Spirits with a Dutch Heritage
By the Dutch began in 2015 to tell a story to the world. A story of tradition and craftsmanship.
Knowledge around products of Dutch distilleries has been transferred from father to children. Love for the product, timing, sense of ingredients and flavor, and an excellent nose are qualities that have been passed through generations for centuries.
For this reason, the Netherlands historically play’s a leading role in the world of fine spirits. The Dutch were the first to master the art of distillation from agriculture products. They were also the first liqueur products in the world to spread their technology internationally.
By the Dutch Old Genever
A History of Genever
Historical references of Genever date back to the 13th century.
Genever was originally produced by simply distilling malt wine to 50% ABV. The resulting spirit was not very palatable due to the lack of refined distilling techniques, so herbs and spices were added to mask the flavor. This included jeneverbes, “juniper berries.”
A tale as old as time references the invention of Genever by a doctor in the 16th century for medicinal use.
The myth is debunked by the birth date of the doctor residing in the 17th century. Nevertheless, the tale resides as the known reference point for the birth of Genever.
What is Genever?
Genever is a clear, botanically rich, malted grain-based spirit. It is a blend of two or more distillates:
- First, a whiskey-like pot still, triple distillate made of corn, malt, and rye (Moutwijn or “Malt Wine)
- Second, a juniper-infused distillate
In 2008, the Dutch Government and EU created an official AOC (Appellation d’origine contrôlée) for Genever which defines exactly where Genever can be produced.
What did the AOC designation laws do?
- Genever can now only be produced in certain regions:
- Specific areas of France and Germany
- Divided Genever into 2 distinct categories (exclusive to The Netherlands and Belgium)
- Jonge or “Young Genever”
- Oude or “Old Genever”
The terms young and old do not refer to any age of the spirit, but rather the new or old style of making genever.
- Original style of Genever production
Distilled with malted barley, rye, corn
Must contain ‘at least’ 15% malt wine, but no more than 20g/L of sugar
Often matured in oak, not required
Usually contains 51% to 70% malt wine
Up to 20 g/L of sugar
By law must be a pale, caramel color
Birth of Young Genever
- WWII led to lack of imported cereals, malt, and forced a promotion of a new blend
- Trend of lighter and less dominant taste, low price
- Result: development of more grain verse malt & plain sugar-based alcohol
- Must contain no more than 15% malt wine and 10g sugar/L
Genever and Grains
Grainbill according to historical recipes:
- Rye (Dutch: Rogge): provides a strong and a bit harsh flavor
- Malted Barley (Dutch: Gemoute Gerst): Malted barley is necessary as it contains the enzymes which are critical to the fermentation process of Rye and Corn starch.
- Corn (Dutch: Maïs): Softens a bit of the harsh flavor of Rye. Using only corn would result in a Genever which lacks character.
Schiedam, The Netherlands.
It is here, in the Genever capital of the world, that Herman Jansen distills his first Genever. In 2.5 centuries of continuous activity, Herman Jansen has wisely preserved 7 generations of knowledge and passion.
Today, they craft ‘By the Dutch’ Old Genever and Dry Gin respecting that same tradition.