Cigar & Spirits Magazine Q&A Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey: The Greatest Whiskey Maker The World Never Knew

By Randy Mastronicola

Nathan “Nearest” Green (aka Uncle Nearest) is regarded as the first African-American master distiller on record in the United States. A formerly enslaved African-American, he’s been credited with teaching Jack Daniel distilling techniques that helped form the brand in the 1800s. Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey was created to honor his legacy.

The award-winning Uncle Nearest has made a splash in the market in just over a year—garnering 13 medals in 13 months. Uncle Nearest captured a Double Gold Medal at the China Wine and Spirits Awards, a Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, New York World Wine and Spirits Competition, and two Gold Medals at the Los Angeles International Spirits Competition. Cigar & Spirits Magazine also named it one of the Top 5 Whiskies in its most recent World Spirits Competition.

We caught up with Fawn Weaver recently. She’s the co-founder of Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey, serving as CEO and chief historian.

What makes a great premium whiskey?

It’s different for everyone, but for us, a large part of it is time and cost. The amount of time the whiskey has spent in the barrel and the cost it takes to make the whiskey. For us, it’s placing our whiskey in the barrel at the proof Nearest was known for, 110-proof, and allowing it to rest for at least 8 years, before bottled at or above 90-proof, which is consistent with Nearest’s bottlings in the 19th century—our whiskey has the opportunity to take on the sweeter notes—caramel, vanilla, honey, maple, butterscotch and baking spices—in the barrel that come from years of sap being produced within the tree trunk.

That helps in keeping with the integrity of the blend…

It also prevents the whiskey from picking up some of the harsher, more bitter notes that can come from being over-oaked. Many estimate 50-to-60-percent of the flavor of whiskey is determined by its barrel. So, choosing the best barrels, and then putting the whiskey in at a proof that allows us to take advantage of those beautiful notes over the course of 8-11 years, is a part of what makes Uncle Nearest so great…and premium.

Describe what you’d like a new customer to experience?

We’d like a new customer to first experience our whiskey, and to fall in love with it, without regard for the story. I don’t think many would dispute that the story of Uncle Nearest is the most incredible to enter the spirits industry in the past century. It’s literally a 160-year-old story that was relatively unknown outside of Lynchburg, Tennessee until our brand launched around the world. But a great story can’t sustain a brand. It can help to quickly build it, but it can’t sustain that growth over time. Once a customer falls in love with the liquid gold inside our bottle, then we want them to learn the story, and to be so amazed by it that they truly feel honored to be able to raise a glass to the greatest whiskey maker the world never knew.

Want more? Subscribe to Cigar & Spirits Magazine!

Subscribe

Check out the rest of our featured interviews!

By |2020-08-04T13:31:26-08:00August 3rd, 2020|Feature Interview|Comments Off on Cigar & Spirits Magazine Q&A Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey: The Greatest Whiskey Maker The World Never Knew
Go to Top