Unless a whiskey or spirit is labeled as bottled from a single cask or a single barrel, it’s most of the times a blend. In other words, most whiskies are made from a combination of different single malts and grain whiskies. The person responsible for perfectly mixing various spirits and ingredients to create a consistently delicious whiskey each with unique characteristics is the master blender.
To be a master blender, you should have a superb sense of smell and years of experience in the art of blending spirits like whiskey. They also have a true passion for, and a detailed understanding of, the components that affect a spirit’s flavor and development. A master blender has the onerous task of combining a variety of spirits with different characteristics to create a unique blend. With all brands, another goal is to achieve consistency across different batches.
Someone hoping to become a master blender will train under an experienced master blender. This apprenticeship may take many years. But, in that time, blenders learn to hone their sense of smell and detect various nuances in different spirits. In addition, an aspiring master blender will come to understand how different whiskies and other spirits interact with each other.
In a small distillery, you might find that one person could fulfill the role of both master distiller and master blender. However, the titles bear two different sets of responsibilities.
A master distiller supervises most functional aspects of a distillery. The role could include overseeing staff, sourcing raw materials, and managing the production line. A master distiller may also be responsible for product development, product testing, and quality control.
However, the principal task of a master blender is to formulate, blend and age spirits. Blending is not limited to combining a variety of single malts and whiskies. It also involves combining different cask finishes to produce a recipe that highlights the best qualities of each of its components. The additional challenge is creating a spirit that remains consistent batch after batch.
The term master blender is most often associated with the art of blending whisky. However, it also extends to spirits such as brandy, cognac, gin, rum, vodka, liquors and ready-to-drink cocktails. Blending spirits creates beverages with unique flavor profiles. It can also help reduce production costs. By combining the smooth fullness of older spirits with the fresher, fruitier notes of younger ones, master blenders can create a full, one-of-a kind award-winning product, which discerning consumers will appreciate.
Nick Scarff is the Master Blender and Vice President of Product Development at Next Century Spirits. With more than 130 medals earned in international tasting competitions for products he has developed, including a number of best-in-class and world’s best designations, Nick is the ideal partner who can help you create your very own brand with a distinctive/customized flavor profile that will stand apart.
Whether you want to launch your own gin, whiskey, tequila, or rum, the team at Next Century Spirits can help you with every aspect of the production line, from creating a marketable product to crafting a customized award-winning spirits brand.
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