Thursday, March 27, 2014

oof! I'm such a newbie.

Dearest Bourbon,

Linda Ronstadt & Aaron Neville

Oh man. It seems every time I write, I want to retract or edit within days. So bear this in mind whenever reading my stuff - this is totally a work in progress. If you don't like what you read, I've probably already changed my mind to agree with you. I mean, I'll still argue with you about it, but that's how I am. ::shrug::

There is one thing I have not and will not change my mind about, though, I promise - I LOVE bourbon. I started blogging about it for a few reasons. One was that my friends started coming to me for suggestions, texting me to ask which brand would go best in which cocktail (they were at a bar and getting ready to order something "custom"), sending me photos of of a stash and asking which to try in what order, telling me any bit of news they'd heard about whiskey, that kind of thing. I'd get to chatting about bourbon with someone and they'd say "wow, you really know a lot." So, instead of worrying about whether I had an unhealthy obsession, I decided to share my big knowledge with you all (this is the nice thing about the interwebs - I assume "you all" exist).

For me, whiskey is an everyday topic of conversation. I've talked about it with my kids' school principal, people on my hospital committees (I volunteer as a patient/family advisor), soccer and dance moms and dads, you name it, it just seems to come up. Weird. Recently, one of my bestest girlfriends told me I could be "intimidating" with my bourbon knowledge. Huh?

You see, I don't know much. I just know what I like. And I'm learning about how it's made and aged and how the types of whiskey differ, what makes each barrel different, how producing it is a craft. Last week, I got to join an online group of whiskey bloggers, and let me tell you - these people KNOW WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT. They aren't amateurs like me, dinking around and tasting new things and getting excited about it. These people are for REAL. They know how to drink, their palates are trained, they know the brands, the laws, other whiskey people...and they know how to write. Funny, snarky, thoughtful, instructive. All at once. These people are WOW.

Talk about intimidating. Sheesh.

Honestly, I'm not sure how they even have time to know all they know. This mama needs to sleep sometimes.

So this is what I've decided. Instead of being intimidated and gun-shy about writing of bourbon, when so many others are doing it so very well, I'm just going to keep plugging along, sharing my successes, failures, and funny stories. Hopefully, you'll enjoy them.

Here's one: Last I wrote, I basically said that women (in particular, but anyone) would LOVE bourbon if they tasted it. Because it's dee-licious!! That night, I had wine club (yes, yes, I need to start a bourbon posse, I know this) and brought Eagle Rare 10, hoping to tempt someone with it and "create" a brand new bourbon girl!! I was pretty confident. Well, I got three takers. None of them were converted. Sigh. I was soooo disappointed. Proven wrong within 12 hours, people. HOURS. Oh so sad. Well, I suppose much like I don't enjoy manhattans, these ladies do not need to enjoy bourbon. So be it. More for me, right? (Husband was happy because I brought home plenty for him.)

Until next time, my friends. Cheers!

Oh - and you're so welcome for the ear worm. Should you now need to hear the song, click here.

Friday, March 21, 2014

I'm inspired

This morning I am inspired to write. I'm on my second cup of coffee, have had my breakfast, and treated myself to another chapter of Whiskey Women by Fred Minnick (which you absolutely MUST check out). In the past several days, I've met some incredibly interesting whiskey folks and am going to be moving this blog to my very own website soon. !! I'm almost peeing my pants I'm so geeked about it! And I'm itching to write. I have to get all of this excitement out or I'll never get anything done today. Mama needs to get $hit done today.

I saw this image yesterday and it made me giggle. I need to keep it in mind right now:

Ok. Breathe. So. I'm excited to write, but don't have much in mind to say. I mean, I want to say everything, but that's too much. Let's go with this....

Remember a while back I wrote a little post called Bourbon Girl Jane? I was super excited to have met another bourbon woman. She's smart and funny and KNOWS that bourbon is delicious. She and I talked about how women are quite aware of it. Until that point, I hadn't really talked with another woman about ladies who love the water of life. Before I started drinking bourbon myself, I can't say I had any girlfriends who I knew drank it neat. In a cocktail sometimes, but not neat. Now, after paying attention, I'm finding these women are everywhere. There are several women who blog about it, master distillers who are female, and just lots of women who know it tastes good!

There seem to be plenty of theories out there about why bourbon and other whiskeys are "becoming" more popular with women. I've read about flavored whiskey, new pretty labels, the effect of Mad Men, and other things. I think all of that is ridiculous. It's like saying oh, guess what boys, girls like food! Of course we do. It isn't because it's been flavored with something like honey or in a pink bottle or because some hot guy drinks it on TV. (I do like it when a hot guy drinks it on TV, though. Or a hot girl. ::shrug::) It's because we are also human. (I know, I know, it may be hard to believe, but it's true.) Introduce something that tastes good to someone, man or woman, and they'll like it. It's as easy as that. And . . . women have always liked it. In fact, women were historically the people who brewed and distilled it. Whaat? Yup. Have a read of Whiskey Women. I'm not making this up.

Now don't get me wrong, I enjoy getting attention because I'm this little soccer mom from the 'burbs who likes to drink bourbon. Men always seem intrigued by this. I'm asked how I "started" and told how unique I am. Bah. I have a giggle and school them a bit, er - have a nice chat with them about it - and enjoy my pour.

One of my twitter peeps forwarded me this video of his aunties drinking whiskey and I fell in love with them. They're awesome! Please watch it - seriously, it'll make you smile:

Real women drinking real whiskey VIDEO.

Phew. I feel a bit more settled now that I've blurted that out. Now to get ready for wine club tonight. My wine club is a bunch of awesome women who each brings a bottle to the hostess' home and we brown bag them and taste them blind, scoring as we go. Well, scoring if we want. One of my friends just has two categories: "Yummy" and "Nasty". Haha. Normally, I bring bourbon to these gatherings instead of wine. Shocking, I know. So far, most of my ladies score it yummy, not nasty.

So, cheers to the women of the world who love bourbon, whiskey, scotch, whatever. And cheers to the men, too. I guess. (Teasing!!)

Monday, March 17, 2014

Redeemed! A Blind Tasting of three Buffalo Trace White Dogs

Credit for image to

A while back, the Captain gave me samples of three Buffalo Trace white dogs to try: Mash #1Wheated Mash, and Rye Mash.  White dog is basically un-aged whiskey, right off the still. It's clear and raw and hot. Yes - I was kind of scared to taste them. I assumed they would burn like heck. They didn't. Actually, they were surprisingly delicious.

Sooo...after my blind tasting disaster in December, I was a bit hesitant to blind taste these, but that was the deal. Captain Dominic gave them to me labelled 1, 2, and 3. I had to taste, make my guesses, and then get the answers from him. Eek.

I recruited the husband to taste along with me. These things are always more fun with a buddy. This time, I was going to pay close attention. I had zero confidence I'd get any of them right, but wanted to give it my best shot. So I made a chart. (I'm a nerd. Conceded.) First, we would smell the samples and guess, then we would taste them neat and guess, then we would add a bit of water and guess.

Here's how it went. After smell only, I nailed the rye mash immediately. It was much spicier than the other two, which were quite similar. Turns out I mixed those two up after smelling only, but for reference, the husband got all three wrong.

After tasting neat, we both agreed which was which. We could taste the rye in the rye mash, and the sweeter of the other two we decided must be mash #1, while the more basic flavor had to be the wheat mash.

Then we tasted with a bit of water, and it was even more obvious that our neat guesses were correct. I was surprised we agreed, but decided this was a good thing. My husband is a far better cook than I - he can create things and marry flavors together well. Me - I need a recipe. I'm no good at that at all: at identifying smells or at knowing what will go well with something else.

I had some baby Saz and Stagg Jr at home. We smelled them, too, wondering if a hint of the finished products would help us in our decision. Eh. Didn't help and only confused things, so we ignored them.

So, we texted the captain and found out that we GOT THEM ALL RIGHT!! 100%! A+. Yippee skippy!! This nerd was elated.

Next time I blind taste, I'll probably mess it all up again, but it was a fun little project for that night. If you are looking for a fun tasting, I'd encourage you to pick a few favorites and taste them blind with your whiskey folk. Have fun! That's what whiskey is for, right?

Cheers until next time, peeps!!