Friday, June 28, 2013

WWWTP? "Tristillation?" Not So Fast, Zarco

A goofy, over-the-top marketing campaign for Zarco* tequila made its Twitter rounds yesterday (thanks, David Perry, ChemBark, and Chemjobber!).

Here's the company's video, titled "Tristillation (TM) Explained." I can't succinctly explain all the goofy pseudo-science in one fell swoop, so I'll just go second by second.

0:01 - Welcome to Zarco! Why, oh why, does everyone believe labs need a blinding hospital-white color scheme?
0:03 - Do you usually use a light microscope to examine molecules? I certainly don't.
0:04 - That retort in the background is boiling away, but there's NO FLAME underneath it (?!?)
0:06 - When's the last time you used a separatory funnel to isolate your distillate?

0:11 - Laymen's terms - Dear Zarco: Distillation doesn't work like that! The crude fermentation isn't sitting there in some sort of "pre-alcohol" waiting for you to add heat. When you distill, you're purifying the ethyl alcohol (their 'C-two-H-five-Oh-H') away from the water.

Ye Gods.

0:17 - A third undiscovered 'element' - this part is so inane I forgot to laugh. Short answer: no.
0:22 - Chemetron Medical products collection jar in the background. That's a plastic autoclave bottle; I'd never use it for this.

There's a few other videos save on their YouTube portal, Highlights include near-complete lack of gloves, goggles, or other safety equipment, and (chuckle) a background reflux condenser, which you'd actually use to distill something, sitting abandoned on a clamp.

I get the kitschy, comedic sci-fi vibe Zarco was going for, but they'd better hope their target audience isn't science literate. I can't get past the stupid long enough to buy a bottle.

*Does it bother anyone else that "Zarco" sounds like Darco, the fine activated carbon powder we actually DO use in lab? (to remove colors from solutions)


  1. Henceforth, whenever someone has a reaction fail or needs to purify a reagent, we will ask "did you tristillate it?"

  2. My desk is now covered in vomit after watching that.

  3. I would like that minute and a half of my life back! first it took me about a minute to read the post and realize I needed to watch he video to understand. After watching the video I want to take that time back. I am now dumber....

  4. Nice one from TSRI. They post the following link on their facebook page:

    I don't know and don't care who this author is. But if she was in my lab and wanted her picture taken, then she'd be wearing some PPE and if was to be in that picture, too, I'd do the same. (Side-note: I also do it when I don't get my picture taken ;-))