American Whiskeys Discover Their Middlemen


Done correctly, mixing is like cooking, taking whiskeys with different taste profiles – honey, spicy, caramel, smoky – and combining them into something cohesive and original.

“For us, it’s all about nuances and finding new flavors and profiles,” said Beatrice. The goal of the mixture, he said, is to pull it out, “so that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

This type of blend, aimed at creating new flavors, not just cheaper whiskey, is common in scotch. Compass Box, a company founded by an American expat named John Glaser, has made dozen of critically acclaimed blends that range in price from $ 35 to about $ 800.

One such approach could be where American whiskey is going. Every distillery has a house style that can be both a differentiator and a limitation. And most distilleries have an incentive to keep their products consistent year after year.

Companies like Lost Lantern and Barrell offer the opposite. For them, distilleries make the raw materials from which they make a final, more complex whiskey. For drinkers always on the lookout for something new, blenders and independent bottlers could be a constant source of surprise.

It’s still a new idea in America, said Ms. Ganley-Roper, one that has surprised some whiskey fans – but only for a while.

“We love that moment when people are all worried,” she said, “and then suddenly they say, ‘Aha!'”