Iberian Coppers, S.A. from Portugal is a producer of copper alembic stills which are used in whisky distillation. I got the chance to do a quick Q&A with their CEO David Reis. Quick background knowledge: the size and shape of the copper still influences the spirit greatly. Generally the more the spirit interacts with the copper, the lighter it becomes. If you are curious about the whisky making process then this will be a quick and insightful read. Thanks David Reis for sharing your expertise with us!
What makes copper whisky stills unique for whisky distillation as compared to other spirits? Specifically how does the copper still interact with the spirit?
David: The whiskey distillation requires a very accurate temperature reading during the process, copper is used due to its amazing heat conduction, very helpful for both heating and cooling of the vapors. Cyanides (found in fruit stones) usually produce high amounts of ethyl carbamate prevented by the properties of the copper sheets, reducing any bacterial contamination. The copper sheets react with the mash on a molecular level making the final distillate different from any other material.
How does the size and shape of the copper still influence the flavor of the spirit?
David: Copper absorbs the sulfur and yeast cells which are produced during the fermentation reducing undesirable compounds keeping the distillate sweet and improving the aroma. Your whiskey will taste way better than using any other material, because copper processes only the best part of the mash and the results are optimal without traces of undesirable flavor.
What is unique about your whisky stills that differentiate you from competitors?
David: The factory was founded in 1837 and has been operating ever since. This art and know-how has been passed down from generation to generation. To keep up with more modern times traditional techniques have, at times, been modified and new alembic models have been presented. Presently we have a wide and varied clientele who have placed their confidence in our traditional alembics. Our quality manufacturing and customer service are the most important ideals of our company.
Who are some of your customers who buy copper stills for whisky distilling purposes?
David: During the past years we had some customers requesting our stills for whiskey production, either from the US or the UK. Many of our clients are starting companies and home distillers who aim for the personal flavor and to try different recipes. Small equipment is great to start with, very simple to use and produces great flavorful results. Our traditional Whiskey Still is used by many distilleries to create new recipes and combine new flavors.