Meet the XO Alambic master distiller!
[ an excerpt from Urban Daddy ]
MEET YOUR MAKER
(as these spirits are to die for)
At XO Alambic in Dayton, Washington, the master distiller and master of ceremonies is Berle Wilson Figgins, Jr. Long name, short temper. He is a fierce enforcer of quality standards in the stillhouse and bottling room. A veteran vintner, he traded a brilliant career as a viticulturist and winemaker in exchange for a stellar one as a master distiller, winning multiple awards straight out of the gate. The Walla Walla native has old friends who still call him by his childhood nickname, Rusty.
Perhaps that is true, but this chap is quite skillful.
Figgins was dubbed Western Innovator by the Capital Press newspaper and has been called an influential act by SEATTLE magazine, both in connection to his distilling activities, and he is considered by many to be a folk hero amongst Washington craft distillers. Attributable to such experience, Figgins is beginning to go grey and is thinning up top. Perhaps a trifle bit before his time, we think, because paying one's dues and ensuring high quality would tend to do that to a gentleman-farmer and third-generation distiller. He asks, "Isn't it about time?" seemingly mentioning both the practice of barrel maturation and achieving one's goals, all in one breath.
Mr Figgins is about to reveal an XO-quality, Cognac-style brandy and a five-year, five-grain whisky upon their impending release in June 2017, with an Irish-style cream liqueur soon to follow. ~ UD