Distillers Blog
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 water was first mentioned in 1772, when five young men drowned in it. Only a few days later, nothing would have happened to them. The water disappeared again and flowers began to bloom on the meadow. Scientists have never been able to fully explain how the lake appears and then quickly disappears again. However, they all agree that the Dinkelberg range of hills on which the Eichener Lake lies is largely made up of shell limestone. These are riddled with cracks and large cave systems in which the groundwater could accumulate. When there's sufficient water, it literally spurts out through the grass. The unpredictable lake grows to about 2.5 hectares in size.

This in itself is really quite mysterious, but it becomes even more curious when we consider the lake's famous inhabitants: ostracods, which have their gills on their legs and exist only here in the whole of Central Europe. As soon as the lake lives up to its name, these little creatures about two centimeters in length become active. Speed is of the essence: eat, grow, copulate. For the females, it also means quickly laying their eggs, which can wait for several years in dry conditions until the lake finally deigns to put in an appearance again. It's hardly surprising that the lake's mysterious appearance quickly becomes common knowledge by word of mouth. Within just a few days, newspapers begin to report on this natural wonder, by which time, countless walkers are out doing their rounds along the rare body of water. Sometimes, however, it disappears again, and all that remains is a pleasant walk along a path that appears to surround nothing more than a meadow.

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 | 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 | 02 May. 2016

Carl Friedrich Benz

The Most Beautiful Sound from the Black Forest

Carl Friedrich Benz
© ullstein bild-ullstein bild

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...

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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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