April 21, 2012
I recently had the pleasure of attending the American Distilling Institute’s (ADI’s) annual conference. This year it was held in Louisville, KY, with a focus on whiskey and rum. I picked up some techniques, toured a few distilleries, and tasted a lot of whiskey.
The Institute’s 6th Annual Judging of American Artisan Spirits competition yielded 244 whiskey, rum, and brandy submissions. Best of class in Artisan Distilled Whiskey went to Corsair Artisan Distillery for their Grainiac 9 Grain Bourbon. Some other standouts that I had the pleasure of tasting included Limestone Branch Distillery’s T.J. Pottinger Moon*Shine (Gold Medal, best of corn whiskey), Colorado Gold Distillery’s Straight Bourbon (Silver medal in straight bourbon), Corsair’s Citra Whiskey and Elderflower Bohemian Whiskey (Gold and Bronze, respectively, for hopped whiskey), Edgefield Distillery’s Monkey Puzzle (malt whiskey with hops and honey, surprisingly balanced and tasty), and Dancing Pines Black Walnut Bourbon Liqueur. After one of the day’s panel sessions we were graciously afforded free tastings of more artisan distilled spirits than could be experienced in one afternoon (four tables full). It’s difficult to find many of these products outside of their home states, so it was a terrific opportunity to see what people are producing--and I must say, there is an incredible range of good product out there.
Four Roses Distillery and a view of their beer well and a few of their twenty-three 16,000 gallon open fermenters.
An afternoon of sensory analysis.