Sarah and I were recently horrified to see our pictures online with a caption that included “Master Distillers.” While we deeply appreciated the publicity, that title is one we both avoid like the plague. Why? Quite simply, we are not master distillers.
The term “master distiller” is thrown around very casually these days, and, therefore, has largely become meaningless. In reality, the term is fairly new in the distilling industry. A few decades ago it was hardly used. While today it’s a commonly used term, no one seems to be able to agree on what it actually means.
Here is my simple analysis. When used as an adjective, as in this case, “master” means highly skilled or proficient. Distilling is both an art and a science. As such it takes years of experience to become a highly skilled and proficient distiller.
Sarah and I are very good at what we do, but nowhere near ready to declare ourselves highly skilled, proficient distillers. With luck and hard work, that status may come after many, many years of distillery work; but after four years in the business – we aren’t even close to mastery.
To me, individuals, such as Jimmy Russell, Elmer Lee and Booker Noe, each with decades in the distilling business, are true master distillers. The rest of us strive to learn each day and stay on the path to excellence.
We were fortunate enough to meet Jimmy Russell and hear him speak about his journey and his product.
Jimmy has been in the business a couple of decades longer then I've been alive.
He is truly one of the last of his breed with a well earned title of Master Distiller.
Co-founder of Murray's Fools Distilling Co. | Altona. NY