What’s a Distiller When it’s at Home?


[In which I talk about American distilling related issues that I probably don’t know enough about]

In the US, until recent times, there weren’t all that many distilleries making whiskey. A history of Prohibition and draconian state liquor laws mean that not only did they start from a low base number in the 1930s but an increase in the number wasn’t particularly easy. Throw in a decline in the popularity of whiskey in the 1980s and 90s, leading to distillery closures and conglomeration, and you have a market that was ripe for the recent craft distilling boom. However, craft distilling is still in its infancy (or at least toddling years) in the USA and the ‘old’ system of whiskey production is still predominant. It’s a system that doesn’t necessarily link brands to the distilleries where their whiskey is made.

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High West American Prairie Reserve

High West American Prairie Reserve

Bourbon is a spirit that I haven’t really given enough respect to over the years. I know intellectually and appreciate that there are some great bourbons out there, but all to often I focus on mixing it or drinking it over ice and don’t pay attention to the flavour of the spirit itself. Enough. I’ve decided to devote a chunk of my time to investigating the flavour variation in bourbon and developing my palate. First on the chopping block of my latest excuse to drink is High West American Prairie Reserve.

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High West Barreled Manhattan – The 36th Vote

One of the bonuses of working the world of drinks is that many of my cow-orkers are also booze obsessives. Step-up to the plate Mr Nic Vaughan – medical prosthetics designer(?!) turned trade guy at TWE, both our tame American and American whiskey go to guy. On his trips back to the US to see friends and family Nic often picks up interesting things, and earlier this year he picked me up a bottle that has been sitting on my shelf for a while, but finally got finished last weekend – High West’s 36th Vote Barreled Manhattan.

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