Story of Arrack
The pristine ambrosia-like qualities of Sri Lanka’s unique coconut arrack can be traced back many centuries, finding mention in early literature – “liquor drawn from the coconut flower”. This renowned beverage is steeped in legend and tradition, making it one of the most celebrated offerings from Sri Lanka to the world.
Sri Lankan coconut arrack is undeniably one of the purest naturally derived alcoholic beverages in the world, distilled through a natural fermentation process. Sri Lanka has perfected the technique of making coconut arrack through the years. Today, it has acquired the perfect balance for the discerning palate and coconut arrack reigns as the alcoholic beverage of choice in the country.
The initial step in the process of making coconut arrack is toddy tapping, an age-old vocation which is passed down from father to son. Toddy tapping is as much an intricate art as it is a science. Toddy tappers manually extract the toddy from coconut trees, which are coupled and girdled by skillfully rappelling from tree to tree. Coconut sap or toddy is obtained by tapping the unopened coconut flower for its nectar. Thereafter the toddy is collected in earthenware pots.
This toddy when fresh, has a high sugar content, but yeasts and microscopic vegetable organisms soon find their way into it, act on the sugar present and produces alcohol. This process of converting the sugar into alcohol is called fermentation. After a minute filtration process, this liquor is poured into massive casks made from wood of the Halmilla tree (Scientific Name: Berrya cordifolia) and carefully transported to our factories for distillation. The process of distillation involves two stages; continuous distillation (patent still distillation) and pot distillation. This distillation process is usually completed within 24 hours. The purified spirit comes out with the distinctive flavour of arrack.
The contents of the wooden vats are mixed diligently every fortnight for better aeration and to increase contact with the wood. Herbs and spices from ancient recipes are also added at particular stages, to enhance flavour and mellow the liquor during the crucial maturation process. The maturation process is completed after flavour enhancing and smoothening, while ageing in the wooden vats. Finally, spirits of different ages and flavours are blended, and sometimes double distilled, to create the various DCSL brands, all under the careful supervision of our experienced Master Blenders, ready to be savoured.
Sri Lanka Arrack, Very Special Old Arrack, Old Arrack and Coconut Arrack are products of this process. Double Distilled Arrack is distilled twice for smoothness. Argenté aged 20 years, our centenary blend, made exclusively from well matured coconut spirits, in which the youngest spirit in the blend has been aged for a minimum of 20 years, is the pinnacle of our pure coconut arrack range.
As the largest coconut distillery in Sri Lanka, possibly even in the world, this golden-brew remains our raison d’être.