The above pic (provided by the excellent Mr. Eric Alperin) is of a certain cocktail historian and myself listening to the Master Distiller, Paul Wanrooij, at the Wynand Fockink Distillery in Amsterdam (yes...I know, I know, I am a big fan of Wynand Fockink too). These guys specialize in the herbal distillate that is the flavor component of Genever as well as making liqueurs and bitters.
To be blunt, I was in heaven here. All the flasks behind him are infusions he is playing around with as he designs new flavors and such. Mr. Tal Nadari even sneaked me a pour of his potato spirit which was so much more than any vodka I have ever had. Not being constrained by faulty focus groups and marketing suits, he didn't strip the nuance and terroir of the spuds with over filtering and smootheners but rather left the spirit a natural and true expression. It was delicious.
While this was actually the last stop on our series of tours, I definitely learned the most here. The history of the place along with the passion of the distiller are palpable in the air. If you can be in the building and not be inspired by it...well, I just don't think that would be possible.