Having just awoken from the recurring nightmare in which my status as a noncontributing whiskey lurker is discovered and swiftly punished, I typed this still in the grip of dread, hoping for forgiveness and maybe even understanding. Many were the nights when I lol’d at something Squire, Plankton (sorry cannot think of his actual handle--hey, his whiskey forum "handle," not bad!), or others wrote, or bristled lightly as someone got crotched at by Cowdery. I wallowed in the knowledge shared by you wonderful folk, heavy with remorse but vaguely wondering if someday I might finally have something of value to share. Well my fickle, whiskey-obsessed unconscious mind says the day has come to share, value or not.
As for the sad tale of my personal whiskey trail, it started in college, in the early 90’s, when my first encounter with spirits of any kind involved getting kicked by a White Horse. Not particularly enamored with the flavor of this whisky, I later tried a bit of JD. Charcoal soaked in vanilla extract, I exclaimed. Of course, the goal in those days was not exactly connoisseurship (nor is it exactly that now fwiw), but having something to suck down at parties that was agreeable enough not to trigger a facial expression the girl you were trying to flirt with might take personally. Next time I was at the liquor mart a bottle of Weller looked worth a go, as it proclaimed itself a ‘wheated" bourbon so could be something different and just as importantly was on sale for cheap.
Back at the residence, I was immediately taken with the stuff. But could something so friendly, sweet and rich be "real" whiskey, or was it some sort of "training wheels" bourbon? The very next party answered these unuttered questions no/yes, as an acquaintance whose opinions were widely admired saw the Weller on the counter and exclaimed, "that shit is for pussies!" Already overstocked in the weirdness department and not keen on also being a shit-drinking pussy, I bought a couple different bottles of Weller for lonesome sipping but kept the serious consideration reserved for other, more machismatically accepted labels from Beam.
When it was time to go my own way in the world of drinks, I considered briefly the possibility of diving deeply into bourbon, but my experience made it seem the choice would be primarily between harsh, manly variants and the gentle, guilty pleasures of juice marketed to frightened pussies. So I jumped off another side of the precipice and tried a few rums. Now here was a spirit that somehow had a badass rep combined with a sweet, easy disposition. Even the boldest rums were as endearing as Beam had been off-putting. Long story short, next came the worlds of beer, gin, tequila, and mezcal (with less-thorough stops in vineyards and distilleries along the way). With Mezcal I thought perhaps I was reaching a pinnacle of sorts. Smoky and fragrant, complex and intriguing, but with a full-bodied agave foundation and hand-crafted on a small, romantic scale to boot. But it led to curiosity about its smoky little sibling, Scotch. Which ultimately led me, finally, back to American Whiskey and a saddening realization.
The central romance I had longed for, the true bride resting on shelves filled mostly with gold diggers and promises of cheap one night stands, was the one I had intentionally neglected for so long. But even during the few blissful dances of euphoric reunion, I sensed it her wafting perfume, tasted it in her oaky kiss. I saw it in the daylight streaming in through the windows of SB and other edifices. She had changed. Despite the fumbling, limited ways I had played with her in my youth, her essence had made itself known. The Weller I urgently returned to last year just did not seem the same. Of course, at first I wondered through several pours if it was I who had changed, but the aforementioned daylight left her on stark display as a corpse bride. Familiar in overall form and bejeweled with reminders of her former charms, but disjointed and decayed.
Oh, how passionately I should have bunkered her when she offered herself to me in the full bloom of her beauty and integrity! I should have bunkered the hell out of her, and her friends whose time is also now passed. We could have lived together in a beautiful commune of peace, love, and harmony.
A hundred fruitless dusty hunts, a hundred partially emptied whiskey bottles, and a few new flings later . . . .
So basically, just want to say Hi, and thanks for the sense of comradery you have provided to a frequent lurker.