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  1. #1
    Administrator in exile
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    Why does bourbon appeal to you...

    more than vodka, tequilla, rum, brandy or foreign whiskies? I am going to assume that since we are all here, bourbon is the drink of choice for most members. Is it the taste or the variety of brands available? Is it because bourbon is uniquely "american"? Do you come from a long line of bourbon drinkers? How did bourbon come to be your drink of choice and what is it that sets it apart from other libations, in your opinion?

  2. #2
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    Re: Why does bourbon appeal to you...

    Good question. For me it is the taste of bourbon. This is so mainly with bourbon sampled neat although I like it sometimes on the rocks, but its true character comes through for me taken straight up, no ice. Recent bourbons that epitomise what I am looking for are Elmer T. Lee (with its new silky texture), Ancient Age Bottled In Bond (I don't know if this is still made but if any of you see it, buy it) and on the rye whiskey side, the current Wild Turkey Rye. These are perfect taken neat at their original proof. I like other bourbons too, notably Woodford Reserve and Jim Beam Black Label.

    Second to bourbon for me is good malt (Scotch) whisky with some Irish whiskey as footnote no. 1 (notably Connemara Cask Strength). Third is Canadian whisky. Vodka and gin follow after that. Rum is good once in a while, but doesn't really rate in my book. But I must say too malt whiskey is so different to straight U.S. whiskey that I would really put it on a par with bourbon. I like smoky scotches that have a sherried background. Since there are not that many of these out there I tend to vat my own at home.

    I also still like beer a lot but it falls into a different category for me.

    If I ever had the taste for brandy I have lost it, I find its perfumedness off-putting. I can take a dry-style cognac occasionally. If it is to be sweet and rich it has to be bourbon.

    I have not acquired a taste for tequila except in a straight up margarita made with real citrus juice.

    Gary

  3. #3
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Why does bourbon appeal to you...

    For me it's the taste and the heritage. I think it has to be the taste, in every case, because I can't imagine drinking it for some other reason if the taste doesn't appeal to you. But it would be interesting to know the other factors too. My parents drank bourbon, but I did experiment with some other things before I came back to it. I did so when I was living in Kentucky and working in the industry, and became fascinated with the heritage of it. It was the American-ness that appealed to me in the sense that the heritage was accessible (I was living there) and "mine" (i.e., American).

  4. #4
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    Re: Why does bourbon appeal to you...

    I never liked wine or beer. I never really liked the alcohol taste. I did drink Canadians every now and then. About 2 years ago I tried Booker's. I loved the taste and I really enjoyed it. About 1 1/2 years ago I started trying different bourbons.
    So, I like bourbon because of the taste. With all of the different brands, there are so many different tastes. Most are so enjoyable. A big part of it is the fact that it is the only true "American" whiskey. The history is fascinating!. Put that all together and that's why bourbon is, by far, my favorite libation.

  5. #5
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    Re: Why does bourbon appeal to you...

    As others have stated, it is first and foremost the taste of bourbon that does it for me. All other reasons for drinking it are secondary to the sensory enjoyment that this spirit offers. With that said, the heritage and history behind the drink are fascinating, and certainly add to my enjoyment.

    Bourbon is not a common libation in my neck of the woods, which makes it even more attractive to me. Many of my snooty peers (including one holier-than-thou family member) will mock me for drinking a "redneck" drink, while they swill Crown Royal and single malt scotch. I've given up trying to convert most of them. I just sit back with a Riedel glass of something like Pappy 15 or 20, Weller Centennial, Evan Williams Single Barrel, Buffalo Trace or one of many others, and think to myself, with a little smile, "More for me."

  6. #6
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    Re: Why does bourbon appeal to you...

    Bourbon is not a common libation in my neck of the woods, which makes it even more attractive to me. Many of my snooty peers (including one holier-than-thou family member) will mock me for drinking a "redneck" drink, while they swill Crown Royal and single malt scotch.
    That is, more or less, how I got started on bourbon. Most people I knew worshipped at the altar of single malt Scotch and sneered at everything else.(And to be quite honest, so did I.)

    I´ve always been an against-the-grain kind of person and noticing that there were a handful of expensive bourbons available, I simply decided to check them out. Booker´s were my first choice - clearly, this was an unwise way to start off. I was, to put it mildly, overwhelmed.

    My second choice, though, was Woodford reserve, and it clicked immediately. I began to realize that there was a world out there to explore and that a lot of people were missing out on something good. Since then, I have, as they say, never looked back.

    Oh, almost forgot the original question! I enjoy Scotch, Irish, rum, Cognac, rye etc but my desert island-choice for a drink would naturally be bourbon.

  7. #7
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: Why does bourbon appeal to you...

    It is amazing how deep-rooted the aversion can be, in its home country, to bourbon. I know a lady, originally from Texas, who almost literally shudders when I mention bourbon. She can't get past the image it has for her. She says it evokes images of moonshine and liquor made in a shack at the back of the property. I explain how it is made, how much of it stands with or exceeds the world's great spirits, but she won't even taste it. To a degree people anywhere tend to prefer something from far away as "better" even if it isn't, due to factors related to social distinctions, snobbery, etc. Perhaps too the unusual history of whiskey explains this attitude in the sense that it was banned from the market at times, not well-looked upon (sometimes for good reason) by the churches and other authorities, and otherwise not, shall we say, in the social register, but one would think those attitudes would have changed by now.

    Gary

  8. #8
    Administrator in exile
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    Re: Why does bourbon appeal to you...

    I think it has to be the taste, in every case, because I can't imagine drinking it for some other reason if the taste doesn't appeal to you.
    I didn't mean to imply that someone might drink bourbon for other reasons even if they didn't like the taste, but rather: what is it about the taste itself that appeals to you more than other drink choices?

  9. #9
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    Re: Why does bourbon appeal to you...

    Count me in as one who is drawn to bourbon for its deep wellspring of interesting flavors. I'd sampled all kinds of beer, wine, and mixed drinks, always dabbling but never really finding much appeal in any of them. Drinking mostly to be social.

    This changed when my girlfriend bought me a little beginner's book about whisk(e)y a couple years ago, mostly on a whim. I was fascinated by it, and started by buying a bottle of Irish whiskey (Powers), since it was inexpensive and easily available. I liked it more than I thought I would. A bottle of single malt Scotch (Aberlour 10) came next. My third bottle was bourbon (ORVW 10/90). I liked all three in different ways. Additional books and bottles soon found their way onto my shelves, and I gradually determined that bourbon appealed to me more than any of the other styles.

    I still buy and enjoy Scotch, but bourbon has definitely captured the lion's share of my income and interest.

  10. #10
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    Re: Why does bourbon appeal to you...

    I know a lady, originally from Texas, who almost literally shudders when I mention bourbon. She can't get past the image it has for her.
    Gary,

    I have successfully converted two friends to drinking bourbon, both of whom had that same reaction when I started mentioning that it had become my drink of choice. One of them is my own age, and he and I had foolishly consumed handles of Beam white together on occasion in college. I gave him a bottle of Blanton's for his 25th birthday, and it completely changed his view on bourbon.

    My other friend is more than 20 years my senior, and had avoided bourbon for his entire life, shuddering at the thought of bourbon in a manner similar to that of the woman you mentioned. I gave him a bottle of Elijah Craig 12 yr (probably not the best choice, but I was fairly new to bourbon also). In a few short months, he went from mixing with coke, to drinking on-the-rocks, to drinking bourbon neat. He now will rarely drink anything else, and cannot believe that he had avoided it for so long.

    I guess my point (if I have one) is that this attitude is widespread, and that while bourbon (like any other spirit) is not for everyone, it would probably appeal taste-wise to a much larger audience than currently consumes it, simply because of its reputation in certain circles as a low-quality moonshine-type product. I think that this is changing as people are drawn to the premium and super-premium bottlings, and that the distilleries are working very hard to reverse this image. I just hope the traditional bottlings don't get left in the dust with all the concentration on high-priced brands.

 

 

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