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Squash
01-07-2009, 20:55
I am drawn to some of the high proof whiskeys, and I have noticed that one good way to drink them is with one ice cube. I put the ice cube in and take it out as the flavor develops.

Do any of you have preferences on ice (amount, crushed, shaved, large/small cubes, compatibilities with certain whiskeys)?

jimmoose
01-07-2009, 21:10
I am drawn to some of the high proof whiskeys, and I have noticed that one good way to drink them is with one ice cube. I put the ice cube in and take it out as the flavor develops.

Do any of you have preferences on ice (amount, crushed, shaved, large/small cubes, compatibilities with certain whiskeys)?

I like ice and a touch of water to open up some of the higher proof
Bourbons, I'm a fan of Booker's and drink it regularly as some of the
other good brands are not available to me. I like the smaller cubes,
squared and very well frozen that melt slowly. Dash of spring water
is preferable. I'll fiddle with the ice cube till I get the taste the way
I want it and eat the cube or ditch it. I been doing this for years and
I got a friend that just shakes his head when I do it. Go figure.......
it works for me.
jim

kickert
01-08-2009, 06:07
When I started drinking bourbon I would have everything with 3 cubes of ice. I moved to just a dash of water and now I drink most bourbon neat.

Occasionaly I will drink it with ice still, but it just doesn't do it for me anymore.

sotnsipper
01-08-2009, 06:30
My start was mixing bourbon with coke (lost interest pretty quick). Moved to drinking on the rocks, then down to one or two cubes. I got curious one night and tried drinking one neat. Hands down the best way to "experience" bourbon. The ice seems to suppress the full flavor spectrum of bourbon. I may add a splash of room temp water. I like to pour and let set for 15 minutes or so to get it opened up. Give it a try, I am sure you wont be disappointed. For what it is worth, the Old Weller Antique is great neat. It was my first neat experience.

Dr. François
01-08-2009, 11:15
At the risk of sounding like a philistine, I like a single ice cube in my bourbon. I skip it with bourbons 89 proof and under (of which I have only one, an ND OT 86).
I still like bourbon neat, but I generally go to the freezer for a cube when casually sipping.
BTW, I find bagged ice tastes better than what my freezer makes. I don't buy bagged ice often, but I like it at cocktail parties.

Blitz
01-08-2009, 11:44
I like to have it over a few ice cubes. I rattle the glass to get the ice to melt a little, so now I have a little water there too. I'll reach a point where the mix is just right, and drink the rest fairly quickly before it gets too watery.

The Boozer
03-02-2009, 14:06
At the risk of sounding like a philistine, I like a single ice cube in my bourbon. I skip it with bourbons 89 proof and under (of which I have only one, an ND OT 86).
I still like bourbon neat, but I generally go to the freezer for a cube when casually sipping.
BTW, I find bagged ice tastes better than what my freezer makes. I don't buy bagged ice often, but I like it at cocktail parties.

I'm with you on this one Doc. Just a sliver or very small cube of ice seems to open most bourbon for me, especially the higher proofs. Usually let the bourbon come back to room temp (before I do some serious drinking :lol:) .
TJ
Suggest you buy an ice tray and make ice out of distilled water. Don't know what in the bagged ice contains.

StraightBoston
03-02-2009, 14:16
One (large) cube, only if I feel too much of a burn neat. The larger cubes counterintuitively seem to melt less, so they cool without adding too much water.

When tasting something new at a bar, I always order "neat, ice water back". That way I can control how much ice or water I need (if any) to cut the whiskey. (Also a good test of the quality of the bartender -- depending on whether or not they understand the request!)

WsmataU
03-02-2009, 15:24
I really like crushed ice on bourbon I am familiar with. But, like previously stated, neat is the way to go when first trying to figure out exactly how you enjoy a particular bourbon. BuffaloBill had me retry my VW Lot B neat after I was one of the guys saying I didn't get all the hullaballoo about Lot B...sure enough it changed my perception.:bowdown:
One of the nicer restaurant I tried in NOLA brought a small pitcher (imagine a coffee creamer) full of ice cold water when I ordered my bourbon. that was a nice way to control how much you want to dilute the mixture.

Waiahi
03-02-2009, 15:58
I like to use my Glencairn Whisky Class I brought back from a trip to Scotland to drink all my whiskey (scotch or bourbon)...and it's the perfect size for two regular ice tray sized cubes.

I like all the higher proofed bourbons (90 or higher) this way...but the lower proofed ones like JB and EWB, it gets too diluted with ice, so I drink those neat.

JeffRenner
03-02-2009, 18:23
The larger cubes counterintuitively seem to melt less, so they cool without adding too much water.

Not counterintuitive at all. A large cube has less surface area per unit of weight. Think of it this way - crushed ice has a lot more surface area than the same weight in a single cube. And it's only the surface that melts.

Jeff

Hondo
03-02-2009, 18:28
My initial thought when I saw this thread was that I don't care for ice in my bourbon.

Then while reading through this it occurred to me that saying I don't care for it really isn't a fair statement. The very few times that I have tried ice in my bourbon I really didn't care for it, however I have done it so few times that I probably need to try it a little more with a variety of bourbon's before I judge.

So far, I am kind of a "give me a bottle and give me a glass" kind of guy. I know I need to broaden my horizons a bit! :cool:

cowdery
03-02-2009, 18:29
Two things to consider:

Alcohol deadens the taste buds. Even at 80° proof, tasting neat can start to deaden your taste buds.

Cold also deadens the taste buds.

However, the "one ice cube and let it melt" theory gives you a cooler drink, but not so cold that it screws up your taster, and it cuts back the alcohol, which also helps you taste better. Objectively, room temperature water probably is the best dillutant, but one ice cube is a close number two.

Blitz
03-02-2009, 18:36
Chuck,

I just assumed you would say:

"Two large ice cubes endlessly spinning counter-clockwise is best":slappin:

cowdery
03-02-2009, 18:40
Well, ya.

Goes without saying.

ILLfarmboy
03-03-2009, 00:47
I'm solidly in the anti-ice camp. And obviously in the minority.

The lone exception to this is Irish whiskey. Just last night I had a pour of standard Jameson's on the rocks at an Irish pub/eatery called Sully's. Got there just before the kitchen closed. But that's a different story.

Luna56
03-03-2009, 00:56
No ice here. Always neat, even if I have to wince a little bit. Dammit, I'm a man.

A little drop of water in some Booker's did reveal some interesting flavors, but nothing below 101 proof ever gets anything added.

Cheers!

kickert
03-03-2009, 06:00
When I started drinking bourbon I would have everything with 3 cubes of ice. I moved to just a dash of water and now I drink most bourbon neat.

Occasionaly I will drink it with ice still, but it just doesn't do it for me anymore.

After revisiting my old ways (with ice) I realize just how much flavor is lost. Sure it becomes much more "smooth" but I become unable to appreciate teh subtleties.

scratchline
03-03-2009, 07:02
It's worth noting that at last year's Bourbonian Taster of the Year event held during the Bourbon Festival and organized by Heaven Hill and SB's own Bettye Jo Boone, it was Randy Blank who won the blind tasting. IIRC, he was the only competitor taking ice in his bourbon. So, at least in this instance, he was picking up subtleties that the rockless drinkers missed. Randy, of course, has gone on to distinguish himself as the 2009 Bourbonian of the Year.

http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10242&highlight=taster

I prefer my own bourbon on the rocks and tend to prefer higher proof bottles. But my recent experience sipping 90 proof rye, such as ri(1) and Russell's Reserve Rye, neat, has convinced me that the essential flavor of the whiskey is accented by some dilution, whether it takes place before or after bottling. The old slogan "Weller. Water. Wonderful." wasn't referring to William Larue Weller or other barrel strength behemoths that are currently stalking the liquor store aisles.

Another nice thing about tossing a cube into your whiskey is you can taste at various stages of dilution until you find your sweet spot. Following on what Chuck said, my own feeling is that alcohol is a far greater palate deadener than a cube or two of ice. Certainly it will more quickly deaden your brain and that has to be a key component in telling you what you're tasting. So my intuition tells me that lowering the proof of what you're consuming, whether by adding water or ice or simply choosing lower proof bottles, allows you to taste more accurately for a longer time.

Folks may like their Handy or Stagg neat, but after a sip or two, what are they really tasting? To a lesser extent I think the same question can be asked of OGD 114 or 107 proof whiskies. Bonds ruled the market for so long because my guess is that 100 proof (or 101 in the case of my beloved Turkey) offered the best tradeoff between alcohol punch for boozers and flavor for connoisseurs.

-Mike

gblick
03-03-2009, 07:57
I don't care for ice in my bourbon.
The only ones I ever add water to are the high proofers like GTS & WLW, but I actually prefer to use a quality lower proof bourbon (like Lot B) to cut those with.

The Boozer
03-03-2009, 09:45
Bonds ruled the market for so long because my guess is that 100 proof (or 101 in the case of my beloved Turkey) offered the best tradeoff between alcohol punch for boozers and flavor for connoisseurs.

-Mike

So I like a little ice with the higher proofers - does that mean I have to change my moniker? Suggesttions? - Please not connoisseur.
TJ

Blitz
03-03-2009, 10:26
The lone exception to this is Irish whiskey. Just last night I had a pour of standard Jameson's on the rocks at an Irish pub/eatery called Sully's.

Me too. I almost treat Irish whiskey like iced tea. Full glass of ice. I drink it fairly quick. It's like a light treat, but still whiskey.

scratchline
03-03-2009, 12:57
Boozer, no reason at all to change your moniker. I'd say there's more than a little boozer in even the most picky SB members and a little connoisseur in even the biggest guzzlers. It's all good.

-Mike

Blitz
03-03-2009, 13:26
So I like a little ice with the higher proofers - does that mean I have to change my moniker? Suggesttions? - Please not connoisseur.
TJ

I saw an interview with Fred Noe of Jim Beam. His dad, Booker Noe, created 'Bookers' and the other small batch bourbons. He said Booker specifically created that bourbon at a very high proof so that the end consumer could conrol the eventual proof of the bourbon by adding water or ice. He also said that Booker always added water, so I think you are in good company.

Stu
03-03-2009, 16:16
So I like a little ice with the higher proofers - does that mean I have to change my moniker? Suggesttions? - Please not connoisseur.
TJ

The first time someone called me a connoisseur I said "what kind of sewer do you think I am?"

jsgorman
03-03-2009, 19:58
Splash of spring water. Don't like my bourbon cold - regardless of proof.

ILLfarmboy
03-03-2009, 22:51
Me too. I almost treat Irish whiskey like iced tea. Full glass of ice. I drink it fairly quick. It's like a light treat, but still whiskey.

Yes indeed, A light cool fruity/malty treat sort of cocktail like, but still 100% whiskey.

a few points.

As Chuck noted both cold temperatures and alcohol deaden taste. I find that cold deadens taste more than alcohol. If the alcohol content is pushing 90+ proof. The higher the alcohol the more pronounced this effect. Up to a certain point and then the alcohol becomes more deadening. Perhaps somewhere around 110 proof, alcohol becomes just as deadening as cold temps. Conversely, at something below 80 proof (adjusting for the dilution that Ice causes in a quickly consumed drink) cold temps are less deadening than the alcohol. So, the net effect is that I enjoy that 80 proof Irish on the rocks in just the manner that Blits talks about.

But If add ice to bourbon, most of which I like at 100 and up, the cold temps combined with the alcohol deaden the taste more than the melting ice causes dilution that works to counteract this "deadening".

I hope I'm being clear.

sotnsipper
03-04-2009, 06:30
The ice seems to suppress the full flavor spectrum of bourbon.


As Chuck noted both cold temperatures and alcohol deaden taste. I find that cold deadens taste more than alcohol. If the alcohol content is pushing 90+ proof. The higher the alcohol the more pronounced this effect. Up to a certain point and then the alcohol becomes more deadening. Perhaps somewhere around 110 proof, alcohol becomes just as deadening as cold temps. Conversely, at something below 80 proof (adjusting for the dilution that Ice causes in a quickly consumed drink) cold temps are less deadening than the alcohol. So, the net effect is that I enjoy that 80 proof Irish on the rocks in just the manner that Blits talks about.

But If add ice to bourbon, most of which I like at 100 and up, the cold temps combined with the alcohol deaden the taste more than the melting ice causes dilution that works to counteract this "deadening".

I hope I'm being clear.

Brad, I totally agree. You are clear as a bell!

Squash
03-04-2009, 09:31
I find that alcohol intensifies taste. The volatility of the chemical (ethyl alcohol) leads to increased distribution of the whiskey's constitutents throughout the oral and nasal passages leading to a hightened taste experience.

I assume that this effect, combined with the fact that higher proof means less dilution of the actual taste components of the whiskey, leads to the high enjoyment of the barrel proofers that many of us appreciate.

So the love of high-proof whiskies is not simply the lust of increased intoxication, as some imply, but rather a different and more intense encounter.

PhilsFan
03-04-2009, 14:44
I've had bourbon with ice before but normally if I'm cutting the proof on a
higher proof bourbon like Stagg, I'll use room temperature water.
Most of the time I drink bourbon neat, but ice seems to mask the flavors for me.

-Joe

sotnsipper
03-04-2009, 15:46
I find that alcohol intensifies taste. The volatility of the chemical (ethyl alcohol) leads to increased distribution of the whiskey's constitutents throughout the oral and nasal passages leading to a hightened taste experience.

I assume that this effect, combined with the fact that higher proof means less dilution of the actual taste components of the whiskey, leads to the high enjoyment of the barrel proofers that many of us appreciate.

So the love of high-proof whiskies is not simply the lust of increased intoxication, as some imply, but rather a different and more intense encounter.

Very well put. That pretty much sums it up.

2highcal
03-05-2009, 19:09
I always have 2 ice cubes when I am at home. When I am out I just get it neat with a glass of ice on the side and add as I want