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  1. #1
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    Southern Comfort 2006

    Intrigued by Chuck's information that contrary to the understanding of many bourbon aficionados Southern Comfort in fact contains bourbon (or some bourbon) I bought a bottle to try out the current version.

    I don't know whether I am being suggestible but it really did seem different from what I recall from 5-10 years ago: drier, more elegant, less sweet, and yes, more whiskey-like. If it has been made with bourbon over this period it goes to show I guess how we can all be fooled by the power of suggestion (since I always considered it as a fruity vodka in the past), but I wonder if it has really changed, and recently.

    In any case, I find it a very nice drink.

    I added a dash of my own blended bourbon mixture to dry it down further and in this form one obtains an American Rusty Nail.

    There is mileage in Southern Comfort yet and while I still prefer the export-only Reserve version (which advertises the use of 6 year old bourbon) the regular Southern Comfort is no slouch by any means and can easily be tweaked for those who find it too sweet or not whiskey-like enough.

    Gary

  2. #2
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    Re: Southern Comfort 2006

    Continuing this soliliquy, , I 'll add that in trolling the Internet there are an amazing number of interpretations of what is in Southern Comfort.

    One site refers to it being "bourbon and peaches". Another speaks of it being a "bourbon liqueur" flavored with oranges and peaches.

    Other sites mentions that the drink is based on grain neutral spirits but is flavored with "whiskey" (or variously bourbon) and various fruits of which peaches are usually mentioned.

    Oddly, in light of Chuck mentioning earlier that apricots are part of the recipe, no one I've read online talks about apricots but that no doubt reflects simple ignorance. (Chuck used to work for B-F and apart from that his great whiskey knowledge merits respect).

    Yet other sites refer to some of the ingredients mentioned above and (unspecified) "citrus".

    In further sampling my bottle, I think it is incontestable that orange in some form is incorporated in this drink. I think I detect apricots and peaches too, well-melded to be sure. And (now that Chuck has pointed it out anyway) bourbon also seems evident, however to what degree seems uncertain.

    I wonder what the "spices" are (even referred to in the official site, www.southerncomfort.com).

    Anyway, this is an excellent drink, and as I said earlier, it seems less sweet and more whiskey-tasting than in the past.

    I used it tonight 50/50 with a blend of bourbons to make the base for an excellent Manhattan.

    Gary

  3. #3
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    Re: Southern Comfort 2006

    I have never had Southern Comfort, but I have always had a positive image of it.
    Back in the good 'ole daze, I heard that Janis Joplin used to drink a bottle of it per day. So I figured it must be good stuff, man.

  4. #4
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    Re: Southern Comfort 2006

    I loved Janis Joplin. Watch her in Festival Express, a film released a few years ago chronicling a 1970 cross-Canada tour in which a number of Canadian and international bands appeared. She was great, and that is what we need to remember about her, not just the feathers, festooned liquor bottle or the attitude. Put simply, she had talent.

    Gary

  5. #5
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    Re: Southern Comfort 2006

    100% agreed!

    I was making light of my stupidity, (being an impressionable teen, and being impressed by heavy drinking), not Ms. Joplin's drinking habits.

    I loved Janis. I had all her albums, not just "Cheap Thrills".
    The one I liked the most was "Got Dem 'Ol Cozmic Blues Again Mama!"
    The critics said it was to jazzy, but I thought it had a very funky soulfullness to it. I still love the song "Try" from that album.
    "Pearl" was a little to commercial for me.

  6. #6
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    Re: Southern Comfort 2006

    Hey, I was a teen too, in her heyday, I understand fully what you mean.

    She was cool, the peformances in Festival Express show how much.

    But mostly she was real.

    Gary

  7. #7
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    Re: Southern Comfort 2006

    Her voice sounded like Joan Baez before she started drinking it.

    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield
    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield

    Dog Lover, Euphonium Player, Campfire Guitarist, Marksman,

  8. #8
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    Re: Southern Comfort 2006

    On my bottle (35% abv version) there is a statement, "T.W. Heron's Original New Orleans Recipe".

    If bottles of about 5-10 years old did not state this claim, this would reinforce Chuck's understanding of bourbon being added sometime during the last 10 years.

    Regardless of when this occurred, I think even people who don't normally drink Southern Comfort would have to admit it has an appealing nose. It is a very well-integrated fruity/whiskey-like smell dominated (to my taste anyway) by orange citrus with other fruits underneath.

    It would surprise me if the original formulation was all-bourbon. It seems more likely it was a compound, blending bourbon, GNS, sugar, fruit flavourings and probably spices of some kind. Therefore the claim on the bottle rings true to my mind.

    Anyway, since Southern Comfort now contains it seems approximately 20% bourbon, mixing it (for those inclined) with Old Forester or any good bourbon or rye would simply increase its whiskey character and decrease the sweetness. By doing a 50/50 or 50/75 blend of Comfort to the bourbon you come up with the base of an Old-Fashioned, basically and from there can go to one of a number of other cocktails or long drinks.

    Gary

  9. #9
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    Re: Southern Comfort 2006

    I occassionaly use Southern Comfort in lieu of sweet vermouth along with a good rye in a manhattan. It's a recipe I first sampled in Phoenix where they called it a "Wry Manhattan".
    John B

    "Drinking when we are not thirsty and making love at all seasons… that is all there is to distinguish us from other animals."

  10. #10
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Southern Comfort 2006

    I worked for one of Brown-Forman's marketing agencies in the early days of that company's ownership of Southern Comfort. Not only can I attest that in those days it contained no whiskey of any kind, but also that we used to laugh about the many wrong statements of what it really was. My favorite was Grossman, who said it was a mixture of bourbon and peach brandy. All I was told about the actual recipe is that is was GNS, sugar and a flavoring concentrate which contained several different fruits, but apricot was the predominate one.

    I feel safe in saying that nothing about the recipe had changed by the time I stopped working on the brand, which was mid-1986. The change has been since then.

    The new information I have, which comes from Chris Morris, is that it now contains about 20% bourbon and the flavoring concentrate is all natural flavors. I was in the room where it was being made and the bourbon scent, as distinct from the scent of GNS, was unmistakable.

    I've certainly told many people that Southern Comfort doesn't contain whiskey and for at least some of the time I've been saying that, I've been wrong, for which I apologize.

 

 

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