Truman Cox, master distiller for Sazerac's A. Smith Bowman Distillery, passed away on Saturday, February 7, after collapsing at his home, according to a spokesperson from the Sazerac Company. Cox, who became master distiller for the Fredericksburg, Virginia-based distillery in October 2011, was 44.
According to a biography printed up for New York WhiskyFest Weekend last October, Cox earned a degree in chemistry from the University of Central Florida. He apprenticed under master distillers Elmer T. Lee and Harlen Wheatley, working as the lead chemist for Buffalo Trace, another Sazerac Company-owned bourbon brand. A February 12, 2013 story at TheSpiritsBusiness.com quotes a release from the Sazerac Company: "Truman's passion for our industry was evident to everyone who knew him."
His no-nonsense, genial approach to whiskey making was evident during a series of seminars hosted during New York WhiskyFest. In debuting Abraham Bowman Limited Edition Port-Finished Bourbon—a new expression aged seven years in two woods—Cox told the audience, "We're not making heart monitors. So, by God, you ought to have fun doing what we're doing."
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FTC Disclaimer: The author sometimes receives product samples for review, which carry no cash value and cannot be re-sold, and sometimes attends press events such as lunches or cocktail parties, designed to promote a given product. The author is not paid by any alcohol manufacturer, retailer or distributor, or provided compensation apart from revenue from an assigning publishing company for editorial publication. Opinions are the author's own. By the way, you should be 21 or older to read this page. Author received no comps in relation to this story, but did have the opportunity to meet Truman Cox briefly at New York WhiskyFest.