Distilled Spirits the Charbay Way

The Art and Passion Behind 13 Generations of Distillers

Learn what makes Charbay unique and the impact it has on their distilled spirits.

Go behind the scenes to a 13 generation distilling family and one of the earliest craft distilleries in America. Distiller Marko and his father and founder/distiller, Miles, talk through what makes Charbay unique and the impact it has on their resulting spirits.

Learn more about Charbay Distillery.


  • 00:20 – Marko discusses different types of stills and the work that goes into maintaining a specific the still to achieve their unique flavors. 
  • 3:33 – Not all water is created equal…why does the quality of water effect flavors in the distilling process?
  • 4:30 – The right barrel makes all the difference…how do different types and ages of barrels give flavor to distilled spirits?
  • 6:46 – One still, one distiller…traditions passed down for 13 generations, adapted for each generations style. 
  • 8:03 – The absence of sameness… difference is in everyday. How does change make Charbay stand out?
Read the transcript

Well Charbay, when we when we run our still it’s a copper alembic pot still. It’s not a column still and there’s a huge difference between column stills and alembic pot stills. It’s not as as easy to run an alembic still. Column stills were more designed to be set and you get a desired proof coming out and that’s great but I think for our purposes and what we like to do the Alembic Cognac still is fabulous because again, it gives us the ability to create the body and then it gives us the the opportunity to fill that body with flavor and make the final product. That is a huge difference and it gives you as a distiller the ability to really create the body of the distillate on the first run and then on the second time through take the best part of the flavor of the entire run as your finished product. It’s super slow, it’s not as efficient as a column still and it’s an art form. To run it properly you’ve got to know what you’re looking for. Once you start running is still for years and years and years and years, you start creating your own style and profile of distillation it’s all you know. It’s all by feel and that’s it. It’s not easy to do, you gotta pay attention and my dad taught me to be running 24 hours a day. Sometimes if you sleep like three hours a day and you keep running and the days go on if you don’t stop ten days straight 24 hours a day. It’s a it gets a little crazy. I often think about different types of stills and creating  our own beast so to speak our own our own style of still but at the same time there’s just there’s no comparison between a cognac still a true Olympic pot still and a column still because you’re not going to develop the body as in a column still as you will in a pot still and they’re true a lot big pot still so I think about it when it’s you know the tenth day 11th day or 12th day of running straight and I was like geez I could have been done with this like 8 days ago but you know it’s it’s what we do and when it’s all said and done and we shut down and it puts you put the product in the barrel it’s just so worth it you know I’ve been I’ve been around it since I was 10 and you know it’s a this part of the family

we in Mensa Canada we have a an amazing amount of water tons of water plenty of water and it’s delicious water it’s super clean it’s from a well system that we we then process and get down to ridiculously clean numbers like three parts per million dissolved solids which is ridiculously clean and it still maintains the body of the water which is super important so you can use any water you want but using the best water the cleanest water possible really gives you the opportunity to add add to the character actually of the final spirit when you’re cutting down from higher proof down to bottle strength so the water here is it’s ridiculously clean it’s amazing

the the barrels that we use are fantastic we use a blend of new oak barrels that give up the classic the classic Nouveau flavors and used oak which has been you know I have we have friends in the wine industry that you know once they use their barrels for Chardonnay for two or three vintages it’s considered neutral in the wine industry and because that 13% alcohol can’t really pull out any other flavor anymore and all the big tannins have been sucked out from the from the wine so the barrels you know they they want to get rid of them so what’s left all the color and all the flavor of the barrel is ready for for us there is your background there’s what three four hundred barrels are sitting in their home or they’re all every single one of them is different every single one of them is different so the brand is made your choosing but you feel like you do it in again they are all they have style and quality as far as technology and techniques is concerned now they’re different they’re different different characters when we do use new oak it’s a whole nother style distillation it’s a whole nother set of cuts because you need to as a distiller figure out okay what am I gonna do with this product are we gonna barrel agent for two years six years 10 years 20 years 28 years and we you know what’s the final you know what what is the final purpose of this spirit you just have to wait and it changes and it evolves and when it’s when it’s right you pull it you find that time where it’s just worth balance between the oak and the flavors of whatever just that you’re tasting we lose at least three to four percent of the tire volume per barrel a year so do the math on that for 28 years and it is it’s definitely not the the economic highway to success but it turns into art and that is really what we’re doing one still and one this door so we hook we put that on the label and it’s it’s true dad helps once in a while when I’m bottling I need help if the stills running but other than that there’s nobody else and it is it is a style that that I have created through time and experienced or running the still and that’s that’s that’s this is my style I like to focus on finish essential I like to focus on on flavor so that when you taste it and smell it in beginning you taste a set of flavors and then you know as as experience evolves you have a finish and it lasts a long time and it’s smooth and people are kind of amazed when they’re trying products that are you know barrel samples that are 146 proved it doesn’t taste like 146 proof and that’s that’s because of the style that I grew up with learning from dad that’s the style that’s active these deletions quality browser than I do but that’s Marco Marco cleans them up in here like the dirty I like the much more powerful in here it’s a battle royale again and it did together great

Sameness is boring Lara concept that’s classic traditional concept of the world was to create the branch level so boring to bring same whole thing all the time every Wednesday or very Christmas or New Year’s difference is the name de game and we know that specifically diva because the society of ours we live in future past doesn’t exist presence is already gone and we already in tomorrow and that means change so don’t even stamping cookies for the oddly enough that is most probably one of the fundamental shift which I developed by leaving Europe among continent or they’re over there they’re still doing that’s changing that fast because of influence of the new world

Until next time… Drink craft and drink the world. Cheers!

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