Now, we are being treated to a real, interesting, knowledgeable, and yes, lovable human being. When John gets going, he cannot help being himself, even if he didn't want to, cause he is what he is, and that is way more than good. When John is playing here, it is a much more interesting site, and although I sometimes disagree with him (as I do on Devil's Cut...... I think it is a poor bourbon and a gimmick), his is always an opinion to which it is worth paying more than passing interest.
At this very moment, I am sipping Devil's Cut bourbon.......... understand that I am not saying it is 'bad' bourbon, it is just not very good bourbon and because I think I owe it to John, I will tell you why. I will, unfortunately, use words that may or may not resonate with your taste apparatus, but so be it.
Devil's Cut is not a rounded bourbon, it has edges, some of which are sharp, even slightly harsh. It lacks complexity and interest and is not flavorful to my palate. The tannins are there and they are not the subtle tannins of a Van Winkle ultra aged bourbon, they are the tannins of a bourbon from a poor quality barrel. Frankly, I know of few bourbons of less quality than Devil's Cut. But, really, all that says is something only a moment's reflection makes apparent........ to a significant degree, we value different taste values in bourbon........... YET, I have always maintained, and still do, there are some qualities that many experienced palates can come to general agreement upon. The easiest way to express this is through the Van Winkle bourbons. There is general consensus that these are all first rate bourbons. I support that general consensus, they have qualities against which others may be judged. Exactly how one is to factor in the cost across many differently priced bourbons can be, and is, debated endlessly.
More than most anyone else on BE, I have been a champion of the ultra aged bourbons. My reasoning has always been part and parcel of my love for Cognac, which I drank (and still drink and dearly love) before coming to bourbon. I think properly aged, ultra aged bourbons, have a quality that I find to be somewhat similiar to Cognac's delicacy (drinking other spirits, in my opinion, opens your palate to the flavors in bourbon). Improperly over aged bourbons are just bitter, but Pappy 20 YO, of which I am now having a sip, is a superb example of that quality I so admire. Twenty years in the barrel is a long time, and Pappy 20 is certainly tannic and dry, but it is NOT bitter. It has a delicacy and soft sweetness that makes it unique.
It is of utmost importance that any experienced bourbon drinker knows that there is room for many opinions under the rubic of 'bourbon enthusiast'........... were it not so, we would all lose interest.
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