View Full Version : New From TN

Tracy Hightower
11-14-2007, 06:48

I found this site and have spent several hours now getting an education. I am a native Texan but have lived in Camden Tennessee for nearly 2 decades now. I am a retired LEO and a co-owner and board member of a company called Tactical Response. We are a firearms training company and train Military, Police, Civilian Contractors and private citizens. I am also a moderator on the company forum GetOffTheX.com in the Fighting Shotgun forum.

Why am I here? Well I recently discovered Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve, which was awesome, and in doing some searching I ran across this forum, which is a wealth of information with what seems to be a very knowledgeable and helpful membership and staff.

I have never been much of a drinker (Mr. Van Winkle is about to change that) and have produced and collected wines for a number of years. I have liquidated most of my wines except for a couple of bottles I have yet to sell or trade and I am now going to start learning more about and collecting distilled spirits as they seem to be much more interesting than the fermented fruit.

I always cared more about the process of making wine than drinking it but with Bourbon I know that will be different, as I have always enjoyed it when I did drink it. As for my new hobby my wife got me started by buying me a bottle of 23-year-old Pappy Van Winkle as a Christmas present. Yeah I saw it when it came in and have been admonished that I will have to settle for admiring the bottle and its contents from afar until Christmas. It will be a long wait if the 23 year old is anywhere near as good as the younger siblings.

Well I will be around reading and learning I am sure I will be asking some questions and as a moderator of a forum, I know to exhaust the search function before asking.

Thanks for providing such a great resource for those of us less knowledgeable on the subject at hand.

Did I mention that I have a bottle of 23-year old Pappy Van Winkle that I cannot touch until Christmas?

11-14-2007, 08:01
I always cared more about the process of making wine...

Welcome Tracy,
I think you'll find a great gang here.

I see from your introduction that you have a bit of a do it yourself spirit. What type of wine production did you do? Home winemaking as an avocation, or some professional level? I've been a home wine and beer maker for years now.

The main difference I see between whiskey as a hobby compared to beer and wine is that with beer and wine you can be an active participant. Where a beer forum would have people swapping stories about how to unstick a sluggish fermentation, spirit enthusiasts can only purchase the work of others and comment on whether they like it or not.

By the way, my daddy always taught not to point a gun at a person unless you were about to shoot him. Unless you want to shoot everyone who views your posts, you might lower that pistol in your avatar :grin:

Again, welcome to the forum


Tracy Hightower
11-14-2007, 08:35

Thanks for the welcome.

I spent years making wine as a home hobby. I have never produced any professionally. I personally do not care that much for drinking wine but thoroughly enjoyed the process of making it. I invested quite a bit of time, money and effort in doing so. As I became more interested in it, I wanted to do more than throw everything into a jar and put a balloon on it until it was hopefully ready to drink.

That is the way I remember my grandfather doing it as a child. Tasting what he produced was probably what ruined my taste for wine as an adult.

I would make several wines each year so after a while I would be bottling some every month. I would then give it to friends who did like wine for their approval or scorn as I sometimes got. I thought that it would be interesting to do it on some level professionally but found two things that stopped that idea.

One, here in Tennessee a winery can produce wine from grapes that are purchased elsewhere for 5 years but after 5 years 50% of your wine production must be produced from grapes that you grow yourself. I did not want to be a grower, only a producer.

The main reason I never did it was because I did not think that I could ever produce any good wines if I did not like drinking my own product and would have to depend on others to determine the quality.

I did however win a third place finish for a Blackberry wine I produced and entered in the Tennessee State Fair several years ago.

Again, thanks for your welcome and I look forward to learning more about distilled spirits. I know I will never produce it but this is something that I can definitely consume and enjoy and maybe even one day know enough to offer opinions on different products.

Anxiously awaiting Christmas day.


P.S. What Pistol? :)

11-14-2007, 13:23

P.S. What Pistol? :)

Welcome to the forum Tracy.

As a firarms instructor I'm sure you know A pistol should be held In isometric tention, pushing forward with the stong hand and pulling back with the weak hand, holding the gun so that its side is at a 90 degree angle from the ground. Not canted to the side like some silly gangbanger or movie character.:grin:

Though, I never had the chance to attend Gunsite, I have been a disciple of Jeff Cooper, through his many books and other writings. Did You ever get to meet him?

I don't mind the avatar but one of the Mods might object.

11-14-2007, 13:41
Tracy, welcome to the forums, from one Hightower to another.
It's got nothing to do with my name, just the fact that I am 6'8" and I get called HighTower a lot! :lol:

You have found a great start, you can't go wrong with anything Van Winkle. I think the general consensus is that most people like the 15yo the best. Not that the others aren't great too, but possibly as a bang-for-your-buck sorta thing it comes up on top.
If you like the wheated bourbons, I would recommend hunting down a bottle of Weller 12yo. You should be able to pick it up for about $25.
I only discovered it recently (you just can't get that sort of stuff in Australia) and it very quickly went into my top 5 list.



11-14-2007, 17:08
Welcome aboard Mr. Hightower, allow me to introduce myself, I am Mr. Hightower.
Now that we have met, call me Oscar.
Besides our name we have another thing in common.
I to have a Pappy 23 that I am waiting until Christmas to open.
Yes the Pappy's are very good and you started with one of the best bourbons available but it is not down hill from here.
Pappy is a wheater and at the other end of the spectrum and just introduced in Tennessee is Four Roses which has the highest rye content of bourbons.
Try their Single Barrel, it is spicey and sweet at the same time.

11-14-2007, 18:59
Hey T. Hightower, welcome aboard! I also have a bottle of 23 yr. just have not opened it yet. Being from the Detroit area I like the avatar, it reminds me of hunting bottles down town :slappin: ! I agree with the Weller 12yr. you'll love it as well as anything 4 roses makes. I also enjoy the Eagle Rare 10yr Single Barrel.

As for guns I don't own any but I have had the privledge of shooting my dad's Para Ordnance 45 (very nice).

Hope you enjoy your stay, they have put together an unbelievable wealth of knowledge here, it's a great group.


Tracy Hightower
11-15-2007, 21:40
Ill Farmboy,

As a firearms instructor I do recommend the modern ISO technique when firing a pistol with two hands. Our company logo is a one-hand hold. We teach people not how to shoot with a firearm but how to FIGHT with a firearm. The cant you see in a one handed hold is exactly how most everyone holds a fist, as they are about to punch. We teach people how to shoot one handed in a manner that comes naturally to them and a vertical hold with one hand is not natural. It is not the extreme cant that you see in many movies often referred to as the gangbanger grip. The cant is only slight. I would be happy to discuss it further in a PM, as this is not the forum for such discussions.

I too am a disciple of Colonel Jeff's teachings and teach his color code of awareness to all of our students. Sadly, I never had the pleasure of meeting him but some of those that have taught with him such as Andy Stanford and Tom Givens, I am honored to call my friends.

Finally, I hope you are incorrect about one of the mods not liking my avatar as the avatar represents nothing that should be found offensive, only what someone’s perception of what it may represent. We train the good guys. We are the good guys.

Tracy Hightower
11-15-2007, 21:44

6'8"? Dang you are a whole foot taller than me. I used to get called lowtower a lot in school. :)

I have tried the 15 and 20 year old Van Winkle and cannot wait to compare the 23. I am making a list of ones I need to try. Weller is on that list.

Thanks for the welcome and welcome to the Hightower clan my brother.

Tracy Hightower
11-15-2007, 21:53
Hello Oscar,

Wow it is kinda neat to run into a fellow Hightower who also has a bottle of VanWinkle 23 that he is waiting for Christmas to open. I am told by our local historical society that all Hightowers are related and that we all decend from one Thomas Hightower who arrived here in the late 1600's on a ship named, "The Friendship" He was my 7th great grandfather.

I already have the Four Roses Single barrel on my list as well. Maybe we can have a family reunion and share a bottle or two. :)

Thanks again for the welcome.

Tracy Hightower
11-15-2007, 22:02
ACDetroit, you should be careful hunting bottles downtown. :) We tell all of our students that if it is too dangerous to go someplace without a gun, it is still too dagerous to go ther with a gun. :)

I will add the Eagle Rare to my list as well. Being a newby, I have a lot to try before I can start learning what I like and do not like. Your dads Para Ordinance is a nice firearm. The Para Ordinance and the Kimber are the only 1911's I recommend due to their quality and ability to make it through one of our classes.

I think I will enjoy my stay here especially if the group that welcomed me is an indication of the quality of people here.

Thank you all for the kind words. Just 40 more days till Christmas.

11-16-2007, 05:11
I am told by our local historical society that all Hightowers are related and that we all decend from one Thomas Hightower who arrived here in the late 1600's on a ship named, "The Friendship" He was my 7th great grandfather.


That is interesting, I have tried to get information from my parents, when they were alive, about our family but neither knew much beyond there own Grandparents.
I have noticed that a lot of Hightower's are from Texas.
I am originally from Alabama.
I am going to look up Thomas Hightower, are there any books or web sites that you could suggest?

Tracy Hightower
11-20-2007, 06:23

Sorry for the delay in responding. I cannot refer you to any books as I learned this through my ex who did the research. She never published any of the research although she did publish a book on her family. :) You can find some info by entering "Thomas Hightower, friendship" in google.

You are correct in that many are from Texas and Alabama. In the research I saw most of the Hightowers and many other families originally settled in Tennessee and subsequent generations migrated southwest to Alabama, Mississippi and Texas.

Family historians have an interesting saying that because of this Tennessee is the mother of Texas because so many families moved from Tennessee to Texas.

Sorry I could not be more help