The Tasting Panel magazine

October 2012

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industry, and the opportunity to learn about the inner workings of the brands that the public is not usually privy to. The night began with a panel discussion that included heavy hitters such as Jim Beam's grandson and seventh-generation Master Distiller Fred Noe, and Rob Samuels, eighth-generation Master Distiller and the man solely responsible for the global expan- sion of Maker's Mark. Both men have deep family roots in the history of American distillation, and both insist on continuing to make their spirits the same way their grandparents did. The night was filled with enthusiastic toasts, fond childhood memories and detailed descriptions of pro- duction. We had the opportunity to speak intimately with Samuels regarding his role in his grandfather's legacy, Maker's Mark. "I've always admired what my grandparents created, and what my father was able to accomplish," he said. "My job is guardian of the uniqueness" When it comes to production, "The bourbon is made exactly as it was in the beginning; it's never changed. Nineteen barrels are produced per each step of the process. We're one of two distilleries in the world that uses a roller mill, and we're the only distillery in the world that rotates barrels through the aging process. Every label is printed and torn by hand, and every bottle is hand dipped in the red wax—and it all happens at our distillery." The big brands were not the only ones who came out to play. Dave Racicot, founder of Thatcher's Organic Artisan Liqueurs, had the guests lining up to try his innovative and culinary-driven liqueurs. "I wanted to be the first to get in and do something no one else has done before," he explained; "to have a lot of unique proprietary flavors that we created and found a way to master." Racicot traveled the world in order to capture the essence of ingredients in his Apple Cider Ginger, Tres Chiles and Yumberry expressions. Thatcher's Liqueurs are not only organic, but made from sustainably farmed fruits, vegetables and botanicals. Racicot continued: "It's really about being puritanical to the cause, working with farm-to-table restaurants, those that are into source integrity, know- ing where their food is coming from. If they really want to provide their guests with a unique dining experience, that's where we will always succeed." When asked about the Spirits Confidential tour, and how he felt about traveling with some of the most prestigious Master Distillers and Ambassadors, he concluded, "One thing about the Spirits Confidential, that no one else has in the industry, is that there's a genuine affection amongst all the distillers—we help each other out." This sense of camaraderie was echoed among all the distillers present. Beam Inc. strives to bring in family-owned companies with a sense of tradition and quality. Samuels elaborated on this when he told us: "They [Beam Inc.] respect the uniqueness of the different brands; they celebrate where we come from, and they believe in the future. It's an exciting time for our indus- try, especially an exciting time for premium bourbon, and our little distillery has been discovered." Beam Inc. Master Mixologist Bobby "G" Gleason wows guests with his behind-the-bar skill and savvy. Brand Ambassador Victor Manuel Martinez of Sauza Tequila. Thatcher's Organic Artisan Liqueurs presented its entire line-up. october 2012 / the tasting panel / 89

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