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For over 440 years we have been

Extracting flavours from the finest ingredients

Rooted in the past, ready for the future

HOW ITS MADE

THE FLAVOUR PROCESS

"The art of mixing and blending"


The "art of mixing and blending" rests on three fundamental pillars. Firstly, the authentic Bols recipes that have been closely guarded down the centuries, and the innovative recipes created by the distillery team today. Secondly, the high quality natural ingredients that have been carefully selected by the Lucas Bols master distiller. Lastly, the expertise and knowledge that has been passed on by the Lucas Bols master distillers over time. 

DISTILLATION

Distilling is our oldest and most important method of extraction. All the key flavour ingredients for our genevers and liqueurs are obtained through distillation. During distillation, herbs and peels are soaked in a distillation still filled with water and alcohol. This mixture is then heated until the liquid evaporates and condenses in the coolness of the still. During evaporation the alcohol extracts and draws the essential oils from the herbs, creating a flavourful yet colourless extract called a distillate, which perfectly conveys the flavours of the original ingredients. To give an example: cacaobeans are distilled to make Bols Cacao White liqueur.

percolation

Percolation is like making coffee. Alcohol is fed through a filter covered with a natural ingredient, such as a herb or a spice. The alcohol is repeatedly fed through the ingredient until a highly concentrated extract has been acquired. An extract obtained in this manner is called a tincture, because it takes on not only the flavour and aroma of the ingredients but also their colour. To give an example: cacao beans are percolated to make Bols Cacao Brown liqueur. 

Maceration

Maceration is similar to making tea, but using a cold mixture of alcohol and water. Herbs are left in alcohol for a certain length of time, determined by the Lucas Bols Master Distiller. This extract is also called a tincture, as it also takes on the flavours, aromas and colour of the ingredients. For example, green tea leaves are macerated to make Bols Green Tea Liqueur.

BLENDING & QUALITY CONTROL

In our blending and bottling facility the flavour extracts are blended with other ingredients such as alcohol, water and sometimes sugar. After this blending process, a period of rest is required to allow the ingredients to harmonise. We call this process ‘marrying’ (‘huwen’ in Dutch). All these production phases are carefully monitored by our quality department. After blending and marrying, the spirit is subjected to both analytical and organoleptic tests. Only when the Lucas Bols laboratory team has granted its final approval is the product ready for bottling and shipping.