Our raw ingredients
Selecting and receiving our raw ingredients – Quality control.
The ouzo production process phase that is pivotal involves the careful selection of raw ingredients. All of the stages of that process undergo stringent monitoring, from selecting those raw ingredients to receiving them at our facilities. To accomplish that, we maintain steady relations with the producers and suppliers cooperating with us. We invariably use the choicest ingredients with a view to producing premium quality ouzo, 100% from distillation.
Out of all the raw ouzo ingredients, anise (Pimpinella anisum) is the one that gives ouzo its characteristic aroma and milkiness. When that anise is the variety grown at Lisvori, Lesvos, the result is extraordinary indeed (click here for more info on Lisvori anise).
Herbs and Grains
Lisvori anise is not the only raw ingredient that goes into our ouzo. We also use herbs, roots, grains, and products that come from the land of Lesvos: barley, corn, salt from the Polichnitos salt mines, and onions. Together with Chios mastic and other fragrant flavorings, all those ingredients benefit the produced distillate, endowing it with a unique bouquet.
Ethyl Alcohol (rectified spirit)
We use 96 ABV ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin from sugar beets mostly farmed in northern Greece. We prefer that rectified spirit to all others because it’s pure and clear and organoleptically neutral, ready to “welcome” Lisvori anise and other flavorings.
The old-time distillers used to say that high quality water will yield great ouzo. Since we’ve always stayed true to our predecessors’ experience and tradition, we always use water that flows in our area, water that is pure, soft, and suitably processed.
Our ouzo production wouldn’t be what it is if it weren’t for our people who are essential and instrumental in that production. Our experienced workforce has been rigorously trained to receive the raw ingredients and subject them to quality control throughout all stages to ensure that the end product is perfect.
Our workforce is our strength!
The Distiller’s Passion
As a distiller, you may use cutting-edge equipment; and you may select the choicest ingredients, all you want. However, unless distillers are passionate about and pour their soul into the crafting of their ouzo, their end result will be…just another ouzo.
That principle couldn’t hold truer in the case of SAMARA DISTILLERY S.A.: for over 120 years, faithful to ouzo’s distillation traditions, we have been working hard and consistently, adding to our ouzo its most crucial ingredient: our passion for great ouzo!
The Distillation Process
Once they have been thoroughly cleaned of impurities, the Lisvori anise, aromatic herbs, and remaining ingredients are placed in copper stills, together with the rectified spirit. They will remain simmering in the copper stills for approximately 9.5 hours. The blend’s vapor is then channeled via an arched tube to the cooler. As the blend passes through the cooler’s spiral where the water’s flow is continuous, it liquefies and the first distillate is produced.
In the initial phase of distillation, the first batch of the distillate (the heads) is discarded. The next batch produced, the distillate’s “heart” (approx. 68°-70° vol.), is the one we keep. In the final phase, we again discard the last batch (the tails). In that way, we have reserved the distillate that has the desired purity which we then transfer to stainless tanks where, under controlled temperature, it will “rest” for one week.
In the next phase, after the distillate has “rested”, we dilute it with soft, processed water so we can reach the desired degree of alcoholic strength, depending on the type of ouzo we wish to produce. Especially in the case of Samaras ouzo red (42% vol.), instead of adding sugar to it, we add pure, award-winning honey from the Cooperative of Honey Producers of Lesvos.
Maturation and Bottling
The “heart” will remain in its stainless steel tanks for 1-2 months until it has homegenized, in other words, until the distillate’s “body” has bonded and its aromatic traits have developed.
By now, the end product is ouzo 100% from distillation. Using the latest bottling know-how and strictly adhering to all the relevant health and safety regulations, we filter it and bottle it. We then make it available to the market.