In today’s edition of our series “3 Questions for ...”, Jens Horstmann tells us something about his exciting work as a distiller at the Berentzen Group …
Jens, you are a distiller in the distillery at Berentzen Hof in Haselünne. What else do you do besides work at the still?
All the preparations and follow-up work involved with working at the still. That includes selecting the right raw materials for each final product, then mashing the grain and monitoring the fermentation process. After the boiling process, the stillage remaining in the still pot has to be removed and then the distilled product needs to be measured and recorded, of course. I am also in constant contact with the Customs Service because they oversee the production of alcohol and also personally monitor each filling and emptying of the wooden barrels on location to record the shrinkage. In addition, the boiler and water treatment system need to be regularly inspected to ensure proper functioning and finally, the final product needs to be filtered and filled.
I’m sure that a distiller needs to have a good sense of taste. But which role does the sense of smell play in your work?
Some people probably don’t know that without the sense of smell, we would only be able to taste the five main flavours of sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami (savoury).
All other flavours are sensed from aromas in the nose. Thus, smell and taste are closely related although they are two completely different senses. And so to answer your question, the sense of smell plays a very important role in my work.
What spirits do you most like to drink in your free time?
I mostly like to drink gin in my free time. What is interesting about this category of spirits is how many types of gin with different flavours are available in the market today. When you mix it with tonic water as a long drink, the combination possibilities are practically endless, which entices me to always try out new variations.