With only a few months left until the release of our first Cotswolds Single Malt Whisky, we thought it might be time you got to know a bit more about the merry gang that make the stuff. And this week it’s El Jefe himself, Head Distiller and Distillery Manager, Mr Nick Franchino. Known for his fearsome work ethic, we’ve somehow persuaded Nick to pause for two minutes to answer some questions. He must have enjoyed it though, as he actually submitted a number of alternative answers to these questions, so hopefully I’ve managed to pick out the more suitable ones…
NAME, HOME TOWN, AGE
Nick Franchino (although he’ll also answer to Woody Sugars), Morristown, 39
HOW DID YOU COME TO JOIN THE COTSWOLDS DISTILLERY?
I met Dan on an IBD Fundamentals of Distilling course and hounded him until he hired me.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO WHISKY IN THE FIRST PLACE?
I dabbled in my youth with disastrous results. I suppose as my taste buds matured I had a desire for something a little more fulfilling than the standard booze around. I hit the whisky and haven’t looked back.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF THE PROCESS/ BIT OF THE DISTILLERY?
First thing in the morning when the mash is on with all its chugging, the stills are on full bore with the steam hiss, Creedence Clearwater Revival is on loud, tea in hand, sunrise over the hill, nobody in yet to bother me with incessant questions… I love it.
ANY EMBARRASSING BITS YET?
When we used to have to get the grain up above the hopper in a bag and a load spilled onto the floor. My suggestion that I was investigating “floor malting” was not believed.
WHEN YOU’RE NOT DRINKING COTSWOLDS, OF COURSE, WHAT’S YOUR WHISKY OF CHOICE?
Bowmore Darkest. I like a bit of a sherry finish, and Bowmore is a great base spirit that takes it well. Also, my mentor in the industry Harry Cockburn was manager there for a number of years. It just all comes together in a great whisky.
IS THERE ANYTHING NEW IN WHISKY-MAKING YOU’D LIKE TO TRY DOING?
There are many, many new things I would like to do including different whisky styles, cask finishes and spirits. Too many to list here.