry- A study of stubborness

“Can I get a bottle of Sherry for cooking?” That is the main question I receive regularly, and it shows to me that the industry is waning rapidly. Firstly I’ll talk about Sherry the Spanish Jerez-Xerxes DO and Sanlucar de Barrmenda Manzanilla DOs. Sherry as a category has dropped from the high of 1979, where it exported 1.5million hectolitres and has been in steady decline to recent years.  As example of this decline 2010 465000 hl with a drop of 20% in 2014 to 364000 hL. Reasons for this decline are many. Complacency was a big factor, with too many […]

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Fortified Wines

Fortified wines are classed by the EU as “Liqueurs”, and generally range from 15% to 22% ABV. They are called so because of the use of a fortifying spirit.  This spirit is usually grape based but has been known to be grain and even coal spirit. In broad strokes historically there are 4 general distinctions in the category. VDN, or Vin Doux Naturale, which are essentially Must (wine grape juice), that has undergone little to no fermentation and is fortified to 17-20% ABV.  Very sweet, very alcoholic, very little tannin, and may have slight oxidised characters if Maderized. In the […]

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“That’s seems really cheap/expensive.”-Halo effect on Wine, Spirits and Beer

In the world of marketing and retailing, there is a term that evokes fury and favour in many wine/spirits/beer producers and customers/retailer. It is the Halo effect. A quick explanation is this. halo effect noun noun: halo effect; plural noun: halo effects the tendency for an impression created in one area/product to influence opinion in another area/product. A good use of the halo effect is in brewing, with a good brewer making a name for itself on a great beer it has produced, then getting the rest of it’s range in on the back of it.  Stone and Wood’s Pacific […]

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Sin of the Mermaid Rose

Made by the guys at Pirate Cru Wines-Jennifer and Dirk, the team that also brings you: Dante Gabriel, William Hunt, John Millais, and the Ford Maddox Brown Slurpy Puppy. The label designed by Maleny’s own Thomas Hamlyn-Harris, of TThink Designs. I’ll let him talk about the concept and design of a wine label. “Andrew from Purple Palate introduced me to Jennifer from Pirate Cru at a wine tasting. It was not long before Jennifer, Dirk and I were sitting down over a few wines discussing pirate mythology, 18th century paintings and old vines in the Barossa Valley – just your […]

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“What’s Craft Beer?”

“What is this craft beer people keep going on about?” Is a question I am asked repeatedly. My thought was a beer, that was specially made for a niche market or niche group of people, that was not produced in huge quantities. Ironically, some of the best craft brewers now produce as much as some of our regular domestic brewers. Craft seems to mean to some, high priced, left field beers, you need to struggle to drink.  They are not necessarily wrong, as many craft beers are very confronting, and have flavour profiles that sometime defy description and cost a […]

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“I have no idea what to buy !”-Christmas Gifts and Alcohol

We have all got friends and family for whom we have no idea what to get. We’ll walk into a bottleshop, look around, realise we have no idea, then go to the shop attendant, and ask him what we should get. Here are a couple of very very broad generalisations on buying liquor for others. Men like Red Wine, Spirits and Beer. Men like to experience new tastes and flavours.  They are generally happy with pretty much most things, if you want to get him something special. Look for: Limited releases in Spirits Glenmorangie Companta 700ml ($135.00) Jack Daniels Gentleman Jack […]

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Cocktails and Cheap Ingredients

I love a good cocktail.  The skill in blending, mixing, the theatre or creation, and just the balance of flavours takes a casual drink into a night of entertainment and epicurean delight. However retail wise, I get a lot of people coming in and buying cocktail ingredients for cocktail nights, and home events and asking what they should buy. Probably the simplest maxim is, if it’s worth drinking straight, it’s worth mixing. Putting good ingredients into a cocktail, is like cooking.  Best ingredients for the best result. However in the real world, I have found that cocktail are broken into […]

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Purple Palate supports the Responsible Service of Alcohol. New South Wales: Liquor Act 2007. It is against the law to sell or supply alcohol to, or to obtain alcohol on behalf of, a person under the age of 18 years. Victoria: WARNING: Victoria Liquor Control Reform Act 1998: It is an offence to supply alcohol to a person under the age of 18 years (Penalty exceeds $7,000), for a person under the age of 18 years to purchase or receive liquor (Penalty exceeds $600). WARNING. Under the Liquor Control Act 1988, it is an offence: to sell or supply liquor to a person under the age of 18 years on licensed or regulated premises; or for a person under the age of 18 years to purchase, or attempt to purchase, liquor on licensed or regulated premises. South Australia: Liquor Licensing Act 1997, Section 113. Liquor must NOT be supplied to persons under 18. Queensland: Under the Liquor Act 1992, it is an offence to supply liquor to a person under the age of 18 years. ABN 79 089 224 493. Licence No 82612