Not a member? - Register and login now.
All registered users can read our entire magazine archive.

Issue 28 - The man they couldn't invent

Whisky Magazine Issue 28
January 2003


This article is 15 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

Copyright Whisky Magazine © 1999-2018. All rights reserved. To use or reproduce part or all of this article please contact us for details of how you can do so legally.

The man they couldn't invent

Michael Jackson is under the gun with Booker Noe

The shotgun on the dinner table made it a memorable evening. The dinner ended with a bang, too. That cannot be denied.

It was so memorable that I keep recalling it, turning it over in my mind. I think I have it figured now. It helps that I have known Booker Noe for nearly 20 years. How well acquainted are we? Hey, I've met him at least twice, so I guess Booker and I are virtually best buddies.

The first time I was received by Booker was in his pick-up truck. This is a sacred place for a Southerner. Booker is especially fond of trucks. Some people say all the Beam clan are, as though it were a genetic predisposition.

Back then, Jim Beam whiskey had a flack who only wanted to talk about the company's huge range of decorative ceramic decanters. As to my actually seeing the distillery, this was for some reason impossible. I needed someone on the inside. I talked to Bill Samuels, of Maker's Mark. The Samuels family know everyone, always did, from Jesse James to Abraham Lincoln. Naturally, Bill knew Booker, and introduced me.

Booker drove me around in his truck. The engine note and his tutorial on bourbon distilling seemed in harmony, like the music and lyrics of a song celebrating the form and function of engineering design, physics and chemistry.

From time to time, he would pull over to emphasise a point, and draw in my notebook the configuration of a still. It was as though he was designing stillhouses in his mind's eye, just as I might compose the cadences of a story.


To read all of this article...
Please register with Already registered? Login now.


Whisky gift and present finder