T.O.S. first began by producing single malt whisky. Their approach is both place-based and quality-focused. Rather than creating whisky in France’s traditional distilling regions, they started with their local region’s terroir (grains, water, climate), bringing their fermentation and distillation techniques to the land. Being thoughtful in every aspect of the production, they prioritize local and sustainable ingredients over imported ingredients with an organic label.
They work with two local malters to source the local barley for their flagship single malt whisky, Artesia. After a natural, slow eight-day fermentation, the whisky is single-distilled in a Holstein copper alembic still, seeing both pot and column distillation. Artesia is aged in both ex-Bourbon casks and new French oak barrels to create an elegant, light whisky that expresses French terroir through a classic whisky lens. French whiskies are an exciting new frontier for single malts, and T.O.S. is perfectly positioned to be one of the greats of this new discipline.
Once their inaugural batches of whisky were laid down to age, they began to distill genièvre, reviving a historic spirit essential to the Hauts-de-France region. As a cousin to Dutch genever, French genièvre was the everyday spirit for the local mining and textile workers who made up the region’s workforce. A natural product of the area’s well-known barley and juniper crops, genièvre was a way to fortify against the tiring work and cool Northern climate and brutality of circumstance. Though it was once produced in enormous quantities in the region, it has now become almost extinct. T.O.S. has made it their mission to recuperate northern France’s emblematic distillate.
Their Boutefeu genièvre focuses on the grains first by co-fermenting 80% barley and 20% rye prior to the first distillation. The spirit is then aromatized with juniper berries (far less than your typical London dry gin) before the second distillation. Both distillations are made with their copper pot still. As one of the only remaining genièvres being produced in France and the only one in the US market, T.O.S. Boutefeu is a piece of history produced at the highest level by a modern young team helmed by Master Distiller Katy Gravina, a former perfumer. Katy applies her contemporary artisan distilling techniques to this traditional spirit, making it an essential part of the conversation around unaged barley distillates.
To honor their beloved Flemish-style beers, they began distilling their signature bière de garde to make Humulus (hops in Latin). Humulus is their meticulously-crafted beer distillate, showcasing the barley terroir of the region in yet another expression. Distilled from their flagship Réserve Hildegarde Blonde (which is lagered for 28 days), Humulus combines local barley with Strisselspalt and Brewer’s Gold hops; both are noble hops used in traditional Flemish beers. Similar to their Artesia whisky, Humulus is distilled through both the pot and column still on their Holstein alembic, then proofed down with local water to 46% abv. Although the region is famous for its brewing tradition, beer distillates are almost unheard of in the area. In this regard, T.O.S. is creating something completely new and surprising — a vehicle to experience their classical beer transformed into an expressive, elegant eau de vie de bière. T.O.S.’s brewing and distilling expertise inform one another, merging two separate sides of the region’s drinking tradition (as well as the two sides of their business) into a new world of local terroir exploration.