I am not trying to go all preachy here, but I feel this post deep within my being, so I hope you'll indulge me a bit. I'd like to talk about achieving Bourbon Zen....as I have grown weary of all the fall release nonsense, and would like to see if there are any other like-minded souls in these forums. What is Bourbon Zen, you ask? Allow me to elaborate.....
My buddy Compliance and I were talking recently about all the changes we've seen in the bourbon hobby the past 2-3 years and how all the attention paid to Pappy, BTAC, 4R Ltd and whatnot recently has severely impacted not just the availability of the fall releases but also how it has made the pursuit of said releases a totally lame experience. It has already driven one of our buddies out of the "hobby" (if you call drinking a hobby, I don't really know...but he sold all of his bunker off and essentially "quit" SB)...and it dawned on the both of us that at this point, until currently new stocks get some time to age and the industry supply catches up with demand, it's important to consider pursuing "Bourbon Zen."
Bourbon Zen is a mindset, not necessarily an ethos, but it is state of mind that seems to be eluding a lot of the younger generation. (I'm looking at you, Millenials,) Bourbon zen is the idea that you can be not only content, but happy with what whiskey we DO have at the moment. It's the idea that you don't need to fight tooth and nail for that one elusive bottle of Pappy 15 (which is just BT juice at this point,) when you can grab a Weller 12 any day of the week for $30. It's the celebration of the middle shelf. It's admitting to yourself that you know what, liking Blanton's is okay. It's celebrating the fact that at no time in our collective hive-mindset history have we had as many well made whiskies at our fingertips, for relatively affordable prices, in so many different styles. Bourbon Zen will remind you that until recently, your only rye options really were Overholt.....and Overholt. (The west coast didn't get Rittenhouse until the 2000's, if I'm not mistaken.) Bourbon Zen is what happens when you've learned what YOU truly like, and not giving a shit about whether or not a whiskey is "good" based on provenance, ala SW. Bourbon Zen asks you to embrace your palette, your style...and being happy when you find something YOU like, not what John Hansell tells you you SHOULD like.
You might call it embracing mediocrity, or a fear of competition, I dunno....but I guess at the end of the day, I feel so tired of fighting the teeming masses to find a bottle of overpriced 10 year old heaven hill whiskey (come on, you KNOW PHC 7 isn't worth $90...but I do like how $ is going to research, I'm not a total asshole,) that Bourbon Zen just sounds perfect to me.
So to all you newbies out there that are just joining this "hobby" or are looking for "the best whiskey of the year," I would ask that you slow down a bit, think about what YOU actually like in your whiskey....and see if you don't wind up embracing Bourbon Zen, I bet that you will.
And with that...cheers. *lifts a glass of Weller 12 in your direction* Who's with me?