Women in Whiskey
For anyone that doesn’t know Peggy from listening to our past episodes, you will get to hear from the first ever woman Master Taster. She has been a remarkable inspiration for anyone in the bourbon industry and her crowning achievement was being inducted into the 2019 Bourbon Hall of Fame. This podcast was recorded at the Kentucky Derby Museum’s Legends Series so make sure you are following their social media handles @derbymuseum to catch the next season. Learn more about Peggy by listening to episodes 204 and 198, which is her session from the 2018 Kentucky Bourbon Affair called “The Stave is the Rave”.
- DISCUS Petition: https://p2a.co/yrfbbV7
- Podcast Awards Voting: https://www.podcastawards.com/
- This week’s Above the Char with Fred Minnick talks about Wild Turkey and small barrels.
- Tell us about being a Noe.
- What were you like when you were young?
- What was your dad like?
- Tell us about your time at the University of Kentucky.
- What were you drinking back then?
- Why did you chose these whiskies to taste?
- What was your first job out of college?
- How long were you in the hotel business?
- When did you work at Brown-Forman?
- What was the coolest event you coordinated?
- What was the next step?
- Tell us a good Lincoln story.
- What challenges have you faced?
- Do you feel like you always have to prove yourself?
- Talk about what you’ve done for women in bourbon.
- Tell us about Peerless.
- How many distilleries have you worked on?
- Tell us about Bakers.
- Bourbon Women: https://bourbonwomen.org/
204 – Fostering Diversity and Building Experiences with Peggy Noe Stevens, Master Taster and Experiential Expert
Peggy Noe Stevens is an encyclopedia of great information about many bourbon brands. You may not know it, but she’s one of the biggest influencers behind many of the great distillery experiences while on the bourbon trail and outside of the state too. Peggy is a pioneer in driving diversity with her leadership behind the Bourbon Women organization and involvement with women-led panels. Peggy is an incredibly talented person that has shaped the industry from being in front of people leading them at bourbon tastings and crafting one of kind experiences behind the scenes.
- This week’s Above the Char with Fred Minnick talks about Wikipedia.
- What is an experiential expert?
- Who have you consulted for these experiences?
- What value do you bring to these experiences?
- What was it like working at Woodford Reserve?
- How do you elevate the experience?
- How do balance the history with modern day innovation?
- Explain the difference between someone coming up the ranks in the bourbon industry vs. someone just taking it.
- What was it like when you were named the first female master taster?
- Do you feel like the media is better today that back then?
- What about diversity in the whiskey industry?
- Was Lincoln Henderson your Mr. Miyagi?
- What are you doing today with this master taster role?
- Let’s discuss Bourbon Women.
- What was your inspiration for Bourbon Women?
- Tell us about the growth of Bourbon Women.
- How do you market the organization?
- What type of members do you have?
- What are visitors looking for in a distillery experience?
- How do you deal with a difficult person in the hospitality industry?
- How did you help pioneer the Bourbon Trail?
Bruce Russell and JoAnn Street both know their Wild Turkey distillation and family history like the back of their hand. Both have been brand ambassadors but are now transitioning to new roles. While JoAnn is developing the hospitality side, Bruce is learning the ins and outs of the distillery. This show dives into the personalities of these two as we discuss the effect of bringing fresh faces to the distillery and how they plan on keeping traditions alive.
- Episode 186 we feature Pam Heilman of Michter’s Distillery
- 150 bottles remaining from 4 barrels of Pursuit Series
- This week’s Above the Char with Fred Minnick talks about fake whiskey.
- JoAnn, do you want to get into working in the distillery?
- Bruce, are they going to make you join the union?
- How are you related to Jimmy?
- How did you decide to get into the family business?
- Talk about being a female in whiskey.
- What does it mean to be new blood in the company?
- Tell us about your background and how it will help with working in the distillery.
- Did they have a daycare for you at the distillery when you were young?
- What is your favorite Wild Turkey product?
- Do you see yourself living in Lawrenceburg?
- Give us your typical brand ambassador spiel for 80 proof and 101.
- Tell us about Rare Breed and Kentucky Spirit.
- Why is 101 Rye important?
We all know wood influences bourbon, but to what degree? This episode explores both natural and human impact to understand the chemical breakdown of what happens in the barrel. Peggy rounds this out by pairing it with food so you know how to train your palate. Peggy Noe Stevens is renowned for her ability to combine all of your senses into a memorable experience when you are drinking any bourbon. This session took place at the 2018 Kentucky Bourbon Affair and you can buy tickets to remaining 2019 events at kybourbonaffair.com.
- Behind the Scenes of Four Roses Small Batch Select – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=my9YR-fr95s
- Kenny’s Big Batch Mint Julep Recipe – https://www.patreon.com/posts/26331151
- This week’s Above the Char with Fred Minnick talks about who you would like to go out drinking with.
- All the magic of bourbon happens in the barrel.
- Overview of barrel making and charring barrels.
- Innovation with barrels.
- As much as we try to control barrels and warehouses, mother nature still controls a lot of variables.
- Barrels provide 6 basic food flavors: sweet, spice, wood, smoke, fruit, and floral.
- Understanding aroma and flavors.
- Tricks to neutralize your olfactory sense.
- What decisions affect the flavor of bourbon?
- What flavor does toasting a barrel provide?
- What flavor does charring a barrel provide?
- The chemistry behind bourbon.
- Importance of oxygen and water.
- Exploring the texture of bourbon.
- Where do the barrel notes hit the tongue?
- When is it over oaked?
- The Chew Down: bourbon and food pairing.
We have both Masters from Michter’s today. Andrea Wilson was a guest back on Episode 47, and she makes her return with a new role as Master of Maturation. We dig into chemical compounds and wood effects on their bourbon. In addition, we have Pam Heilmann, the current Master Distiller, and we talk about her past at the Booker Noe plant and what they are doing at Michter’s. We touch on the new Fort Nelson Distillery and dive into the topics the whiskey geeks care about like limited high age expressions, barrel proof releases, and if could we ever expect to see a single barrel program? Listen to all of our Michter’s podcasts at https://bourbonpursuit.com/michters-podcasts/
- Buffalo Trace’s Virtual Reality Tour
- Conor O’Driscoll Joins Heaven Hill Distillery as Fifth Master Distiller
- Pursuit Series Episodes 3 through 7 are available for purchase. Visit https://pursuitspirits.com/episodes/
- The week’s Above the Char with Fred Minnick talks about Bourbon and teething.
- What does Master of Maturation mean?
- How did you get into whiskey?
- What’s a relief supervisor?
- Can you train your palate or is it a natural ability?
- Is the tasting panel the best job?
- What are the engineers bringing to the table?
- How much still time do you have?
- Is Willie Pratt still in the picture?
- What does toasted mean?
- Why don’t you make barrel strength bourbon all the time?
- Why hasn’t Michter’s started a single barrel program?
- How long have you been distilling here?
- What is your plan for your distillate?
- Was there some fine tuning performed on the still?
- Are you just making Bourbon? Or are you making Rye, Malt, anything else?
- Tell us about the Shenk’s and Bomberger’s lines.
- Are you all looking forward to the new visitor experience?
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!
- 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?
Beth Burrows, Kentucky Bourbon Ambassador for Beam Suntory, gives us all the history behind Jim Beam and the different expressions. We even get the chance to learn how Baker’s Bourbon got its name.
- Tell us about your history with bourbon
- Do you miss bartending?
- What has the passing of Senate Bill 11, allowing producers to serve cocktails and more whiskey going to do for Jim Beam?
- Jim Beam is really pioneering and doing all flavored whiskey like the Apple and Honey, Black Cherry, Fire, Maple. Thoughts?
- Who’s your target market with these?
- Then you’ve got Jim Beam white label, black, double oak, devils’ cut, rye, bonded, single barrel,
- Tell us about the Jim Beam distiller’s masterpiece
- Names behind Knob Creek, Baker, Basil Hayden, OGD, Old Crow, Booker’s
Susan Reigler, Executive Bourbon Steward, joins the show again to talk about Bourbon Women, an organization founded to join like-minded individuals around the nation.
- Let’s talk about the Bourbon Women Association (also open to men). Give us the pitch.
- How many members across the country?
- How did it start?
- How does one join?
- What is a benefit of joining?
- How much are dues and how is it distributed?
- How do you start a chapter/branch?
- Do you all have regular meet ups?
- If you only get 180 bottles out of the barrel and you have over 1000 members, do other members across the country as you to ship them bottles?
- Is there a secret handshake?
- Talk more about the Sip-posium.
- What’s the long term goal of this organization?
- Updates on the bourbon tasting notebook
- Follow on Twitter @BourbonWomen
Susan Reigler, Executive Bourbon Steward and author of multiple bourbon books, talks about her past as a food critic and shares how to pair food with bourbon and explains what it means to be an Executive Bourbon Steward.
- Your bourbon resume is impressive. Where did this all begin? It must have taken some sort of inspiration.
- How would you categorize yourself? We have bourbon historians. Do you consider yourself to be a bourbon enthusiast?
- I want to talk about food for a little bit because you must have a very refined palate. When was the last time you ate at a Red Lobster?
- Do you think food and bourbon pair well together because I sometimes find that i don’t get to experience the full flavor of a bourbon when i’m trying to eat my pepperoni stuffed hot pocket.
What dishes do you find are best paired with a bourbon?
- Any particular bourbon that works better than others?
- First off, give the listeners a quick explanation of what the James Beard Awards are and
what’s is like being a judge.
- Give us the top 5 restaurants that you need to eat at while you’re here exploring the trail
- What’s it mean to be an executive bourbon steward?
- We’ve been told that women have a better palate than men. I hear you have scientific evidence that it’s true.
- See all of Susan’s books on Amazon.com
047 – Blazing a Trail as a Woman in Whiskey and Michter’s History with Andrea Wilson, VP and GM of Michter’s Distillery
Andrea Wilson, Vice President and General Manager of Michter’s Distillery, gives us the history of Michter’s, her rich history influencing the bourbon industry behind the scenes, and hints at a new 20 year bourbon release and potential Celebration.
- Talk about your first encounter with whiskey or bourbon
- How did that influence you to make a career from it?
- What kind of path did you take because you can’t tell a distillery, “Hey i’ve got experience because i’ve been moonshining”
- You’ve got a historic past. First woman to serve as chair for the KDA. What does that mean to you?
- Talk about your current position at Michter’s and what that means
- Give some people a quick history lesson of Michters
- There is a new place being built on Whiskey Row, talk about that.
- There are 4 core products, talk about each one of those and choose a favorite child
- Then we have a few that are super extreme premium bourbons. Now choose a favorite child.
- You also have reminiscent feelings when drinking bourbon, talk about your tasting experience.
- What sort of legacy or impression do you want to leave on the industry?