Eboni Major is one of just a handful of women with the title of a bourbon blender.
Even smaller still are the number of women of color whose job it is to create the perfect blend that will go in stores, however, more and more are rising through the ranks in the spirits world to become distillers and master blenders.
Majors said she’s not bothered by the stats, loves a challenge and is focused on making great bourbon. Case in point, the Birmingham, Ala. native just released her first bourbon blend for Bulleit Distilling Co., a mix of different whiskey distillates with notes of honey, oak and with a smooth finish.
“This blend speaks to my journey and who I am,” Major told BOSSIP. “I’m not a complacent person. I like challenges and I like to push boundaries.”
Growing up with two sisters in a single-parent household, Major said she knew that she wanted to do something different with her life and career. It was while attending HBCU Alabama A&M University in Huntsville – where she majored in food science and chemistry – that she developed severe gastrointestinal problems, and it piqued her interest in quality control in food, snacks and beverages.
A series of internships in the food world followed, and in 2015, she landed an internship at Bulleit and has been there ever since, learning the spirits industry and perfecting her blending skills.
Major said she spent two months making samples and analyzing blends to make Bulleit Bourbon Blenders’ Select No. 001, a mix of three of the ten whiskeys that are used to make the original Bulleit Bourbon.
“You get to see how unique the flavors are, Major said, adding, “It’s definitely a sippable drink. It’s easy-going. But when I had cocktails, I could definitely taste it in there. It gives it a smokiness.”
As for the future, Major said it definitely involves whiskey, but in a more environmentally friendly way.
“I’ll always be in food,” Major said. “I’m enjoying where I am (and) seeing how we can be more sustainable. That’s really what my focus is on now, and when I decide to leave decades down the line, I’ll leave the earth in better condition. Sustainability is where I’m hoping to push the brand in a couple of years.”