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DaniShafer
03-20-2007, 10:29
Hello everyone! My name is Danielle and I'm a writer (or trying to be one!). I'm currently working on a novel and I was hoping you burbon experts could help me out!

One of my main characters is a bourbon drinker. He's wealthy, cultured and likes only the finest things.

So...

What kind of Burbon would he drink?:

At home in his personal study?

At an upscale club?

I'd really appreciate all of the help anyone of you could give me! I'm clueless when it comes to expensive liquor, but I hear that burbon is the best!

Also could anyone explain to me the taste of a fine burbon. Is it sweet? bitter? Smooth like silk? Some liquors that I've had have a nasty bite... is the rule of thumb the better the liquor and age, the less the bite?

Sorry for all of the questions! You can respond here, or at my email: DaniMarieShafer@aol.com (DaniMarieShafer@aol.com)

Thank you so much!

Danielle :grin:

Gillman
03-20-2007, 10:49
Fine bourbon is not related to price or image (necessarily). If this person is someone who thinks for himself and knows what's really good, have him drink Old Forester 100 proof and, for a change, Elijah Craig 12 year old. The Elijah Craig is made by America's remaining independent family owned bourbon distillery which has existed since the 1930's, so if he seeks out things with pedigree, he's got it. The Old Forester is stylish whiskey: mellow, fruity, a little smokey but all whiskey.

Okay since he's a connoisseur, here's a third choice for him (it would be out of character for him to drink the same things all the time): Old Rip Van Winkle 20 year old bourbon. It is hard to find, but a man with his resources should have little difficulty.

Good bourbon is sweetish from sugars and vanillins in the barrel wood that get into the drink, sometimes spicy from rye grains and the kinds of yeasts used to ferment the mash, and sometimes a little smoky, from the charred interior of the aging barrels. Some people find a peanut brittle- or candy-corn-like taste in good bourbon. If you dunked that in Grey Goose vodka, that will give an idea of what good straight whiskey is like.

Good luck with the book.

Gary

Rughi
03-20-2007, 11:01
Hello everyone! My name is Danielle and I'm a writer (or trying to be one!). I'm currently working on a novel and I was hoping you burbon experts could help me out!

One of my main characters is a bourbon drinker. He's wealthy, cultured and likes only the finest things.

So...

What kind of Burbon would he drink?:

At home in his personal study?

At an upscale club?

I'd really appreciate all of the help anyone of you could give me! I'm clueless when it comes to expensive liquor, but I hear that burbon is the best!

Also could anyone explain to me the taste of a fine burbon. Is it sweet? bitter? Smooth like silk? Some liquors that I've had have a nasty bite... is the rule of thumb the better the liquor and age, the less the bite?

Sorry for all of the questions! You can respond here, or at my email: DaniMarieShafer@aol.com (DaniMarieShafer@aol.com)

Thank you so much!

Danielle :grin:


Danielle,
Welcome to the forum.

If your character is wealthy and cultured, he could very well have purchased a barrel of Old Rip Van Winkle 15/107 a few years ago and uses that as his crystal decanter bourbon he keeps on the sideboard in the study.

I'd say he's much more likely to call for Old Grand-Dad Bond than Jack at a watering hole with limited selection.

At a really good bar, he might be asking for straight ryes, such as Sazerac 18, Handy, or Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye.

I'd stay away from having him call out Maker's, JD, or Beam products at a bar, primarily because that would be the easy way out for you to take as a writer. Those products have massive advertising campaigns for _good_ products. It's like having your character drink Budweiser. Unless you were trying to show that he was an anti-snob or thrifty, it could show the reader he was susceptible to advertising more than his tastebuds. I'm not saying that would be true of a real person, but you're using his drink of choice to help define him to the reader.

Also, unlike is said of Scotch, the best bourbon isn't necessarily 20+ years. Your man could be a drinker of younger, more feisty bourbons in the 4 to 7 year range, "mature" whiskeys of the 7-12 year range, or "extra-aged" whiskeys of 12+ years.

Lastly, you could have him have an interest in "dusty bottles." There's a widespread belief that many of the sweeter, fruitier, more candied flavors that existed in bourbon have become lessened in the past two decades. There are many of us on this forum who are trying to get ahold of the last bottles that exhibited the flavors of a bygone era.

Roger

barturtle
03-20-2007, 11:26
I know a lot of writers like to mention things that have a certain cult status, stuff most people don't know about or has become so rare as to be unobtainable. I think for something like this and in a private club situation (holding bottles reserved only for him) A.H.Hirsch 20 year old would appropriate. Bottled once in 1994, the distillery in Pennsylvania closed years before that, it is a stellar example of a cult bottling.

In a less exclusive environment he would be limited to more readily available products, perhaps choosing to drink Van Winkle Special Reserve 12yo "Lot B". Commonly simply referred to as "Lot B".

At home, knowing that high price isn't a requirement for the good stuff, he would gladly drink Wild Turkey 101.

DaniShafer
03-20-2007, 12:53
Thank you SOOOO much to everyone that has replied. You really know your stuff and you've given me lots of inteligent choices that make perfect sense. It may seem silly, but its the small stuff for me that developes the character and the things that were suggested are right on key for what I had in mind!!!

So again, thank you so much for all of the help! And please continue to suggest things, lol. I can never get too much information or too many other opinions!!!

(((Hugs)))

Dani

bluesbassdad
03-20-2007, 12:53
Gary,

Isn't that Pappy Van Winkle 20 y/o?

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

Gillman
03-20-2007, 12:57
Good catch there, Dave. It is actually, Pappy Van Winkle's Family Reserve, 20 years old.

Gary

bluesbassdad
03-20-2007, 13:15
Roger,

I like your mention of rye. In the context of our would-be author's goal I can't help but think of the scene in the movie "The Big Sleep" where Bogie's Philip Marlowe offers to share "a pretty good bottle of rye" with the the bookstore clerk, played by Dorothy Malone.

Unfortunately, there aren't as many ryes, or rye-drinkers, around these days. Fortunately, there is Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye, which has always had a spot on my personal Top Five list of American whiskies. Its cyclic availability also contributes to its cachet. (How does one type the letter "t" with the little mark next to it?)

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

barturtle
03-20-2007, 14:12
I like the idea of including rye whiskey, too. The ultimate in insider rye bottlings would have to be Willett's Family Reserve 22 year old, with exactly five cases released to the general public and a great review in Malt Advocate Magazine. A bottle of Rittenhouse BIB could easily be his at home pour.

Having him like dusties would be cool too.

DaniShafer
03-20-2007, 15:05
Hmm... maybe I'll have you guys buying my book just for the rye mention! LOL. I'll have you know when (not if) I get published, I'll be giving a nice dedication to the men (sorry if there are women) to this site who really know there stuff.

You guys have given me so many ideas already!

My male lead character is a shape shifter, so he's been around for a great number of years (try 300) so I really like the idea of him having his own private collection in the basement as well as having bottles especially for him at the clubs he owns.

TNbourbon
03-20-2007, 16:01
Danielle, you don't mention whether or not this is a period piece. Please note that brands have come and gone, and changed -- in proof, age, even taste profile -- even when they've lingered and survived.
I once pointed out to novelist Stuart Woods his errors in having a 'bourbon-drinking' character who ordered Jack Daniel's (not a bourbon), and another set during the Depression-era '30s who drank Wild Turkey (not a brand till the '50s, and not even informally 'invented' -- on a turkey hunt -- till 1940). He got cranky in response, and I haven't purchased a Woods novel since except from the remainders pile.:grin: And, he's still wrong, besides!:lol:
You'll find some specific taste notes on some modern brands/labels in this forum:
http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=10

Best of luck.

OscarV
03-20-2007, 16:05
One of my main characters is a bourbon drinker. He's wealthy, cultured and likes only the finest things.

So...

What kind of Burbon would he drink?:

At home in his personal study?

At an upscale club?



Danielle :grin:

I need to know more about your character.
What area is he from?
Him being weathy and cultured suggests old money to me, like the New York-Boston wasp type, well then he would not be drinking bourbon. So you will have to include in the story how he came to be a bourbon drinker.
At home in his study he would keep exports, like the Japan release Evan Williams 23 year old or any of the many Wild Turkey exports, like Heritage or Freedom.
At an upscale club or even at his favorite saloon he only asks for a, "bourbon and branch", beause the locals don't know bourbon and he feels no need to educate them.

bluesbassdad
03-20-2007, 16:09
No worries. I once had an exchange with Julian regarding a bottling he had done for Sam's, and he didn't recall whether it was labeled "Pappy" or "Old Rip". At that point I decided it was okay for us consumers to get confused occasionally when discussing his bottlings.

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

DaniShafer
03-20-2007, 18:39
Okay... so more about my character. He is around 300 years old. He is a shape shifter that changes into a black jagaur. He was cursed nearly 100 years ago by a group of black witches and can no longer shift into his animal.

He's stubborn, prideful, smart, strong, attractive (my ideal man... lol. Sorry! Off track!)

He's half brazilian and half german, and spent a good deal of time in Brazil but has lived in the states for the last 100 years. He currently lives in upstate New York and owns a large mansion that is set deep into the woods.

He keeps to himself and enjoys fine things in life. From clothes, to women, to alcohol. He owns a series of clubs that cater to shape shifters. He's a born leader but is looked down upon because he disobeyed his father and ran off to Europe (where he got cursed).

The story is sent present tense... where he meets a young woman (26) who is just as stubborn as he and gives him more than a run for his money. She is enough to drive any man to drink. She's hot, she's cold, she's opinionated and thinks she needs no one to take care of her. Oh and did I mention she apart of the bloodline of witches that cursed him? (Although to her case, she was adopted and does not know what she is).

He drives a 1961 Jaguar OR a 1965 Shelby Cobra (orginal). He's a man not to be messed with (cursed or not) and he holds a lot of power. I picture him awake at 3 am in the morning, staring at the fire in his study while he sips his bourbon.

I picture him alone at the bar, sipping his drink while others stare at him in aw and in fear. Some in hatred.

He's not what I would consider wasp-y. He's got dark hair, and deep green eyes. He appears in age to be between 35-40. He's earned everything he has and has very few close friends.

He is apart of a council that takes care of Ailuran politics (ailuran = feline shifters). He should be the leader, but without the ability to shift and challenge the current leader, he's treated as an outcast.

When the council members visit, it is reason for him to break out some fine liquor.

Okay, I hope that helps! I haven't read back through this so sorry for the spelling errors or type-o's.

Danielle :)

DaniShafer
03-20-2007, 18:40
Danielle, you don't mention whether or not this is a period piece. Please note that brands have come and gone, and changed -- in proof, age, even taste profile -- even when they've lingered and survived.
I once pointed out to novelist Stuart Woods his errors in having a 'bourbon-drinking' character who ordered Jack Daniel's (not a bourbon), and another set during the Depression-era '30s who drank Wild Turkey (not a brand till the '50s, and not even informally 'invented' -- on a turkey hunt -- till 1940). He got cranky in response, and I haven't purchased a Woods novel since except from the remainders pile.:grin: And, he's still wrong, besides!:lol:
You'll find some specific taste notes on some modern brands/labels in this forum:
http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=10

Best of luck.

Can I say how great it is that you called him on that??!!?? You should always fact check and that you pointed it out is a good thing. People should not get cranky when they didn't bother to do some simple research. So kudo's to you :)

barturtle
03-20-2007, 19:39
Danielle,

While I understand the symbolic aspect of someone who wishes he could turn into a jaguar to be driving one and it is a beautiful car, I don't get the option of a Cobra. While it is a very fast and famous and handsome vehicle, it is not in anyway a civilized driver, it is every bit a crude as it is fast.

However, since he was in Europe 100 years ago, you may like to look into the Talbot-Lago. A French automobile, the 1937 is widely considered the most beautiful car ever made.

DaniShafer
03-20-2007, 19:51
Danielle,

While I understand the symbolic aspect of someone who wishes he could turn into a jaguar to be driving one and it is a beautiful car, I don't get the option of a Cobra. While it is a very fast and famous and handsome vehicle, it is not in anyway a civilized driver, it is every bit a crude as it is fast.

However, since he was in Europe 100 years ago, you may like to look into the Talbot-Lago. A French automobile, the 1937 is widely considered the most beautiful car ever made.

Thank you so much for the wonderful tip! I wasn't crazy about him driving the Jag, while it is a beautiful car (the one I picked out) I felt it was... too much. My husband recomended the Cobra - I will check into this Talbot-Lago. I love vintage cars and I wanted my character to drive one - so yes, thank you again for the wonderful tip! See all I needed was a group of guys! LOL.

Am I bugging you guys yet? LOL.

Danielle

bluesbassdad
03-21-2007, 02:49
[snip]

He drives a 1961 Jaguar OR a 1965 Shelby Cobra (orginal).
[snip]

I hope he doesn't depend on either for reliable transportation. Even untold wealth and a private mechanic for each car would be no guarantee he wouldn't have to resort to public transportation on occasion. :grin: Most troublesome would be the Jag, whether it's an XK-150 or the E-Type (aka, "XKE) which replaced it in 1961.

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

DaniShafer
03-21-2007, 07:49
I hope he doesn't depend on either for reliable transportation. Even untold wealth and a private mechanic for each car would be no guarantee he wouldn't have to resort to public transportation on occasion. :grin: Most troublesome would be the Jag, whether it's an XK-150 or the E-Type (aka, "XKE) which replaced it in 1961.

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

LOL so true! My dad has told me horror stories about Jag's. I was going for beauty... but you bring up a very valid point. Not to mention they live in upstate New York (Buffalo area) and they are quickly approaching winter. He'll need something a bit more... I don't know. I'll have to think about that one a bit more.

Dangermonkey
03-21-2007, 17:52
How about a Cisitalia ? A classic Italian racing car- very limited production.They have one in the Museum of Modern Art in New York they are that beautiful.My father used to race them at Watkins Glen (When it was still run through the streets)-until he met my mother (who raced MG TD's ) but that is a whole other story.
Noticed your father is in Buffalo. If you get to Rochester (1 hour east) sometime drop by - we have about a large collection of bourbon (among many other things) and also run a rare bookstore in case you want to research something else. Good luck with your book!

Gillman
03-21-2007, 18:00
What is the difference between a MG TC and MG TD? (Really, I don't know).

Gary

Dangermonkey
03-21-2007, 18:03
Not a great deal. Mostly engine and gearing if I remember correctly.Have to ask my mother ( she was an expert and even did her own mechanical work.

Gillman
03-21-2007, 18:07
Either version sounds great to roar up that hill in the center of Rochester. I recall now the name, Cobb Hill. A nice city and I remember in particular the Kodak Museum and areas through which the Erie Canal passes, e.g. Bushnell's Basin. New York State is one of the most interesting in the country.

Gary

Dangermonkey
03-21-2007, 22:16
I live at the foot of Cobbs Hill here actually...and yes I agree New York especially upstate is very diverse in terms of landscapes and geographic features- just a pity it is usually covered with snow.

bluesbassdad
03-22-2007, 01:06
[snip] Not to mention they live in upstate New York (Buffalo area) and they are quickly approaching winter. [snip]

I forgot to mention cold-weather starting, didn't I? :grin:

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

bluesbassdad
03-22-2007, 01:14
Gary,

The difference between the two models was evolutionary. Here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MG_T#TC)is a brief description of each.

To the untrained eye, the styling is very similar. However, purists of the day decried the concessions to streamlining, minor though they were, in the TD's bodywork.

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

bobbyc
03-22-2007, 13:57
At an upscale club or even at his favorite saloon he only asks for a, "bourbon and branch", beause the locals don't know bourbon and he feels no need to educate them.But wouldn't he rather ask for "Bourbon Neat, Water Back"? Another caveat if it could be done well and not belabored would be if he had a friend in Kentucky that supplied him with a few 5 gallon water bottles of spring water from the family farm for his personal use.

I think perhaps his liking of Bourbon could have come from time at Ft Knox or Ft Campbell if you are going that way or time as an intern working in the industry for a family friend that from the day when distilleries were still mostly family owned during his college years.

Whoops I posted that before reading he's 300 years old, Guess the college bit is out!

Dangermonkey
03-22-2007, 15:48
Speaking from experience if he lived around here Here being upstate New York-Between Pa and Adirondacks the locals wouldn't understand any of it. Also you would have to specify a brand.The well whiskey around here would gag a maggot.Most barely qualifies- Old Grand Dad is considered a premium most places. Sad but true.

Gillman
03-22-2007, 16:26
In my experience of buying whiskey upstate in Western (or for that matter, Eastern New York - I used to live in Montreal) - there is little appreciation of bourbon whiskey. I think that for so long, Canadian whisky had its way in the area, and of course scotch and other drinks, that bourbon was almost an also-ran. Sure, straight rye would have been a stand-by, but that must have died out (mostly) by the 1950's.

Still, I recall a large liquor store on Ridge Road (Greece area) in Rochester with an excellent bourbon selection (this from the later 1980's until today): someone is buying it, but the market is not large.

Gary

P.S. A word should be put in also for Premier Liqours in Buffalo/Williamsville/Amherst.