Hidden Flavors of Distilling

Saturday, July 19th

3:30pm - 5:00pmGrand Ballroom South, Royal SonestaSeminars

The basics of distilling are familiar: fermented mash goes into a still, either in batches or a continuous flow, and a distillate comes out the other side, concentrating the ethanol and flavors. But where do those flavors actually come from? And what happens afterward, as a spirit ages? This seminar will take a tour through the processes that make distilled spirits more than just neutral firewater—from different strains of yeast to the strange chemistry of aging and barrels.

We’ll start with yeast: With the help of the yeast-makers at White Labs and a master distiller, we’ll taste three fresh spirits made exactly the same—except for yeast strains. Attendees will also sample fresh new-make spirit with a version aged in stainless steel to show the impacts of esterification and oxidation. Finally, attendees will try a vertical tasting of the same spirit—an American whiskey—aged in three different kinds of wood to show how flavors can vary based on the type of wood, or even the variety of oak.


Grand Ballroom South, Royal Sonesta

Participating Personalities


  • Adam Rogers


  • Maggie Campbell

  • Wayne Curtis

  • Kara Taylor

Lance Winters
  • Lance Winters

Event Sponsors