Distillers Blog
Species Rara | 02 May. 2016

Carl Friedrich Benz

The Most Beautiful Sound from the Black Forest

Carl Friedrich Benz

In November 1844, a pioneer was born in Mühlburg, in the lovely Black Forest, whose patent now dominates our streetscape: Carl Friedrich Benz. As a graduate mechanical engineer, he’s one of the most important industrial engineers in the history of the global economy, who in 1885, created the first ever motor car: the Benz Patent Motor Car No. 1, a single-cylinder four-stroke engine for driving a three-wheeled carriage. Shown at the 1889 World Exhibition in Paris, Benz was awarded an international patent for his motor car, and in 1926, his company merged with the Daimler-Motoren Aktiengesellschaft to form Daimler Benz AG.

As the son of locomotive driver George and his wife Josefine, Carl Benz attended the scientifically oriented Lyceum in Karlsruhe after finishing secondary school. As a graduate mechanical engineer, he began his professional career as a locksmith, and in 1871, founded a iron foundry for industrial components. Following his vision – to create a self-powered vehicle – Benz continued to develop his idea further, resulting in the advancement of the existing four-stroke engine invented by Nikolaus August Otto. As the previous engines were too heavy for a carriage, installing a one-cylinder four-stroke petrol engine with electric ignition, water cooling and surface carburettor in a three-wheeled wooden carriage was revolutionary: engine and chassis were united (and in the same year, Wilhelm Maybach built the first ever motorcycle).

Of course, the road from idea to realisation was often stony and fraught with many hurdles, which Benz was able to consciously overcome time and time again. His wife Bertha believed in him all her life and supported her husband in what he did – from today’s perspective, it’s hard to believe the cornerstones that ultimately led to what’s now part of our everyday life: the car. And we are proud to mention here again: the “inventor” of this international sensation comes from the beautiful Black Forest. A story from the Black Forest – known all over the world.

Species Rara | 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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Species Rara | 27 Jun. 2016

Hans Thoma

The Painter from the Black Forest

Hans Thoma
© ullstein bild-ullstein bild

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...

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Species Rara | 13 Jun. 2016

Tales from the Black Forest

The Eichener Lake – A Lake Mostly Without Water – Schopfheim-Eichen

Tales from the Black Forest

In the far south lies the small town of Schopfheim next to the Black Forest, and the lake in the district of Eichen is a temperamental wonder of Mother Nature. For most of the time, it is a dry lake and only fills up occasionally in wet years. And this can happen overnight. This unusual body of...

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Species Rara | 30 May. 2016

The Hornkappe

Like a big, black butterfly

The Hornkappe
© Sebastian Wehrle

As most traditions do, the Hornkappe constantly evolved over the centuries before its most recent form came to be defined by its strikingly large black bow and long fringe around the year 1890. It takes quite a few metres of silk to create such a bow, which was worn by the local rural population...

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Species Rara | 17 May. 2016

Tales from the Black Forest

The Thousand-Year-Old Lime – What Now, Old Tree? – Ettlingen-Schluttenbach

Tales from the Black Forest

Propped upright, there she stands, the Old Lady of Schluttenbach. One ailment follows the other, and the residents of the highest and smallest district of Ettlingen are concerned. Everything could be so wonderful: a village square, a fountain, a choir, a lime tree, and a festival. Once a year,...

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Species Rara | 18 Apr. 2016

Tales from the Black Forest

Markus Dirr – Dedicated to Good Taste

Tales from the Black Forest

Markus Dirr first tasted Monkey47 at Schöllmanns, an exclusive bar in Offenburg. Not too far away for him. He lives and works in Endingen am Kaiserstuhl and adopts a similar approach to the Black Forest dry gin: The finest home-grown ingredients combined with ingenious ideas from throughout the...

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Species Rara | 29 Mar. 2016

Tales from the Black Forest

Gin and Other Medicines

Tales from the Black Forest

With everything that you find in the Ratsapotheke pharmacy in the small Black Forest town of Schiltach, you could start producing your own Monkey 47. For the pharmacy museum has, amongst other things, distillation apparatus and a vast array of botanicals on display – certainly more than the 47...

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Species Rara | 14 Mar. 2016

Tales from the Black Forest

Steampunk in the Black Forest – Eccentric Time Travel

Tales from the Black Forest

Jules Verne and H.G. Wells as well as modern-day science fiction writers such as Bruce Sterling and William Gibson have dared to experiment, writing about the future of a past that never was. What would have happened if...? If the petrol engine had never replaced steam power? If gigantic...

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Species Rara | 01 Feb. 2016

The Straw Top Hat

Timeless Traditions

The Straw Top Hat
© Sebastian Wehrle

Whoever hears the word “Black Forest” thinks instinctively of the renowned cuckoo clock and sees pass before their spiritual eyes the hustle and bustle of the “Fasnet period” (or generally speaking: Fasching, Carnival or a time in which to dress up and celebrate all sorts of traditions). Besides...

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Species Rara | 18 Jan. 2016

The Bridal Crown

The Mexican Black Forest

The Bridal Crown
© Sebastian Wehrle

The bridal crown, also known as a Schäppel in the Black Forest, enjoys a long tradition, and compared with a bridal wreath or veil, is the oldest decorative form of headdress worn by gushing brides-to-be. A symbol of purity and family status, the bridal crown was hung over the wedding table...

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