Updated: May 28
I just bought a bottle of Buffalo Trace Kentucky Bourbon. I enjoy single malt Scottish whisky, exploring the history and learning about the the history of Scotch and Scotland in the process. Hearing and learning about the paths that elements of nature take to get in your mouth, and the lore behind the distilleries adds so much to savoring the whisky experience. You really can taste the Atlantic Ocean in a dram of Talisker.
From 200 year old independent bottlers who get into the distillery game and distilleries that get into the independent bottling game. From a London soap retailer, Berry Brothers and their bottling over 200 years.
Then the blender distilleries that kept scotch whisky afloat in the 1970s like Bells, or the the worlds greatest whisky Blender Johnny Walker. Thanks to the SWA the story in every bottle is there and scotch rarely misses.
Bourbon has a different story to tell, prohibition probably did more damage to Bourbon than the excise man to scotch in Scotland. When I see the rapidly expanding expressions of bourbon available it concerns me, the word bourbon on whisky distilled in Indiana and labeled in Philadelphia means something too.
The American story of corn and moonshiners and fierce people making drinks so fierce that they can kill and inventing stock car racing along the way is as fascinating as the lore and history of Scotch.
In the end it comes down to the heart of a man or woman, stories matter, then the palette follows our dreams. I would never deny anyone’s dream be it in a 23 dollar bottle of George Dickle rye, an 80 dollar bottle of Hibiki or a 7000 dollar bottle of macallan. A million roads, stories and places to explore on roads paved of different grains on different continents and approaches with much pride and stunning results. All things in time for your pleasure, what ever that may be.
Let your heart lead the palette, feel the years go by in a darkened oak cask, alone maturing on a great retreat, can you sense how porous your oak home is? Now your dram has moved into adulthood, or is it a young 12 year old whisky, full of flavor, not as nuanced as its older brothers but just, if not more, dynamic.
Can you imagine, the fenders of your car filled with moonshine, the ATF hot on your tail, as you cross state lines because your car has been modified to do just that. Do you imagine being on a pit crew looking at a number 3 Buddy Baker's Dodge Charger, and thinking, that machine think came from running moonshine, oh shit, I better change some tires!
Can you taste pastoral Kentucky or rough hewn Appalachia with that glass of Bourbon you just sipped? Can you imagine its journey through time? Whiskey born from some of the meanest humans ever to grace this planet. All, with deep respect for American freedom and fear of god? I think you get my point.
To savor anything takes a romantic heart, and a keen mind. Food, drink, nature it all comes together if you dare to savor the entire experience. This is why these whiskies are called spirits.
Its never about what is better or best, its what you bring to the experience of savoring either, and life. Cheers thanks for reading.