Amarula comes from the mystical Marula or Elephant Tree (Sclerocarya birrea) that is indigenous to sub-equatorial Africa. It bears a smallish oval fruit with its flesh packed around a large, very hard kernel. From mid-January to mid-March the marula fruit ripens, giving the fruit its distinctive flavour and rich yellow colour. Of this mythical and sought after tree, Amarula Cream is born. The ripe fruit is gathered and the flesh removed from the skin. As the marulas ripen the local inhabitants harvest them from the veld and deliver them to the marula plant or to central pick-up points. Payment is made individually for every kilogram delivered. The fruit is selected on a sorting conveyor belt, with damaged fruit being discarded and green fruit being held back to ripen. In the de-stoning tank, rotating blades remove the flesh from the hard kernels. The resulting fruit pulp and kernels are then separated. The marula pulp is then pumped into stainless steel cooling tanks, where it is kept at a consistent temperature of below 8°C to prevent fermentation. The pulp is then transported in bulk by tankers, maintaining a constant temperature of below 8°C, to the Distell cellar in Stellenbosch. At the cellar, the pulp is transferred to fermentation tanks, where a pure yeast culture is inoculated into the pulp to start the fermentation process. The conditions are similar to those of winemaking. Once fully fermented, the clear marula wine is transferred to the distillery. The fruit solids are compressed to extract all the juice and then distilled to release the marula fruit flavours, which are added to the marula wine. During fermentation, which is performed at 18°C - 20°C, the natural fruit sugar present in the marula is converted to alcohol, taking seven to ten days. During this stage the solid fruit particles settle at the bottom of the tanks. The marula wine is distilled in column stills and then in copper pot-stills to produce the characteristically flavourful marula spirit, which is then oak-matured for two years in small oak barrels. After two years of maturation, the final step in the creation of Amarula Cream is the blending of the liqueur with the finest, fresh cream until a smooth consistency is formed. The creaming process is of the highest standard, resulting in a cream product that is delectably rich and soft, with an alcohol content of 17%.