|Hubert Germain-Robin nosing brandy at Huber's Starlight Distillery|
The judges will analyze and critique hundreds of spirits over two days at Huber's Starlight Distillery where we'll break out into separate panels: one for brandy, one for rum, and one (or possibly more) for whiskey.
It is fun? Hell, yes. Is it all fun? No. The days start early and end late. No perfume, no cologne. No scented hand soap. No coffee (at least, not at the table and not if you don't want a big Rowley stinkeye). Though invariably some spirits are excellent and some are flawed, we remain stoic and sit almost entirely in silence. No grunts, no groans, and — as Gene Wilder's young Frankenstein would have it — no yummy sounds.
The judges are:
- Dennis Barnett - Third Wave Brands, Orange County, CA
- Ian Burrell - Rum Ambassador, London, UK
- Christian Butzke - Purdue University, Purdue. IN
- Martin Cate - Smuggler's Cove, San Francisco, CA
- Brendan Coyle - High West Distillery, Park City, UT
- Flavien Desoblin - The Brandy Library, New York, NY
- Hubert Germain-Robin - Master Distiller, CA
- Mark Gillespie - Whiskycast
- Tracy Howard - Imbibe Magazine, Portland, OR
- Monique Huston - Stoller Wholesale, Franklin Park, IL
- Aaron Knoll - The Gin is In, NY
- Guillaume Lamy - Cognac Ferrand, France
- David Pickerell - Oakview Consulting, former Master Distiller at Maker's Mark
- Brett Pontoni - Binny's Beverage Depot, Chicago, IL
- David Smith - Summer Fruit Cup, UK
- Matthew Rowley - Rowley's Whiskey Forge, San Diego, CA
- Peggy Noe Stevens - The Bourbon Women, KY
- Amanda Stewart - Purdue University, Purdue, IN
- Eric Watson - AllBevCon
- Brendan Wheatley - Belmont Farms Distillery, VA
- Richard Wolf - Wolf Consulting, KY
Will I tell you the results on my return to sunny Southern California? No, I will not. For that, you'll have to wait until they are announced at ADI's annual meeting in Denver (April 1-4, 2013). And then I'll pass it on.
Now, about that yummy sound...