Late last night I had my first drink of bourbon of the day, and I settled on Kentucky Spirit, a generous two ounces in a Rare Breed glass.
As I settled down to take a look at Fox News on TV, I casually sniffed my drink. I found it very pleasing, even though no vivid descriptors came to mind.
A few sniffs later, I took a sip. It was disappointing. It simply didn't provide a continuation of the enjoyable aroma that had impressed me earlier.
As I pondered my sensations, I couldn't help but wonder whether I was being fair. Did my emotional attachment to the Wild Turkey image and my knowledge that I was drinking their top-of-the-line bottling in the domestic market cause me to expect too much? Or could it be that the bourbon delivered too little?
I tried to imagine (a risky approach, at best) encountering KS in a blind tasting. Never mind whether I would recognize it; after careful tasting, would I conclude that I was drinking a special bourbon, one worthy of a $40 price label? Absent any knowledge of its source, and without the recent memory of feeling the hefty weight of that magnificent stopper in my hand, would I find this bourbon more enjoyable than any number of others that sell for half the price, or a bit more?
What causes me to favor any bourbon over another? Complexity? Hardly. I seldom identify more than two or three flavors (never coriander, candlewood or cattails ). Lack of burn? Yes, to some extent, but it can't be too sissy-fied, either. A vague sense of a quality of richness in the flavor? Frequently. Yet on occasion I find a quality of focused clarity appealling. (Think "Virgina Gentleman, 90 proof, six year-old".)
I'm not sure where all this leads, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Kentucky Spirit may end up on my do-not-replace list, joining such disparate entries as Jefferson's Reserve, Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel, Kentucky Pride, Evan Williams Single Barrel '92 and Benchmark.