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  1. #11
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    Re: Teacher\'s Highland Cream

    I revisited this one this afternoon, prompted in part by a disquieting experience last night with one of my stated favorite bourbons -- but that doesn't belong in this forum.

    It's been months since I last drank any scotch, much less Teacher's, and I was surprised at how tasty and satisfying I found it this time. There's definitely not much in the way of complexity here, just your basic scotch flavor without the iodine, smoke, seaweed, and other influences commonly associated with scotch. In addtion, I still get a mildly raw quality at the finish, more like a tingle really, that seems to numb the mouth and lips beyond what I would expect. If there's such a thing as "blue collar, authentic scotch", I'd say this is it. I hereby recant my previous description "too much icing, not enough cake" as misleading. This is all cake, but it's like Angel Food with a dash of black pepper on top.

    Nevertheless, I am now on my second glass (neat, Glencairn blending glass) this afternoon. What I intended as some combination of redirection and penance has turned out to be surprisingly enjoyable.

    Now I'm faced with a delightful quandary. The next time I break out a bottle of whisk(e)y, will it be one of the other scotch blends (e.g., Famous Grouse or Johnnie Walker Black Label) that I liked rather more than Teacher's a while back, or will I give Jimmy's namesake another chance to remind me why I once called it my Numero Uno in the "Best Buy Bourbon" category?

    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield

  2. #12
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    bourbon/scotch (Re: Teacher\'s Highland Cream)

    >If there's such a thing as "blue collar, authentic scotch", I'd say this is it.

    I love that sentence and I really enjoyed your post!

    Note to the reader: prepare yourself for opinionated overgeneralizations!
    Here goes:

    I think it's true that in America, most scotch is sold to pretentious snobby jerks
    who don't know anything about whisk/e/y, but think that they do. I also think
    it's true that most bourbon is sold to the common man who doesn't know
    anything about whisk/e/y, and that doesn't bother him at all... as a matter of
    fact, if the drink is a little rough, all the better.

    The difference between scotch and bourbon is as much a cultural one as
    it is about taste. Bourbon is for the authentic, blue collar man. Scotch is for
    the white collar dufus with no soul. Thus says the American consumer.

    (apologies for stating the obvious)

    Tim

  3. #13
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    bourbon/scotch (Re: Teacher\'s Highland Cream)

    Amen. While in WV recently, I bought a few bottles of some expensive stuff that I can't get here in NC (Elmer T. Lee SB, Evan Williams Millenium, the Fox, Sazerac Rye) at a good sized store in Charleston, WV, the capital. Wouldn't you know that the Sazerac and the Fox didn't have prices and the girl at the counter couldn't find them in her book.

    When I went to the register, no one was in line, but, while I was waiting for them to tell me what I owed them, a few people backed up behind me. I looked at them and apologized, saying that none of the bottles on the shelf for those two labels were marked.

    The guy behind me, with the work of many hard years showing on this face, had a bottle of Early Times in the plastic bottle. I know this man deserved a drink more than I did.

    As the girl went to find the prices from the manager, I took matters into my own hands and looked the prices up in the book at her register. Poor thang couldn't understand that rye whiskey was a separate category. Judging by where she left the book open, she was wasting her time in the blended price list.

    I quickly resolved the issue, called her back and cringed as the total was $127 for four bottles. Yes, I felt guilty and imagined/feared the cold stare of the patrons in line behind me. I know that I am overplaying this guilt thing. The folks behind probably didn't give a rat's a** what I paid for what as long as they could get their own goods paid for and get on their way home!

  4. #14
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    bourbon/scotch (Re: Teacher\'s Highland Cream)

    "The difference between scotch and bourbon is as much a cultural one as
    it is about taste. Bourbon is for the authentic, blue collar man. Scotch is for
    the white collar dufus with no soul."

    I'm sorry, Tim, but I disagree. There are plenty of "authentic, blue collar" men (and women) in America (and especially Scotland) who drink scotch. Yes, quality scotch costs more than quality bourbon, but that has more to do with the incredibly high taxes distillers pay in the UK and the import duties and taxes imposed on scotch coming into the US, than it does on "pricing it for snobs." And, let's not forget, most "authentic, blue collar" men are not drinking Booker's, Blanton's or Pappy Van Winkle 20yo; they're most likely drinking Ten High, Jim Beam White Label and (America's other favorite "bourbon") Jack Daniels. Just as with single malt scotch, high-end bourbons are drunk by, for the most part, either (1) enthusiasts like us, (2) folks who like an occasional drink and can afford the good stuff, or (3) status seekers.

    I've said it before, and I'll say it again. If you don't like scotch, fine. I never argue about personal taste. But, just because one person don't like a particular style of whiskey doesn't give that person the right to make sweeping generalizations about those who do enjoy it. I happen to enjoy scotch very much, as much as I do bourbon (and Irish whiskey, for that matter). I do not consider myself to be a "snobby jerk" nor a "white collar dufus with no soul." I work both a full-time job and a part-time job to support my family (and my whiskey "hobby").

    It's funny. I read a number of scotch-related boards on the Web and I've never seen a scotch drinker--even if he hates bourbon--put down bourbon drinkers. If anything, it's those bourbon drinkers who constantly put down scotch drinkers that come off sounding like snobby jerks.

    And that's a shame, because most folks (including Tim) who contribute to this board strike me as being pretty decent people, people I would like to share time with over a bottle of good whiskey. I think it would be a good idea for all of us to keep in mind that taste preferences are a personal thing and cannot be argued, and that making generalizations about those who don't see things our way says more about us than those we disagree with.

    Excuse me while I climb down from my soapbox.

    SpeedyJohn




  5. #15
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    bourbon/scotch (Re: Teacher\'s Highland Cream)

    I'm in agreement with most all of what you say here John, so I suppose this reply is really an addendum.

    For many folks, the term "bourbon" conjurs up images of biker gangs, David Lee Roth leaping across the stage with his ass cheeks hanging out of his pants, and so forth ... you get the point. One could assert that in order to achieve the status and following the scotch industry has, the bourbon industry would need to shed it's "bad boy" image.

    I feel that rather they should play this image up. Harley Davidson has done it with tremendous success. At least here in the SF bay area, there are huge numbers of brand new Harleys being driven by white color types who desperately want an element of the outlaw in their lives. The local Harley shop has a waiting list.

    I'm not in any hurry to see Microsoft producing bourbon, but I believe that the baby boomers in particular have money to spend on bourbon ... they just need to be convinced it will advance their social status, and perhaps increase their virility

  6. #16
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    bourbon/scotch (Re: Teacher\'s Highland Cream)

    >>"The difference between scotch and bourbon is as much a cultural one as
    >>it is about taste. Bourbon is for the authentic, blue collar man. Scotch is for
    >>the white collar dufus with no soul."

    >I'm sorry, Tim, but I disagree. There are plenty of "authentic, blue collar" men
    >...who drink scotch.

    It's funny, I when I was proofreading my post, I thought to myself "why am
    I writing this?" And I decided that I should post it because I was just so
    taken with the Dave Morefield (bluesbassdad)'s line:

    If there's such a thing as "blue collar, authentic scotch", I'd say this is it.

    That line just crystallized for me the huge cultural gap that exists between
    bourbon drinkers and scotch drinkers. So I dashed out two paragraphs.

    In the first paragraph, I said that most people who buy whisk/e/y aren't educated
    consumers with highly developed palates. Which I think is true. Talking
    to people at liquor stores, duty free shops, even at Whiskey Fest (see
    footnote for amusing anecdote), I'm convinced of this. It used to upset
    me, but now it makes my happy: all of these people are keeping the high
    end spirits market in business! Without them, the great whiskies I love
    wouldn't exist!

    In my second paragraph, I'm sorry I wasn't clear enough. I ended
    the paragraph with "Thus says the American consumer." The stereotypes
    of bourbon and scotch drinkers that I outlined are not *my* beliefs. They
    are the beliefs of the people whose beliefs matter: those who do most
    of the buying.

    One of the things that all whisk/e/y lovers have to confront is that the
    business is marketing-driven. Image is everything. The people who
    do most of the buying are doing so based on image. It is inescapable.

    I didn't mean to bash scotch drinkers or bourbon drinkers, or to put
    anyone down. I'm a scotch drinker! As a matter of fact, I have more
    scotch than I have bourbon! My post was merely my was of trying
    to elucidate the cultural gap between "most" bourbon drinkers and
    "most" scotch drinkers. It's my feeling that anyone who appreciates
    great whiskies is in the (ignorable from a marketing and product
    development standpoint) minority.

    >And that's a shame, because most folks (including Tim) who contribute to this
    >board strike me as being pretty decent people, people I would like to share time
    >with over a bottle of good whiskey.

    I feel the same way. If anyone here ever finds themselves in the unfortunate
    position of being in central Illinois, they're certainly welcome to come over to my
    house. We'll drink whisk/e/y and listen to old 78s all night.


    Tim

    Footnote regarding WhiskeyFest:
    Here's my favorite line: a guy is at the Jamison table talking to an Irish girl with the
    most charming accent you've ever heard, drinking a delightfully light, high-end
    Jamison bottling, and after listening to the girl give her little two minute
    talk, he asks,"Is this bourbon?" I about died.

  7. #17
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    bourbon/scotch (Re: Teacher\'s Highland Cream)

    That reminds me of the day last fall when I found my Old Forester Birthday Bourbon. I had not been able to get it at my suburban ABC store. I work downtown, so one day I decided to see if I could find it at a downtown ABC store.

    I couldn't find any on the shelves, but I decided if I was already there, I might as well ask for it. Sure enough, they had some in the store room. She told me to get in line, wait my turn, and when it was my turn she would go back and get it.

    There were two lines, each about eight customers deep. All hard working, fairly poor people. When I got to the front, I asked how much each bottle was, and it was $38 each. I asked for two bottles. Everybody was looking at me, but they were all nice. I was very self-conscious, though.

    BTW, there are hardly ever even eight customers in the entire store where I usually go. Business is hopping downtown (for cheap vodka, gin, etc).

    Tim

  8. #18
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    bourbon/scotch (Re: Teacher\'s Highland Cream)

    Okay, I am not trying to generalize, here, but has anyone else noticed the "Balvenie guy" ads? I see them several times a week in the Wall Street Journal. They are purposely playing up to an upper-class, life of leisure snob image to sell their various hooty snooty scotches. I.e., Double Wood, Port Wood, 21-yr old, etc.

    That said, I would like to try some of their scotch.

    Tim

  9. #19
    Bourbonian of the Year 2003 and Super Moderator
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    bourbon/scotch (Re: Teacher\'s Highland Cream)

    I've never felt self conscious at the places that I buy liquor from. Sometimes the checkout girls are taken aback, but generally they see the stuff flying out the doors all day. The biggest haul I made on a particular one and I got 8 at once, about $ 312.00 . No one gave it a second notice. I think the oddest look I got was when I bought a bottle of 20Y Hirsch. When I bought a Pappy 23 it was no different to the clerk if I had got a Pepsi and a Clark Bar.

  10. #20
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    bourbon/scotch (Re: Teacher\'s Highland Cream)

    --They are purposely playing up to an upper-class, life of leisure snob image to sell their various hooty snooty scotches.--

    I don't know if they are aiming for a "snob image," but they are playing up to those in the higher income brackets. As they should. After all, who are the ones buying bottles that cost $30 and up? The answer (again): (1) whisky enthusiasts; (2) those who have the cabbage to afford "the good stuff"; and (3) status seekers. Why should Balvenie waste its time and money targeting those in lower income brackets when such consumers don't buy $30 bottles of whisky?

    And, let's be honest: aren't bourbon producers using a similar strategy to sell their single-barrel and small batch bottlings? Aren't they, too, trying to reach those in upper income brackets by projecting the image of their bourbon as part of an upper-class, leisurely lifestyle? Of course they are. They want their high-end whiskeys to have the same cachet as single malt scotch. Nothing wrong with that, as far as I'm concerned.

    And, Tim, do try Balvenie. The produce some very nice malts. The 10yo is pretty good and the 15yo single barrel can be very good (although I had some 15yo that reminded me of wet wool--blaaa!) My favorite Balvenie is the Double Wood 12yo. It's aged in old bourbon casks for most of its maturation, then is finished in old sherry casks for about 8 months or so. It is very, very good. I've also tried their 21yo port wood finish. It, too, is quite good, but I thought the wine notes were too prominent and overshadowed the Balvenie "character" a wee bit. Still, all are worth at least trying.

    SpeedyJohn



 

 

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