Part II: The Art of Drinking Bourbon

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Part II: The Art of Drinking Bourbon

Unread postby Mike » Wed Aug 11, 2010 6:39 pm

We have nosed and enjoyed the aromas of our favorite (or at least a Bourbon we enjoy) Bourbon until our palate demands that we give it a taste of what the nose has promised.

Our experience is that the nose may have over or under promised the taste to come. Strange to say, but the nose is not a perfect prognosticator of taste, so be prepared.

As you took your time with the nosing, so must you also take your time with the sipping. NEVER gulp Bourbon if it is your intent to maximize taste. If you gulp, you will bypass the more sensitive parts of your mouth and only taste (or sense) alcohol and spice.

Our palate seems to have three parts.

Upfront is the sweet taster. If there is sweetness in the Bourbon you are sipping, it will appear on the tip of the tongue. Sweetness is a major component of the taste of Bourbon and derives primarily from the barrel (some say exclusively, but not Us).........give it a chance, if you drink Bourbon too quickly, you may miss the sweetness.

Mid-palate is the crossover point. The sweetness gives way (not completely in the best Bourbons) to the spice as the Bourbon asserts it Bourbonness in distinction to all other whiskies or spirits. Our opinion is that the mid-palate is where true complexity in Bourbon begins........does the sweetness work with the other emerging flavors......things like vanilla, maple, caramel, oak, spices both mild and sharp, fruits both dark and deep or cirtusy, nuts, leather, chocolate, grains like corn or wheat or rye, and Lord knows what else, individual drinkers find their own uniques flavors. No one knows Bourbon beyond his or her puny capacities! Bourbon is like a Box of Chocolate.........you never know what you are going to get!

The back of the mouth is where things leave their mark. Our belief is that a short finish means that someone listened more than they should have to the accountants and marketers who want production above everything. The finish is like the finale to a great symphony. It is of a piece with the whole effect of the sip of Bourbon and brings it to a complex conclusion. Ideally it should be a suming up of what went before. If the Bourbon was sweet and rich, there should be some remnents in the finish. If it was spicy and fruity, they should be there in the finish. Our opinion is that if the Bourbon was soft in its sweetness and subtle in its spice it will be soft and subtle in its finish.

For Us, no taste experience exceeds that of our favorite Bourbons..........hungry as we get, no food satisfies our palate more than Bourbon (We will eat before We drink, of course, but only because it sustains our life and life demands sustanence before pleasure).

Bourbon drinking is an Art, treat it with proper respect and it will never disappoint you!
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
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Re: Part II: The Art of Drinking Bourbon

Unread postby Trace Tippler » Thu Aug 12, 2010 7:36 pm

Thank you for posting both parts of this lovely essay on the art of drinking bourbon. They're very timely for me as today I received a pair of Riedel bourbon tasting glasses and plan to put them to good use.

And it is an art, isn't it, this hobby of thoughtful sipping, of enjoying the national beverage in a way that is very American. By that I mean one can sip at leisure, mix it up with other things, or when not really tasting or drinking but gulping, one can do that, too. An adult beverage adaptable to every circumstance, available in a wide range of tastes and prices, and connected in a particular and peculiar way with our modern character. Only truly fine drinks can do all this and more, and bourbon certainly counts, for those that know, as one of the finest of the fine.

And now since it's nearly five o'clock here, the only thing left to do now is contemplate what I shall be drinking this evening.
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Re: Part II: The Art of Drinking Bourbon

Unread postby ebo » Sat Aug 14, 2010 8:59 pm

Outstanding, as usual. I really love to read your posts.
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Re: Part II: The Art of Drinking Bourbon

Unread postby SourMashManifesto » Sun Aug 22, 2010 11:49 pm

Awesome Mike. Very well done indeed. Like any relationship, one with Bourbon must be nurtured and treated with care. The best of bourbons are lasting and park themselves in memory vividly.
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Re: Part II: The Art of Drinking Bourbon

Unread postby Martian » Mon Sep 06, 2010 1:57 pm

Thanks Mike. When I first started experimenting with various brands of bourbons about 4 years ago I was not drinking it properly. I think I was gulping too much. I appreciate bourbon much more using your techniques. Some of the bourbons I didn't like then I now like very much.
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Re: Part II: The Art of Drinking Bourbon

Unread postby tbertram » Mon Oct 04, 2010 9:59 pm

Nicely done, Mike, thanks!
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Re: Part II: The Art of Drinking Bourbon

Unread postby barns1 » Wed Mar 23, 2011 9:28 am

Thank you very much. Being new to tasting bourbon and not merely drinking it, this was a great help. Thank you again.
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Re: Part II: The Art of Drinking Bourbon

Unread postby jsmorrison55 » Thu Jun 09, 2011 9:30 pm

i think it should be "the Art of Consuming Bourbon" lol.

i love it with a pork loin, apple dressing and bourbon.. sometimes with pineapple and strawberries, seasoning it with salt and pepper. love it when people really gets the aroma of bourbon. :bounce:
fly high
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Re: Part II: The Art of Drinking Bourbon

Unread postby Wasatch » Sat Dec 24, 2011 12:56 pm

Very nice, thanks.

Cheers!
Cheers!
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Re: Part II: The Art of Drinking Bourbon

Unread postby SWC » Fri Aug 31, 2012 12:58 pm

Mike wrote:Bourbon drinking is an Art, treat it with proper respect and it will never disappoint you!


This sentence alone is the most important, if I may. One of the reasons people assume Scotch is the most elegant, worthy drink of them all while Bourbon is, for some reason, certainly not, is because that's what you're supposed to think, right?

A good question for our Scotch loving friends is if they have even afforded the same respect to a fine bourbon as they do to a fine malt. Some I think simply rush to judgement. Drink them both the same way and you will find both to be quite lovely.
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Re: Part II: The Art of Drinking Bourbon

Unread postby ebo » Sat Sep 01, 2012 3:22 pm

SWC wrote:
Mike wrote:Bourbon drinking is an Art, treat it with proper respect and it will never disappoint you!


This sentence alone is the most important, if I may. One of the reasons people assume Scotch is the most elegant, worthy drink of them all while Bourbon is, for some reason, certainly not, is because that's what you're supposed to think, right?

A good question for our Scotch loving friends is if they have even afforded the same respect to a fine bourbon as they do to a fine malt. Some I think simply rush to judgement. Drink them both the same way and you will find both to be quite lovely.


Of course. Why would any of us Scotch loving people be here if we do/did not give Bourbon the same respect?

....And who said Scotch is the most elegant, worthy drink of them all? I can't speak for everyone, obviously, but I love ALL whisk(e)y. Scotch just happens to be my first love. "First" doesn't mean best. Bourbon is great..... I love it.
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Re: Part II: The Art of Drinking Bourbon

Unread postby SWC » Sat Sep 01, 2012 3:43 pm

The post was for any one in your life that has his nose in the air when it comes to Scotlands greatest export, and for that reason blows that same nose into a copita of bourbon.

I myself know of a few. They have been marked.

And I will be watching you closely, sir raider fan. Very Closely.
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Re: Part II: The Art of Drinking Bourbon

Unread postby ebo » Sat Sep 01, 2012 5:31 pm

Hmm.................. well, I've made no bones about loving Scotch.... or the Raiders. :lol:

Truth be told, I drink a lot more Bourbon these days, than Scotch. I also drink Irish, Indian and Japanese whisk(e)y....... and any "home made" that comes my way. :mrgreen:

If I may be so bold to ask; why do I get the feeling you have a vendetta against us Scotch drinkers? :wink:
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Re: Part II: The Art of Drinking Bourbon

Unread postby SWC » Sat Sep 01, 2012 7:05 pm

It's all good, my brotha, these days I just like what tastes good. I have plenty of Balvenie and Glenfiddich in my cabinet to go along with the corn likker.

My problem truly lies with Charlie Maclean, him and his monocle. He just HAS to wear that damn thing all the time, doesn't he? Everyday with the monocle.
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Re: Part II: The Art of Drinking Bourbon

Unread postby Clymergirl » Sun Dec 30, 2012 10:47 pm

This is really helpful...I'am new to bourbon but loving every bit of it.
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