I almost made this post a survey, but I wasn' t sure that I could frame all of the responses.
When you bring home a bottle of a bourbon that you've never tried before, how do you get to know it?
Take a swig straight from the bottle?
Pour it into your favorite nosing and/or tasting glass, and prepare to take notes?
Pour four ounces over nine ice cubes in the first glass that comes to hand?
Mix it with Coke?
Ask a friend to take the first drink?
Do your responses to the above depend on your expectations for the bourbon at hand? (I.e., Kentucky Spirit gets the note-taking treatment; Benchmark causes you to get on the telephone.)
As I ask these impertinent questions I am drinking Old Fitz BIB over nine smallish ice cubes. It's certainly more enjoyable this way than it was neat. It still has a marked, shall I say, "brusqueness" on the back of the tongue and in the finish, but it is clearly in its element, so to speak. I'll probably move this bottle to my On-The-Rocks-Only shelf, along with Rebel Yell, Old Charter 8 y/o, Virginia Gentleman red label, and one or two others.