My descent into bourbonmania began two months ago, today. My wife and I were visiting some friends in Birmingham, AL. When asked if I wanted a drink, I gave my usual would-you-like-booze reply, "of course!"

"Scotch or bourbon?"
"Don't know. Not sure if I could tell them apart."
"Oh, you'll be able to tell."

He gave me two glasses; one with Basil Hayden and another with a since forgotten scotch. The scotch wasn't terrible but wasn't great either. Tasty but burny. But, the Hayden was sweet, delicious and much more approachable.

"Mmm, that's really smooth" (read: "I have no idea what I'm talking about, but I really like it")

Our conversation over the next couple nights revolved around bourbon. At some point, Pappy was brought up; the greatest bourbon that I'll never get to try. Somewhere out there exists a mythical unicorn of a whiskey that few, if any, can obtain. My response was two words long: challenge accepted.

My quest for pappy was short lived. I spent two weeks calling around and reading about my unicorn. Then I found it. Waaaay overpriced but I found it. I bristled at the price and hung up the phone. Then over the next couple days, I talked myself into it. Well, I talked myself into "just going and looking at it" which I knew was a bad idea. I went. I looked. I held............ I bought.

I won't say the price because I don't want this thread to turn into another referendum on the price-gouging pappy market. Just know that it's high enough that I'm embarrassed to have paid it (knowing what I know now).

A funny thing happened on my way to pappy, though. I started to enjoy this whole bourbon thing. Nearly every time I went into a shop to inquire about pappy, I bought a bottle. First, I tried Eagle Rare, then Evan Williams Single Barrel, then WL Weller SR, then Bulleit and so on. I found a couple blogs that I enjoyed like Sour Mash Manifesto and Bourbon Dork among others. I came across StraightBourbon and started reading through the threads, voraciously. Then I hit a thread that was closed to the public. So I joined with sole intent of lurking. Then one night, I hear this beeping. Turns out I had unwittingly logged into a chatroom and people were talking to me. So, I chatted. Met FishBowlJoe, Hectic1, Pieface and a couple others. Super welcoming.

Then I heard about dusty hunting. I've been out a couple times to very, very little avail. Apparently, someone has picked Gainesville, FL over. It's still fun but it'd be nice to win once or twice. Any tips/locations (within 50 miles) would be greatly appreciated. I promise not clean someone's honey hole out (among other things, I don't have the capital to do that).

And so, here I am. A budding bourbon enthusiast.

I wasn't going to tell the pappy part this story. I wanted to play this close to the vest and avoid looking like another trendy wannabe. But alas, it's part of my story and I don't know that I'd be here without it. And, boy am I glad to be here.

That's about it. Sorry for the ramble. Thanks for reading.