Who is Tristan Jorgensen, I hear you ask. Where did he come from? Hopefully, this week’s blog will give you an overview of where I’ve come from and who I am.
Born on 15th April sometime in the 80s to a Danish father and a Kentish mother, I grew up on the beach slopes of Kent and the green fields of Gloucestershire. I was educated to a reasonable level although I was always more interested in playing sports and daydreaming about what I was going to do after school.
Fast forward to life after school. I drifted for many a year from job to job, ranging from production controller for a local presentational goods manufacturer to café team-leader at Tesco, by way of barman for door-to-door salesmen. All the while, I remained that grown-up child who didn’t really know what he wanted to do when he grew up.
Life has a way of throwing curveballs, and in 2005 it did. I sold up my life in Gloucestershire and relocated to a small island off the west coast of Scotland called Islay. Unknown to me, Islay was famous for one thing: Whisky! Until then, the only time I’d tried whisky was when I’d sneakily swigged from an old bottle of Bell’s from my mum’s cupboard. By 2007, this had all very much changed.
I was appointed Production Operator at the world-famous Laphroaig Distillery. Learning from an operator who had just been promoted to assistant manager, over four week I learned how to turn malted barley into whisky. I was hooked. A passion and a flame had been ignited in me and I had found my purpose – to make alcoholic drinks.
Three-and-a-half years later, another unseen curveball came my way. This time it resulted in the hardest decision of my life to date. I handed in my notice at Laphroaig to move back to Gloucestershire. Within a few weeks, I ended up in Herefordshire working for Chase Distillery, newly crowned as makers of the ‘Best Vodka in the World’ and owned by the chap responsible for Tyrrell’s crisps. I very quickly learned how to turn the humble spud into the smoothest, yummiest vodka I have ever drunk.
From there, I drifted a little in hospitality and retail looking for the right distilling opportunity. Finally, I was appointed distiller at Newton House Gin down in Somerset and was quickly promoted to Master Distiller. Here, I really honed my creative distilling, creating three delicious gins to go alongside our London Dry – a Morello Cherry Gin, a Damson Gin and a Mulled Gin.
After Newton House, I became a Distillery Consultant. I worked with Viper Gin in Dorset, and Dartmoor Distillery – England’s largest commercial whisky distillery – developing recipe ideas and helping them to create a brand and build up their distilleries. This takes us to June 2019 in my journey. The next chapter will follow next week.
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Thinking Local,Herd Heritage, and Teaching the Next Generation