View Full Version : Newb question re: bourbon advertising
Ok, this is definitely a strange newb question, but I'm just curious about this.
I've been a casual bourbon drinker for 14 or 15 years, but have just now started learning about the drink, its varieties, and the best way(s) to enjoy it (and fortunately just stumbled upon this forum). Most connoisseurs and bourbon-makers seem to advise against adding ice to your drink, but almost every bourbon advertisement I have seen shows the drink in a tumbler full of ice. What gives? It certainly makes the drink look more refreshing and "inviting," but why advertise it that way if you advise against drinking it that way?
FWIW, I used to try to drink it neat (no matter how much it burned--hehe), but have recently started adding a splash of water to open up the flavor as many experts and distillers suggest. I only use ice with mixed drinks (which for me is usually a Rusty Nail).
Most connoisseurs and bourbon-makers seem to advise against adding ice to your drink, but almost every bourbon advertisement I have seen shows the drink in a tumbler full of ice. What gives?
IMHO your question contains the answer. I would venture to guess the advertising is not directed at connoisseurs and bourbon-makers but rather at the masses, the vast majority of which probably drink it over ice, to the extent they're not otherwise mixing it with soda, ginger ale, etc. As is true with many products, the true connoisseurs comprise a relatively small percentage of all purchasers of all bourbons.
To some degree I think Bourbon is an acquired taste,not everyone was fortunate enough to be born in Kentucky where our Dear Mothers knew to run a few drops of 100 proof Jim Beam, Heaven Hill, Brown-Forman or whichever distillery they worked for,over our gums to ease the pain of teething. That combination of Mothers love, Jim Beam, pain and then pleasure would set the stage for all that comes after, but I digress, I also think I feel a new tooth coming in as well. I think the question has been anawered, the over the rocks image appeals to the masses, while a sip searching for the nuances and flavors is our forte. There's no wrong way, Gillman and others say 100 proof or less, I ( with esteemed company) am a fan of a barrel proof drink. Jimmy Russell says drink your Wild Turkey any way you like.
There is a threshold however that only someone being conspiciously affluent might try and that being, asking for a Pappy 20 and Coke, That would not impress any of the reasonable minded folk here. Actually it's hard for me to imagine the scenario that would play out in,the person wants to show their Bourbon prowness by ordering Pappy 20, then prove for all the world to see that they know absolutely nothing about it by the way they ask it to be served.
I think most of us here have drank a little Bourbon on the Rocks at some point, When I am unlocking the mysteries of a new, or old pour, I avoid the proof dilution continuum . http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif
Welcome to the forums. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif
I do water occasionally (in small quantities), but never ice -- I don't like the dilution change as it melts, nor the property change as it warms. But, as has already been pointed out, we aren't the target audience of the advertising departments because, for one, we're going to buy even without the advertisement, and second, we want to taste the bourbon, the whole bourbon, and nothing but the bourbon, so help us God. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/pope.gif
yup, uneducated drinkers will buy the 'cool story', educated drinkers will buy the best product.
just look at the explosion of vodka products in the last 5 or so years.
I drink my bourbon any way I can get it. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif Depends on what kinda mood I'm in. On a hot day, I'll mix, put on the rocks, freeze it and drink straight, etc.
The finer ones I always drink neat, but I too am one who is not above putting an ice cube or two over top of a shot of something like Jim Beam or Jack Daniels on a hot summer afternoon. Every so often, I'll even splash a little Coke on there for some peculiar reason.
But when it comes to the good stuff...
Ice is to compete against "scotch on the rocks", whose market share those sort of ads are trying to target.
Ice makes the bourbon colder, which blunts the flavors. This can be good in the case of a rough bourbon, it can make it smoother, but flavor-robbing in the case of a good one.
Water away! If you can dilute it with plain water, not just a drop or two but really pouring it in there, and the finished drink is still pleasant and tasty, in my mind, that's a mark of a good spirit. It means that the flavors (or at least, the water-soluble ones) are concentrated enough to stand up to dilution. If you want to give a spirit a similar test, but don't feel like lowering the kick, you can try the blending test (mixing it with vodka) which basically does the same thing, only with the alcohol-soluble flavors. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
For me it's a matter of lineage and alcohol level. I tend to cut the ones over 100 proof, except for the "good stuff", which I drink neat out of a brandy snifter, no matter what the proof. If the good stuff it is just too "hot" http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/hot.gif(alcoholic), I'll add a splash of water.
I am a neat person. I will occassionally put a drop of water or two in in it the second drink, to see the change. I drink all my Pappys, including the 15yr neat. Too darned good to change. But at the advice of this forum, I picked up a bottle of Old GD 114. That, I will add a couple of drops to.
I'd try it neat first. On my first drink, I was surprised at how little burn it has, and I almost always drink it neat.
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