Rotovap "Still" Arrived
Purchasing the Buchi Rotovap was an early and perhaps impulsive decision. It was the first piece of equipment to arrive. Julia worked with one during her Ph.D studies at the University of Utah (but she says this is the "Cadillac" model compared to the one from her studies). I was inspired by a couple of gins using one of these, including the Audemus Pink Peppercorn Gin from France. This rotovap is a registered still with the TTB.
For those not familiar, this device pulls a vacuum and allows a quick and low temperature distillation. We've been using it to make distilled extracts from botanical infusions. Initially, it's provided a fast way to sample a botanical as a distillate. We can perform a 30 minute or less distillation from a small amount of material. It's also helping in recipe formulation, as we can do several quick runs on different combinations in an afternoon. It's proving invaluable in training our own senses...for instance in getting to know the differences and subtleties among similar botanicals - like the related artemisia species of mugwort and grand absinthe.
Finally, we expect it will work well for a small concentrated batch of a spirit botanical. It should do wonders with delicate aromatics like rose petals, lavender, and others. It's already revealed new dimensions of botanicals like anise, which smells just divine off the rotovap. We consider our lab integral to the workflow of the distillery, as we explore the uses and properties of different substances and botanicals. This work will never be done as long as our doors are open.