jm + distilling   3

Waterford Distillery on Whisky "Finishing"
Here’s an inexpensive illusion for a whisky brand to acquire more shelf presence. Purchase three barrels of whisky from a generic pool of ex-bourbon matured stocks. Re-rack a couple of these barrels into new barrels – a sherry cask, or maybe you’d like the name of a French chateau to add more gravitas to a label and pull another rabbit out of the hat? Give it a few weeks, then bottle each of them in turn. Instead of one bottle on the shelf, you have three. You’ll more easily catch the eye of the whisky consumer as they walk by, pondering the nature of what ‘finishing’ actually means.

These days, the shelves of retailers and at airports are rammed up with all sorts of fancy ‘finishes’ – which is to say a whisky that has been re-racked into another barrel and left to mature for a period of time; perhaps up to a couple of years, but usually just a few brief months.


Well said. I'm looking forward to their whisky...
whiskey  whisky  waterford-distillery  booze  finishing  distilling  barrels 
19 days ago by jm
Distilled Identity
Gabriel recently bought a distillery in Barbados, where he says the majority of his team is of African descent. “The sugar industry is a painful past for them, but my understanding, from my team, is that they do see it as the past,” Gabriel explained. “There was great suffering, but their take is like, ‘We built this island.’ They are reclaiming it, and we are seeing that in efforts to preserve farming land and not let it all go to tourism.”

I rather liked this narrative, or at least the potential of it. Slavery was appalling across the board, but countries and cultures throughout the African Diaspora have managed their paths forward in ways that don’t mimic the American aftermath. A plurality of narratives was possible here, which was thrilling to me. I am often disappointed by the mainstream perception of one-note blackness. One could easily argue the root of colonization is far from removed in the Caribbean. But if I understood Gabriel, and if he accurately captured the sentiments of his Barbadian colleagues, plantation sugarcane offered career opportunities to some, and was perhaps not solely a distressing connection to a shared global history. We chewed on this thought, together, in silence.
history  distilling  rum  barbados  african-diaspora  slavery  american-history  booze  language  etymology 
august 2017 by jm
The White Lies of Craft Culture - Eater
Besides field laborers, [Southern US] planter and urban communities both depended on proficient carpenters, blacksmiths, gardeners, stable hands, seamstresses, and cooks; the America of the 1700s and 1800s was literally crafted by people of color.

Part of this hidden history includes the revelation that six slaves were critical to the operation of George Washington’s distillery, and that the eponymous Jack Daniel learned to make whiskey from an enslaved black man named Nathan “Nearest” Green. As Clay Risen reported for the New York Times last year, contrary to the predominant narrative that views whiskey as an ever “lily-white affair,” black men were the minds and hands behind American whiskey production. “In the same way that white cookbook authors often appropriated recipes from their black cooks, white distillery owners took credit for the whiskey,” he writes. Described as “the best whiskey maker that I know of” by his master, Dan Call, Green taught young Jack Daniel how to run a whiskey still. When Daniel later opened his own distillery, he hired two of Green’s sons.

The popular image of moonshine is a product of the white cultural monopoly on all things ‘country’
Over time, that legacy was forgotten, creating a gap in knowledge about American distilling traditions — while English, German, Scottish, and Irish influences exist, that combination alone cannot explain the entirely of American distilling. As bourbon historian Michael Veach suggests, slave culture pieces together an otherwise puzzling intellectual history.
history  craft-beer  craft-culture  food  drink  whiskey  distilling  black-history  jack-daniels  nathan-nearest-green 
august 2017 by jm

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