My issue here is not so much the technical one as the truth-in-advertising one.
When a producer touts a product as "pot still," what is the point being made? One obvious answer is: "not made in a column still." There is, among many spirits enthusiasts, a prejudice against column stills in favor of pot stills. I use the term "prejudice" deliberately because the attitude is based on some very debatable assumptions, but it exists nonetheless.
If it is an appeal to authenticity, to some sort of adherence to tradition, then does that have any validity if the equipment in question bears little or no resemblance to the traditional alembic or, at least, to the modern versions of same employed in Scotland and Cognac? Even if the equipment is, technically, a pot still, are you being true to the customer's expectations if you use that term?
There is a product called A. H. Hirsch bourbon, which claimed to be the only pot still bourbon made after Prohibition. Let me say right off that it is a delicious whiskey and I have purchased as many bottles of it as I can afford. It is exceptional. That's not the issue.
Extensive research has been done on the pot still claim and although all of the people with direct knowledge are dead (the whiskey was distilled more than 30 years ago), it appears that the claim was essentially false, but rationalized by the fact that the doubler in an American whiskey distillery is, in fact, a pot still, and at the time of the whiskey's distillation at the Michter's Distillery in Pennsylvania, many other larger Pennsylvania distilleries had abandoned doubling, so Michter's did have a somewhat valid claim to a process, involving a pot still, that differentiated it from its competitors.
It also appears that the whiskey's makers set out intending to make an entirely pot still whiskey but were never able to get that off the ground and settled for just using the term to describe a conventionally-made whiskey. They did, however, stencil the words "pot still" onto their doubler.
There is a new product on the market right now called Willett Family Pot Still Reserve. The bottle resembles a pot still owned by the Willett family, however the product inside said bottle was not made in that still nor in any pot still except, as with Hirsch, for the doubler used by the conventional American whiskey distillery that actually distilled the product.
Woodford Reserve, on the other hand, uses three pot stills, manufactured in Scotland, to make one of the component bourbons in its Woodford Reserve Distillers Select. The company has also released two products in what it calls its Masters Collection that are 100% pot still. The stills function exactly like the pot stills used in Scotland for malt whiskey except that the first still uses a recirculating pump that allows them to distill from a mash, in the traditional American manner, rather than a wash.
That's whiskey and there is no question that whiskey can be made in pot stills. As for vodka, even if it is possible to make vodka, i.e., gns, in a pot still, even without the use of a rectification column, so what? What would be the point of the claim? What superiority would the use of a pot still ostensibly impart?
My purpose here is neither to prescribe nor proscribe, but to provide information and stimulate thought and discussion.