Jun 292007

Saintseester’s enthusiasm for the espresso martini has inspired me to write about my own affections in that vein.

When it comes to the hard stuff, I’m a bourbon or Tennessee whiskey sort of fellow, with a non-small amount of affection for Canadian as well. I can drink Scotch in polite company, but it’s never my first choice.

I mix whiskey occasionally, but I usually have it either on the rocks in a highball glass (in the summer), or neat in a snifter (in the winter).

I keep several in stock, and have been exploring premium offerings from some of the folks whose “regular” spirits I generally keep on hand. Here are reviews of three I’ve tried lately (well, the last one is actually a years-old standby, but the first two are relatively recent):

Wild Turkey Rare Breed. Fire, fire, fire, and nothing but fire. I’m wholly underwhelmed with what is supposedly a premium bourbon from Wild Turkey. This starts off like downing a slug of acetylene, and finishes with all the subtlety of chewing up and swallowing a Bic lighter. It’s extremely disappointing, particularly given that run-of-the-mill Wild Turkey 101 is plenty hot itself, but with enough woody and spicy personality to make it all worth it. No character in this Rare Breed bottle; only heat. Hey, guys? I can get just as much heat for a hell of a lot less money than this. WmWms grade: F

Crown Royal Special Reserve. Much better. This is smooth, appealingly but not obscenely sweet, with a clean finish. Its main problem is that I find it absolutely indistinguishable from regular Crown Royal–itself no pedestrian spirit at $56 for the big bottle. I like Crown Royal a lot, but what am I paying for when I buy Special Reserve? Just a fancier bottle cap, it seems. WmWms grade: C

Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel. Oh, my. Oh, my my. One swallow is a bit smoky; the next, fruity, with a little maple note; the next, you just can’t tell, but it’s always a delight. Better keep drinking it to find out. I also quite enjoy the subtle variation from bottle to bottle. This is my drink. This is what I would be buried with, if I believed in taking earthly stuff with you (or being buried at all, for that matter). This taste is far beyond the relatively modest premium thay charged for it. I remember always looking forward to a sniffter of this to accompany Curb Your Enthusiasm, back when we had HBO a few uyears previosu. It’s just, um, really good, you know what I mean? I mean, like REALLY YUMMY. I realllly, really, REALLY like this….and stuff. I mean, I can’t hardlay talk and stuff tqylking about quite ahoauws much apoietuapiej i hoalkeja; eliea ahdgay.a dgancan AUI have ahgaontoher hone>? ahasdhawlheha, haskdlhreally agoahsahergabwsgal;ksdmf. ,dfmaiopjaom r’eikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikik

Thanks to winehardware.com for the snifter image. Thanks to jackdaniels.com for the Single Barrel image.

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 Posted by at 2:45 am

  6 Responses to “Of premium brown liquids”

  1. I don’t have much girl in me. I digs me some whiskey. I generally go for the Irish varieties but I also am a huge fan of Johnny Walker Black. Nothing beats some JWB on the rocks. So smooth but with a hint of smoke to it. Mmmmmmmmm. I may just have to bust some out right now after reading your post.

    Oh, and don’t worry, Bo, I’m working on a Peru post especially for you. I’ve been losing steam on blogging but I didn’t want to let you down since you’re really my only reader who I don’t see in person ever. Check back in a few days, I promise.

  2. For the record, because Steve at LiquorStoreStores.blogspot.com reminds us that a martini is gin and vermouth, we have renamed the Espresso Martini so as not to piss him off. It is the Saintseester Slammer from now on.

  3. Bo, I have to agree with your Bourbon ratings. Have you tried Booker’s, Woodford Reserve, Knob Creek, or Pappy Van Winkle’s?

  4. Lesley: I’m not much of a Scotch person, but I keep bottles of red Walker and Glenlivet for company. Heading on over to Ireland, I keep a bottle of Bushmill’s, too.

    Now I feel a little self-conscious about asking. I had always assumed you were going to have a blogstravaganza about your Peru trip. (And I bet I’m not your only reader you’ve never met.)

    Saintseester: Fair enough. If Steve will help me get “literally” back, I’m more than happy to assist in the attempted retrieval of “martini.”

    Anon: I’ve not tried Booker’s or Pappy Van Winkle’s, but I do know the other two. I like Woodford Reserve very much. I don’t find Knob Creek particularly memorable, but it does taste like competently-made craft bourbon, and that can only be so bad, of course.

    I generally keep Jack black, Gentleman Jack, Jack Single Barrel, Wild Turkey 101, and Crown Royal as my bourbon/Tennessee/Canadian contingent, with a few rotating guest stars. (Sometimes I got Maker’s, sometimes I got Woodford, etc.) There’s a bottle of Conecuh Ridge up there right now that Lea gave me. It’s pretty good; maybe a bit of a medicinal bite sometimes. I like having it for the novelty.

    I used to keep Jim Beam for mixing, but hardly anybody ever drank it with better stuff in the cabinet. I do have a bottle of Jim Beam Rye, though, so that all of the large whiskey families are represented.

    The clears are all present in my cabinet too, but not with nearly as much depth. 🙂

  5. Hypothetically literally, or literally literal? Whoohoo, it’s Friday. Literally.

  6. Bo– Bushmills is the way to go. I love that stuff.

    Regarding my trip, don’t be self-conscious about asking me. Those were my original plans, I just got side tracked when I got back and needed a nice kick in the pants to get going on the Blogstavaganza. I’m the one who should be apologizing. I feel really bad about keeping you all waiting like that. But I made a post! Woot.

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