The distillery and the Mascaró way of distilling

The Mascaró distilled products (brandy, gin, orange liqueur, marc and cocoa liquor) are high quality products with a strong personality.

For its production we use natural products and our own distillery, located in the heart of the Penedès region, one of three wine distilleries existing today in Catalonia (Spain).

The grapes from our estates, with little degree and many flavors as possible, are the origin of Mascaró distilleds, made with care and professionalism following the method of double distillation and a long aging period in barrels.

The elaboration process of distillates

The grapes that we work on our estates (“Mas Miquel” and “El Castell”) arrives to our distillery, where we use the 2nd pressed juice with good quality as raw material for our spirits.

The distillation process includes a wine process different from the one used for producing cavas or wines. We keep the grape-juice in underground deposits without clarifying or filtering until we begin the process of distillation that we make in our distillery once a year.

The process of distillation at Mascaró is done in the winter, so the cold outside helps condensation. We have a gas boiler that heats the water that transformed into vapour flows through pipes and boil the wine that we have in alambics. At Mascaró we have 11 alambic Charentais that we use for preparing our spirits.

When the wine begins to boil in the alambics, we remove the methanol which is harmful to health, and it begins the process of open distillation: vapours of wine containing flavors become concentrated in the still head, through the gooseneck and fall into a tank containing a coil with cold water that causes condensation.

At the end of this process we obtain the distillation of wine, a clear liquid that in its first distillation is 40% alcohol. Here we separate heads (containing methanol) and we keep working with hearts, the central part, which is more interesting from the standpoint of taste and aroma. Queues remain in the still, a waste that is not interesting for us. For example, if we are distilling a red wine, the color stays within the still as it material that solidifies.

Then we distill again the central part, the hearts of the first distillation, in another alambics with similar capacity. Again there is an evaporation of alcohol, which are concentrated and enriched in the still head, through the gooseneck and then in the condensation tank. Mascaró distillates are made ​​with the technique of the double distillations, which is used to produce cognac, getting the most aromatic fraction for our products.

In the second distillation we taste samples until we come to the “holland” which is distilled wine at 70% alcohol and then we separate again heads, hearts and queues in different fractions. We keep the “holland” in stainless steel tanks until we move it to the aging tank. It may be destined for brandy production or for any other type of alcohol, but at Mascaró we only used for our brandies.

The term “holland” comes from the wine traffic commercial with Netherlands centuries ago. In many cases the wine was damaged in the travel and ir order to solve this they decided to boil it and concentrate it before the trip, and once in Holland, they put water and spices to consume it. The term brandewijn, which then evolved to brandy, means ” burnt wine” in Dutch.

Mascaró brandy, an author product

The second phase of the distillates production such as brandy is aging. According to the regulation, brandy must be aged in oak barrels for a maximum of 1.000 liters. At Mascaró we use French oak barrels with a capacity of 300 liters.

The role of barrel aging in distillates is oxidation, ie, allowing some oxygen enter through the wood and this helps to create other compounds and derivatives in the brandy, making the product evolves.

According to the regulation, the product must be in the barrel at least 6 months. The Mascaró brandies, however, are there for a period of 3 years. We have also some barrels aging for longer time, and we use it in developing the final product. This means that most of our brandy has 3 years of aging, but there are bottles that may contain brandy aged for much longer (5, 8 or 10 years).

In the aging process in barrels we lose the 6% of production, called “the angels” that evaporates.
A distinguishing factor of Mascaró distillates is that we distill and age different grape varieties and vintage separately. So, we have a base distilled Parellada, a base distilled Macabeo and and other varieties of every year. We age small quantities of varieties and vintages separated and then we produce our brandies by blending.

The blend of Mascaró distillates is a process that we handmade with great care and professionalism, to follow the line of products that our customers expect.

The final step in the production of Mascaró brandy

While the brandy is aging it has 70º, but the final product is 40°. So in the process of preparation there is still another way in which we reduce the degree with demineralized water. This process is carried out in the most natural way possible: adding water little by little in small barrels and when the product has assimilated it well, then we move it to a big barrel.

As the ancient alchemists, we have studied and researched to become experts in the distillation and preparation of drinks like brandy. Thus, under careful professionalism and following the Mascaró family tradition, we blend the brandy, a traditional process, once the product has 40 degrees of alcohol.

After blended, we stabilize the brandy in a wood barrel and finally we filter it to achieve a clean and transparent product. This is achieved by bringing the product to -18º, which remove any solid component that can contain the product, such as fatty acids characteristic of the aging process. Given the high alcohol content of brandy, it does not freeze and so it is easy to finish the filtering process.

The final touch of our brandy production is a color correction that it is performed with caramel food that does not taste and the addition of sugar (3 to 5 grams per liter), in order to counteract the typical bitterness of the aging process.

The bottling process is a peculiarity compared to other drinks. Before filling the bottle of brandy, there is a pre-drain with the same product because a minimum rest of water in the bottle could vary the level of the final product. Some of our final processes are manual, we manually fill bottles of some distillates such as Gin 9 gin and perform hand finishes in brandies like Ego, aged in oak barrels for 8 years.

Our expertise and tradition in the elaboration of distillates (brandy, gin, orange liqueur, marc and cocoa liquor) are hallmarks of our brand, with which, over the years, we have forged the quality and prestige of Mascaró distilleds.