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Crossover 53 I Peppermint and Swiss pine cone spirit

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Inside World Spirits © Episode 5 – Swiss Pine Cone Spirit
(in German) in the protected area

Everything revolves around the subject:

• Spirits variants from the resinous Swiss pine cones
• Talk partners: the Austrians Alfred Dunst of Hoedl Hof Fruit Distillery
and the distiller icon Valentin Latschen of the Pfau Distillery
• Live act by Alfred Dunst (Swiss pine schnapps to copy)
• host Wolfram Ortner – 20 minutes of exciting and profound presentation
• Botanical: mint, Patrick Altermatt, Switzerland

• Products/ spirits:
Swiss pine cask (Swiss pine schnapps), Hoedl Hof Fruit Distillery, Austria
Swiss pine schnapps (Swiss pine-apple), Pfau Distillery, Austria

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Background information about the episode:

Alpine Infusion in a Spirits Glass

Concerning the taste of a Swiss pine spirit – regardless whether a spirit, schnapps or liqueur – the routes of the fans differ significantly. Some consider the product a sauna infusion, others a delicious gift of nature. In „ no man’s land“ one encounters hardly anyone.
The Swiss pine – and the diversity of its „spiritual“ products - is domiciled in the entire Alpine region and grows in positions from 1,200 up to almost 3,000 metres sea level. Especially in the ‚Biosphere Park Carinthian Nock Mountains’ one can find very many of these conifers. In various regions there are legal provisions which regulate the collection of Swiss pine cones. „Black sheep“ or a black market respectively will always exist, as with mushrooms.

Only a few years ago the cones were mainly processed by private people and farms. In the meantime however, commercial and industrial companies have acquired a liking for schnapps, spirits or liqueur from Swiss pine. The interest of the market confirms this strategy. Some producers use not only Swiss pine cones but distill these together with apple or pear mash etc. respectively. This results in an aromatic and fruit-focused product in which the „aroma overkill“ is not paramount.
The production of a steeped spirits doesn’t demand any craftsmanship. Ripe cones are cut into slices (please wear gloves!), doused with corn schnapps or vodka and placed behind a pane facing the sun for approx. six weeks. The alcohol dissolves the ethereal oils, the ratio between alcohol and amount of cones regulates the intensity. The addition of sugar is responsible concerning whether it is a spirit or a liqueur with more than 100 grammes of sugar per litre of alcohol. If the whole thing is only macerated in alcohol and distilled without adding sugar, we speak of a spirit which ends up colourless in a bottle. In the ideal case the classic macerated Swiss pine has got a nice red colour.

Products/ Spirits & Distilleries

Hödl Hof – Quality over generations since 1542

“We have been farming our 20 hectares of fruit ecologically for decades, out of conviction, because we live and work there. We grow pears, apricots, grapes, damsons, old varieties of apples, rowanberries, elderberry, walnuts, hazelnuts and sweet chestnuts. 24 hectares of forest provide the wood to heat our farm and for barrels to store the distillates, but we also collect tree shoots, wild fruits, roots and mushrooms. Soft, low-mineral water for our production comes from our own spring, which for generations has also been our drinking water.
The fully ripe fruits travel the shortest way through the fermenting cellar directly to the copper distilling kettles. As is the old-Styrian tradition, double distillation takes place, only the high proof heart is extracted and stored in wood, glass or stainless steel containers. We distil between 500 and 700 tonnes of mash annually.
Our own brands are a special service, which we develop for those interested – from our schnapps and fine brandies to vodka, whisky, rum or gin and liqueurs and other spirits. More information can be found at”
These are the outstanding achievements at the World Spirits Award: First Class Distillery 2019 with gold for Stone Pine Cone Liqueur, 1542 Sea of Flowers London Dry Gin, Styros Aniseed, Walnut Liqueur and Sour Cherry Fruit Juice Liqueur, and silver for Hazelnut-Nougat-Cream Liqueur, Coffee Cream Liqueur, 1542 Woodmaster London Dry Gin, Blueberry Juice Liqueur, Raspberry Juice Liqueur, Stone Pine Schnapps, 1542 Old Classic London Dry Gin, Oval Old Eastern Style 2012 and Oval Western Style 2018.

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