Interview with Two Souls Spirits

Interview with Two Souls Spirits

For our readers who are not familiar with Two Souls, can you tell us a bit about your background and how your whiskey journey started?

I started out writing product reviews for Bourbon Sippers helping local liquor stores select single barrel products here in Gainesville, FL. Shortly after I began co-hosting a podcast, Whiskey Uncut, with my friend Paul and started to build a reputation for having a good palate. Chad, who is very business minded, came up with the idea of turning all of these things into a business. The idea for Two Souls formed over dinner and just expanded from there. 


I love the fact that you are proponents of transparency in what you put out.  It is not required to be this transparent, so why was it important for you to go that extra step?

The whole goal of Two Souls Spirits is, and always will be, to help spread the word about the great products that craft distilleries are producing. We wanted to give them a different way of showcasing their spirits and provide an avenue for them to get bottles in the hands of new enthusiasts. We feel very strongly that transparency is the only way to do that effectively. Additionally, we think drinkers want to know as much as possible about what they are buying. That’s part of the enjoyment of the spirit. As such, we share everything we know about each spirit. 


What, if any one particular bottle, was your revelation bottle that sparked your journey?

For me, it was definitely George T. Stagg. It was actually the first bottle I purchased, which seems crazy given the current market. To this day, I think the 2014 GTS is the best bourbon I have ever tasted. 


Could you walk us through the whiskey-making process at Two Souls?

We don’t make whiskey, we purchase aged product from top craft distilleries. The closest we come to “making” a spirit would be barrel finishing. I’m happy to follow up with you on that if you want to know more about our approach. 

You mentioned in one of our exchanges that Wisconsin is heaven for aging whiskey, can you let us know why that is?

Wisconsin has very broad temperature fluctuations, which causes the spirit to interact very deeply with the barrel staves. We find that the spirits pick up a ton of flavor and depth in this environment. 


What challenges have you faced as a craft spirits brand and how have you overcome them?

This is a very long list. Everything from branding to distribution to DTC shipping has been a process. Chad simply does not quit, which has kept us going through some challenging moments. You have to be persistent and just keep looking for the best way to make your model work. 


Are there any sustainability or environmental initiatives at Two Souls?

In terms of our distillery partners, they utilize local grains and strive to be as efficient as possible with their production methods. On our end, we will reuse barrels, sell them to hobbyists, and we also have a recyclable glass topper, which is more sustainable than cork.


What do you enjoy most about what you do and how do you stay passionate about your craft? 

The people, without question. The craft community is amazing - the number of people that have helped us along the way is truly humbling. Working with great people who make great whiskey will also be my favorite part of this industry. I think we both stay passionate by continuing to strive to bring people new, interesting products that they can only try through Two Souls Spirits. We love to hear that people who buy our products are trying something from our distillery partner for the first time. That is why we started this journey.


Can you share a memorable moment or experience you've had in your journey?

I think the most memorable moment for me would be when our first release (Fall 2022) dropped on our website. Everything to that point seemed like a blur, but in that moment, the business and our goals became very tangible. People were buying a product that we had selected and bottled under a brand that we created - it was incredibly surreal. 


What bottle/s will always be in your rotation (doesn't have to be just whiskey)?

Of our releases, I would say the Cigar Barrel (J. Henry & Sons) is one I will also have open on my shelf. That is such a rich, flavorful whiskey - and J. Henry has been a long favorite of mine. Our Double Barreled Bourbon  (Watershed Distillery) will also always be in my rotation. I’m very proud of how that barrel finish turned out. Outside of Two Souls, I have said on my podcast numerous times that Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit is my favorite bourbon from a large producer. It will always have a spot on my shelf. 


What is your favorite bottle you have put out and are any retired bottles going to ever see a re-release or round 2?

This is difficult - I feel like I have a new favorite with each release ha-ha! I am probably most proud of the Apple Brandy finished American Single Malt (Watershed). There’s simply nothing else like it on the market, and given that Watershed has never released a single malt on their own, it was a true one-off release. I will say though, the upcoming spring release is insanely good - those are three incredible whiskeys. As far as re-releases, you will likely see a few popular, retired spirits coming back in very limited quantities, but we haven’t made any concrete plans as of now.


Any upcoming releases you want to tease out to our readers?

We have a number of cask finished products that will come out in 2024. So, if barrel finishes are your thing you should definitely keep an eye on what we’re doing. As always, these finishes will be subtle and meant to complement the spirits flavor profile instead of covering it up. We will also have a “reincarnation” of one of our most popular releases coming this fall - that will be a must-have bottle for Two Souls fans. 


What are your thoughts on the rise of RTD/canned cocktails?

If craft distilleries can use RTD to open up a new line of revenue, we’re all for it. This won’t be something we get into as a company, but I think anything that creates interest in craft spirits is a plus for the community. 

What is your go-to daily sipper?

In all honesty, I don’t have a daily, or even weekly, sipper. Most of my drinking centers around selecting barrels for Two Souls or tracking the progress of barrels we have resting in WI. Outside of that, I tend to rotate between novel bottles that I pick up from our distillery partners or through the podcast. If I had to pick a daily sipper though, that wasn’t a Two Souls bottle, I would go with that Wild Turkey KY Spirit. 


Are there any emerging trends or innovations in the whiskey industry that you find particularly exciting?

Novel mash bills are the most exciting thing currently happening in my opinion. I love to try new grains or new grain combinations in whiskeys. It feels like the possibilities are endless for small producers, which is where most innovation in this industry originates.


Conversely, any trends you want to see go away?

Yes - Amburana finishes. If I ever feel an urge to have a whiskey flavored, artificially sweetened cinnamon roll I could find a much better way to make that happen. I am not a fan. 


Is it possible to train your nose and/or palate to become better at recognizing and articulating tasting notes?  Any best practices that you can share?

Absolutely - you just need to practice! I always tell people to find someone that you feel has a good palate and drink mindfully with them. Ask them what they are picking up on the nose and palate and see if you agree. If there is a flavor or note that you dislike, see if they can explain where it is coming from (e.g., bitterness from intense oak or raw grain notes from very young whiskey). If they can’t, go look it up!  Drink intentionally - I can’t stress that enough. 


Do you think there’s a glut/bubble coming in bourbon?

People have been asking me this for years, and we’ve discussed it multiple times on the podcast. Personally, I don’t see things slowing down - there is too much interest in bourbon right now. That said, I do see people’s preferences shifting toward unique and novel drinking experiences. And I think consumers are becoming more informed, which is changing what people value in their go-to bottles and brands


What is your “go to” drink/cocktail that does not contain whiskey?

A homemade margarita - just some great blanco tequila, fresh lime juice, and a touch of simple syrup. I prefer it more tart than sweet. 


Dead or Alive, if you could meet one Master Distiller, who would it be and why?

I’ll give you two: 1) Jimmy Russell - I don’t know that is a better ambassador for bourbon than Jimmy Russell, 2) Elmer T. Lee - I can’t skip over the person that brought single barrel bourbons to the masses. Our business model is essentially built on his foresight. Bonus selection: Marianne Eaves - I love her more scientific approach to whiskey making. And she’s a powerhouse when it comes to branding.


Thank you guys so much for your time, really appreciate it and I know our readers will too! 



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