Al, you miss have been to a brewery\distillary fermenting sour mash (which I imagine can smell funky, fermentation in general produces funky sulfer compounds which later are blown off, or not...).
Why is it illegal in Australia but not in AZ? is it a taxing thing? I think the US is one of the few places in the world where it is ilegal to distill at home.
In europe is practicly a tradition in rural areas.
A combo pot-reflux still is pretty wicked and can produce both aromatic distilates of about 40-60% with alot of impurities (higher alcohols) and 90-96% tasteless odorless vodka. some even make ethanol fuel with it but its really not economic IMO given sugar prices. maybe if your given a few tons of fruit for free.
It takes alot of energy and time thought, so for given time you spend its more efficient to use a big still and do a few big runs during the season (grape\apples\plums) then run a small 5-10 gallon still.