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Lone Wolf Spirits: Vodka filtration is ‘nonsense’

The head distiller of Lone Wolf Spirits has argued that vodka brands peddling filtration as a mark of quality “speak nonsense”.

Lone-Wolf-Spirits
Head distiller Steven Kersley with Lone Wolf Spirits’ vodka stills

Speaking to The Spirits Business earlier this month, Steven Kersley, head distiller at Lone Wolf Spirits, expressed his dismay at how the onus on vodka’s flavour is placed heavily at the end of the production process, rather than the start and throughout distillation.

“Some brands are clever and will have you believe that filtering is what makes their vodka unique,” said Kersley. “That six, 10 times filtered through diamonds is somehow assurance and the pinnacle of quality – they speak nonsense and I wholeheartedly disagree.

“What these brands are trying to tell you is that they haven’t bothered to do all of the steps before this properly.

“Just buy in some neutral grain spirit from somewhere. Filter the hell out of it through some enormous tanks of carbon to remove any character. Stick a posh label on it. Sell it to you for an enormous premium. Job done. Over-filtering kills flavour.”

Kersley continued to explain how Lone Wolf experimented with rye, wheat and barley in different concentrations when creating the recipe for Lone Wolf Vodka, which first launched in April 2017.

The vodka is distilled five times as it is made in batches, rather than continuous distillation, and “lightly filtered” through carbon just once to “polish” the spirit and “exclude everything except the sweetness of the grains” used in production – a blend of malted wheat and malted barley.

“We took a lot of time to develop our recipe, and the flavours that our ingredients bring are subtle notes of vanilla alongside icing sugar,” Kersley continued. “Part of our vodka’s recipe development involved carbon, selecting the right type, the amount and the flow rate through it.

“Our vodka is filtered through carbon created by incinerating coconut shells. It spends minimal time in the carbon’s presence and because of this we retain the desired amount of flavour to give us a vodka we’re proud of.”

For an in-depth look at how producers impart flavour on their vodkas, see the April issue of The Spirits Business magazine.

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