The Tasting Panel magazine

May 2011

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 119 of 132

former GM of Woodford Reserve Distillery; and Hubert Germain-Robin, who created the Germain-Robin line of brandies. “What is very exiting is the passion and enthusiasm of all the producers, experi- enced or novice,” said Germain-Robin. But if you want to try the top winners, you may have to travel. The top winner in the brandy/fruit spirits class was Huber’s Starlight Distillery’s Raspberry Dessert Wine, a spirit that is distributed regionally in Indiana and Kentucky. The Best of Show Whiskey was also awarded to a small, regional product: Hogshead Whiskey by McMenamin’s Edgefield Distillery is a spirit that is sold off-prem- ise exclusively at McMenamin’s Edgefield and Old St. Francis locations, and only available on-premise at McMenamin’s pubs and hotels in Oregon. In all, the judges were impressed by the quality of the spirits. “Having been a Distiller James Whelan shows the grains that he uses to produce whiskey at McMenamin’s Edgefield Distillery. His Hogshead Whiskey was recognized as Gold Medal, Best of Class in the ADI judging. In addition to the learning, the distillers also are up to some legislative activism. Melkon Khosrovian, of GreenBar Collective, and Gable Erenzo, of Tuthilltown Spirits (makers of Hudson whiskies), presented a call to support U.S. House Bill H.R. 777, which would provide tax-relief for small-batch spirits producers. A couple decades ago, a similar tax bill greatly helped the microbrewery revolution. (To voice your opinion go to A benefit dinner for the Michael Jackson Fund Distilling American Distilling Institute President Bill Owens addresses the crowd on opening day. This year’s conference received approximately 500 visitors, a more than 60% increase over last year. Alexandre Gabriel, President of Cognac Ferrand, evalu- ates a flight of grappa. In addition to being a spirits judge, Gabriel presented cognac and calvados tast- ings and gave a presenta- tion on cognac. judge two years ago and again this time in Portland gave me the latitude to measure the progress of the samples of spirits and liqueurs,” Germain-Robin said. “The level of quality has risen spectacularly in the cleanness of the distillates and in the balance of the fruit liqueurs.” Germain-Robin also taught a master-class in brandy production, one of several workshops on the last day of the conference. Other workshops included gin and two whiskey classes. Owens said a personal highlight was “to go around to the hands-on classes at McMenamin’s, Bull Run Distillery and Round Barn Brandyworks, to eyeball the next genera- tion, and see that everybody has a different dream or take on it. These people really define entrepreneurs.” Internship program raised thousands of dollars with a charity auction featuring rare brandies donated by Preiss Imports and two pallets of bottles donated by Owens Illinois. Internship recipient Brendan Wheatley spoke about his experience at the Chichibu Distillery researching artistry in production of new Japanese whiskies. “I really was able to get a feel for the difference between old-school and new-school Japanese whisky,” said Wheatley. “Japanese reverence for the process and spirit they’re making is inspirational. Even the large companies seem to have made decisions that go against the bottom line for the sake of the whisky.” Wheatley had been on the way to the airport when the tragic earthquake shook Japan, stranding his train on the tracks for 12 hours. On arrival, the airport was also shut down, grounding Wheatley for five days before he could return to the States. The next intern, Denise Jones will be leaving in June for Weyermann in Germany to study advanced malting techniques. Jones is an award-winning brewer for Moylan’s Brewery and Restaurant in Novato, CA. After the conference, the Oregon Distillers Guild pre- sented The Oregon Artisan Spirits Tasting, TOAST. An estimated 400 people in the Tiffany Center toasted with small-batch, hand-crafted spirits by micro-distilleries from coast to coast. Owens summed up the experience: “Boundaries are being broken to produce flavors no one has ever experienced before.” The next conference will be in Louisville, KY, in the first week of April, 2012. For more information, go to may 201 1 / the tasting panel / 119

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Tasting Panel magazine - May 2011