CRAFT by Under My Host® Issue No. 17 Made in America: Part II - Page 139

ucts, etc. Distillers also come to me with defects or faults in either a finished product or something that is still in production. I perform sensory analysis to figure out what the defect is, what part of the production process it came from (i.e., what went wrong during production), and then how best to fix it. What’s your typical day like? There really is no such thing as a typical day for me! Travel – nationally and internationally – is certainly a big part of my work week, especially during “blending season,” which is spring through fall. On any given workday, I might go through 50 to more than 200 barrels to determine if and how I will use them either in a blend, for a single barrel, for a new product line, etc. I might dump barrels and physically assemble a blend at a distillery, or I may make prototypes for blends – existing and new products – using graduated cylinders and lab equipment. If I’m working at home, I might analyze dis- tilled spirit samples for possible faults. Throughout the year, I teach courses on maturation, warehousing, and blending, as well as sensory analysis to distillers, so I get to revisit my original dream of being a professor. A great day is when I know I’ve put together an excellent blend, or I’ve cre- ated a new distilled spirits product that I think will really be a big hit. I ab- solutely love the artistic side of my work, where I am able to use both the analytical and intuitive parts of my brain. There is nothing better to get the creative juices flowing than when you see people enjoying the liquid fruit of your labor! Have you made any “terrific mistakes” while blending? I wouldn’t say that I’ve had mistakes, but there have been times when a client had to do something out of necessity, that we weren’t planning for, and it turned out great. A good example is with my dear clients and friends at Iron Root Republic. When they first started, there was a shortage of good quality new American white oak barrels, so we had to find something else that would not affect the quality of their whiskey. We used European oak from Independ- ent Stave Company, which paired perfectly with the heirloom corn and other grain varietals they used. I wouldn’t call it a mistake, but a “happy accident.” I read about you recreating a modern version of a Magnus whiskey based on a bottle from1892. Is that one of your coolest projects? Yes, recreating a modern-day version from the original Joseph Magnus bour- bon from 1892 was definitely one of the highlights of my career, thus far. It was very much of a challenge. I used a hypodermic needle to extract a little bit of whiskey from that old bottle, then took a sample home with me to figure out how to replicate it using what I had available to me here in the 21st centu- ry. © Hundred-to-One LLC 2018. All rights reserved.