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Issue 26 - A rye character

Whisky Magazine Issue 26
October 2002

 

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A rye character

Stuart Maclean Ramsay chats to Lincoln Henderson, a whiskey vetern with 37 years of knowledge and experience

For a gentleman who has sampled whiskey from around 400,000 barrels, Lincoln Wesley Henderson looks mighty fine. Trim and professorial, with silver hair and goatee beard, Lincoln exudes the confidence and contentment of a man at the peak of a career he loves.

His job is tasting whiskey, he'll casually tell you, but his official title at Louisville-based Brown-Forman Corporation is Master Distiller and Director of Whiskey Development and Maturation. These days, he spends about 70% of his time roving the globe as the company's bourbon ambassador, dispensing a wealth of knowledge and passion accumulated from over 37 years in whiskey production. And he does so with discreet southern charm and wry humour, now and then unleashing a volley of shoot-from-the-hip candour. With a twinkle in his eye, of course.

During his years at Brown-Forman, Lincoln has evaluated just about every batch of Old Forester bourbon, Early Times whiskey, Jack Daniel's, Canadian Mist, Pepe Lopez and Don Eduardo tequila, and super premium Woodford Reserve bourbon. His posts at Brown-Forman have included Grain Chemist, Technical Distillery Supervisor and Manager of Sensory Evaluation. The group he heads as top taster is responsible for the colour and taste standards of every whiskey produced at Brown-Forman. And he's one of just three American judges invited each year to London's International Wine and Spirit Competition. So if you want to discover what flavours abound in a glass of spirit, Lincoln's the per...

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