I've grown to like whiskey more and more over the years, but lately I think I like it a lot less.
I got alcohol poisoning when I was 19 after an evening of Colonel Lee 100-proof and sour mix, so I didn't drink whiskey again for 3 years. Then I drank Jack & Coke now and then, then tried some Maker's Mark and liked it pretty well. My brother used to drink a lot of Evan Williams Black so I would drink that when we hung out. One time I got Jim Beam Black because I liked the glasses that came with it at The Party Source in Kentucky, and I really liked that. I eventually started keeping Evan Williams and Jim Beam Black around, and I would get something else now and then when I was at the liquor store.
Now I have a lot of different things around, but I've started to notice things I really hate about stuff I used to like (or at least used to think was drinkable). I just notice an icky taste with a lot of stuff -- mostly on the back of my tongue. After I've been sipping at something for a few minutes, it starts to build up and I really can't enjoy it anymore. I really notice this with just about every whiskey these days, but it's much worse with some things.
I never used to think there was anything wrong with Maker's Mark, but now I get a bit of a bitter wheaty thing on my tongue that I don't like, so I can't drink too much of it. I used to think Buffalo Trace was great -- the first thing I liked more than Jim Beam Black. But now it tastes pretty bad to me. Part of that is because I started getting Eagle Rare, and when I try regular Buffalo Trace it tastes like Eagle Rare gone bad -- no smell, no flavor, and just sitting on the back of my tongue kinda building up a funky flavor the more sips I take. The Eagle Rare is probably my favorite bourbon, but I still notice something on the back of my tongue after a glass that makes me not want to drink more than about a shot worth.
I don't really notice this as much with Four Roses Small Batch, which is my 2nd favorite bourbon, but the Four Roses has a sort of sweetness and a lot of different flavors going on and it doesn't really taste like a real bourbon to me in the same way other things do.
I don't know. I like Wild Turkey 101 now more than I used to. I like Rare Breed more, but since it's more expensive than Eagle Rare I'm not going to bother getting it. I even notice a bit of a bad flavor with Jim Beam Black that I never used to. I'm starting to just drink ginger ale and plain Canadian Club because there's nothing wrong with that.
Things are totally backwards with rye. I taste WT Rye and think that bright fruity floral flavor (or however you'd describe it) is great, but there's something a little funky in there, too, if I don't put it on a lot of ice, and I do like regular WT a little better. I like the flavor of Jim Beam Rye a lot, but I can always pick out a bit of a murky watered-down funk to it. But I like WT Rye and Jim Beam Rye both a lot more than things that are supposed to be better. Rittenhouse 100 has a really smooth finish, has a lot of flavor, and I can tell it's trying to be something great, but it smells bad and tastes worse to me. Coke covers up all the bad parts but I can still taste the good parts, so it's really the best thing I've ever put in Coke, but I feel kinda ridiculous mixing Coke with something that everybody else thinks is so great. Sazerac is the worst, though. It has a bad banana smell and a worse banana-gone-bad flavor. And I like bananas, but Sazerac is terrible. I used to be able to drink it even though I thought the banana was weird, but now I can't stomach it even mixed with Coke. The only Rye I can say that I really like more than plain WT 101 is Russel's Reserve Rye. It smells wonderful -- better than anything else I can think of, and it's great in Manhattans, but there's nothing magical about the flavor by itself. It doesn't even really seem all that rye-ish. I mostly put it in dry Manhattans, though.
I just feel bad that I used to love regular Buffalo Trace and plain Four Roses (the yellow label), but now I don't like either of them. The Four Roses is OK, but it tastes a bit off. Part of that is missing the other flavors in the Small Batch, but part of it is just a really watered down mediocre flavor. And I'm certainly not one of those people who thinks 80-proof isn't enough, but Jim Beam Rye and Four Roses do taste watered down in a different way, kinda like they're missing flavor and cut with dirty water.
Crown Royal is something I used to like but now I think is kinda bad. Tastes like a bad attempt at making Canadian whiskey taste like bourbon. Glenlivet 12 is something I used to think was really good. I remember thinking it had a really clean taste and a lot of light floral flavors going on, and now I think it's awful.
I just don't like that I'm picking up this horrible flavor on the back of my tongue about 45 seconds into drinking a lot of things I used to like. I like WT 101, but I don't think it's great. The reason I can say I like it is not so much that I think it tastes good; it's more that I don't think there's anything really bad about WT 101, and I do think there's something really bad about most stuff, so WT 101 becomes pretty good by default.
I'm kinda concerned! Maybe I just don't like whiskey anymore.
I just tried some Berhneim, which I always liked a lot for its sort of clean simple taste. It still tastes pretty good to me, so maybe I'll be OK.
I've been on different medications for the last few years to try to stabilize my hormones (no, I'm not menopausal), but I don't think I can blame that. Even when I was taking Prometrium (which really raised my progesterone levels and made my sense of smell and taste much more sensitive) I don't remember having a whiskey aversion. Now the medication I'm on has everything stabilized, even though I do have higher estrogen levels than most women. Who knows!