How it all began
Being someone that is relatively excessive, it all began on a night of tasting with the Club de Whisky de Québec. I discovered a vast, complex and passionate world and this increasing passion quickly transformed into an obsession for fabrication methods. This passion brought me to build my first alembic and to travel around the world to learn more about the distillation process and to meet other enthusiasts. Even if I learned a lot, there is still a long road ahead of me.
The trips are mainly characterized by meetings and some of them are more outstanding than others. In 2014, during my trip to California, I had one of those special moments: Jim Harrelson. I visited their distillery when they had just began distillating, I even witnessed the filling of their first cask of molasses Rum. Jim, an ex-cop, had just opened this distillery with a friend after the death of their best friend in service. As amateurs brewers, they decided to open their distillery and name it “Do Good” as they are very close to their community, they live by the principle of always doing good around themselves. Jim and Dan have always shared their knowledge generously. I still remember this day of celebration for the their first cask; pride and gratitude were definitely the main takeaways of that special moment.
In 2017, I had the opportunity to spend a week with them to learn more about making bourbon and I also had the honor to fill their 2000th cask with the bourbon that we had just made. Jim passed away two months later at not even 40 years old, leaving behind his three girls and his wife, a tragedy for the community. It was a shock; the biggest takeaway from this unfortunate and humbling event was that the spirits world is, before everything, a human story.
In the next upcoming months, I will bring you along in my journey to discover spirits, distilleries and the humans behind all these amazing stories.
Interesting facts behind their spirits: their gin was made with their white molasses Rum as a basis, redistillated with botanic elements to obtain a softer gin. Their white Rum was named “3 Miles Rum” because, during the Prohibition, it was possible to sell and drink alcohol from 3 miles (4.8km) from the coasts of the United States, which allowed the mafia to operate bars located on boats 3 miles of the coasts of Los Angeles and San Francisco in California.
In memoriam of Jim Harrelson.