140 – Getting Nosey with Nancy “The Nose” Fraley and Joseph A. Magnus & Co


Blending is an art. We’ve discussed it many times before and our guest today would be considered the Queen. She provides Nosing Services, meaning she is a blood hound in human form. Listen about Nancy Fraley‘s past and how she has carved a path as one of the world’s best blenders for whiskey, rum, armagnac, and many different spirits. In the second segment of the show, we talk about her current role at Joseph A. Magnus & Co and how she mirrored the current distribution to one that was found in a family closet from pre-prohibition as well as her exploration in the Jos. A. Magnus Cigar Blend!

Show Notes:

  • This is the second Master Blender we’ve had on the show. Back on Episode 103 we featured Drew Mayville. If you didn’t get a chance to listen to it, you really should. It’s an impossible decision to wonder if the master distiller or the master blender is the real star of the show.
  • Our guest today is renowned in the industry and gets the ever so attractive nickname “the nose”.
  • Lets talk about you for a bit. Do you remember your first experience with whiskey or bourbon?
  • Talk about your education and how you got your nick name
  • When did you realize you could start a business with this?
  • What do you do when you get a head cold?
  • So you currently freelance for many big names in the industry as well as craft distilleries out there. What services are you offering for many of these places?
  • What are some of the most common mistakes distillers make?
  • Talk me through nosing new make or white dog and how you can criticize or tweak it because in my opinion it’s damn near impossible. are there certain aromas?
  • Any examples of when you can sense something is wrong and how to fix it?
  • What’s the worst case you came across and had to salvage something. We can keep the names innocent, but what went wrong?
  • What else besides whiskey do you consult in?
  • I read somewhere you’re a big fan of armagnac.
  • Do you use the same method for judging different spirits or is there a playbook for each one?
  • Lots of craft distilleries are looking at you to help perfect their products.
  • How does you determine the amount of each different whiskey that goes into a blend? Does that always translate when your mixing small amounts in a lab then try to use the same percentages on a batch from barrels?
  • Lots of people do home blending with after market products. Perhaps it’s something as simple as an infinity bottle where you take the last ounce or two from every bottle and put it in a decanter, and others that buy these small 1 gallon barrels. Is there any recipe or formula you use to know what should go into a blend?
  • Do you find it odd or interesting that distilleries don’t do limited edition blendings with barrels from each respective distiller to form a collaboration?
  • Talk about Jos A Magnus and what you are doing there
  • I’ve got access to the single barrels as well as some of the infamous Cigar blend finishes. I want you to talk me through your involvement with single barrels, the standard Magnus release, Murray Hill, and we’ll finish it off with Cigar Blend
  • Do you see barrel finishes as the future of the industry?

One thought on “140 – Getting Nosey with Nancy “The Nose” Fraley and Joseph A. Magnus & Co

  1. My husband brought this name to my attention”Nancy the Nose Fraley” especially for two reasons, One-he has me smell the different notes in the bourbon he purchases as well as my son! Second my maiden name is Fraley! I use to think this was a curse that I could smell certain odors or fragrance! I’ve had to leave a premise because of the smells! Even on vacation like Nancy asked for different rooms because I could smell musty or mold smells! Funny how we have the same background as well! My Uncle Dave Fraley was a banjo player and held several Bluegrass Festivals at his home in Kentucky! She mentioned the name Elizabeth- this was my grandmothers name. Country music was huge in my family and sharing the same gift of the nose I now wonder if we’re related in some way!

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