Monday, December 2, 2013

An American Whiskey Tasting and a Dinner with Woodford Reserve Master Distiller Chris Morris at “Im Schiffchen” (2 Stars Michelin) in Duesseldorf, Germany

Pictures: Christian G.E. Schiller with Chris Morris, Master Distiller of Brown-Foreman in Kentucky, USA, and Chef Jean-Claude Bourguil, Im Schiffchen, in Duesseldorf, Germany

Chris Morris is the Master Distiller of Brown-Foreman, including Woodford Reserve, the ultra-premium Bourbon Whiskey from Kentucky in the US. I accompanied him on a recent tour through Germany. One of the highlights was an American Whiskey Tasting and a Dinner at “Im Schiffchen” in Duesseldorf, arranged by Ursula Haslauer, Managing Director and Co-owner of Falstaff Deutschland.

Picture: Ursula Haslauer, Managing Director and Co-owner of Falstaff Deutschland, and Annette Schiller, ombiasy PR and WineTours

See also:
American Whiskey Producers in Germany
Amerikanische Whiskey Hersteller in Deutschland
18 US Distillers at Bar Convent Berlin 2013, Germany
With Woodford Reserve Master Distiller Chris Morris on a Whiskey Tour in Frankfurt, Duesseldorf and Berlin, Germany

Woodford Reserve

Woodford Reserve is the smallest of the about 20 distilleries in Kentucky. It is unique in using a triple distillation method. This employs three copper pot stills, built in Scotland. Woodford Reserve is operated by the Louisville-based Brown-Forman Distiller Corporation, which also owns Jack Daniels.

Woodford Reserve traces its origins back to 1797, when Elijah Pepper moved from Virginia to Versailles, where he distilled corn whiskey in a small distillery behind the county courthouse. In 1812 he moved his operation to the present site on Glenn's Creek. In 1941 Brown-Forman bought the distillery used it to produce their Early Times whiskey. By the 1960s Bourbon sales were falling and Brown- Forman sold the distillery to a local farmer. The buyer proceeded to make the car fuel substitute 'gasohol' in the distillery for a short period, but when that venture failed, the distillery lay silent for 23 years. Then, in 1994, with interest in 'small batch' Bourbon rising, Brown-Forman bought back the semi-derelict site and restored it to showpiece condition. In 2003, the present Woodford Reserve name was adopted for both the distillery and its whiskey.

Between 40 and 50 barrels a day are filled at Woodford Reserve distillery. The resultant whiskey is bottled at six to seven years of age. The mashbill comprises 72 per cent corn, 18 per cent rye and 12 per cent malted barley. Bourbon whiskey must be at least 51% corn, and many bourbons are as high as 80%. A bourbon mashbill with 18% Rye is fairly high and helps distinguish Woodford Reserve’s slightly spicy character.

In the Brown-Forman family, a lot of time and attention is paid to Jack Daniels, the whiskey from Tennessee, and for good reason: it’s one of the best selling spirits in America. Although Jack Daniels gets lots of attention, it’s Woodford Reserve that is the crown jewel in Brown-Forman portfolio. Run by master distiller Chris Morris, Woodford Reserve focuses on producing small batch premium bourbon.

Chris Morris

Chris Morris is seventh Master Distiller for Brown-Forman, since the company began in 1870. A Louisville native, Chris Morris has grown up around bourbon his whole life. His dad was a production manager, and his mother worked in the art department at Brown-Forman. His career with Brown-Forman began in 1976, as a trainee. Chris Morris holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Bellarmine College in Louisville, a master’s degree in liberal arts from Texas Christian University, and a master’s degree in marketing from Webster University.

At “Im Schiffchen” in Duesseldorf

Falstaff organized a whiskey tasting with dinner in the “Im Schiffchen” In Duesseldorf. First, Chris Morris led an entertaining and educational tasting with four very different American whiskeys. The aim of the tasting was to give a broad overview of the world of American whiskeys. Following the tasting, guests were treated to an excellent four-course menu. It was a terrific evening, which all who were present will remember as an extremely successful symbiosis of German and American delicacies.

American Whiskey Tasting

Knob Creek Rye Whiskey - Rye whiskey (based on rye) is the original version of American whiskeys, which was initially produced mainly in Maryland and Pennsylvania on the East Coast. Today, rye whiskey is experiencing a boom in the US, after it had almost disappeared. A rye whiskey must be based at least 50% on rye. Rye whiskeys tend to be spicier than Bourbon whiskeys.

Pictures: At the Tasting and Dinner

Woodford Reserve Bourbon Whiskey - This whiskey is produced in Kentucky, where most American whiskey distilleries are located. A Bourbon whiskey must be more than 50% based on corn. “Bourbon is the American interpretation of the whiskeys of our ancestors from Scotland, Ireland and Germany," said Chris Morris. Bourbon can be made anywhere in America. The best, however, come from Kentucky. Woodford Reserve is the premium bourbon whiskey from Brown Foreman.

Pictures: The Whiskeys

Jack Daniel's Single Barrel, Tennessee Whiskey - As the name suggests, this whiskey is produced in Tennessee . A Tennessee whiskey differs from a bourbon whiskey only in that he is additionally filtered over charcoal, making it softer than a bourbon. A “Single Barrel" comes from an individual barrel (and is not a blend of many barrels) .

Wild Turkey American Honey - This is a liqueur made from bourbon whiskey and honey - an example for how American whiskey producers have started to experiment.



Millefeuille de foie gras, thé matcha et confit de poires

Darne de loup de mer poellée, Consommé d’algues Komba et orge perlé

Coffre de Pintade de Bresse rôti aux arômes de café
Cuisse en Parmentier

Pêche blanche rôtie au four

Pistache et vanille Tahiti


Jean-Claude Bourguil

Jean-Claude Bourguil is one of the leading German Chefs. He was born (and grew up in France) and he moved to Duesseldorf in 1970. He quickly became one of the leading Chefs in the country, working in various top restaurants. In 1977, he took over the restaurant “Im Schiffchen” with his second wife Jeannine and made it within a short period of time one of the best known restaurants in Germany. The first Michelin star was awarded in 1979, the second in 1983 and the third in 1987. Since 2007, “Im Schiffchen” has two Michelin stars.

Pictures: Jean-Claude Bourguil

In 1986, “Im Schiffchen” moved to the second floor of the building, where it is until this day. The first floor has seen different restaurants, all run by Jean-Claude Bourguil, first the “Aalschokker” (which got one Michelin star in 1988), then the “Jean Claude (which gone one Michelin star in 2006) and since 2012 the “Enzo im Schiffchen”, which offers Italian cuisine.

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American Whiskey Producers in Germany

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With Woodford Reserve Master Distiller Chris Morris on a Whiskey Tour in Frankfurt, Duesseldorf and Berlin, Germany

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