We have written briefly on this topic before but do so again because We have a crop of new Bourbon lovers to whom We need to minister (Royal 'We' with tongue in cheek).
As far as We are concerned, Bourbon is the national drink of America, so it deserves all the rights, privileges, and ceremony that goes with that esteemed distinction.
For many of the Bourbon unwashed, Bourbon is thought of as a much quicker way to drunkdom than beer, and gulping it by the mouthful does in fact provide a quick and often devastatingly ineffective way to deal with whatever crosses the path of the drinker. To the person so inclined to use Bourbon, We address no remarks other than 'GROW UP'!
For the Bourbon Enthusiast, however, We would like to provide Our opinions on how best to derive that most wonderful pleasure that can come from the proper appreciation and use of Bourbon. To say that there is an ART to Bourbon drinking is only to give it the respect it is due and to acknowledge the mystery that lies at its heart.........no one knows everything about Bourbon.
Bourbon belongs to no one............and to everyone.........but most especially to those who approach it with an appreciation for its seductive and awesome power. To those, it offers great rewards in its complexity of taste and in its (let Us be honest here) mind altering effects.
As a BourbonEnthusiast you should never be in a hurry when you approach your favorite Bourbon. Life is not best lived in a hurry and Bourbon does not look with favor on haste (let Us assert here that Bourbons have personalities and get that over and done with).
Pour about 25ml or 1 ounce in to a smallish glass with a mouth that is almost as open as the bowl of the glass and let the Bourbon breathe for at least a few minutes before nosing........swirl it in the glass and let your hand warm the glass in the meanwhile.
After a suitable while, place your nose above the glass and let the aromas waft up to your nose. Snif slowly at first and never inhale deeply. You are being the detective here, you are not seeking to clear your sinuses. You are looking for aromas that may be hiding from you, for aromas that you find familiar but cannot immediately place or recall, for aromas that are new but bring back some long past associations, for aromas that you cannot identify but that please you, and for aromas with which you will become familiar as you nose yet more bourbons. NEVER underestimate the importance of your nose in Bourbon enjoyment, which means that you must NEVER rush nosing Bourbon. It is an essential part of the Art of Bourbon Drinking. Do not set a time limit for nosing Bourbon............as long as it is enjoyable to you, do it.........and behold how it changes.
End of Part I of 'The Art of Drinking Bourbon'.
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. - Dylan Thomas