A Little Note on Non Chill-Filtration
At Wright & Brown Distilling Company, we don’t chill-filter our whiskey or rum.
With all the cold weather and temperature fluctuation we’ve had over the past month or so, we’ve occasionally seen flocculation: some haze and little clouds of oils and esters form in our rum and whiskey. These oils and esters are a natural part of fermentation and distillation. They aren’t visible to the naked eye until the bottles are stored at cold temperature for a period of time. When the spirits get cold they may form hazy flocculations. There is nothing to worry about with this floc. In fact it shows that our spirits are the natural, rich, heavy bodied and non-chill filtered spirits that we say they are.
Big industrial distilleries and some smaller ones remove these esters and oils by a process called chill-filtration. They refrigerate and then pump the spirits through plate filters. Doing so removes the risk of haze forming, but it also removes many other elements that contribute to flavor and mouthfeel.
The floc or haze goes away by giving the bottle a good shake. It won’t come back again until it is once again stored at cold temperatures.
Check out this article from Bruichladdich Distillery in Scotland. They describe the science behind this phenomenon a little better than we do... and, remember: if you care about flavor, don’t chill-filter!