Drew Mayville has been Master Blender and Director of Quality at Sazerac’s Buffalo Trace Distillery since 2004, but his experience in the sector dates back over 20 years prior to that.
Drew started his career at Seagram’s and his experience encompassed all areas of manufacturing, including the Distillery, Quality, Bottling, Packaging QA and Specifications, Blending, and Technical Services for North America. Ultimately he was the last Master Blender to serve under the Seagram dynasty.
As a clear expert on bourbon, Drew has a sharp palate for bourbon and he shared some of his insights ahead of a recent trip to Dublin.
Bourbon itself is a distinct style of whiskey, as much as Irish whiskey is distinct from Scotch, and its popularity is growing in Ireland. So how does one appreciate a bourbon? Drew said: “I always advise that you can taste the recipe. The grains help dictate the flavor profile. You can enjoy the sweetness from the corn, the spiciness from the rye and the smoothness from the wheat.”
Not forgetting the barrel, Drew continued: “The barrel and aging process develops those flavors into the bourbon that we enjoy. Bourbon is one of the most easily enjoyed whiskies in the world.”
Comparing bourbon to Irish whiskey, Drew said the major differences can be found in “The spiciness in rye bourbon”.
While bourbon’s profile is on the rise in Ireland, it’s been around for a long time and is the subject of much innovation in recent years. Drew said it’s important to “Always excite your customers with new experiences. They are continually exploring and appreciating new expressions. Buffalo Trace believes in striving to make better whiskeys. Our customers love our exploration and journey.”
As for how to best enjoy bourbon? “I prefer to drink mine straight or with a large ice cube. I do like the Maple Old Fashioned once in a while. Just with a hint of maple syrup though. I like to taste the bourbon. It blends my Canadian roots with my bourbon heritage,” said Drew.
Finally, his favoured Irish whiskey? “Paddy’s,” of course.