9 November 2015

Whisky Insiders Interview - Jared Himstedt

Balcones Distilling

Head Distiller


How long have you been working in the whisky industry?
I’ve now been working in the industry for seven years, since 2008.
What has been your biggest career highlight to date?
It is a huge pleasure to feel like we are finally known in our hometown and home state. For a long time it felt like no one knew we existed, even in our local community, but that has changed. It's great to get to be a part of the exciting movement going on in Waco and get to contribute something to our town at a very fun time in its development. Other than that, every time we are working on something new and get to try it after a bit of aging and realise it's going to be delicious. That's always a very rewarding moment.
Can you remember your first dram, and indeed what it was?
Not my first, but I remember the first one that finally clicked. I had had a decent amount of whisky and never really connected with it until I tried Ardbeg 10 Year Old. At the time it was a game changer for me.
What does whisky mean to you?
If you love whisky, it can be something that brings beauty to your life, just like good music, good food and good conversation. It is an opportunity to pay attention and be present, fully engage with what you're doing at the moment. If it is a good whisky it should give you plenty to take in, think about, assess and even discuss. The best whisky is whisky shared and appreciated with good friends.
Where would you like to see yourself in five years’ time?
I want us to be fully moved in and cruising in our new distillery first off. I hope to be still experimenting, trying new grains, new processes and new yeast strains. There are so many things to try that we've already planned on pursuing and I'm sure we'll keep discovering new things to try. The excitement of discovery is a big part of what keeps us interested and coming back day after day.
What was your last dram?
My last dram was a 1989 Wild Turkey 101 8 Year Old.
Do you have a favourite whisky and food pairing combination?
Not particularly. I have had a few great ones, but I don't often drink whisky with food. Chocolate always does well, and I've had a few quite nice cheeses paired with lighter scotch whiskies that went well together.
What’s your favourite time and place to enjoy a dram?
Either sitting around a fire at home, preferably with friends passing the guitar and swapping songs, or the blending room!
What do you think is going to be the next big thing on the whisky horizon?
I think we'll continue to see more and more smaller producers, and the quality of "craft" spirits continue to get better. I think the big guys will have to keep innovating to keep up, and we'll get to see a lot of exciting new expressions from both camps.
What’s the one dram you couldn’t live without?
That's tough. Not sure there is one.  I don't have a regular pour like a lot of folks do.  I feel like I am constantly trying new things and there's so many bottles of great whisky around I just keep moving.  That said, if I could never have another Glenfarclas in my life I would be quite sad.
Many thanks to Jared Himstedt. Who will be the next Whisky Insider? Click back soon to find out!