I keep my dad's house supplied with bourbon. That usually just amounts to one or two bottles, a larger inventory would not be welcome.
It's as much for me as it is for him. Probably more for me, in terms of what that bottle is, because he'll drink anything. That's not quite true. My parents always bought the cheapest bourbon they could find. It had to be Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, but beyond that anything would do. For centuries the house brand was Mattingly & Moore.
He doesn't drink often, but usually will have one when I do.
When I asked him a few years ago what he would like to try, he mentioned drinking Old Fitzgerald in his college days (equal halves on either side of WWII) and also straight rye. I got him some Fitz BIB. Since he likes everything fine, I was looking for something he would spark to.
It wasn't Old Fitz.
So I started in on the ryes. He remembered rye whiskey tasting like rye bread. I tried the usual suspects but there wasn't any spark. When we got to Van Winkle Rye, he sparked. He said it didn't taste like rye bread, but it sure was good. He became a big Van Winkle Rye fan. He enjoyed telling his friends he was going home to "spend some time with Mr. Van Winkle."
I can't imagine what they thought he meant, though I'm sure he explained it to them. Dad is very generous about explaining things.
At one point, with Van Winkles thin on the ground, I tried a few other things: Weller Special Reserve, Weller 12-year-old, Old Grand-Dad BIB, Rittenhouse Rye, and I don't remember what else. No sparks.
I finally got a spark with Evan Williams Single Barrel, probably 1994 originally, but what he has now is 1997, I think. Actually, make that past tense. My sister told me the cupboard is bare, so I'm taking him a 1997 next week.
The interesting thing to me is that he wasn't really looking for nor particularly did he want to try a couple of things to see if he liked one more than another, but when over time I happened to hit on something he particularly favored, he let me know.
It makes me happy to make him happy, but I can't always get there directly. We'll see how long EWSB does the trick.