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“Back in the early days,” said Long, “the spirit was never consistent. Wild herbs taste different every day that you pick them. There was also a scalability problem.” It was Camorino’s mother who suggested making essential oils from the herbs to capture and preserve the flavors at their peak. Solving one problem then created another. “The great thing about doing [essential oils],” said Camorino, “was I got the flavor profiles I wanted, but the bad thing was I realized why no one in the booze business uses essential oils. It’s too expensive. It takes a lot of time. I had to design and build my own pots. They have an agitator in them, basically a big spoon that spins around at 50 rpm, and the column design has very few plates in it, but it’s very wide and very tall and has the same volume inside the column as it has inside the pot above the waterline.” Finally distilling the flavors Camorino wanted, he admitted he doesn’t know why it works. “My theory is that [the still design] makes the distillation super slow. Because it’s super slow and spinning, it creates a vortex and all the flavors get mixed up. The berries, which contain a lot of glycerin, have a density similar to the essential oils. They work together to permeate the alcohol as the alcohol passes through the column. I don’t know if that’s true or just bullshit, but that’s the theory in my head,” he said laughing. “It took about three years of me beating metal to get that right.” When Long, Camorino, and a third partner, Matthew O’Brien, sought entry in the US market, they purposely entered slowly. “We launched exclusively in Colorado and Chile last August (2017),” said Long, who is responsible for sales and development. “The TTB recognized us as an entirely new category of spirits. We thought they were going to call us a brandy because we are fruit based, but they went with a descriptor instead. Whenever they come across, from what I researched, a new type of spirit, they typically use a descriptor to give the consumer an idea of what’s in it. So just like Chartreuse is Chartreuse or Fernet is Fernet, we say Träkál is Träkál, both a brand and a category.” The company chose Colorado because of its similarities to Patagonia. “We call Denver ‘Patagonia North’,” laughed Long, a West Virginia native. “Colorado made a lot of sense because of the outdoor industry and the growing cocktail market.” With enthusiastic mixologists like Osborne on board, the distillery is prepared for growth. For 2019, they are expanding distribution to other states, beginning with Arizona, California, Georgia, and Nevada, and British Columbia in Canada with parts of Europe to follow. Long and Camorino want the world to experience Patagonia through a bottle of Träkál. “All we’re trying to do is be honest,” said Camorino. “Patagonia is the outdoors; it’s the majesty of the place; it’s the frontier spirit. It’s the fact that nature basically tells you what to do every day.”

Träkál is located in Osorno, Chile. Visit www.trakal.com for more information. 142 

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Profile for Artisan Spirit Magazine

Artisan Spirit: Spring 2019  

The magazine for craft distillers and their fans.

Artisan Spirit: Spring 2019  

The magazine for craft distillers and their fans.