The scents of juniper, cloves, liquorice and dried orange fill the air in the infusing shed at the De Kuyper headquarters in Schiedam, a small town just outside Rotterdam. Huge glazed pottery jars line the walls, emblazoned with the Dutch names of the products that are maturing inside them: gember, anijszaad, koriander (pictured below). Antique copper distilling equipment sits around. Hatches on the floor cover massive tanks in which flavours are being slowly infused into alcohol, ready to be exported all over the world. But it’s the smell that you remember; a mixture of the medicinal and the sweet, like an apothecary run by Willy Wonka.
“I grew up with that smell,” says Marc de Kuyper, the 11th generation of his family to work in the distilling business. “I used to come here in the school holidays and do all the jobs that nobody else wanted to do: unpacking boxes, cleaning floors, the menial jobs.”
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