In 1991 Jean-Noël introduced me to Marcel Espieu, who in the photo is sitting behind me. Marcel Espieu was my second teacher and greatest mentor because he lived longer and was able to spend more time with me.
Mr. Viaud and Marcel were the two greatest distillers in modern times in our world today, and I was their only student to whom they taught their techniques of distillation. It was a great honor learning from them and sitting at their feet, literally.
I volunteered to work at night in the distiller, so I could learn. When I was working at night, I had my measuring tape and measured the size of the chambers and cookers and separators and condensers. I was making sketches and drawings because I had a dream. Mr. Viaud said if you don’t grow it, you won’t have it. Well, if I’m going to grow it, I’ve got to distill it; doesn’t that make sense? So it was all Mr. Viaud’s fault