At the moment, I am sitting in Louisville, Kentucky, preparing for 2 days full of Single Barrel Bourbon picks that Tom and I are about to make. Have I ever said that this is my favorite place on Earth? No? Well, I think it is. With that said, Whisk(e)y Wednesday with Zac is still set to go on, I’ll just be a little late arriving for it. I’ll be back in sometime after 6:00, but we still plan to hold our weekly bottle release at it’s regularly scheduled time. This week we will have Blanton’s, 1792 Sweet Wheat, Henry Mckenna 10 Year Single Barrel, Old Forester 1910, and the new Baker’s Single Barrel as our rare bottle releases. Being out of the store for a couple days gave me the idea that now would be a great opportunity to give someone else a chance to show off their love for whisk(e)y, and I am excited to feature a piece that was written by a good friend, Jason Jones. His love for bourbon rivals mine, and I might even say it beats mine because he’s loved it for longer than I have. I think you’ll enjoy his piece this week, and he’s chosen some really good options for our featured flight. A quick reminder that each featured whisk(e)y that you get in a flight gets you an additional ticket placed in the jar for the drawing for the order to buy our rare releases this week. But now, enough from me, time for you to see what Jason has written.
Tom and Zac are currently returning from Kentucky picking out barrels that we will be enjoying over the next several months, and I am happy to have the opportunity to fill in for Zac this week on the Whisk(e)y Wednesday blog. I was lucky enough to be able to join Tom and a great group of bourbon enthusiasts on an unforgettable experience this past September on a barrel pick trip. You will soon have an opportunity to taste our selections including the Maker’s Mark (currently available), Knob Creek Rye and Bourbon, Elijah Craig, Buffalo Trace, and 1792. I know that I am looking forward to all of them.
I certainly enjoy some of the harder to find bottles and am always looking for good additions to my bar. If you are reading this, then you are well aware of how hard it is to find bottles that were collecting dust a few short years ago. It started with the Van Winkle bottles and over time has become harder to find the likes of Elmer T Lee, Blantons, EH Taylor, etc. Many now anxiously await the next shipment to get their hands on the allocation. A couple months ago, I came across a bottle that I had not had in a while – Weller Special Reserve. I had not had it in years but remember it as a ‘great value’ pick. However, I couldn’t help but think ‘How is this screw cap bottle on allocation?’ I have since reflected and find 2 problems with my question. First, don’t be a snob about packaging. Bourbon is to be enjoyed with friends as an inclusive activity. It isn’t meant to be exclusive, judgmental, and reserved for a select few. You can miss many great pours if you turn your nose up to product due to price or packaging. Second, there is no need to limit the hunt for allocated items if there is a lot of great offerings readily available to explore on the shelves.
In terms of the screw cap, I have actually come to prefer this to the cork. It eliminates the possibility of the cork breaking. On a recent podcast of Dads Drinking Bourbon, one of the hosts actually broke a cork on a 2019 William Larue Weller bottle. I couldn’t imagine getting a great bottle like that to only have the cork break on opening. Corks also increase the possibility of more leakage as well as oxygenation of the whiskey. The screw cap eliminates fuss, improves storing options, and offers significantly more functionality. Unfortunately, as some brands increase in popularity, packaging can ‘improve’ and switch to cork from a screw cap (Yes, I’m talking about you Henry McKenna).
In the spirit of screw caps and availability, we are featuring an all screw cap flight this week. Evan Williams Bottled-in-Bond is a fantastic pour. It has a complex taste that is hard to find at its price. You will note a sweet caramel flavor that transitions to peanut and oak. Rittenhouse Rye is an excellent rye for bourbon lovers. It has a fruity/floral taste with a rye spice finish and is a great alternative to Pikesville Rye. Early Times Bottled-in-Bond is one of the best values in the store. It is every bit as good as McKenna the last time that I had it in a blind tasting. Bourbon Pursuit recently named Early Times BiB as their #1 Bottled-in-Bond of 2019. Finally, we will feature Weller Special Reserve which needs no introduction.
Remember, bourbon is meant to be shared and enjoyed. I challenge you to continue to search for new bottles to share with friends, and don’t knock the stuff that doesn’t break the bank. Some of the best bourbon on the market is available for less than $30 a bottle. Let 2020 be the year that you find a new everyday favorite.
As always, tips from Whisk(e)y Wednesday with Zac are donated to charity. This month’s charity is Big Paws Canine which pairs veterans with service dogs to assist them with day to day activities post service.
One last thing before I go. Last week I mentioned that I would be launching a new social media page to engage with you all on. I am excited to announce that it has become a reality. If you’re interested in seeing what it is I’m drinking, as well as opening up discussion about whisk(e)y, give my new Instagram page a follow @whiskeywithz. I hope to use this platform to give you some insight into what my job entails, as well as the incredible whisk(e)y and experiences I get you have, while also opening the door to create discussion on what some of your favorites drams are at the moment.
Hopefully everyone has been staying warm, and we get a chance to see you all soon in the 3.0 Cocktail Bar, or over on the retail side. Cheers!