Distillers Blog
Species Rara | 27 Jun. 2016

Hans Thoma

The Painter from the Black Forest

Hans Thoma

Born in Bernau (Black Forest) in 1839, painting offered Hans Thoma a way to escape his origins. After the death of his father, a trained miller who later worked as a lumberjack in the Black Forest, Thoma had to provide for his mother and sister, and so he began painting portraits and landscapes for the homes of prosperous farmers. The young “peasant painter” caught the attention of the bailiff of St. Blasien, who recommended Thoma for a scholarship to the Grand-Ducal Academy of Fine Arts in Karlsruhe. Though he was ridiculed as a “chicken painter,” Thoma stayed true to himself, creating images that reflected his Black Forest home. He remained an outsider, even after his move to Düsseldorf in 1867. It wasn’t until he took a trip to Paris with fellow student Otto Scholderer that he was able to break out of this role. In the realism of Gustave Courbet, Thoma saw “his art” exhibited on a grand stage. This encounter provided enduring inspiration that is evident in countless later works. Though Thoma, who died in Karlsruhe in 1924, has since faded from memory, in 1909 he earned a mention in Meyer’s encyclopedia as “the favorite painter of the German people” The title honors this modern figure, whose art held fast to idyllic rural scenes despite advancing industrialization. Influenced by the lyrical pantheism of his early works, Thoma later focused largely on landscapes before also turning to more religious themes. In his later years, he worked intensively on his “Thoma-Kapelle,” which depicted scenes from the life and work of Jesus Christ.

The Hans Thoma Art Museum in Bernau exhibits the multifaceted work of the once beloved lanscape and portrait artist (including numerous self portraits) – a true son of the Black Forest, whose origins had an enduring effect on his work.

Einspaltig Ency. Botanica | 04 Apr. 2017

Elderberry - Sambucus

The subtle scent of the elder

The elderflower, a member of the Adoxaceae family, is perhaps best known in the form of the black elderberry. While people in northern Germany call it the...

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Monkey Business | 27 Mar. 2017

From the Island to the Bottle - Sicily

Volcano of Lemons

In February 2015, we set out for Sicily – more specifically for the foot of Mount Etna, Europe’s most powerful volcano. Guided by our local expert, Calogero, we visited an old plantation in the Cavagrande region, whose...

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Species Rara | 21 Mar. 2017

Tales from the Black Forest - Deep Down

The “Segen Gottes” Silver Mine

Hundreds of years ago, some areas of the Black Forest were full of holes like a Swiss cheese. Where families now go for pleasant walks or exhilarating bike rides, people toiled in mines for 800 years, bringing ores and rocks above ground in a surreal and dangerous world. The...

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Species Rara Einspaltig | 02 Mar. 2017

Tales from the Black Forest - “Da Bach na”

Soggy Carnival Capers

Ann-Kathrin Brantner

When Montgomery “Monty” Collins, the developer of Monkey 47, came to Berlin in 1949, the “Da Bach na” race in Schramberg was a traditional event that had long since been in full flow. The tub race down the Schiltach stream was first staged in 1936 and is a weird and...

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Natural Habitat Einspaltig | 21 Feb. 2017

Die Halbestadt

Falco, Punschkrapfen and the Prater – you’re thinking of Vienna, right?

Falco, Punschkrapfen and the Prater – you’re thinking of Vienna, right?
Good, because in future, Austria’s capital city should also make you think of Die Halbestadt: a jewel in the...

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Species Rara | 09 Feb. 2017

Tales from the Black Forest - Hundeschlitten­rennen

The Call of the Wild

The dogs are wild with excitement. They bark frantically and strain nervously in their harnesses. Their ice blue eyes convey their unyielding determination to run... run... just run. Finally, the long-awaited call of the “musher” sounds out and the pack of huskies sprints off...

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Opus Magnum | 20 Dec. 2016

Welcome to "Wunderbar Adventures of Sophistication!"

Episode 5: Being German – BLACK FOREST

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Opus Magnum | 12 Oct. 2016

Monkey 47 Distiller`s Cut 2016

Abietes Melle

Driven by occupational curiosity, a love of sensory experimentation, and a pronounced penchant for unique aromas, Black Forest Distillers have set out on their search for species rara – the singular ingredient that goes into their annual Monkey 47 Distiller’s Cut – for six years running.

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Monkey Business Einspaltig | 26 Aug. 2016

The Monkey and His Simian Sidekicks

King Louie, Cheetah, Miss Baker, and Herr Nilsson

Upon making his move to the Black Forest – to the Schaberhof and the Wild Monkey distillery, to be precise – the Monkey began turning his surroundings into a picturesque new home. Primates are not all that different from people, after all, and relocating typically offers the opportunity to...

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Species Rara Einspaltig | 15 Aug. 2016

The Radhaube

High fashion from 19th-century Villingen

The Radhaube
© Sebastian Wehrle

The golden Radhaube – pictured here in all its splendour – is the result of up to 400 hours of sheer artisanal craftsmanship. Though it does require a great deal of endurance from the women who weave it, this traditional headwear serves to this day as a reminder of the good old days in southwest...

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