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All About Absolut Elyx and "Sacrificial Copper"

Absolut Elyx is the newish, high-end expression of Absolut vodka. On a trip this past winter to Ahus, Sweden, where Absolut is made, we took a day to learn about Elyx. 

ABSOLUT ELYX 1L Bottle Shot lo

Elyx is a single-estate vodka made in Absolut's old distillery (the new one is only 5 years old), in amazing copper column stills dating to 1921. I wish I had more pictures to share but they weren't allowed on our tour. 

The winter wheat for Absolut Elyx is grown on an estate named Rabelof. Rabelof is located near Ahus, and everything for the vodka comes from within a 25km radius of the town. Here's a picture of a wheat field.

Wheat_full_page_cmc_cmyk

Like regular Absolut, the water comes from the large aquifer beneath Ahus. 

The first distillation of the wheat is actually done at Absolut's newer distillery in Nobbelov. There, they use the same yeast and the same two first columns to distill Elyx. 

 

AbsolutElyxDistillery
The old distillery, scanned from a brand book they gave us.


 

Sacrificial Copper

In the tops of the column stills, they add "sacrificial copper." I recently learned and shared how in column distillation, copper is very important, but only needs to be present in certain parts of the distilation process in a column still.

From my understanding, the first stage of distillation is stripping out the liquids from the solids, and then the alcoholic vapors are refined often within the same column. This happens at the top of the column in a bourbon still, where you'd find "bubble caps". Bubble caps are a method of adding more copper into the process, and copper combines with sulphurous compounds so that they don't make it into the final spirit. 

Beyond bubble caps, some distillers use a version of Brillo pads (shredded copper) in their stills. At Absolut they use small segments of copper pipe that are further punctured increase surface area exposed to the alcohol. They use this sacrificial copper in regular Absolut, but apparently for Elyx they use new ones for every distillation run. 

After the first distillation (in the first two columns) at Nobbelov, the 85% alcohol spirit then travels to the old distillery at Ahus. There it is rectified in column stills dating to 1921. This part of the distillery is rather gorgeous, with huge tall copper columns with wooden insulator jackets surrounding them. The building is filled pre-computer analogue dials, gauges, old pumps, leather belts, and big piston engines. 

Here, the spirit is distilled in one extraction column, two rectification columns, and in two methanol columns. As at the new distillery, there is also a recovery column that recycles waste products. 

Absolut Elyx is bottled at 42.3% ABV. 

Ahus satelite map

Camper's Book: Tonic Water AKA G&T WTF is now available for sale.

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