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Old Simon Genever - Rutte Destillateurs Old Simon Genever - Rutte Destillateurs
The Netherlands

Rutte Distillateurs - where the craft is still original

Rutte has a long history; the recipes have been passed down from generation to generation. While the industry looked for cheaper methods and materials in the last century, the Rutte family left this "innovation" behind. And that's a good thing, because it means that the old recipes and craftsmanship have been preserved. Even though the distillery has not been in the hands of the Rutte family since the 1990s, the tradition is kept alive and the company still uses the same unique distilling process as its ancestor Simon did in his day.

Manual work is still very important for Rutte

The Rutte family originated in the province of Brabant. In the 18th century they moved to Rotterdam, where they took up the profession of distillers. Members of the Rutte family worked in the distillery until the beginning of the 21st century, passing on the craft from father to son. Sijmon Rutte was born in 1749 and married Trijntje Tessel in 1783. Their son Simon was born in 1779 and married Catharina Molenschot in 1802. not much is known about these first 'Ruttes', apart from the fact that they formed the basis of today's distillery and all the knowledge that has been gathered over the centuries. 

Many generations went by after that, the last being the 7th with John Rutte. John, whose real name was Jan, was involved in the distillery from an early age. He was predestined to take over the business from his father. Originally John wanted to be an artist, but eventually he decided to become a distiller. After the war, John traveled to France where he spent two years at wineries learning about the wine trade. In the 1960s, he earned his master distiller's degree at the Institute of Spirits Production in Cologne, Germany.

John managed to turn everything that grew and blossomed into a tasty genever or liqueur. Not only his creative mind, but also his fine palate and his striving for perfection resulted in special, high-quality products. While others in the previous century turned to modern options such as cheaper alcohol, colourings and flavourings, John turned his back on these innovations. And that's a good thing, because all the old recipes remained unchanged. In John's day, the name and reputation of the small distillery reached far beyond Dordrecht and Rutte secured a place at the top of the Dutch distilleries. In 1992, John sold the distillery to a group of shareholders who loved the product. However, John continued to work for the company until his death in 2003. Despite the fact that the company was now taken over, he was still employed at the distillery, working with his beloved herbs and the distillery.

Myriam Hendrickx, master distiller at Rutte

Today, Myriam Hendrickx is the master distiller of the business and tries to keep the spirit of the family and its philosophy alive. To do this, she has spent a long time researching the family history and examining old hang-written recipes. With this strong base of history and know-how, she now sets out to create wonderful spirits.

Basic Principles

Tastes evolve, but Rutte's basic principles have never changed:

  • No colorings or flavorings, Rutte extracts all flavors from fruits, herbs and spices
  • No artificial means to make it look or taste better; real almonds, the natural red of cherries and berries, coffee liqueur that tastes like real coffee!
  • The gins and liqueurs are distilled from pure grain alcohol, while genever uses malt wine and grain alcohol. (Malt wine has an intense grain taste, grain alcohol is more neutral and the mildest alcohol available. Rutte uses grain alcohol for all its products.)
  • Rutte selects the best raw materials nature has to offer: the best cinnamon from Sri Lanka, juniper berries with the aroma of the Italian sun, no frozen fruits but freshly processed; oranges and lemons are peeled by hand.

The taste of Rutte Distillateurs

Rutte's products offer you the unique and pure taste of fresh fruits, herbs and spices. Rutte does not buy juniper berry oil or orange extract, but extracts the flavors from the natural product through two traditional methods: Distillation and extraction.

High quality ingredients are the basis for Rutte's distillates

A distiller can do a lot of magic with a still. The copper still is filled with alcohol, herbs or fruit and then heated. The alcohol evaporates, along with the volatile components of the herbs or fruits. These are mainly essential oils, nature's beautiful aromas, which determine the taste.
The vapors are dissipated and cooled, causing them to condense and form a colorless distillate that "captures" the flavor of the herbs and fruits.

It is also possible to "recapture" the flavor of fruits or herbs. To make an extract, herbs and/or fruits are steeped in a mixture of alcohol and water. Extracts take several weeks or months to reach their maximum aroma. Examples of natural products that Rutte turns into extracts are blackcurrants, cherries, orange peel and a number of herbs such as vanilla and coriander. An extract always gets its color from the natural colors of the fruits or herbs.

The colourful collection of barrels in the Rutte cellar

The Rutte family has aged jenever in barrels from the very beginning, when this was not yet common practice. In earlier centuries, Dordrecht was a city of great importance for the wine trade, thanks to its location on the river. That is why wine was traded at Rutte, which was sold in its own shop and used in its own products. The empty wine barrels were then filled with jenever. This resulted in a colourful collection of barrels of all kinds, including Bordeaux, sherry and port wine barrels.

The barrels in the Rutte cellar

The distiller uses his craftsmanship to compose the aged genever and korenwijnen. He blends and tastes each product and then creates the perfect blend: different barrels of different ages. Koornwyn XO, for example, is a blend of 1 year old maturation in new barrels (new wood) and 4 year old maturation in used bourbon barrels.

As Rutte is still housed in the original building in the old town centre, there is only room for 40 small casks. The rest of the collection is at other distilleries like De Kuyper in Schiedam and Filliers in Deinze, Belgium.

More information about Rutte Destillateurs

Company Name:Distilleerderij Rutte
Street:Vriesestraat 130
City:3311 Dordrecht
Region:South Holland
Contact & Web
E-mail:[email protected]
Telephone:+3178 6134467
Company Group:Royal Dutch Distillery