G’day guys. I’m here today sharing with you old reliable. A great whiskey that millions of people love in its native America and around the world, by me for one.
Bourbon was the first alcohol I ever had. This was definitely a “run before you can walk” move, even as this was a premixed can of Jim Beam and cola. Think I remember saying it tasted like Coke and petrol and that I couldn’t imagine why anyone drank it. Thank God I kept trying it, I’ve grown since. Bourbon must be one of the most widely loved hard liquors in the business, a lot of this I’d contribute a fair majority to the hugely lucrative American market that supports itself, but bourbon is a mainstream spirit that appear in bars all around the world including but not limited to the English speaking world. In every bar, pub, and hotel I’ve ever been to so far there’s at least Jim Beam, from Queensland to Tasmania. But like all whiskeys for every type, there’s a handful of different labels. While Jim Beam white label can be easily enjoyed neat, on ice, and mixed with all manner of things as I found in all my years drinking it before I branched out and wanted to explore, Kentucky has far more to offer than fast food fried chicken and photographs of trees shedding autumn leaves (those are just the two off the top of my head, I’ll go ahead and assume there are more). You can jump on Google for all your FaceBook share tidbits like “there are more barrels of whiskey in Kentucky than there are people” and the like of, me myself, I wanted to experience them for myself with my own tastebuds.
Like I said, there are a hundred different labels of Kentucky bourbon. But if you had to ask me what my go-to bourbon was now, I like millions of other people I would say Buffalo Trace. Popularity on it’s own sells, if nothing else proves that, this will. On all sorts of bourbon pages and online, in cocktails, food recipes and fan pages people brag about Buffalo Trace. So it was only natural I try it.
So right off the bat, big American buffalo on the label. On the cork, on the writing, they do not hold back. Bourbon is already sewn into that thick Americana folklore, hunting, Winchester rifles, pickup trucks, whitetails, recurve bows, Luke Bryan’s “Country Girls Shake It For Me” and bass fishing, but this really pushes the boat out (pun intended). It doesn’t take a great historian to know the Americans are very proud of their buffalo, symbolising perhaps the bygone era of American pioneers that settled the west and travelled the Oregon Trail, living off buffalo meat one day and starving the next. The bottle, like I mentioned, uses a cork and not an aluminium cap. This is an encouraging sign to me, that welcomes you to pour from the bottle straight to the glass, and discourages measuring or mixing with other things. What is also a sign that someone in charge was using their noggin is the bulb in the bottleneck that slows the rate of flow in the neck, making pouring easier. This shape is distinct to the bottle, if you stripped away the labels and found a cork free of branding that fit I would still identify that as an empty bottle of Buffalo Trace.
As I open it, the all familiar comforting smell of bourbon emits immediately. It almost warms my chest already with nose alone. The aromas of thick sweet spice that can only be described as bourbon, spicy, slightly fruity, rugged, and a background of oak, welcoming and relaxing.
Usually I like my bourbon on ice, doubled. But today I’m going to pour it neat and judge it in its rawest form first. The taste is full of spice, like cayenne, it burns in a burst at the back of my mouth, with a finish of oak. A mash bill of high rye wouldn’t surprise me. As full of spice as it is, it goes down easy. I don’t usually drink my whiskey neat but I’m glad I tried it this way first, but as the weather turns for the worse drinking anything with ice will no longer be an option. As I continue drinking and I become used to the spice I notice more flavors, on the tongue there’s a flavor of vanilla and boiled lollies. So we’re all agreed, this bourbon is great neat. But it was about 30° C today and 80% humidity so I’m drinking this on ice now. With ice as expected the flavour opens up, the vanilla tastes stand out above the spice and a subtle citrus flavor pokes it head up
In closing: Let’s not waste time, we all love this bourbon. This is the yardstick on which we judge other bourbons, spicy smooth full of tastes of oak and rye and wheat.
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