Vodka production is now a highly industrialised process, but solid Oak fermentation vats were an important part of its history and culture, producing a velvety smoothness to the liquid.
These huge vats were works of art with every element curved to ensure they remained watertight. They had tightly fitting bases and lids with neat access panels and were pulled together with enormous steel straps. Now relics of the past, they highlight the architectural, industrial heritage of Vodka creation in Eastern Europe. Due to the end of their lifecycle in fermentation, we embraced the opportunity to bring the decades-old wood back to our workshops.
Put simply, you could only use the very best quality wood for these vats. This special European Oak was the prized material of its day; being simply exceptional. If Oak is sawn in a certain way it will importantly only move in its thickness and not its width (known as ‘quarter sawn’) which is the only way to guarantee the vats function correctly, but finding reclaimed woods cut this way is a rarity.
Following the boards landing in our hands we set about celebrating the lovely mellow tone – concentrated spirit aged the inside face to this colour, removing its harshness, something that only its decades long occupation could have created.
Defined by their original patina and bold tones, we chose to leave these boards unfinished without a lacquer for a clean, crisp look and delicate hand polishing was key in bringing out the key elements of the Vodka Oak’s personality, which must never be forgotten.
Unique markings and punctuations from a life of industry run across each board and block. For our artisans, it’s a real pleasure to work with, as no two pieces are the same, and there’s always character to be found flickering throughout the reclaimed timber.