LIFE AS A WHISKEY TASTER
(P1) When the great-grand-niece of Jack Daniel, applied to be a WHISKEY taster at the Jack Daniel DISTILLERY, she had to go through the same RIGOROUS selection process as everyone else.
(P2) She passed the tests, and for the last 20 years, Lynne Tolley has held the title of Master Whiskey Taster, one of five people tasked with tasting the distillery’s PREMIUM whiskey.
(P3) She is one of around 50 tasters in total.
(P4) “I have the best job in the world. I get paid to taste Jack Daniel’s every week,” Tolley said.
(P5) Tolley also runs Miss Mary Bobo’s BOARDING HOUSE DOWN THE STREET from the Jack Daniel Distillery. For more than 100 years, Miss Mary Bobo was paid to house and feed guests visiting the distillery. When she died in 1983, the distillery bought the property to preserve it.
(P6) “The first thing people do when they come to Miss Mary Bobo’s is order a COCKTAIL. Every day we have one or two [foods] on the menu that include Jack Daniel’s whiskey,” Tolley said.
(P7) Business Insider asked Tolley a few questions about getting paid to taste Jack Daniel’s:
(P8) How does the testing process work?
(P9) Tolley: “Every Friday we go into a room and there will be three glasses on a table. Each glass has a little cover over so you slide that off and smell the AROMA of the whiskey. You have to pick out the whiskey that is unlike the other two. See, one whiskey sample is taken from a different BARREL. We are tasting to make sure that our product is CONSISTENT year-to-year. So we taste for consistency and quality control.”
(P10) “Now, if you are tasting Single Barrel like I do it’s a little different. You’ll go in a room and there may be 50 glasses on the table. It always starts with the aroma of the whiskey. If you smell something that you think is a little different then you are allowed to taste it.
(P11) Now after it sits on your PALATE you are supposed to spit it out and then you have to drink water and move to the next sample.”
(P12) As a relative of Jack Daniel, did you have to go through the same testing process as other candidates?
(P13) Tolley: “It was about 20 years ago when I said to the guys at the distillery, ‘Guys, I wanna become a taster.’ I thought I could maybe get an easier time becoming one because I am a DESCENDANT of Jack. It’s in my blood. They said to me, ‘No, no, no we have to test you to see if you can be a taster.’
(P14) “They put me through tests for a whole year. Then they finally said, ‘Yeah, you can taste.’ I must have great TASTE BUDS because I was selected to taste our premium Single Barrel Whiskey.”
(P15) What do you taste?
(P16) Tolley: “I think all the tasters look for something different. I always look for CARAMEL, VANILLA, and sort of a TOASTED OAK. There is this nuttiness. It’s like the smell if you were cooking with roasted PECANS. I always look for vanilla. Did you know you can substitute vanilla for Jack Daniel’s when you’re cooking? I do that at Miss Mary Bobo’s.”
(P17) Is there anything special you do before you go in to taste the whiskey?
(P18) Tolley: “I like to go and taste when I’m hungry because I feel like I can taste the whiskey better. I also don’t wear any PERFUME that day. I think women are the best tasters because we have the best noses. That’s just my personal opinion though. At the distillery it’s about 50/50 men and women,” Tolley said.
(P19) What was it like growing up as a descendant of Jack Daniel?
(P20) Tolley: “You know, I have one brother and we grew up here and we never thought anything about it. The distillery wasn’t as WELL-KNOWN as it was now. It’s a BIG DEAL now. I went to college in Georgia and I never mentioned my famous uncle. I just thought, ‘well who wants to hear about any of that?”
(P21) Do you get any PERKS for being a Jack Daniel’s taste-tester?
(P22) Tolley: “We do. The first Friday of every month every employee gets a bottle of Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7. We also get a COMMEMORATIVE bottle during the holiday season and on 4th of July. Since I am a taster, I usually get a gift that says ‘Master Whiskey Taster Jack Daniel’s Distillery’ on it. Those gifts are quite the CONVERSATION STARTER.”
If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.
- Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
- Have you ever had whiskey? Did you like it, or was it too strong for you?
- Have you ever taken a tour at a distillery, WINERY, or BREWERY?
- In addition to being a whiskey taster, Lynne Tolley also runs a small boarding house. Do you prefer a big hotel, or a smaller, more INTIMATE hotel?
- Do you have any well-known relatives in the history of your family?
EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:
What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.
- Boarding house
- Down the street
- Taste buds
- Big deal
- Conversation starter