Anyone who’s ever seen Bernhard Warter‘s certificates hanging on the wall, can hardly believe that this successful distiller came to this career by chance. Around 25 years ago the father-of-two fancied “trying something new”. And out of “something new”, became fine spirits which are famous far and wide. The variety is huge and ranges from raspberry schnaps and plum brandy cuvée to yellow muskateller grape schnaps to a Mangei-milk (marmot milk) and spilling plum schnaps.
Distilling takes place regularly at the Dachstein Destillery at an altitude of 980 m, however, only in small quantities, as quality is the top priority. Fruit is processed from fresh, and in answer to the question what the secret of a good schnaps is, Bernhard Warter replies guardedly: “A schnaps is only ever as good as the raw produce used and these vary from year to year.“
However, the Dachstein Destillery at the Mandlgut has much more to offer – in a small hut next to the restaurant you’ll find the traditional pine distillery, where everything up here started. The Warter Family belongs to the few in the area who are allowed to fell mountain pine. From the freshly harvested pines, forest-scented oil for creams or ointments are extracted in an eight-hour long process. If you’ve ever taken a sniff, you’ll notice the difference straightaway.
Meanwhile Bernard Warter, who is also Salzburg‘s first certified schnaps sommelier, has handed over the rudder to his daughters. Katharina is a certified TEH-Practicioner (traditional European medicine) and processes the home-made mountain pine oil to highly effective skin and body care products. Over the years she has also developed her own range of care products called “Single Malt“. In which you’ll also find, in addition to fine herbs and ingredients from the region, a shot of home-made Rock Whisky. Theresia has inherited her father’s fine nose and his talent for distilling. Together they are responsible for the range of high proof products from the distillery. Mother, Doris Warter is, as always, responsible for the tasty delicacies served in the cosy restaurant, the cakes and gateaux in particular are a dream.
And then of course there’s the whisky cellar, where Bernhard Warter‘s greatest treasure is stored – his home-distilled “Rock Whisky“, filled in lovely sweet wine barrels. Whoever tastes this fine drop, can wallow in a fine vanilla note with honeycombed finish. The youthful distillate is mild and aromatic. So it’s going to be exciting when the whisky makes twelve years stored in the barrel – some of the barrels are even stored in the eternal ice of the Dachstein Glacier. Until then you can happily enjoy a schnaps or a guided tour of the Dachstein Destillery.
The text originates from the book:“Best Views in SalzburgerLand – 66 favourite places and und 11 Alpine Huts“ by Franziska Lipp (Gmeiner Verlag, 2014).
By kind consent of the author.
Photo credits: Jakob Lipp, Franzsika Lipp, Salzburger Sportwelt, Peter Zeitlhofer