Ep. 39 - Woodford Reserve's Master Distiller Chris Morris

BOURBON HISTORY // Join me as we celebrate 25 years of Woodford Reserve and talk history

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Show Notes

Today I have the honor of talking whisky and history with a first rate bourbon master distiller, celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the brand he helped get to market Woodford Reserve.

Chris Morris has a long history working with Brown-Forman going all the way back to 1976 and he is a lover of history, so we've got a ton to talk about in this episode, from the historic grounds where Woodford Reserve now resides, the development of the Woodford Reserve brand and whiskey, and I'll even get a chance to taste a rare bottle from the Distillers series called Chocolate Malt Whisper.

This is an interview I've long wanted to do, not only because of Chris' deep knowledge of the distillery's history, but also because Woodford was really on the forefront of this revival of American bourbon.

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Here is some of what we will discuss:

  • The Elijah Pepper Story
  • The original distillery and log cabin
  • Oscar Pepper
  • Dr. James Crow the man of mystery
  • The missing Old Crow recipe
  • James E. Pepper and Colonel E.H. Taylor
  • Labrot and Graham and commercial distilleries
  • The distillery during and after Prohibition
  • Was there a column still at the distillery?
  • Chris Morris and The Lab
  • The day they sold the distillery and grounds
  • Lincoln Henderson and the creation of Woodford Reserve
  • Triple distilled and pot distilled bourbon
  • Innovation in bourbon
  • The use of the third pot still
  • Favorite distilleries when visiting Scotland
  • Custom made barrels and cooperage
  • Their unique single barrel product
  • The bottle design and the Woodford Reserve image
  • Highlighting other grains
  • The Baccarat edition, Woodford, and the French connection
  • Distillery Series: Chocolate Malted Whiskey (tasting sample provided by Woodford Reserve - opinions are my own)
  • Cross Polination between Lincoln, Chris, and Elizabeth

 Listen to the full episode with the player above or find it on your favorite podcast app under "Whiskey Lore: The Interviews." The full transcript is available on the tab above.

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[drew_hannush]: Well, I am honored today to have as my guest Chris Morris, the master

[drew_hannush]: distiller at Woodford Reserve. Chris, thank you for joining a whisky Lod
[drew_hannush]: today.

[chris_morris]: Well, thank you for havingen a street. It's good to be with you.

[drew_hannush]: Yeah, this is great. this is. Uh, your twenty fifth anniversary of Woodford

[drew_hannush]: Reserve.

[chris_morris]: Yeah, it's hard to believe October of Nineteen Ninety Six, this little Bran

[chris_morris]: Gods got its official introduction to the world and he look at it

[drew_hannush]: Yeah, I, I'm looking forward to talking to you about that twenty five years.

[drew_hannush]: We're going to dive a little bit into the history as well, going back to Old

[drew_hannush]: Oscar Pepper, Elijah Pepper, and um, then talk a little bit about a special

[drew_hannush]: whiskey back here that I have to tastees something that you guys came up with

[drew_hannush]: And we talk about that and about your line of whiskeyies as well, But uh,

[drew_hannush]: let's jump right in and and start talking a little bit about

[drew_hannush]: the history

[drew_hannush]: of that distillery. Now originally Elija Pepper was the one who Uh, settled in

[drew_hannush]: that area

[drew_hannush]: before his son Oscar Pepper took it over. Do we know? Was it in the exact same

[drew_hannush]: location that Elijah Pepper was was distilling right in the same spot.

[chris_morris]: well,

[chris_morris]: we know a lot about Elija Pepper, and a lot not known.

[chris_morris]: He.

[chris_morris]: Well, his grandson said, he was born with Republican. That's been inferred

[chris_morris]: that he was distilling in seventeen, seventy six or seventeen eighty,
[drew_hannush]: Mhm.

[chris_morris]: And that's when he was born. He was born with the republic, not disti, so that

[chris_morris]: just shows you how history becomes very convoluted,

[drew_hannush]: yeah, yeah,

[chris_morris]: or else he was a very old man when he was when he came to our sight, which is

[chris_morris]: not the case. He was a young man, So we know he was still in Versailles. Our

[chris_morris]: county seat in seventeen ninety seven were about where the courthouse is. Now

[chris_morris]: that's established fact. Um. he left uh with his partner who was a brother in

[chris_morris]: law, and sort of disappears for a while, shows up in eighteen ten and nearby

[chris_morris]: Scott county, and then by eighteen twelve he's on our site and that's trapped

[chris_morris]: through tax records, always tax records,

[chris_morris]: very real loing,

[drew_hannush]: yeah, yeah,

[chris_morris]: and he was distilling in that year. Now they built a log cabin, which we still

[chris_morris]: have on site, and the distillery was a typical farmer distiller, Um. type of

[chris_morris]: operation. It was a small log cabin on a stone foundation. Uh, really astride

[chris_morris]: what we call the pepper spring atop a spring next to Glens, Creek. Um, we have

[chris_morris]: the spring house from eighteen twelve, its ruins. Uh, so we have a lot of that

[chris_morris]: architecture.
[drew_hannush]: wow,

[chris_morris]: Uh, we had the stone foundations of the original distillery, which, on our uh,

[chris_morris]: two hundred anniversary of distilling on site, not Ra woman, but certainly uh,

[chris_morris]: the history of the site in two thousand twelve, Uh, we partnered with the

[chris_morris]: University of Kentucky School of Archaeology, Doctor Kim Mcbride, and they did

[chris_morris]: an extensive excavation of the distillery site and around the Pepper home, and

[chris_morris]: found all sorts of neat artifacts,
[drew_hannush]: oh, wow.

[chris_morris]: So we know exactly where the distillery was

[drew_hannush]: what.
[chris_morris]: and there is in Uh, excuse d, and there's a letter Uh, existing, that says the

[chris_morris]: last beam or piece. Of wood, Uh, standing from the old distillery, Uh, was

[chris_morris]: noted in nineteen o one, so it
[drew_hannush]: wow.

[chris_morris]: lasted until then, but it was. It was used as a storage house. At that point

[chris_morris]: it was no longer distilry.

[drew_hannush]: Yeah. What were some of the artifacts that were found? Did you get a chance to

[drew_hannush]: see some of those?

[chris_morris]: Uh, yes, uh, um. We've found

[chris_morris]: we found a positive coal. so they had gone from cord wood to coal. At some

[chris_morris]: point in in their heating process, we found uh, uh, some crushed because

[chris_morris]: they've been buried under years of debris, Um, a metal bucket and some brass

[chris_morris]: fittings from hydrometers and and calipers and things like that, so we found

[chris_morris]: some very early Um. metal. uh, uh, remains from the disty.

[drew_hannush]: So what has happened to that cabin? Is that cabin something that you have like

[drew_hannush]: a special tour that some or dignitaries can come by and see Other?

[drew_hannush]: Will it ever
[chris_morris]: It great,

[drew_hannush]: make its way into your regular? Uh tour?

[chris_morris]: uh, well, currently it's up in our warehouse complex between the distillery

[chris_morris]: and our new warehouse complex on what we call track, too, So it's it's

[chris_morris]: inaccessible to uh, the the public, but yes, we'll take V, I ps, uh, up there

[chris_morris]: to to show them around and everything, And we've we've done some restoration

[chris_morris]: work on at. Uh, some preservation work on it. Uh, because the log cabin

[chris_morris]: expert, we had uh, uh, verify and analyze it was so excited. It looks like

[chris_morris]: when the peppers moved house, they moved house. The the log cabin had been

[chris_morris]: erected years earlier, somewhere dismantled and moved in built Word silk sits

[chris_morris]: today. So it's a very early log cabin two story, and it's made out of American

[chris_morris]: chestnut, which of course is extinct now.

[drew_hannush]: Yeah, wow, yeah, that would be a sight to see. So

[drew_hannush]: then we transitioned to Oscar Pepper, his son, So when
[chris_morris]: Yes,

[drew_hannush]: he, when he died, he just uh, Oscar inherited the site. That is that when he

[drew_hannush]: initially started the new distillery right away after his father died,

[chris_morris]: No, that's a good good question. Uh, Elija God in eighteen thirty one,

[chris_morris]: So Oscar in his obituary, Uh, Oscar is farmer dashed distiller, So he was. He

[chris_morris]: still considered himself a farmer,
[drew_hannush]: Mhm.

[chris_morris]: and uh, and distilling occurred usually at the at the end of the. The the fall

[chris_morris]: harvest, when the corn and the other grains are coming in, moving into winter.

[chris_morris]: When you don't have a lot of farming activity going on you, You have the

[chris_morris]: livestock, but obviously you're not not harvesting grain. Planning grains, so

[chris_morris]: distilling occurred in a brief period of time during during the year, and then

[chris_morris]: by spring you're back into the farming mode, So it wasn't It wasn't a full

[chris_morris]: time occupation,

[drew_hannush]: Yeah,

[chris_morris]: And so from eighteen thirty one Tiil, about eighteen thirty seven, Oscar is

[chris_morris]: running that distillery, and of course, by then uh, Doctor James Christopher

[chris_morris]: Crow, uh, has showed up. The man of mystery has shown up and is working for

[chris_morris]: pepper, and he's unemployed for about a year or so. Um, because apparently

[chris_morris]: they're building our current distillery between eighteen thirty seven,

[chris_morris]: eighteen thirty eight, and now we see that transition from part time to

[chris_morris]: stillller, to Hey. This. this is a business now because of course, that is the

[chris_morris]: general time of the transition from farmer distiller to commercial distilling

[chris_morris]: in Kentucky, So now he's a distiller,

[drew_hannush]: yes,

[chris_morris]: and with Crow as his master distiller, and Um the distillery. The original

[chris_morris]: distillery, the Eighteen thirty Eight distillery is in the middle of the

[chris_morris]: distillery because it had a series of expansions on it, Um, in the eighteen

[chris_morris]: seventies, eighties, and then in the early nineteen hundreds, And you can you

[chris_morris]: can really watch or see those expansions where doors and windows were blocked

[chris_morris]: up or new doors and windows were cut into the limestone walls,

[chris_morris]: The the errection of of a brick chimney, and then demolition. So it, it was a

[chris_morris]: living building, as it's changed over the years.

[drew_hannush]: yeah. so what? what is housed in the area where the original distillery Um was

[chris_morris]: That is where the the pot stills are today.

[drew_hannush]: okay. That's my favorite room. Those those we? We'll talk about those pot

[drew_hannush]: stills in a little bit, because, uh, very picturesque and um, very much a um.

[drew_hannush]: Reflection of the old country, so um get the chance to talk about that, but I

[drew_hannush]: love that you call James Secrow the Uh man of mystery, because I actually did

[drew_hannush]: an episode

[drew_hannush]: around of my whisky loer um storytelling podcast around him and trying to

[drew_hannush]: research him

[drew_hannush]: is absolutely

[drew_hannush]: one of the most difficult things I've had to do because there doesn't seem to

[drew_hannush]: be any books on him

[drew_hannush]: and not a lot of

[chris_morris]: There is a local author

[chris_morris]: riding a somewhat fictional book on his life,

[drew_hannush]: Okay.

[chris_morris]: and and he and others have been doing a lot of researchbviously talking to us,

[chris_morris]: And we just haven't been much help. There's just

[chris_morris]: we have very little on C. even though he spent most of his work in career. Uh,

[chris_morris]: between those four stone walls on our property, there's not a whole lot about

[chris_morris]: him in existence.

[drew_hannush]: I think what I find fascinating as I was doing the research is that he left

[drew_hannush]: Scotland in eighteen twenty two,

[drew_hannush]: and it was eighteen twenty three, when the Ex

[drew_hannush]: Act Uh went through opening up the stilllling to the Highlands, and really

[drew_hannush]: one of the main Uh catalysts for the Scotch whiskey industry. If he had stayed

[drew_hannush]: one year longer in Scotland, would he have ever come over here? It's
[chris_morris]: Yes,

[drew_hannush]: really interesting question.

[chris_morris]: or maybe he was leaving for a reason.

[drew_hannush]: And and what would bourbon be like today if he had not come in at that time?

[chris_morris]: Yeah, very very true. We'll never know, but Um, as we do know, Bourbon was an

[chris_morris]: evolutionary story, Um, and he was part of it evolution. but the things he

[chris_morris]: perfected and noted importantly broke them down and trained others. Um. he

[chris_morris]: didn't invent, He never claimed to have given us new charthoke barrels or the

[chris_morris]: sirmash process. He just helped move them along. Maybe someone else would have

[chris_morris]: brought those into, Uh, the The standards or the requirements. Who knows who

[chris_morris]: had brought the thermometer and the hydrometer into the Disil to help? uh, uh,

[chris_morris]: gauge proof.

[chris_morris]: you know. Surely somebody would have, but he wasly the the right guy at the

[chris_morris]: right time. Apparently.

[drew_hannush]: Yeah, So and to think how much of that, uh, how much history we would wipe

[drew_hannush]: away if there wasn't an old

[drew_hannush]: crowcause? It seems to get attached to a lot of different things. Um, So
[chris_morris]: yeah,

[drew_hannush]: then it went through an interesting transition because we don't know whether

[drew_hannush]: he left

[drew_hannush]: There's. I've read some things that say he did leave and he went over to the

[drew_hannush]: Um. to a little farm distillery that was near where the old C ruins are now.

[drew_hannush]: Uh, some say stayed there, some say, held on to the, or he pass the recipe on

[drew_hannush]: to his assistant. Some say that he never wrote down his recipe and that

[drew_hannush]: recipes gone forever.

[drew_hannush]: Do you have any clarification on any of that stuff?

[chris_morris]: well, certainly one thing to remember. a recipe

[chris_morris]: is just

[chris_morris]: maybe instructions. but certainly it's just numbers on a piece of paper. You

[chris_morris]: have to have the exact same facility, the exact same. Everything

[chris_morris]: to make that recipe the same

[chris_morris]: and we know that never happens, but also

[chris_morris]: he's gone, and

[chris_morris]: James E Pepper,

[chris_morris]: you know, still, S has and sells off the Old Crow trademark as he's divesting

[chris_morris]: of his property, so I don't know what Crow was doing because O crow is still

[chris_morris]: being made at Uh, at the old Oscar Pepper distillery.
[drew_hannush]: Yeah, Yeah,

[drew_hannush]: that's very interesting. And then we tie into James C Pepper and

[drew_hannush]: a little time with H. Taylor Was H. Taylor was with Gaines and Company, so he

[drew_hannush]: may have even spent a little bit of time. Uh, within those walls.

[chris_morris]: Y, uh, who really knows? Uh, the famous Colonel Taylor had his fingers in

[chris_morris]: fourteen or so distillleries. He was an investor. He, he wasn't a. He's called

[chris_morris]: a distiller, He was the the owner, but
[drew_hannush]: H.

[chris_morris]: I, I doubt he was ever getting his hands dirty. He seems like quite the

[chris_morris]: refined um gentleman, quite the wealthy individual. and uh, he was mainly a

[chris_morris]: money man in Uh, supporting James E Pepper, Um,

[chris_morris]: as typical little disillleries got into financial trouble, Um, Apparently,

[chris_morris]: James E Pepper, uh, played the horses. He became quite a horseman and needed

[chris_morris]: money, and also had his legal problems with his mother and his family. Um, uh,

[chris_morris]: the family had, uh, you know, fallen out and

[chris_morris]: say, a,

[chris_morris]: a, uh, a divorce, Um. of who got the distillery. Uh, because James C Pepper

[chris_morris]: did not originally inherit the distillery, his mother and another brother did,

[chris_morris]: And and he sued and woned distillery from them, so I'm sure that went over

[chris_morris]: well at Thanksgiving dinner. Um, but uh, uh,

[chris_morris]: Jamese Pepper, Um,

[chris_morris]: probably worked in the distillery as a young man, but that didn't seem to be

[chris_morris]: his early avocation. and that's why he left. He sold out and got out and went
[chris_morris]: on

[drew_hannush]: Yeah,

[drew_hannush]: Well, then we go to lab and Graham. That's the next

[drew_hannush]: step in the story, so this would have been what. Eighteen eighty,

[chris_morris]: Eighteen. Seventy Eight

[chris_morris]: is the year of Labon Graham acquiring the property. And again, there' a little

[chris_morris]: bit of a mystery. We now know more about them. It was James Graham and Leopold

[chris_morris]: Labro, the French Uh, of French origin, And Uh. he was from Cincinnati. His

[chris_morris]: father Um, had immigrated, and his father was a wine merchant, Um, and

[chris_morris]: apparently also Um,

[chris_morris]: sold spirits, Uh, imported and sold domestic spirits. And so Uh. Leopold was

[chris_morris]: in the business, and at that time again we see that transition. You have our

[chris_morris]: pair of company, of course, Brown Forman being found there in eighteen,

[chris_morris]: seventy, Uh, Taylor Williams, eighteen, seventy, four, Old Fitz Ger. Eight,

[chris_morris]: all these companies are being formed at this time, so now we see the rise uh

[chris_morris]: of of commercial uh houses, So you go from but distilry making whisky and

[chris_morris]: selling it to now companies owning the distillery and now starting to control

[chris_morris]: their whiskey. And you know, bottling and and and selling it as a brand. And

[chris_morris]: um, so Lebon Gramm was formed to do that, and James Graham, uh, was called a

[chris_morris]: Frankfurt banker, But he's from Louisville, and he had made his money typical

[chris_morris]: of the day, banking and tobacco, very involved in the tobacco business, And

[chris_morris]: it's interesting that his wife

[chris_morris]: was a cousin of the Brown family, So there's there's a connection by marriage

[chris_morris]: that we never knew Uh for many many years, Emily, Emily, um, Uh, Graham was a

[chris_morris]: member of the Brown family.

[chris_morris]: Uh, so

[chris_morris]: the Lebon Graham get together and James Graham sells out his share in eighteen

[chris_morris]: ninety eight,

[chris_morris]: and the the Boough family now controls Uh, Liber and Graham and Um, and Mister

[chris_morris]: Labro seems he only had Uh, a female children, so all of his heirs don't have

[chris_morris]: the last name of Uh Labro. You know, they have Bixler and Baker as last names,

[chris_morris]: and they, and they stay on with the company. Giveivn us great brand names like

[chris_morris]: Old Tom Baker and Old Tom Bixler. The two brother in laws have their own brand

[chris_morris]: names.
[drew_hannush]: Nice. Have you seen bottles of those?

[chris_morris]: Yes, it is.
[drew_hannush]: Have you nice? Any of those lingering around the distillery?

[chris_morris]: Oh, we have a. we have seen. Uh, if few locked up in our archives, they're all

[chris_morris]: nip peoplevoeago. they're empty.
[drew_hannush]: Yeah,

[chris_morris]: No one's

[drew_hannush]: so what happened to the disley during prohibition? Was it just the storage

[drew_hannush]: facility? Basically or

[chris_morris]: Yes. Yes, you think about Uh, prohibition, which uh begins basically and

[chris_morris]: starts in nineteen, sixteen, full, and fourth in nineteen. eighteen. In terms

[chris_morris]: of production, Uh, the distillers were all closed at that point. Now you can

[chris_morris]: buy trade, sell drink whiskey legally until twenty. but uh, the operations

[chris_morris]: work are tailed. Um, and

[chris_morris]: uh, you have two hundred and ten distillleries in Kentucky, boom, lots of

[chris_morris]: barrels of whiskey sitting in warehouses, so the warehousing operations

[chris_morris]: continue on. Of course, bottling continues on until nineteen twenty. And then

[chris_morris]: you have

[chris_morris]: vast amounts of capital tied up fortunes tied up in these warehouses, and uh

[chris_morris]: warehouse complex, Like Lebron, Graham, would have had one legal um avenue to

[chris_morris]: get their money back, and that's to sell their stock to one of the six

[chris_morris]: Kentucky distiillleries that had medicinal licenses, So yes, it was a

[chris_morris]: concentration or storage facility and would ship its barrels into Uh

[chris_morris]: Frankfurt, where there was bottling or loual butt. Frankless, the the

[chris_morris]: neighbor, So you had the two bottling centers, Louisville, and and Frankfurt,

[drew_hannush]: yeah,

[chris_morris]: and Um. So the Liberough family was able to sell their whiskey, Um. Eventually

[chris_morris]: it was all. it was exhausted. And then in nineteen thirty three with repeal,

[chris_morris]: the family decides to fire things back up, and spent a lot of money building

[chris_morris]: new warehouses or brick warehouses, and that are in the the west side of the

[chris_morris]: property, restoring the distillery, Um. and they're open in nineteen thirty
[chris_morris]: five.

[drew_hannush]: No, Okay, and uh, they held on to it for how long before the Brown family came
[drew_hannush]: in?

[chris_morris]: Six years,
[drew_hannush]: Wow,

[chris_morris]: Brown Foreman acquires the distillery and its inventory in nineteen forty one.

[chris_morris]: And uh again, things are you know. you're just starting to recover and here

[chris_morris]: comes

[chris_morris]: the war.
[drew_hannush]: h.

[chris_morris]: Uh, or the war hadn't hadn't been declared yet. But you know it's coming,
[drew_hannush]: Yeah,

[chris_morris]: and wars were never good for distillers in Kentucky, and um, I guess they

[chris_morris]: figured it's time to get out while they getting outs good, and sold to Brown

[chris_morris]: Foreman, who certainly liked to have the distillery, but more importantly,

[chris_morris]: Libon Grammman, now laid down a good amount of stock,

[chris_morris]: and Brown Forman needed that for its blended whiskies, Uh, which we had at the

[chris_morris]: time, not for forer, uh, not for early times are straight whiskies, but

[chris_morris]: certainly for our blends, and Uh, of course Brown Fort acquires it, and by

[chris_morris]: august of forty. Two, it has to be converted into alcohol production for the

[chris_morris]: war effort, so you have those next three years of not making any buurbon,

[chris_morris]: and uh, but

[chris_morris]: off you go again in late nineteen forty five, and uh. The distillery was uh,

[chris_morris]: was used and we had little brands then that we no longer have. So it was

[chris_morris]: feeding the the old Tuckers and the old pokes of the world, and Uh brown form

[chris_morris]: close at nineteen fifty nine.

[drew_hannush]: okay, yeah, yeah,
[chris_morris]: The first close at. It' been closed many times, but to close itpable.

[drew_hannush]: so um,

[drew_hannush]: I think of industrial alcohol as coming out of column stills, but there's

[drew_hannush]: never been a column still on site at that disty, has there? It doesn't seem

[drew_hannush]: there's room for. It
[chris_morris]: Yes, that's that's a good point through. When Lebron Graham reopens after

[chris_morris]: prohibition. it had been a pot still distillery. Its two story stone brick

[chris_morris]: building, Um.

[chris_morris]: the Lab, Graham or the the Librough family raiseed the roof. Add the granary

[chris_morris]: and the the silo for a column still, So they they invest in a column still,

[chris_morris]: Because that's the way the industry returns. Make you know large volume of

[chris_morris]: whiskey efficiently, and so the entire industry had abandoned the pot stills.

[chris_morris]: Now we're columns still, and of course, ironically, uh, when Brown for closes

[chris_morris]: in nineteen fifty nine, it removes that column still, and it's still in use

[chris_morris]: today at the brown form and still in Shively, Um, where we have two co, two

[chris_morris]: column stills, and uh that all that part of the building was left empty. Um,

[chris_morris]: allowing us,

[chris_morris]: you know, jump ahead of the story to bring pots to back, but all that

[chris_morris]: superstructure remains because the building is a historic landmark and you

[chris_morris]: just don't lock the roof and the top off historic landmark. So it's still

[chris_morris]: there and most of that space is empty because there's no calm to

[drew_hannush]: 's interesting and so and well get into mash bills in your process in a little

[drew_hannush]: bit, But that kind of speaks to the idea that some of your whiskey comes from

[drew_hannush]: Shively. And so are they bringing that whisky in off of that particular Po.

[drew_hannush]: Off of that column, still,

[chris_morris]: Yes. Yes, we, uh, uh,

[chris_morris]: never had the fact that with reserve is a batching of our pot still in our

[chris_morris]: with reserve specific, Uh

[chris_morris]: column still distillate to make the flavor profile that we think is the finest

[chris_morris]: buurbon there is. so Yes, there that there's a Ne. historic touchstone going

[drew_hannush]: yeah.
[chris_morris]: on there.

[drew_hannush]: So when you join the company,

[drew_hannush]: when were you first with Brown Forman,

[chris_morris]: I started in nineteen seventy six, and what is now called the R and D

[chris_morris]: department, but back then it was called the lab You worked in, lab, and Um in

[chris_morris]: the lab. Conveniently, Uh was located next to the second Old Forestertillery

[chris_morris]: on Brown for campus, so I also had some duties in the Old Forest distillery,

[chris_morris]: and then

[chris_morris]: a year or two later I had a lot of responsibilities come out in the Brown for

[chris_morris]: store, which at that time was called the Early times distiry.

[drew_hannush]: Okay and was there

[drew_hannush]: was the building that you're using now for Woodford Reserve. Was that being

[drew_hannush]: used at all at that point?

[chris_morris]: No, um, So Stor is close to fifty nine Warehousing continues on Um. The

[chris_morris]: grounds were over five hundred acres, stretched down to the Kentucky river,

[chris_morris]: and a lot of it was farm, and um uh, w, ▁l. min's, Brown, Uh, senior, who had

[chris_morris]: been

[chris_morris]: chairman. He's the grandson of the founder Uh, and was retired and they came

[chris_morris]: back because his younger brother, who was head of company, unfortunately died

[chris_morris]: in her early age. Uh, M. Brown raised cattle on the farm,

[chris_morris]: and as long as Mister Brown had cattle, we retained the property, so

[chris_morris]: eventually barrels are gone. distillleries closed, and then Mr. Brown passed

[chris_morris]: away, and when that occurred, the family and the company said, Okay, we you

[chris_morris]: know, close the farm, and we sold the property to a neighboring farmer
[drew_hannush]: Hm,

[chris_morris]: because he wanted the acreage. of course, and that saved the distillery, that

[chris_morris]: little seven acre strip along Glyns Creek, where the distillery operations are

[chris_morris]: located. He just left it alone. He came farm with all those buildings and it

[chris_morris]: was of course a little tight hollered, so that saved the building, save the

[chris_morris]: buildings. And uh, then we came back in the early nineties and bought it back

[chris_morris]: from Uh. the same farmer's family. Not all the Anchorage. We had to buy

[chris_morris]: different partials, but uh, we bought the Corre site, uh, uh, which we call

[chris_morris]: track one in in that period, and a few years later we brought track to where

[chris_morris]: the Pepper house is, and then we brought more so we bought all we could.

[drew_hannush]: So you're working with Lincoln Henderson at the lab at that time when when the
[chris_morris]: Well,

[drew_hannush]: purchase went out,

[chris_morris]: he was. He was my my first boss. Um, and uh, uh, uh, whoo, this old guy. Of

[chris_morris]: course he was. He was like thirty six, you know,

[chris_morris]: but uh, he was a lot of fun and uh and we grew quite close. Uh, he. he was a.

[chris_morris]: He was a character.

[drew_hannush]: So how did the transition into Uh, coming back to Woodford Reserve

[drew_hannush]: or creating Woodford Reserve out of that old distillery. How did that process

[drew_hannush]: go?

[chris_morris]: Well, it was uh,

[chris_morris]: a lot going on obviously with uh decisions being made, Uh, such as bringing

[chris_morris]: copper pot stilllls back to Kentucky.

[chris_morris]: I, I won't say back to America, because there were brandy producers who had

[chris_morris]: pot stilllls on the on the West Coast, for example, and making some some

[chris_morris]: whiskey out there, some malt whiskies, but Um, bringing potils back to

[chris_morris]: Kentucky, introducing triple pot stills to America. Period,

[drew_hannush]: Yes,

[chris_morris]: never had triple a stilled whisky distillery in the history of our nation. Um.

[chris_morris]: and we had Um. At that time Brown for represented, uh, Uh, some wonderful

[chris_morris]: single mat whiskies, Irish whiskey,

[chris_morris]: Armmanac, Konyak, Uh, we had a lot of pot, still, Um connections, networking,

[chris_morris]: Um. None of those products we owned, we were the U S. Distributor, but we had

[chris_morris]: you know good good relationships and that helped with the the decision on pot

[chris_morris]: still distillation, But to be honest, Um, no one had made Uh, a Kentucky

[chris_morris]: bourbon in a pot still since nineteen sixty, no one had make Kentucky bourbon

[chris_morris]: in triple still distillation, ever. so. there was a lot of of

[chris_morris]: assumptions And you know this should work and that should work. And and uh,

[chris_morris]: they didn't work. Um, so there was a that break him period

[chris_morris]: as the distillery Uh was the W. The whiskey was good, but wasn't what it was

[chris_morris]: intended to be, and it took quite a while

[chris_morris]: to figure out how to run everything, and and once that occurred, you know that

[chris_morris]: that was. uh. That was terrific. Uh. So it was a lot of you know, sort of the

[chris_morris]: wild west. I guess.

[drew_hannush]: Yeah, so where do you learn the skills of doing triple Po distilling when

[drew_hannush]: there's nobody else in the country that's doing it?

[chris_morris]: Yeah, well, you spend time in Scotland, but still it's such a different, such

[chris_morris]: a, you know, y, the proverbial apples and oranges. You know, Scotch whiskey is

[chris_morris]: a hundred percent well, single mat, hundred percent mall, the the grain

[chris_morris]: residue, the griss, the husks, uh, uh, the are are filtered away from from was

[chris_morris]: basically sugar water, The the warart and off you go, and we're putting grain

[chris_morris]: solids, all the grain all the in in the distillation process. the traditional

[chris_morris]: Kentucky style, So again, just

[chris_morris]: just learning.

[drew_hannush]: Yeah, and working with corn rather than malt, So
[chris_morris]: Yeah,

[chris_morris]: much eillier, Oh, gosh, the the analysis, uh, bourbon whisky and a pot still

[chris_morris]: is much more uh, lipidful, more oily, more viscous heavier than than a malt

[chris_morris]: again. There were significant differences in everything, Um, and that just

[chris_morris]: took took some learning.

[drew_hannush]: yeah, so what were some of the crazy experiments when you started out where

[drew_hannush]: you trying to always stick with straight bourbon and have that fifty one

[drew_hannush]: percent corn? Or were you trying different things?

[chris_morris]: No, The. The, The early,

[chris_morris]: The earlying concept was just bird bourbon. ▁urban, and Um. after

[chris_morris]: a few years,

[chris_morris]: Asley Brown, the second,

[chris_morris]: our beloved Lake chairman, Um,

[chris_morris]: one of the sons of W. Alls Brown, senior, Uh, I was looking again and his

[chris_morris]: comments on the opening day and we're playning a film of his comments right

[chris_morris]: now in the Distillery gift shop, which is really wonderful

[chris_morris]: and not that he meant. I don't know what he meant because I never asked him

[chris_morris]: because he's passed away. Um. that Woodfort reserve. Well, Lebron Grammon was

[chris_morris]: called. Initially would be the home of in innovative innovation, innovative

[chris_morris]: whiskies,
[drew_hannush]: M?

[chris_morris]: I like

[chris_morris]: whiskies,

[drew_hannush]: okay,
[chris_morris]: didn't say inbed bourbon, he said whiskies

[chris_morris]: And then it dawned on me one of those Newil Jeureka moments.

[chris_morris]: Uh, because this is about the time when Uh we start getting some nice, Um.

[chris_morris]: coverage of the industry. A, as you know, with your research, Um, there were

[chris_morris]: no books. there were no magazines. No one wrote about whiskey until Michael

[chris_morris]: Jackson's ▁encyclopedia, and then Way, Mike, and Harrison, and Marty and Gary

[chris_morris]: Rigan, and all of a sudden, and they, you know, people start writing in the

[chris_morris]: early nineties about our our industry.

[chris_morris]: It's been from the sixties, a thirty year gap
[drew_hannush]: Yeah,

[chris_morris]: in anybody doing anything in our industry. And Um

[chris_morris]: writers are saying Vurbon can't innovate Scotch's innovation. Beurbon can't

[chris_morris]: innovate. Why was Scotch innovation? Well, they can blend and they can. they

[chris_morris]: can reuse barrels, and it do, por barrels and training. That's innovation. Uh,

[chris_morris]: would it wasn't because they've been doing it for two hundred
[drew_hannush]: right,

[chris_morris]: years, Um, and Burbingane, buurbon, his handcuffed by a new chart. O, ba. on

[chris_morris]: and I said, Wait a minute.

[chris_morris]: Who says we can't innovate?

[chris_morris]: Who says because our distillery is in Kentucky that it can only make Berbon.

[chris_morris]: We can make

[chris_morris]: whatever we want

[drew_hannush]: yeah,

[chris_morris]: You think about. By definition a Scotch distillery

[chris_morris]: make scotch.
[drew_hannush]: yeah,

[chris_morris]: the Kentucky distillery can make whatever it wants to.

[chris_morris]: Now you're baurbing disilry, Maybe that's all you can make, So that led to.

[chris_morris]: Let's make other types of whiskey,

[chris_morris]: rather the malt, the weeed, the various unique recipes in our master's

[chris_morris]: collection and distillery series, So it was a real uh

[chris_morris]: free moment, a real

[chris_morris]: uh redefining moment.

[chris_morris]: And having the pot stilllls were very much a part of that. With our small

[chris_morris]: firmters and the pot still sister batched the batch. As you know, if you turn

[chris_morris]: up a calmbtone, we're talking to con stillols that were in the industry at the

[chris_morris]: time, not these new little micro distillery, Uh column stills, but the

[chris_morris]: traditional big column stills. You have to have a lot of liquid going through

[chris_morris]: those. you're making a lot of spirit

[chris_morris]: and it takes lots of grain. lots of everything.

[chris_morris]: Those pot stills, we can make a very small mash, a unique little recipe, run

[chris_morris]: it through the pot stills and have a nice unique product without spending

[chris_morris]: days, months, weeks, years of getting that through through the process, So

[chris_morris]: that gave us flexibility as well to start making these unique whisky types.

[drew_hannush]: So when you start working with

[drew_hannush]: three stills, and you're using that intermediate, Still,

[drew_hannush]: how did you

[drew_hannush]: determine how? Um, how to get it through the process without taking out too

[drew_hannush]: much of the personality of the whiskey,

[chris_morris]: Well, that uh,

[chris_morris]: that takes the Um.

[chris_morris]: gauging and and we have uh, just done this again. We did it a few years ago,

[chris_morris]: so we have gone Um through the process of. We have our spirit sakes with the

[chris_morris]: low wind, which is the beer stills distillate, the the um, uh,

[chris_morris]: the high wine still, which is the the middle still, which distills the low

[chris_morris]: line into high one. And then we have the spirit still that takes the high one

[chris_morris]: and does our final distillation at third distillation, And so you have your

[chris_morris]: spirit stills. He have your heads and tails cuts, and we're taking samples of

[chris_morris]: that spirit flow

[chris_morris]: every ten minutes, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom in in, Uh, two hundred or

[chris_morris]: three hundred and seventy five mill, um. Samples all logged in grease pencil,

[chris_morris]: and those you know, time proof temperature. All that written on bottle and

[chris_morris]: those go to r and d for analysis to see if the cuts are right If everything's

[chris_morris]: going right at the temperature range is right, so we always recalibrate the

[chris_morris]: stills to make sure the flavor is what we want, and as a result

[chris_morris]: we've been making the spirit better and better and better as we go through

[chris_morris]: this long process

[chris_morris]: of of perfecting how to run these stilllls, and Um, so that's been a a, a fun

[chris_morris]: process and now with three new stills and other sec coming in, weve got all

[chris_morris]: this. Learning, and we have to start all over again to do it for the new St.

[drew_hannush]: So they'll be in a different area of the distillery?

[chris_morris]: they will. They will mirror the the original three.
[drew_hannush]: Really?

[chris_morris]: So when you walk into the still floor, Uh, beginning in January of this year

[chris_morris]: you'll see

[chris_morris]: two

[chris_morris]: arches
[drew_hannush]: Okay

[chris_morris]: of pot stills.
[drew_hannush]: you get be like Glen Fitic with their. I don't know if you've seen their set

[drew_hannush]: up, but they have this room you walk into and all you see are these pot stills

[drew_hannush]: lined up.
[chris_morris]: Yes, you, we. we were. We were over there back and do that. Nineteen visited

[chris_morris]: them, and uh

[chris_morris]: all saw all that.

[drew_hannush]: Did you have any favorite dislillveries you went to while you were over there

[chris_morris]: Oh, they're also wonderful. um, uh,

[chris_morris]: it's

[chris_morris]: favorites. Obviously, um, uh, the distiillleries on on Iowa, are wonderful,

[chris_morris]: Um, our own distilleries, Glendraonic, Binrio, and Glenglasshow, one's on the

[chris_morris]: sea. Uh, one's in the middle of of uh, uh,

[chris_morris]: the the uh, the high point of of the space side

[chris_morris]: are just beautiful. We saw the ▁ultramorn Mcallan, the New Macallan, Uh, with
[drew_hannush]: Crazy?

[chris_morris]: the,

[chris_morris]: the, the turf roof and everything on it, just amazing
[drew_hannush]: Yeah,

[chris_morris]: to such a of architecture and history.

[drew_hannush]: yeah, so one of the things that um is interesting about your distillery when I

[drew_hannush]: did the tour, I didn't get to see the couopridge, but you do have an onse

[drew_hannush]: coupriagege at Wood Reserve, and you're one of the only ones to do that.

[chris_morris]: No, uh, it. that seems to be translated. That way we have our own cooperridge,
[drew_hannush]: Yeah,

[chris_morris]: but it in is in Louisville. It is the brown form of courige. It is. it is not

[chris_morris]: on site.

[drew_hannush]: okay, okay,
[chris_morris]: Um,

[chris_morris]: so we have a custom made Uh woo reserve barrel. We have a barrel made for each

[chris_morris]: of our distilleries and products, So that's a wonderful, uh. reason to have

[chris_morris]: your own distillery. Um, you can have secrets because they're within your own

[chris_morris]: four walls,
[drew_hannush]: yeah,

[chris_morris]: so we use on an everyday basis the Woodford Reserve barrel and the double

[chris_morris]: oaked barrel. Those are two completely different barrels that are made to our

[chris_morris]: unique specifications, and then you get into special barrels. Uh, for say a

[chris_morris]: Master's collection or distillery series. Um, that, uh,

[chris_morris]: that uh, again have variations on how the wood is dried. Maybe point of

[chris_morris]: origin. It's all from one toar, Uh, a species of oak. We use different species

[chris_morris]: of oak. Um. In general, Uh, American white Oquisalva is our core, but again we

[chris_morris]: get into other species how we toast If we toast the interior of the barrel

[chris_morris]: like a Kyac cast, and then our char level. How long we char the barrel? So we

[chris_morris]: have a lot of different flavor levels that we pull. And what I like to do, and

[chris_morris]: our system ambassador still, or Elizabeth Mccall, Um, We want to be at the De

[chris_morris]: at the Couridge, Um, quite often, especially when they're making our special

[chris_morris]: barrels. We want to be there with them. Uh to uh, see how it's going to talk.

[chris_morris]: answer questions, talk debate, make, make an onse decision like ooh. well,

[chris_morris]: let's let's make this change. and also they're part of our team, so we like to

[chris_morris]: be with them as well. and everybody is you know, all pumped up for something

[chris_morris]: exciting from weoo for deserve,

[drew_hannush]: yeah, do they. How do they fire those barrels they use in the the gas

[drew_hannush]: flame through there? Okay,
[chris_morris]: yes, Sw, we, Yes, we use natural gas, Uh, for the charring process.

[drew_hannush]: and then on something like double oak, Do you use two different types of of

[drew_hannush]: char for one barrel to the next?

[chris_morris]: Well again, when you have a product like double oaked or whifferburbon rye,

[chris_morris]: malt and wheed and everyday product, you have to have a standard, so every

[chris_morris]: double o barl has the same char, every

[chris_morris]: sh. one of our discillar sleck barrels has the same char level Um, And it,

[chris_morris]: It's by time at length of time, But because every barrel's unique, Uh, the

[chris_morris]: wood, uh, different trees, different toars which are comagled for our core

[chris_morris]: products. Uh, if you burn one barrel, um, um, well, twenty five second jar.

[chris_morris]: the next bi has a twenty five second chart, But the result is different

[chris_morris]: because this wood was denser. This wood was more porous combination of dinse.

[chris_morris]: You know every barrel's unique and that's why single barrels have so much of

[chris_morris]: their own personality. Is that Uh, that wood source that um reacts differently
[chris_morris]: with heat.

[drew_hannush]: Yeah, how do you go about choosing your single barrel product? Is it you

[drew_hannush]: walking through the

[drew_hannush]: finding some barrels you're really interested in and then saying yes. Let's

[drew_hannush]: set this one aside kind of a situation.

[chris_morris]: Now our single barrel program and that's what everybody seems to call in the

[chris_morris]: market place is quite unique. It is our personal selection program, but we

[chris_morris]: will taste Uh, several barrels with the customer,

[chris_morris]: and

[chris_morris]: then we will combine those barrels

[chris_morris]: in twos,

[chris_morris]: two barrel of batches, and that allows the customer to create their own flavor

[chris_morris]: profile. A single barrel tastes like it does

[drew_hannush]: Yeah,

[chris_morris]: you. You can't change that, but when you combine two barrels now you're

[chris_morris]: creating your own flavor profile. So it is the smallest batch possible to a

[chris_morris]: two barrel combination.

[chris_morris]: Now the barrels that go in to that program

[chris_morris]: come right out of our standard batch selection. We're not going Ood. Those are

[chris_morris]: really good. Those are really special. We. we have a batch that's ready. Uh, a

[chris_morris]: batch will be, depending on how the flavor profile runs, hundred, twenty to a

[chris_morris]: hundred and forty barrels. they've been pour pulled. they've been identified.

[chris_morris]: They're on the dump floor. There's lined up on the concrete apron and we got a

[chris_morris]: personal selection. Just take. take those. pull those off. Those are going to

[chris_morris]: go into de batching, a program with our consumer. The barrels he don't choose.

[chris_morris]: They go back in that bat
[drew_hannush]: yeah, yeah,

[chris_morris]: and than we adjust from there, so we like to be very even and not hold anyluo.

[chris_morris]: This is. Um. We think they're all special.

[drew_hannush]: yeah.
[chris_morris]: Of course,

[drew_hannush]: So one of the things that I love about Woodford Reserve is that there is. I'm

[drew_hannush]: a big Scotch fan. So

[drew_hannush]: I love the fruiti character and there there seems to be this little frudie

[drew_hannush]: character and a lot of the whiskies that you produced. Does that come from how

[drew_hannush]: your furmaning? Is it coming from the triple pot stills? Is it coming from use

[drew_hannush]: of malt?

[drew_hannush]: What would you say?

[chris_morris]: Uh, a lot of everything. Yes, the um, r E strain is Is is a live culture, Uh,

[chris_morris]: proprietary strain developed by Brown Foreman for Withoof Reserve It, you only

[chris_morris]: used for the Wit Reserve family. It's used in all of our profits, and Uh, our

[chris_morris]: geese makes a lot of Essters during its fermentation, and the fact that we

[chris_morris]: firm it for five, six, seven days, depending on the time of year,

[chris_morris]: T, twice as long as your typical fermentation, also creates a great degree of

[chris_morris]: Essters,

[chris_morris]: The Uh, the fact that we dry our wood a minimum of nine months out of doors,

[chris_morris]: Uh, in the open at the couperridge, Uh, before it's moved into the

[chris_morris]: manufacturing process, also helps develop some esters, as microorganisms are

[chris_morris]: starting to decompose, Sound scary, but they're starting. To propose the wood,

[chris_morris]: and they're making fruit notes in the wood, and obviously those copper pot

[chris_morris]: stills uh, legendary for as you note, single malt, Scotch or Irish whiskey,

[chris_morris]: well, um are going to help shape and bring those fruit notes because fruit

[chris_morris]: notes are usually very delicate.

[chris_morris]: and uh, you sort of sacrifice those with the column still, uh, uh, you have

[chris_morris]: to. If you're going to be efficient and economical and large volume

[chris_morris]: production, you have to have a little bit of a sacrifice. Pot stills are

[chris_morris]: inefficient expensive. So what's the benefit? You can really get some really

[chris_morris]: delicate flavors out of them. So that's the trade off between the two and we

[chris_morris]: get to bring a lot of those estras forward, and then they're enhanced once

[chris_morris]: they hit the barrel, and in the maturation process.

[drew_hannush]: Okay and what was really the goal? With Woodford Reserve, It's in a very

[drew_hannush]: unique bottle bottles. Now you' seeing all these new dislleries coming in, and

[drew_hannush]: bottles are becoming works of art, But in those in those days in the late

[drew_hannush]: nineties there was' a buurbon boom going on, and when you looked on the shelf

[drew_hannush]: you didn't see a lot of fancy bottles you saw basically hears your standard

[drew_hannush]: bottle with Uh, the little work on the label. So what? where were you trying

[drew_hannush]: to position

[drew_hannush]: Woodford Reserve, and in coming out with that bottle shape and the rest.

[chris_morris]: Yes, the the bottle was, was, Um,

[chris_morris]: a deliberate and obviously it was chosen. Uh was a deliberate concept. The as

[chris_morris]: you note bourbon,

[chris_morris]: not only was it a a Burba boom, there was bourbon decline. bourbon was in bad

[chris_morris]: shape and uh, what was hot at the time? Sing Mault scotch was really starting

[chris_morris]: to come to its own. Of course, Konyac was very strong, and uh, that's not only

[chris_morris]: within the United States but globally,

[chris_morris]: and the thought was yeah, let's don't be another

[chris_morris]: another whisky in a square bottle of black and white label that everybody

[chris_morris]: seemed to be going to.
[drew_hannush]: Yeah,

[chris_morris]: Um. Let's look different, Uh. let's break out of the mould of uh, the typical

[chris_morris]: bourbon which had a bad reputation of in many parts of the country, much less

[chris_morris]: the world as a harsh. you know, cowboy western, uh, type of whiskey,

[chris_morris]: And if we were going to go anywhere, we had to compete with maltz and kyak,

[chris_morris]: especially on a global. Uh.

[chris_morris]: So the bottle reflected that concept

[chris_morris]: of of breaking the image, raising the image looking stylish Um, being a bit

[chris_morris]: androgous Is the that molt whiskey? Is that a konyak? What is that whisky? Um?

[chris_morris]: And then Oh, it's aurban. Wow, So we knew people are are former C. e O Paul

[chris_morris]: Barga, Paul always said, people

[chris_morris]: drink with their eyes, you know, pretty package. Ooh. I'm going to buy that so

[chris_morris]: that step one attract the consumer. But then the second part of the equation

[chris_morris]: is, of course, if it doesn't taste good, no matter how pretty the modettle is

[chris_morris]: theirnock life.

[chris_morris]: So the whisky concept was to be a great, you know, a great buurbon. but uh, I

[chris_morris]: began to refine that concept, Um. over time, um,

[chris_morris]: and about two thousand and four had

[chris_morris]: suddenly changed the flavor profile uh to to where it is today. It had been

[chris_morris]: very

[chris_morris]: very heavy early on, and sort of lightened it brightened it up so you could
[drew_hannush]: Yeah, right.

[chris_morris]: pick up the fruit notes. You could pick up the delic it spice notes. You know

[chris_morris]: it, you don't have to be hit over the head with a box of chocolates anymore.

[chris_morris]: Let's let's get the subtleties and the news and the balance of those flavors

[chris_morris]: coming forward, and Um, and that boy, That's when Woodf really started to take
[chris_morris]: off.

[drew_hannush]: yeah. So when I was there in twenty eighteen, I got there a week before you

[drew_hannush]: release the Kentucky straight malt and again being a Scotch fan, I'm going. I

[drew_hannush]: heard about it while I was on the tour. I guess somebody got little insider

[drew_hannush]: information and said, Oh, that's coming out next week and I'm like, Why am I

[drew_hannush]: here this week Because I really want to try that, but I love that. because it.

[drew_hannush]: it. it showed. Um, you know, stretching outside the box, trying to do other

[drew_hannush]: things

[drew_hannush]: with with a bourbon recipe,

[drew_hannush]: or to alter and still make a corn whiskey, but to highlight another grain, So

[drew_hannush]: how did you come to this idea of starting to do mal whisky, whe whiskey,

[drew_hannush]: and so on,

[chris_morris]: Yeah, once once we had Um

[chris_morris]: redefined the wood reserve concept of be a balance of the five areas of

[chris_morris]: American whiskey flavor, so you could find the sweet amatics, which had

[chris_morris]: dominated up to that point, sweetermatics, fruit, foral spice, wood and grain

[chris_morris]: character, And you can find all these wonderful flavors and with reserve then

[chris_morris]: that leads to. Well, why don't we highlight those

[chris_morris]: areas of flavor by changing grain recipe, which

[chris_morris]: doing starting to do in the master's collection, but on an every day basis

[chris_morris]: obviously, and and with the barrel bring so double ope was born to uh, give us

[chris_morris]: that tool

[chris_morris]: and

[chris_morris]: the four grain recipes Now allow us to. how do you make a fruity real, fruity

[chris_morris]: expression of
[drew_hannush]: Mhm.

[chris_morris]: Wootford in a wheat whiskey? How do you make a real spicy version of Whiff

[chris_morris]: reserve? Make it arry whiskey. How do you make it a real grain forward, but

[chris_morris]: not corn? Don't want to do that. Our rice are already rry forward
[drew_hannush]: Yeah,

[chris_morris]: spice. So how do you make a grain for it? Go crazy on the malt So now we start

[chris_morris]: the highlightd areas of flavor. So everything we're doing is based on the the

[chris_morris]: concept of flavor presentation. How do you present flavor to the palate

[chris_morris]: in a very rational controlled way,

[chris_morris]: And I think we've done a really good, really good job of it to and again.

[chris_morris]: Everything though is in the Woodford style, Our water doesn't change the

[chris_morris]: distillation, the fermentation with our unique strain of yeast, the Wood

[chris_morris]: Reserve barrel, So all we changing is the grain recipe

[chris_morris]: across the dissilerlect range, and then of course, double oed, as in the

[chris_morris]: barrel finished select range. So that means the barrel is the story.

[chris_morris]: Thereols, Yes, in every one of our great products, Um is a combination of
[drew_hannush]: okay, and all of these triple distilled, or at least a portion of them. Yes,

[chris_morris]: column and pot still in A in a ratio that makes the flavor uh, come to life

[drew_hannush]: has anybody ever done a rye triple distilled? You know of

[chris_morris]: when no, uh, that. That's one of the fun things about our master's collection.

[chris_morris]: drew. Um. Each one is history, and no one seems to recognize that when we

[chris_morris]: released the hundred percent raw whiskey in the master's collection, Um in the

[chris_morris]: two, three, seven, five, uh, uh, potta bottles, Um. many, many years ago, that

[chris_morris]: was number one. the first one hundred percent raw whisky made in the history

[chris_morris]: of Kentucky War Two, the first triple to stilllled raw whiskey in the history

[chris_morris]: of the world, And you know, yawn, no one. no one pays attention.

[drew_hannush]: you need a publicist,

[chris_morris]: Well,

[chris_morris]: the, the, the whisky world was at a bit of a different place. then, uh, the

[chris_morris]: consumer, uh,

[chris_morris]: still, I think we're scratching their head that a distillering Kentucky is
[chris_morris]: making

[chris_morris]: Ro. even though you know some dissyies were making rat whiskey,
[drew_hannush]: Yeah,

[chris_morris]: But this Wf reserve is making raw whiskies and malt was kill. What's going on?

[chris_morris]: They're They should be making bourbon and they were just

[chris_morris]: not focusing. and and to be fair, we didn't do a good job telling our story

[chris_morris]: because no one seemed to care.

[chris_morris]: We didn't have these wonderful whiskey, efficient autos that we have today. No

[chris_morris]: one really cared.

[drew_hannush]: yeah. yeah. um. So

[drew_hannush]: when I was looking at your website, I saw I'm a Big Jam Spa fan. So I saw the

[drew_hannush]: Bakarra edition. I learned how to play
[chris_morris]: Y.

[drew_hannush]: Boer,

[drew_hannush]: because I'm a James Bond fan. Um, and so so what was the inspiration for that

[drew_hannush]: and talk? Talk about that whiskey. What is that?

[chris_morris]: Yes, well as a history buff as yourself. I've long been disfascinated um by

[chris_morris]: Kentucky history, and the fact that Kentucky, Uh was the western district of

[chris_morris]: Virginia. We were part of the Virginia Colony, and then the Commonwealth of

[chris_morris]: Virginia after the revolution. So Kentucky, Uh, as it was being administered

[chris_morris]: after the Revolution, after seventeen Eighty Three, Um, begins to form

[chris_morris]: counties in this Kentucky district and the first three counties or Jefferson

[chris_morris]: county. Um, uh, Fayette county in Lincoln County, not Abraham Lincolncauses,

[chris_morris]: He's not born
[drew_hannush]: Yeah,

[chris_morris]: yet, Uh, General General Benjamin Lincoln, it was named after, and Fayete is

[chris_morris]: named after the Marquisa Lafayette, the young French, Uh nobleman, major

[chris_morris]: general served Uh under George Washington, and Uh served alongside

[chris_morris]: General William Woodford, They were comrades wounded together at the Battle of

[chris_morris]: Brandywe, Both served under General Washington, General Woodford did not

[chris_morris]: survive Uh the Revolution,

[chris_morris]: and so

[chris_morris]: the next round of county formation

[chris_morris]: gives us Bourbon County, and also gives us Woodford, county. Woodford county

[chris_morris]: is is cut off from Fayette county, so I think it's just wonderful that

[chris_morris]: Woodford and Fayette served together,

[chris_morris]: and now their counties still today are side by side, and Woodford came from

[chris_morris]: Fayette County, and our county seat Uh, is for sales,

[drew_hannush]: yep,

[drew_hannush]: versail.
[chris_morris]: our pronunciation of

[drew_hannush]: Yeah,
[chris_morris]: Versail, which was the, which was the home of the Marquis Lafayette, So let's

[chris_morris]: play up this this connection Bourbon. you know, the House of Borbone, a

[chris_morris]: Virginia, Sing thanks King Louis for for supporting us. So you have the French

[chris_morris]: connection, Fayette and Borbone, and you have the Kentucky connection.

[chris_morris]: Woodford
[drew_hannush]: Yeah,

[chris_morris]: and in that history, want to tie that history

[drew_hannush]: it's beautiful.
[chris_morris]: together. and how do we ti it? We take the finest of of Kentucky spirits with

[chris_morris]: the reserve and the finest of French spirits, The king of Fritzpiir's, Kak,

[chris_morris]: and let's marry the two in a finish, so we take fully mature wood for reserve,

[chris_morris]: and finish it for up to five years in

[chris_morris]: exocyac casks,
[drew_hannush]: Wow,

[chris_morris]: and Um, a beautiful elegant product, very expensive. and these Kyac cast cost

[chris_morris]: a fortune, and Um,

[chris_morris]: five year finishing. We lose a lot of whiskey through the Angel share process,

[chris_morris]: and anyway it was, it was going to go in a handsome bottle. Um, and we were

[chris_morris]: looking at names like Whatoo, Reserve, Marquis, or which reserve Lafayette You

[chris_morris]: know names like that

[chris_morris]: and you know some things just happen that are fun. and uh, an executive from

[chris_morris]: Bacara was on a tour

[chris_morris]: it would for reserve,
[drew_hannush]: okay,

[chris_morris]: and we have one of the kyat cast on display in our Tur, guide, you know,

[chris_morris]: explains this story, and so upon his return he tells the company number one W.

[chris_morris]: Reserve, Uh, he loved, would reserve. he said, It's a prestigious brand

[chris_morris]: Howller regarded, Got the Connac cast. Here's the story and they actually

[chris_morris]: contacted us. Bochero contacted us. So, would you be the first American

[chris_morris]: whiskey to have a unique bakraw presentation? and those of you who know, Oh,

[chris_morris]: some of the most elegant kyaks and single malt scotches are presented in their

[chris_morris]: bockro presentations, you know, like Louis tray, for example, from Rem Martan,

[chris_morris]: We said absolutely, how how brilliant is that? So they're able to produce a

[chris_morris]: couple thousand bottles a year because they're all hand blown handmade, the

[chris_morris]: finest French crystal, and uh, and very expensive. Of course, but that's how

[chris_morris]: we came up with and and they allowed us to use the name Bacera, so I'm sorry,

[chris_morris]: sorry, Lafayette. Your name's gone. It's it's blocker off, Because around the
[chris_morris]: world,

[chris_morris]: you when you say that name

[chris_morris]: if

[chris_morris]: people notice, because they disrecognize the quality of the of the crystal and

[chris_morris]: the product in it. So if you want to sell in China and Russia, you know to
[chris_morris]: these

[chris_morris]: millionaires who travel around the world, that was a big boost.


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