Fine spirits from Lake Achensee
The numerous award-winning and innovative products of the distillery Edelbrennerei Kostenzer impressively demonstrate the deep passion and dedication of Franz Kostenzer. He began his training several years before opening his distillery. Before that, Kostenzer did not have too much to do with spirits – but he always had a fine culinary instinct. And a well-stocked wine cellar. At the age of 18, he already began to collect wines from all over the world. Whereby the term “collecting” is not quite accurate. “The best wine cellar is one that is empty at the end of one’s life”, he says mischievously. And so, Kostenzer’s wine connoisseurship was complemented by the art of distilling spirits.
Over the past 19 years, the range of spirits has grown from 14 to over 70 products. In addition to classics such as Williams, Kostenzer has also experimented with exotics like banana or vegetables such as carrot, sunchoke or beetroot. Of course, some of these varieties do not sell as well as the classics, but here curiosity and inquisitiveness are the driving force. “With each new variety, I learn more and that’s what makes it so fascinating.”
One of Kostenzer’s most demanding and yet most extraordinary products is his whisky. “Since we were already producing award-winning grain spirits, making whisky was the next logical step.” To qualify as a whisky, the grain brandy must be aged in casks for at least three years. Kostenzer started mashing and distilling various high-quality malts with different roasts, and this is how the Tirolean “Whisky Alpin” was created. “The whisky ferments in small oak casks and is aged for five years or longer, being exposed to the rough climate of Lake Achensee which allows a much more intensive maturation.” After maturing, spring water from the Rofan and Karwendel mountains is added to bring the whisky to drinking strength.
Another speciality is Kostenzer’s “Gin Achensee”, natural and produced without any additives from juniper berries. “Our gin has fine flavours of spruce and fir needle, almost a trace of arolla pine”, the distiller gushes with enthusiasm.