It’s possible that no one works harder for Montanya Distillers than our stills—it’s also possible that no one has more personality. We have two in production, and we call them Bellissima and Bellatrix. And while you might think they’re identical, experience has taught us otherwise.
Sure, these ladies are both made of copper and are both 100-gallon Alembic pot stills from Portugal. And yes, they both create the rum that we serve in our tasting room and ship all over the States and across the pond to Europe. But that’s where the similarities end.
Bellisima has been in the distillery the longest and has seen some surgery and replacement parts over the years. Because of this, Distiller Gilles Huegi says she tends to run spirits a bit slower than Bellatrix. “Patience is key with her,” he says. “Slow and steady is her game plan. She sits along side all the fermentation vessels kinda towards the back. She’s a bit of a recluse.”
Bellatrix, on the other hand, is the newest still and has a lot of go in her. Gilles can fill her up fuller than Bellisima and she’ll still be the first to finish making rum. “She has a bit of a temper and if not watched all the time she can run a bit free,” he says. “She also is a bit of a show boat as she sits front and center within the distillery. I use her for most of the tours I give.”
Gilles isn’t the only one to notice these differences. Founder and owner Karen Hoskin has seen it too, and shares this take:
If the stills had a day off…
Bellatrix would compete in a Roller Derby match as Bellatrix la Butte (her derby name) in the position of Jammer. Bellissima would eat dark chocolate and drink Prosecco at a sidewalk cafe in Venice. (We know which one we’d prefer, but how about you? Let us know in the comments below!)
Not that they gossip, but if they did…
Belissima would say Bellatrix suffers from being a millennial. She doesn't have quite the same work ethic and likes to be coddled. She’s shinier and asks for vitamin C serum all the time.
Bellatrix would disagree, saying that Bellissima is getting age spots and is mad because Bellatrix has better work life balance. She'd also say Bellissima is getting a little judgey in her older age.
They really wish everyone knew…
”Nobody really knows what damn hard work it is making rum all day long. It thins the skin and prematurely ages you because of all the sulfur you have to absorb to make the rum pure. I can't even use normal soap or moisturizer because you might taste it in the rum. It’s also hard to keep slim with all that sugar cane going into my belly all day long. But I'm the best at converting sugar cane to carb-free rum. Really the best. Nobody does it better.”
“It is hard to play second fiddle. Bellissima was here for a while before I arrived and she wasn't used to sharing her spotlight. Her name means "most gorgeous" so when I came along all shiny and curvaceous, she was pretty jealous of me from the first day. She thinks I’m too edgy. I want a tattoo, but she says it will cheapen the place. I want to wear leather sometimes and she says it won't withstand the heat. I like fake eyelashes and she says they will singe. She acts like she's my mother but she isn't—my mother is in Portugal making eau de vie. Now my Mom? She's a class act.”
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