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Whiskey Maker

Colum Egan has a degree from the University of Limerick in Southwestern Ireland and was developing quite a nice engineering career when he fell in love.

He was living in London at the time and the woman who would later be his wife was from a town in Northern Ireland, 12 miles from the Bushmills distillery.

He wound up moving there and got a job at Bushmills bottling and mixing whiskey for five years before he had the opportunity work with the master distiller, a job that ultimately became his.

One of the most challenging parts of his job is that any new whiskey they create still has to have a Bushmills taste beneath it — smooth, fruity and vanilla, a little floral and slightly spicy.

And then there's figuring out how much to produce.

“The weird thing is, it just takes so long to make,” Egan said, explaining that whiskey stays in the barrel anywhere from three to 20 years or more. “You have to try to make an educated guess on how much we’ll be drinking in 20 years time!”

Photo courtesy of Bushmills