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  1. #1
    Guru
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    May 2002
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    Central Arizona (near Prescott), U.S.A.
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    When the Master Distiller Has a Cold . . .

    As I enter what seems like the 97th day of my second or third two-week cold of the season, my normally cheery ( ) mood is about as nasty it gets. It's not that the experience is even close to being unbearable; I'm just starting to wonder whether it will ever end.

    In addition to the usual symptoms, I find that I am unable to enjoy alcoholic beverages in any form (unless Robitussin DM counts). My long road to recovery has caused me to wonder what would happen, were a master distiller to be so afflicted. If his taste apparatus was out of whack for, say, two to four weeks, would barrel selection and/or dumping cease for that period of time?

    The schedule impact might be even worse than that. I know that even after I pronounce myself recovered from a prolonged cold, it takes my taste a few more weeks to return to normal.

    Is it possible that the common cold could interefere with production of bourbon? Or does each distillery actually have a panel of tasters-in-training who would step in during an emergency? Or is there a several month supply of pre-tasted barrels to preclude just such an emergency?

    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield

  2. #2
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    New Orleans
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    115

    Re: When the Master Distiller Has a Cold . . .

    Interesting question. I've got a scratchy throat right now. Last night I tried a pour of this new bottle of Weller Centennial 10yo but I just could not get into it. It wasn't bad, but I couldn't taste anything distinctive. My taste was really out of whack.

  3. #3
    Connoisseur
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    Apr 2005
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    Northern California
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    681

    Re: When the Master Distiller Has a Cold . . .

    maybe they have a few junior distillers that are learning under the Master and if the MD is sick then they take over???

  4. #4
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
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    Chicago
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    12,564

    Re: When the Master Distiller Has a Cold . . .

    Every distillery has a tasting panel. These are not "junior" tasters, but people who regularly participate in the quality control process. If the master distiller's tasting ability is impaired, there are always others who can step in.

  5. #5
    Enthusiast
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    Aug 2005
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    Garden Grove, California
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    287

    Re: When the Master Distiller Has a Cold . . .

    You need to save a bottle of the stuff you're not too keen on to drink during the times your sick. Robitussin DM and just about any whiskey should knock out a cold in a couple days. That or give you some cool hallucinations.

  6. #6
    Enthusiast
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    Jun 2005
    Location
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
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    479

    Re: When the Master Distiller Has a Cold . . .

    Interesting question. I've got a scratchy throat right now. Last night I tried a pour of this new bottle of Weller Centennial 10yo but I just could not get into it. It wasn't bad, but I couldn't taste anything distinctive. My taste was really out of whack.
    That's how I quit smoking (a pipe) 25 years ago. I was pretty well disgusted with the stinking habit, although I certainly enjoyed it, but I had a cold that lasted two weeks and couldn't tolerate a smoke. So I quit, and had longings only a few months.

    I approached pipe tobacco in the same way I tackle all my interests - fanatically. I'd smoked a pipe for more than ten years, and really got into it. Blended my own tobacco ( I wonder if there are any shops left with such a selection of tobaccos as back in the 70's), got the best straight-grain briars and meerschaums, picked up a wonderful, buttery-soft baccy pouch in Florence (Italy, not Kentucky! ). Then happily gave it up. No more holes in shirts and jackets (back when I wore tweed sports coats), no more burnt tongue, no more off-putting breath. (Cigar smokers (which I was one of) - sound familiar?)

    Let's just hope that you and Dave get over your colds without giving up bourbon!

    Here's to both of your health (written while sipping a lovely manhattan made with an old Bourbon Deluxe).

    Jeff

  7. #7

    Re: When the Master Distiller Has a Cold . . .

    maybe they have a few junior distillers that are learning under the Master and if the MD is sick then they take over???
    This is what I thought as well. It makes sense. Also, I would suspect that the tasting sense of a MD, since tasting is mostly what they do for a living, is much more sharper than the average person. So, when a cold comes on the MD may hold out longer in his ability to detect bourbon quality??

  8. #8
    Bourbonian of the Year 2004 and Guru
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    Jul 2000
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    Nelson County, Kentucky
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    2,734

    Re: When the Master Distiller Has a Cold . . .

    There's a group of folks in the lab that "taste" the product

    Many of ya met a couple of them and didn't know who they were. During the KBF, two of our tour guides were part of QC at Heaven Hill, Mike Sonne and Tawnie Wiseman Mike, will tell you that Tawnie is the best taster hands down

    Bettye Jo

  9. #9
    Guru
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    Re: When the Master Distiller Has a Cold . . .

    Bettye Jo,

    In my original post I almost used the "he/she" construction, just as a courtesy. Little did I know that a woman is already performing this essential part of what I've always regarded as the master distiller's function.

    I guess that except for heavy lifting there's not much you gals can't do at least as well as the guys. (Come to think of it, rolling barrels of bourbon might just qualify as "heavy lifting". )

    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield

  10. #10
    Bourbonian of the Year 2004 and Guru
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    Nelson County, Kentucky
    Posts
    2,734

    Re: When the Master Distiller Has a Cold . . .

    Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh Yeahhhhhhhhhhhhh Dave

    as Jobettye prissies off into the sunset swinging' the hips (tool belt a clinging' ) from side to side...Bottle of bourbon in one hand, ratchet in the other ...

    I just love it when new folks come to visit us...and they spot me, inside a machine fixing it There's always a double take...

    Things are alot different now...and I love being in the middle of it!

    Bettye Jo

    HH Maintenance, since Jan 15, 2001
    HH Employee since August 17, 1992

 

 

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