Distiller magazine a publication of the American Distilling Institute, the Voice of Artisan Distilling; devoted to the craft spirits industry: vendors and distillers alike.
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WINTER 2016 distiller 151 Book Reviews H ubert Germain-Robin comes from a long line of Cognac producers in France. But after years of training in traditional methods of distillation and maturation he moved to California to explore new possibilities. Free of the strict laws and traditions of Cognac, Germain-Robin was able to experiment and take chances in some areas while keeping the most eective traditional methods of making brandy. What resulted were some of the nest American brandies ever produced. Germain-Robin's newest book e Maturation of Distilled Spirits: Vision & Patience, is the follow up to Traditional Distillation: Art & Passion. In the new book Germain-Robin walks the reader through the entirety of the maturation process, from the oak that goes into the barrels, cellaring, proong, blending and bottling the nished spirit all focused on the central theme of vision and patience. However, at 146 pages this book is more akin to a seminar than years of apprenticeship. To fully capture the wealth of knowledge that Germain-Robin learned over his lifetime of work would probably be near impossible, but the purpose of the book is to invite the reader into thinking about the active role the cellar master takes in guiding the maturation of the spirit as it sits in barrels for years or even decades. e Maturation of Distilled Spirits is a good place to start for any distiller who wants to explore and employ traditional methods of maturation. Each chapter oers a brief explanation of a variety of maturation techniques, some of which are common in Cognac but completely novel for American whiskey. Following the theme of vision and patience, Germain-Robin explains the important role of the cellar master and how their choices and decisions serve both themselves and future generations. While creating a spirit that can age for 70-plus years is an obvious skill, so too is the patience and ability to know when to allow barrels to keep aging, when to transfer them to glass demijohns, and when to blend and bottle these older spirits. Germain-Robin is a proponent of what some are calling "Slow Distillation," a movement that looks to encourage the production of great spirits made from high quality ingredients with traditional techniques. U.S. craft distillers can learn much from masters like Germain-Robin and develop new traditions that will allow future generations to reap the benets of their vision and patience. EZ THE MATURATION OF DISTILLED SPIRITS: VISION & PATIENCE Hubert Germain-Robin White Mule Press, 2016 146 pages ISBN 9780996827706 $35.00 F red Minnick is the author of ve books, three of which are about whiskey and the history of bourbon. His book Whiskey Women earned a Gold Medal at the ForeWord Reviews Book Awards and a Silver at the Indie Publisher Awards. Minnick serves as a judge for the San Francisco World Spirits Competition and the World Whiskies Awards. Minnick is also an Iraq War veteran where he served as a U.S. Army public aairs photojournalist. Minnick's newest book, Bourbon: e Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of an American Whiskey is a thorough history of bourbon, which for over 200 years has been one of the nation's most important spirits. e book is broken down into 12 chapters that chart, as the subtitle says, the rise, fall and rebirth of an American whiskey. Minnick quickly jumps into contested waters by exploring who has the most legitimate claim to be called the "Father of Bourbon." Unlike many other whiskey books that just repeat marketing myths, Minnick has done the work of diving into the historical record and oers a better picture of the history of bourbon than has been seen in some time. He traces the large social movements as well as the lives of individuals that supported and fought the bourbon industry throughout U.S. history. In an attempt to appeal to more readers, the pages are illustrated, and Minnick uses quite a few sidebars in each chapter to give quick details or extrapolate on an interesting moment or person in bourbon history. Bourbon is one of the best histories on the subject to come along in a while. EZ BOURBON: THE RISE, FALL, AND REBIRTH OF AN AMERICAN WHISKEY Fred Minnick Voyageur Press, 2016 240 pages ISBN 9780760351727 $25.00