Monday, August 31, 2009

The Bourbon Road

I thought I wanted some Canadian whisky for Saturday kickoff. I can get a fifth of Black Velvet 8 year old for about 10 dollars. Try getting an 8 year old Scottish whisky for that price. Good luck. Or Irish or Bourbon. The Canadian whiskies I've tried have been smooth, but not much flavor. Would 4 more years in the barrel make it more flavorful?

Maybe I'll have bourbon instead. I can't say I recall the last time I drank bourbon. Maybe in Kentucky? I wasn't sipping it on ice or anything, to be sure. I think I took a slug of Maker's Mark straight from the bottle and thought it was pretty good for straight from the bottle. I know I had Jim Beam with my uncles and thought it was meh mixing whiskey, but way to expensive for what it is. I'd rather have Old Overholt for almost half the price.

So I've been reading reviews on the internet, trying to find a good cheap bourbon. Emphasis on the cheap. My options are:

Rebel Yell
Old Grand-dad
Ezra Brooks
Old Crow
Ancient Age
Ten High
Old Fitzgerald
Evan Williams
Early Times

Here's my problem: In the aggregate, every review reads the same. Caramel sweetness, vanilla and toffee notes, some oaky woodyness, finishing with some mild spicyness and an overall citrus flavor in the oily mouthcoating. Seriously, some amalgamation of that is in every review for every one of these brands.

Here's my other problem: take any of those brands and put it into google with "worst bourbon", and they all will show up with someone saying it is fit only for cleaning their battery contacts. Now put it into google with "best value bourbon" and someone will be singing its praises, fit for kings.

I almost went with Evan Williams based solely on one review:

100 proof. Bottled in bond. Directly from the bottle it is initially hot. It tears a path up the sides and back of your throat and makes you salivate from the jaws slightly before blooming large in your upper chest. Behind is scorched sugar and some terrible feeling of apprehension and flashes of a girl with cigarette breath and a small black lace bra in the back seat of a primered Plymouth with an exhaust leak. I like it.

I suddenly saw myself driving a black Plymouth Barracuda through the desert, an eight ball for a clutch, a bottle of Evan Williams in my hand, and Betty Page riding shotgun while listening to Danzig's 13 over and over and over...

Yeah, maybe I'm starting to lose it.

Story time; I once bought a bottle of Fundador because Hemingway mentioned it repeatedly in The Sun Also Rises. It was not smooth. It had that strong smell of rubbing alcohol and the taste had hints of kerosene. Worst of all it was about 22 dollars. For around 10 I can get Stock 84 and it is smooth with no hints of disinfectant. But I digress. I like my whiskeys sweet rather than dry. If I can get those vanilla and caramel notes they always talk about in a smooth whiskey for less than 15 dollars I will be a happy man.

I think I might compromise and get that Black Velvet because I'm sure it will be at least smooth if nothing else, and roll the dice on a random bottle of bourbon. All told I'll get two bottles of whiskey, and maybe even two good ones, for about 24 dollars.

Wish me luck!

1 comment:

  1. Evan Williams isnt all that great. And I had an Early Times Manhattan in Mexico. It is the opposite of smooth and tasty.