You will see this motto inscribed on the bottom of our bottles and hidden in the back of the tasting packs. It's also the name of our stills, VITRIOL 1 and 2. Vitriol as a word can refer to chemistry and mean sulfuric acid and related compounds, which eat away or attack other substances, but as an acronym, V.I.T.R.I.O.L. stands for a sentence in Latin:
Visita Interiora Terrae Rectificando Invenies Occultum Lapidem. Translated
"Visit the interior of the earth and purifying you will find the hidden stone"
The origins of this motto was thought to be a 15th century alchemist, Basilius Valentinus who included it in his work L’Azoth des Philosophes.
The acronym works on 2 levels, both the search for changing base metals into gold, and also for the search within ourselves for constant improvement, finding our hidden gem.
Vitriolic, a term we use for Sulphurous or acidic finds meaning in the picture of the green lion eating the sun. That is a common alchemical metaphor for reducing all non gold metals, the idea that sulphuric acid would dissolve all metals other than gold and could be used to purify gold alloys.
Occultum or hidden, implies work is needed to find this within ourselves, and we look for our hidden stone in what we do every day, striving to find gold amongst the background.
For Waiheke Whisky there is a third meaning, our liquid distilled from base grain, its sulphurous elements removed by the copper to reveal our version of the lapidem, our liquid gold.
If this work was easy, everyone would do it goes the famous saying and this is at the heart of what VITRIOL means to us; like geometry, making whisky seems deceptively simple.