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Bourbon does for me what the piece of cake did for Proust.
May 19, 2010 12:55 PM   Subscribe

The joy of Bourbon drinking is not the pharmacological effect of C(2)H(5)OH on the cortex but rather the instant of the whiskey being knocked back and the little explosion of Kentucky U.S.A. sunshine in the cavity of the nasopharynx and the hot bosky bite of Tennessee summertime--aesthetic considerations to which the effect of the alcohol is, if not dispensable, at least secondary.
Bourbon, an essay by Walker Percy. A warning: "Not only should connoisseurs of Bourbon not read this article, neither should persons preoccupied with the perils of alcoholism, cirrhosis, esophageal hemorrhage, cancer of the palate, and so forth..."

If you're anything like Percy, a good bourbon is only as good as the memory it conjures and the company in which it's enjoyed:
1934: Drinking at a Delta dance, the boys in bi-swing jackets and tab
collars, tough-talking and profane and also scared of the girls and
therefore safe in the men's room. Somebody passes around bootleg Bourbon
in a Coke bottle. It's awful. Tears start from eyes, faces turn red.
'Hot damn, that's good!'
Bonus links:
Great American Writers and Their Cocktails at NPR
The History of American Whiskey by Gary Regan
A GQ quick guide on What You Really Need to Know About American Whiskey (a more detailed guide can be found here)
And if you're really serious about it, why not visit a few of the stops on the American Whiskey Trail?
posted by a.steele (77 comments total) 68 users marked this as a favorite

 
Beautiful. I must read more Walker Percy.
posted by No Robots at 1:02 PM on May 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


what about persons pre-occupied with whiskey dick?
posted by spicynuts at 1:06 PM on May 19, 2010


Thanks so much for posting this..... I love Walker Percy ("Love in the Ruins" is a favorite of mine), and I love Bourbon. A great read from a fine southern author.
posted by brand-gnu at 1:08 PM on May 19, 2010


I was drinking a glass of bourbon at a party once when a friend of mine asked me, "what are you drinking?" When I told her she replied, "Oh, I thought I smelled Mississippi."
posted by Pollomacho at 1:12 PM on May 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


If this joker has to knock back five shots of Bourbon
every afternoon just to stand the twentieth century-


There's something I can relate to. Great post, thanks!
posted by Lutoslawski at 1:14 PM on May 19, 2010


Bourbon tastes nasty. Ugh.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:15 PM on May 19, 2010


The joy of Bourbon drinking is not the pharmacological effect of C(2)H(5)OH on the cortex

You wanna bet?
posted by cortex at 1:15 PM on May 19, 2010 [28 favorites]


I never thought of drinking Scotch as being like looking at a picture of Noel Coward! More like the smell of black walnuts which I do not prefer. No literary prizes for me, just bourbon. Well, if you have some extra tequila, I could help you with that.
posted by Cranberry at 1:18 PM on May 19, 2010


I knew a guy in college who could chug bourbon while others would watch and count the bubbles aloud. When he got to 10 or so bubbles he would stop. I wonder if he's dead yet.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:19 PM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


God, that was a good essay and true to what I believe and understand about the stuff. Don't get me wrong, I love wine, I love beer, I love gin and all manner of cocktails, but there's something wonderful but slugging back a mouthful of bourbon. Quality and criticism has nothing to do with it, and here's another essay that speaks to that particular truth.

And, not that your asking, but Old Crow. Poured from a glass bottle if I can find one, but the big plastic gallon jug will do just fine.
posted by infinitywaltz at 1:22 PM on May 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Bourbon tastes nasty.

That's because you haven't had enough yet. But don't despair, just keep on drinking it, you'll get there, don't you worry.
posted by infinitywaltz at 1:23 PM on May 19, 2010


My favorite libation, though I take issue with the preference for low-proof bourbons. Knob Creek is 100 proof but (IMO) smoother than most of the other bourbons and Tennessee whiskeys I've sampled. I'm in total agreement about scotches, though. When the revolution comes, they'll be the first ones up against the wall.
posted by The White Hat at 1:23 PM on May 19, 2010


I don't know this Clifton Webb character but I like him already, scarf at throat and all.
posted by joost de vries at 1:26 PM on May 19, 2010


I must read more Walker Percy.

Everyone should read more Walker Percy. And drink more bourbon. Bourbon is God's way of saying that she loves us.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:27 PM on May 19, 2010 [9 favorites]


This has newly become one of my favorite pieces of writing. It was a perfect essay to read while vacationing at a cabin in the Catskills with half a bottle of Maker's in the kitchen. I loved The Second Coming but haven't read anything else of Percy's; I'll have to change that.
posted by painquale at 1:32 PM on May 19, 2010


The only time I have taken a second portion of bourbon was when someone was handing out Bulleit (sp?). I thought that tasted good. The rest of the time I agree with St. Alia. Am I doing it wrong?
posted by jet_silver at 1:32 PM on May 19, 2010


I love Walker Percy, but for words on bourbon give me Faulkner every time:
There was always a bottle present, so that it would seem to him that those fine fierce instants of heart and brain and courage and wiliness and speed were concentrated and distilled into that brown liquor which not women, not boys and children, but only hunters drank, drinking not of the blood they spilled but some condensation of the wild immortal spirit, drinking it moderately, humbly even, not with the pagan's base and baseless hope of acquiring thereby the virtues of cunning and speed but in salute to them. - The Bear (1942)
posted by Nothing... and like it at 1:32 PM on May 19, 2010 [10 favorites]


My favorite libation, though I take issue with the preference for low-proof bourbons. Knob Creek is 100 proof but (IMO) smoother than most of the other bourbons and Tennessee whiskeys I've sampled. I'm in total agreement about scotches, though. When the revolution comes, they'll be the first ones up against the wall.

Nothing wrong with Scotch, the single-malts make a nice sipping drink, and the decent blended varieties (like Cutty Sark) are put to great use in two of my favorite cocktails: the Rob Roy (perfect, thanks) and the Rusty Nail, which according to legend my paternal grandfather invented because he liked drinking Drambuie but decided it was too thick.
posted by infinitywaltz at 1:32 PM on May 19, 2010


I'm in total agreement about scotches, though. When the revolution comes, they'll be the first ones up against the wall.

Pish-posh. Good scotch is a fine thing, too; it's just best when the weather is cold in front of a roaring fire while bourbon is more of a knock-about drink. To every drink there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:34 PM on May 19, 2010 [6 favorites]


Am I doing it wrong?

As I pointed out to St. Alia, it's not that you're doing it wrong, it's that you're not doing it enough. The solution to your problem is to drink more bourbon.

The nice thing about that last phrase is that it applies to just about any problem, not just the problem of not enjoying bourbon.
posted by infinitywaltz at 1:34 PM on May 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


haven't read anything else of Percy's; I'll have to change that.

Yes, do. The Moviegoer is one of the all-time great novels. ("The search is what anyone would undertake if he were not sunk in the everydayness of his own life...")
posted by Nothing... and like it at 1:35 PM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


What, after all, is the use of not having cancer, cirrhosis, and such, if a man comes home from work every day at five-thirty to the exurbs of Montclair or Memphis and there is the grass growing and the little family looking not quite at him but just past the side of his head, and there's Cronkite on the tube and the smell of pot roast in the living room, and inside the house and outside in the pretty exurb has settled the noxious particles and the sadness of the old dying Western world, and him thinking: 'Jesus, is this it? Listening to Cronkite and the grass growing?'

Yeah, so the thought of coming home to a house on a farm with pot roast in the oven and Walter Cronkite still alive gives me an erection.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:41 PM on May 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Bourbon tastes nasty.

Bourbon's best-earned complaint is that it tastes too sweet. "Nasty" for bourbon, of all the things on the whisk[e]y spectrum, is an oddly specific complaint given how much more abrasive and inaccessible your ryes or scotches tend to an unaccustomed drinker, though I guess it can be nasty in the same way that Mike's Hard Lemonade, or a syrupy rum and coke, is nasty. But it feels like too gnarled, too barbed-wire a description to me.

And a lot of bourbons often are too sweet for me, in anything but measured doses and preferably on the rocks at that to cut the flavor a little, but I usually have a bottle nestled in with the rest of my brown stuff. I'll go for the single malt every time in a desert island situation, but in a more forgiving reality it's nice to have a few different representatives of that weird potent caucus on hand at all times, a small congress of liquors capable of both settling and prolonging any argument that comes to hand.
posted by cortex at 1:42 PM on May 19, 2010 [8 favorites]


St. Alia of the Bunnies said:

"Bourbon tastes nasty. Ugh."

Hi, St. Alia. If you visit Japan, please try Four Roses Super Premium (aka "Platinum").

Drink it neat.

I'm not a fan of bourbon (I prefer single malt scotch) but I will make an exception for Four Roses Platinum. It's really good but only available in Japan.
posted by stringbean at 1:46 PM on May 19, 2010


It seems that bourbon causes overwrought language.
posted by joost de vries at 1:46 PM on May 19, 2010


Goes well with nitrous oxide.

FRANK: "It's 'Daddy,' you shithead. Where's my bourbon?"
posted by adipocere at 1:47 PM on May 19, 2010


It seems that bourbon causes overwrought language.

Try Rumi on wine.
posted by No Robots at 1:49 PM on May 19, 2010


It seems that bourbon causes overwrought language.

It's true. There are few purer indulgences in life than unspooling overly many words on a fondly-regarded poison.
posted by cortex at 1:51 PM on May 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


I've recently become enamored of an upstate New York bourbon. Yes, yes, purists will sneer, but this is really good stuff. It's from Finger Lakes Distilling, and their first batch came out on Derby Day 2010. I have no idea if there's any left to buy, as I'm pretty sure it might only be available directly at the source. Some friends & I traveled to the Distillery for the release/Derby party and bought up a LOT of it for ourselves. It's good. I sat on the porch watching a rainstorm come in the other night, sipping a glass or two. Hits you hard in the face on the first sip, but then it's just amazingly smooth. I'm tempted to sneak some now to give you more description. That smoothness could be the chardonnay barrels it finishes aging in, but it could just be really good work regardless of the barrel.

No, I am not a paid shill. I just like the McKenzies and their products.
posted by knile at 1:53 PM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Great link, thank you.
posted by vito90 at 1:58 PM on May 19, 2010


Bourbon tastes nasty. Ugh.

More for me! I really want to read more Walker Percy now.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 2:04 PM on May 19, 2010


I'm gaining an appreciation for bourbon, although my preferred brown liquor is still whisky. Scotch. Scottish whisky. You know what I mean.

We spent a few days a couple of weeks ago touring distilleries (and birding) on Islay. The Laphroaig and Bruichladdich tours were the best (most informative, let you take pictures throughout, and best tastings). They are all beholden to American bourbon distilleries, because they only use the casks once, and then the casks go off to Scotland for another life aging Scottish single malts.
posted by rtha at 2:06 PM on May 19, 2010


I have discovered to my own great pleasure that Rye makes a more perfect Perfect Manhattan than does Bourbon a Perfect Manhattan make. But all the Bourbon talk is a pleasure none the less.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 2:06 PM on May 19, 2010


I claim my ability to drink 4 shots of bourbon and suffer no ill effects entirely to being West Virginian-Scottish on one side.
posted by The Whelk at 2:16 PM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


I really want to read more Walker Percy now.

I enjoyed Lancelot, urged upon me by my girlfriend.
posted by adamdschneider at 2:24 PM on May 19, 2010


Lost in the Cosmos is my favorite Walker Percy. That is a very strange and very good book.
posted by pseudonick at 2:31 PM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


God, that was a good essay and true to what I believe and understand about the stuff. Don't get me wrong, I love wine, I love beer, I love gin and all manner of cocktails, but there's something wonderful but slugging back a mouthful of bourbon. Quality and criticism has nothing to do with it, and here's another essay that speaks to that particular truth.

And, not that your asking, but Old Crow. Poured from a glass bottle if I can find one, but the big plastic gallon jug will do just fine.


Thanks for getting me back to Modern Drunkard - I love that blog.

Back when I was a young 'un, me, my brother and our friend drank a LOT of Old Crow. So much so that we started lining the empties up along our basement (which was the size of our 3 bedroom ranch rental house) and made it more than 1/2 way around before we moved out. We even had a saying: "Go like the Crow flies - straight up!" Good times...I wish I could remember them.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 2:51 PM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


I do prefer rye and Scotch. But a good bourbon is good.
posted by kaseijin at 2:52 PM on May 19, 2010


I came late to bourbon, I mean after I had come to appreciate gin, rum, tequila, and Scotch. I might never have learned to enjoy it, but I fell in love with a bourbon-drinking man. There are times when he comes home from work at 6:30am in the morning and kisses me awake with his bourbon-y kisses and I am ready to make love. Those kisses taste better to me than anything else in the world, they sure beat the taste of toothpaste.

Which is not to say that we drink the same bourbon. I like mine smooth and easy so I drink Maker's Mark, but he is fickle. He likes it raspy and biting so you notice when you knock it back; not so much sipping, more like rassling with firewater.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 2:52 PM on May 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


St. Alia of the Bunnies : Bourbon tastes nasty. Ugh.

I'm going to have to emphatically disagree with you on this, for something that can hit you like a brick, bourbon can have a lot of unexpected nuance. Some are smoky and warm, some will change flavor as you taste them, some you belt back and get the whiskey wince, others you sip slowly to enjoy (both methods of consumption are perfectly acceptable.)

I dedicated a lot of time to trying to find the perfect bourbon, and I was happy to discover that quality was often completely independent of price. There are certainly some excellent top shelf bourbons, but there are also some that cost a fraction, and are exceptionally good.

Being a fan of Rye, I understand that some people find many bourbons too sweet, but like any style of drink there will always be outliers that are not indicative of the whole.

Personally, I'm really looking forward to trying Great Lakes Bourbon, I just have to wait a few years for it to age properly.
posted by quin at 3:05 PM on May 19, 2010


Perfect bourbon and Coke, every time:
1. get a mason jar
2. fill 2/3 with ice (cubes or chunks, not the rabbit shit pieces)
3. add Old Crow to the 8oz mark
4. a CAN of coke should fill it to the brim

enjoy, mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
posted by real_paris at 3:15 PM on May 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


My father was a Scotch drinker. When I was 17 or so we went out to dinner at a fancy club and for not quite the first time, but close to the first, he told me to order a drink. "Bourbon and Coke," I said, because that was what my latest boyfriend had ordered in the latest dive bar. My father winced. "Bourbon and Coke?" he said, "That's a goddamn shame. Give her a bourbon and soda," he told the waiter while I sat humbly. When I took my first sip I was kind of surprised and I think I winced a little. My father said, with immense satisfaction, "That's the problem with bourbon drinkers. On the first sip, they wince. They all do it. They can't help it. Now, a scotch man doesn't wince. It just goes down smooth."

That was thirty years ago or so and I have found that my father was wrong. Well, he was right about the Coke, I grant you that, but he was wrong about the wincing. If a bourbon drinker, which I am occasionally myself, Knob Creek or Makers Mark, winces when she takes the first sip, it's a wince of joy, not pain. But scotch? Ugh. That's a wince of horror.

And yeah, Walker Percy is one of the best; the man never wrote a bad book.
posted by mygothlaundry at 3:31 PM on May 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


metafilter: that weird potent caucus capable of both settling and prolonging any argument that comes to hand.
posted by juv3nal at 3:49 PM on May 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Nervously sipping warm turkey with the groom in the back room of a church in Memphis an hour before my best buddy's wedding. Audubon Park, watching the barges float down the river while the buckmoth caterpillars fall out of oak trees all around us. Accordions and fiddles and evan williams and it's not even noon on a Saturday morning at Fred's Lounge in Mamou, Louisiana.

Sitting in the grove listening to the radio as the Rebs and the damned Razorbacks head into a seventh overtime. New friends and old friends finishing off a handle of beam before a Drive-by Truckers concert in Asheville. Wearing a tie to a football game to impress a tri-delt, sneaking a liter coke bottle full of maker's in her purse into Vaught-Hemingway.

Sitting in a rocking chair on mamaw's porch with my uncles, passing around a can of RC to cut the crow, our boots covered in red dirt after a long afternoon of fence post digging, cicadas and bullfrogs singing a sunset chorus. Dad looking over his shoulder for mom before passing me a flask while we fish for catfish with cut up hotdog in the pond where, as a “damn fool kid with no more sense than a snapping turtle”, he was baptized.

Bourbon is like my southern cliché drunky madeleine.
posted by gordie at 4:14 PM on May 19, 2010 [11 favorites]


Bourbon is like my southern cliché drunky madeleine.

Exactly, dude. And people wonder why anyone with half a mind would choose to stay down here. I couldn't live anywhere else!
posted by a.steele at 4:55 PM on May 19, 2010


Enjoyed and forwarded to an old friend that gifted me with a big bottle of Bushmills when he visited last week (not bourbon, but still). This post made me enjoy it more to-nite.
posted by battleshipkropotkin at 5:01 PM on May 19, 2010


I might never have learned to enjoy it, but I fell in love with a bourbon-drinking man. There are times when he comes home from work at 6:30am in the morning and kisses me awake with his bourbon-y kisses and I am ready to make love.

Maybe my love of bourbon is Oedipal. My dad always smelled like leather, tobacco, gasoline and bourbon. To this day, it's the ultimate aphrodisiac. Too bad my guy likes tequila - it doesn't quite work (though I'm trying).
posted by The Light Fantastic at 5:04 PM on May 19, 2010


I love bourbon.
posted by jonmc at 5:22 PM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


and I don't need to write a silly essay to explain why. It tastes good and gets you fucked up.
posted by jonmc at 5:23 PM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


HAY GUYZ SOMEONE POSTED SOMETHING JONMC DOESN'T LIKE
posted by Nothing... and like it at 5:24 PM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Excellent read. Always thought of Percy as the American Ballard.

Different means but the same end.

Cherish em' both.
posted by armitage at 5:27 PM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Beautiful. I must read more Walker Percy.

First son named Walker for the man.
posted by pianomover at 6:47 PM on May 19, 2010


And now I need a shot.
posted by valkyryn at 6:53 PM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


That right there, my two favorite writers: Ballard and Percy. Everyone should read more Percy. Drop dead great stuff.

In regards to bourbon. I just can't drink it anymore. My G.I. tract much like Percy's just goes into crisis mode and I feel like esophageal lining is going to explode out of my chest like a fiery Alien baby.

Too many boilermakers with the stuff.

But while I could drink it, wow. Some unholy and joyful fuck or fight switch would go off in my head. Nothing better than fucking on bourbon. Or fighting. Or both.

And there was one time that I'm pretty sure I levitated and all the world was surrounded with a glow.

Anyhow these days, if I'm going to drink whiskey it's Jameson's in a bar and some good Scotch (Oban, Talisker or Lugavellin) at home.
posted by Skygazer at 6:53 PM on May 19, 2010


connoisseurship, the discriminating but single-minded stimulation of sensory
end organs, is the aesthetic of damnation


QFT
posted by abc123xyzinfinity at 6:57 PM on May 19, 2010


Also, Maker's is shit. Avoid it like the plague. Too sweet and too harsh.

Knob Creek or some other great stuff I can't remember the name of...boy that stuff was good...maybe Bulleit Bourbon.

posted by Skygazer at 7:02 PM on May 19, 2010


Bulleit, Hiram Walker, and Knob Creek are all welcome in my house. I was surprised at how little I took to Woodford Reserve, given all the glowing reviews I'd seen. Maybe I'll try it again when I pick up some Percy Walker. Perhaps it just needs the right company.
posted by sapere aude at 9:02 PM on May 19, 2010


Buffalo Trace is another very nice, very affordable bourbon. And Bulleit is hard to go wrong with as your house bottle, yeah.
posted by cortex at 9:07 PM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Bulleit, Hiram Walker, and Knob Creek are all welcome in my house.

All good choices; if you haven't already, you should give Makers Mark a go as well. And Bookers, while somewhat expensive, is actually interesting too, if you can find it.

Sorry you didn't like Woodford Reserve. I don't touch the stuff much, but every time I have, it was a pleasure.
posted by quin at 9:31 PM on May 19, 2010


Oh, and on the cheap, I was surprised at how not bad Rebel Reserve was.
posted by quin at 9:36 PM on May 19, 2010


Rats. I meant Basil Hayden's, not Hiram Walker. Thanks for the recommendation, quin, I'll check those out. Don't know how I've avoided Maker's all this time, probably just because it's so ubiquitous. And yes, Booker's was already on my list. Good bet I'll like it if I've liked all the others from the same distillery.
posted by sapere aude at 9:57 PM on May 19, 2010


Nthing that Bulleit is ambrosia. A revelation that I, too, had inherited the Kentucky/W Va.-Scotch/Irish-Bourbon Drinking Gene, whereas before I had only gone as far as a nice sipper of Bushmill. Have to stop myself from picking it up from Trader Joe's because in less than a week it will be gone -- straight to my head after work. Made me glad when this sidebar showed up as an answer to my unasked questions.
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 10:06 PM on May 19, 2010


Basil Hayden is my bourbon of choice, and drink of choice. A double, neat, with a coke back. Or a beer back. Knob Creek is also acceptable, and Maker's will do if absolutely necessary. I prefer trading 10 proof for smoothness though, hence the Basil.
posted by lazaruslong at 10:18 PM on May 19, 2010


... but dammit I'm going to have to pick up a bottle this weekend 'cause that julip recipe sounds so damn tasty ...
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 11:21 PM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Right, bourbon I know and love, but for God's sake, which Walker Percy should I start on? My last exam's in less than a week, and I think I've found the way to celebrate the beginning of summer.
posted by kalimac at 12:13 AM on May 20, 2010


Bookers is supposed to be the superior to hayden, but I don't buy it. Basil is definitely my favorite bourbon, but on cost balance I end up with a lot more knob creek.
posted by flaterik at 1:05 AM on May 20, 2010


I always keep a bottle of Bulleit Bourbon around. Wonderful stuff. And yes, best knocked back, neat.

(BTW, if you watch Deadwood with a drinker's eye, you'll see Bulleit bottles, sans labels, corked - I always watched with a slug or two of Bulleit).

And what a beautiful piece by Walker Percy.
posted by cptnrandy at 6:54 AM on May 20, 2010


Elijah Craig. What to drink when in Kentucky for a family reunion or a funeral. Or any other time or place. Pretty unbeatable at the price. If I weren't at work I'd go pour some now...
posted by Erroneous at 8:28 AM on May 20, 2010


kalimac: Right, bourbon I know and love, but for God's sake, which Walker Percy should I start on? My last exam's in less than a week, and I think I've found the way to celebrate the beginning of summer.

The Moviegoer to begin. From there, The Second Coming or The Last Gentleman.

But I would marinate in The Moviegoer for a while, the way I'd linger on some good bourbon (Bulleit or Knob Creek, not Maker's). It's stunning, almost impossibly good, literature.
posted by Skygazer at 8:56 AM on May 20, 2010


I'm glad so many people are mentioning Bulleit. It is my favorite, by far. I said it with a French pronunciation for the longest time until a highly-respected bartender told me, "No, no, no. It's from Kentucky. Don't matter how it's spelled--it's 'bullet.'"
posted by a.steele at 9:48 AM on May 20, 2010


Also, Kalimac, if you're more non-fiction inclined try Signposts in a Strange Land (where whence that piece, Bourbon is found), Message in the Bottle (which is mostly essays on language) or Lost in the Cosmos.
posted by Skygazer at 10:21 AM on May 20, 2010


I have in front of me a bottle of Knob Creek and a bottle of Bulleit. In the interest of science and the pursuit of hard data, I've had a bit of both. Bulleit has a lingering sweet finish that peaks 5 or 10 seconds after swallowing. Tasting it after the Knob Creek, it's sweetness is very apparent.

Bulleit is also a little "softer" than the Knob Creek, if that makes sense. I think it's just the lower proof (90 vs 100). It's a significant difference when you're taking it straight from the bottle.

FWIW, neither bourbon pairs well with sticky hydro. The best match I've found for that is a powerful, fruity Zinfandel, or perhaps a Cabernet. The nuance of the bourbons seems to get lost in the smoke along with most of their interesting character.
posted by ryanrs at 4:24 AM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hi mom!
posted by ryanrs at 4:25 AM on May 21, 2010


All the serious alcoholics I knew growing up drank gin, and I can't touch it. Vodka is for mixing into stuff to liquor it up. Rum is too ooey-gooey sweet; reserved for the occasional dessert drink with an umbrella. Tequila, hell yes, is for wild partying and margaritas.

I didn't used to like Scotch whisky. Then a friend who was a Scotch drinker died, and on the 1st anniversary of his death, I got a little tiny bottle of Glenfiddich to toast him with. Apparently, Scotch as an indicator of adulthood is accurate. MMmmmmmore, please.

But I'm a bourbon drinker, still, like my Dad. I have Scottish roots, by way of Canada, and German and WASP roots, but there's must be a little Kentucky or Tennessee in my soul. Lemonade and bourbon on ice. In the winter, powdered lemonade, boiling water, and bourbon will make a cold more tolerable. Took me a while to enjoy bourbon on the rocks or straight. That first swallow has a bite, and then my neck muscles let go a little, and things warm up.

I have enjoyed this thread a great deal, and plan to return to it, and to test some of the recommendations. Thank you very much for posting this, and all of you who commented.
posted by theora55 at 8:52 AM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


All the serious alcoholics I knew growing up drank gin, and I can't touch it. Vodka is for mixing into stuff to liquor it up. Rum is too ooey-gooey sweet; reserved for the occasional dessert drink with an umbrella. Tequila, hell yes, is for wild partying and margaritas.

I feel the same way - bourbon, whisky, and scotch are really the only liquors I find enjoyable on their own. Seems like if you need to mix it with something to make it taste good, you're doing it wrong.

And to whomever posted about price not necessarily being related to quality, I agree wholeheartedly. Believe it or not, Trader Joe's makes a blended (blasphemy!?) scotch that is quite delicious on the rocks at $9.99 a bottle.
posted by Dokterrock at 1:49 AM on May 22, 2010


It's really good but only available in Japan.


Not anymore! They're selling it in the US now; I can buy it at my local "packie" in Boston.
posted by backseatpilot at 1:22 PM on May 23, 2010


By contrast, Scotch: for me (not, I presume, for a Scot), drinking Scotch is like looking at a picture of Noel Coward. The whiskey assaults the nasopharynx

... just like Noel Coward!
posted by Greg Nog at 12:39 PM on May 24, 2010


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