Distillers Blog
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 Black Forest was an important mining area. Now, this is only alluded to by place names or at show mines, in which visitors can embark on an adventure by going underground themselves. In 1790, people worked shifts in the shaft of the “Segen Gottes” mine at Schnellingen in Haslach; now it attracts around 15,000 visitors each year.

Claustrophobics might be better off giving the guided tour a miss and instead relaxing by the beautiful Silbersee lake, which is fed by water from the mine. Those who dare to venture into the mine are first kitted out with helmets, waterproof jackets, mining lamps, and sturdy rubber boots. Stalactites and stalagmites jut out at all angles. The paths are narrow and cramped and the ground is full of water. Every so often, the tunnels become wider and enable even fully grown adults to stand upright. Adjoining tunnels and shafts heading upwards confuse you, and you’re glad to have a guide who knows how to get around here and can point out ancient beams, wooden drainage pipes, and an old pump. At one point, a hammer and chisel are provided. Once visitors have given it a quick go themselves, they begin to understand just how difficult people must have found it to create the 2-kilometer long, 4-story high cavity inside the mine. The only light they had were sticks of firewood, which they had to hold in their mouths. Today, the mine is sparsely lit, and yet every so often, you can still see the walls glisten and sparkle. The guide shows you and talks about barite – also known as “heavy spar” – which is still mined elsewhere in the Black Forest. It plays a role in high-tech deep drilling and is used in the production of photographic paper. Visitors are marvel at amethysts, real silver, fool’s gold, translucent fluorides, as well as copper and iron.

The guided tour takes them up four stories. The steps are steep and difficult and you can only guess what it must have been like getting into and back out of the mine when mining rights in the Kinzigtal region were first documented in 1234. At the lowest point, you were 130 meters below ground. So it comes as no surprise when even non-claustrophobics are glad to see the light of day again after a tour lasting some one and a half to two hours.

There is even an animal in the “Segen Gottes” show mine. In total darkness, a spider’s web stretches across the dripping roof. But there’s no sign of a monkey anywhere. They prefer sunshine – or the dim lights of an extravagant bar.


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 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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Ency. Botanica | 08 Aug. 2016

Allspice - Pimenta Dioica

A plant from the New World

Allspice - Pimenta Dioica

Allspice refers to the berries of the evergreen pimenta dioica tree, a type of plant of the myrtle family, and is native to a group of islands in the Caribbean called the Antilles. This explains why allspice is also commonly called "Jamaica pepper". Discovered by the same explorer who...

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