On a recent trip to France to check out the cellar of a restaurant whose contents the owner is looking to sell, I had the chance to spend a few hours with Laurent Cazottes, whose liquors and eaux de vies are some of the finest in the world.
If I could distill his core message into one sentence, it would be that making the best spirits means having the best fruit. No alchemy in the distillery will change that. The still is a concentrator, nothing more, nothing less.
That being said, I greatly enjoyed him explaining the working of his still, inherited from his father, who used it to make moonshine for the village back in the day.