Denny Potter on Craftsmanship


You have to be careful with a wheated bourbon. Wheat can get overpowered in the barrel if you let it age too long—it can suddenly get bitter. Our #1 rule at Maker’s Mark is no bitterness, that’s what Bill Samuels, Sr. initially set out to do.

I’m working with a brand that’s very successful and has such a loyal following. So, my job from day one, and it’s actually in my job description, is: “Don’t screw it up.” When you have that mentality coming into the job, you take it very seriously. This is not a job for a person with a big ego.

I’ve made all sorts of whiskies in my career, innovative stuff, but I find there’s an absolute art to making sure you do the same thing well every single day and that you continue to hold that consistency. I love the fact that I can come in and maintain the legacy.

Tasting Tip:
I am a huge proponent of blind tastings, because I want people to appreciate whisky that you think is good, not what someone else is telling you.