...is in the eating. But what about the proof of bourbon? Last night I was enjoying some EWSB and got to thinking about its proof--86.6. What kind of number is that? I understand 80 pf because that is legally as low as it can go. And 100 pf BIB is also a matter of regulation. Two recent trends in bourbon marketing are barrel proof at one end and reduced proof at the other. The first increases revenue by appealing to bourbon enthusiasts who know that alcohol transports flavor. The second enhances revenue by stretching the bourbon with water--a price increase for the less attentive. I think I understand the marketing motivations. But what are the master distillers motivations? Can anyone really distinguish 101 or 103 from 100? When we get to 107, maybe. At 114, definitely. Headed the other way, most of us find 80 pf decidedly "thin." But how in the world did they come up with 86.6? Would I have enjoyed the EWSB less at 86.4 or more at 86.8?