Anyone who has read my posts for a while probably has picked up on this already, but my personality quirks include an obsessive desire to do things "the right way", whatever that means, and a tendency to stick with what I know rather than try something new. Both of those quirks have something to do with the fact that I have drunk at least 90% of my bourbon neat since I started drinking it regularly about a year and a half ago. (The remaining <10% was on the rocks, which I may have regarded as serious drinking at the time, but not serious tasting.)
Early on I tried adding water to Wild Turkey Russell's Reserve, but I was not pleased with that experience. From that point on I figured that if I don't enjoy it the way it comes out of the bottle, then that bourbon is just not for me.
The accumulated weight of comments by patrons of this discussion board have finally pushed me past the tipping point, with Chuck Cowdery's recent post on the subject being the last straw. Consequently, I am now sipping a drink that consists of about one jigger of Stagg and a half jigger of Arrowhead water.
I have discovered some positive things in the process, as follows:
1.) Lighting did not strike me when I poured water into the Stagg.
2.) My first sniff did not cause my face to wrinkle involuntarily, and my first sip did not produce a numbing effect.
3.) I can flood my tongue without flinching, which allows more taste buds to engage at a single sip, creating the impression of more flavor, not less. (This may be the first time I've really tasted this bourbon, as opposed to managing it.)
4.) I feel no less manly than I did before I poured this drink (although without Chuck's advance reassurance that it's OK, I dunno... ).
5.) I am already looking forward to adding even more water to Stagg the next time I drink it. (Adding just a tiny amount more water on successive trials, I would expect that at some point the enjoyment might lessen slightly, but even if I create an unacceptably weak drink, I can always add a splash of Stagg ("splash of Stagg", now there's a concept )to get back to a more desirable proportion.)
6.) I am already starting to recall other bourbons (and other spirits) I've drunk, wondering whether a slightly tamer proof might allow me to enjoy some of them even more.