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  1. #1
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    Question New! Looking for some help!

    Hello everyone! My name is Danielle and I'm a writer (or trying to be one!). I'm currently working on a novel and I was hoping you burbon experts could help me out!

    One of my main characters is a bourbon drinker. He's wealthy, cultured and likes only the finest things.

    So...

    What kind of Burbon would he drink?:

    At home in his personal study?

    At an upscale club?

    I'd really appreciate all of the help anyone of you could give me! I'm clueless when it comes to expensive liquor, but I hear that burbon is the best!

    Also could anyone explain to me the taste of a fine burbon. Is it sweet? bitter? Smooth like silk? Some liquors that I've had have a nasty bite... is the rule of thumb the better the liquor and age, the less the bite?

    Sorry for all of the questions! You can respond here, or at my email: DaniMarieShafer@aol.com

    Thank you so much!

    Danielle

  2. #2
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: New! Looking for some help!

    Fine bourbon is not related to price or image (necessarily). If this person is someone who thinks for himself and knows what's really good, have him drink Old Forester 100 proof and, for a change, Elijah Craig 12 year old. The Elijah Craig is made by America's remaining independent family owned bourbon distillery which has existed since the 1930's, so if he seeks out things with pedigree, he's got it. The Old Forester is stylish whiskey: mellow, fruity, a little smokey but all whiskey.

    Okay since he's a connoisseur, here's a third choice for him (it would be out of character for him to drink the same things all the time): Old Rip Van Winkle 20 year old bourbon. It is hard to find, but a man with his resources should have little difficulty.

    Good bourbon is sweetish from sugars and vanillins in the barrel wood that get into the drink, sometimes spicy from rye grains and the kinds of yeasts used to ferment the mash, and sometimes a little smoky, from the charred interior of the aging barrels. Some people find a peanut brittle- or candy-corn-like taste in good bourbon. If you dunked that in Grey Goose vodka, that will give an idea of what good straight whiskey is like.

    Good luck with the book.

    Gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 03-20-2007 at 12:56.

  3. #3
    Virtuoso
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    1,394

    Re: New! Looking for some help!

    Quote Originally Posted by DaniShafer View Post
    Hello everyone! My name is Danielle and I'm a writer (or trying to be one!). I'm currently working on a novel and I was hoping you burbon experts could help me out!

    One of my main characters is a bourbon drinker. He's wealthy, cultured and likes only the finest things.

    So...

    What kind of Burbon would he drink?:

    At home in his personal study?

    At an upscale club?

    I'd really appreciate all of the help anyone of you could give me! I'm clueless when it comes to expensive liquor, but I hear that burbon is the best!

    Also could anyone explain to me the taste of a fine burbon. Is it sweet? bitter? Smooth like silk? Some liquors that I've had have a nasty bite... is the rule of thumb the better the liquor and age, the less the bite?

    Sorry for all of the questions! You can respond here, or at my email: DaniMarieShafer@aol.com

    Thank you so much!

    Danielle

    Danielle,
    Welcome to the forum.

    If your character is wealthy and cultured, he could very well have purchased a barrel of Old Rip Van Winkle 15/107 a few years ago and uses that as his crystal decanter bourbon he keeps on the sideboard in the study.

    I'd say he's much more likely to call for Old Grand-Dad Bond than Jack at a watering hole with limited selection.

    At a really good bar, he might be asking for straight ryes, such as Sazerac 18, Handy, or Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye.

    I'd stay away from having him call out Maker's, JD, or Beam products at a bar, primarily because that would be the easy way out for you to take as a writer. Those products have massive advertising campaigns for _good_ products. It's like having your character drink Budweiser. Unless you were trying to show that he was an anti-snob or thrifty, it could show the reader he was susceptible to advertising more than his tastebuds. I'm not saying that would be true of a real person, but you're using his drink of choice to help define him to the reader.

    Also, unlike is said of Scotch, the best bourbon isn't necessarily 20+ years. Your man could be a drinker of younger, more feisty bourbons in the 4 to 7 year range, "mature" whiskeys of the 7-12 year range, or "extra-aged" whiskeys of 12+ years.

    Lastly, you could have him have an interest in "dusty bottles." There's a widespread belief that many of the sweeter, fruitier, more candied flavors that existed in bourbon have become lessened in the past two decades. There are many of us on this forum who are trying to get ahold of the last bottles that exhibited the flavors of a bygone era.

    Roger

  4. #4
    Bourbonian of the Year 2010 and Guru
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    Re: New! Looking for some help!

    I know a lot of writers like to mention things that have a certain cult status, stuff most people don't know about or has become so rare as to be unobtainable. I think for something like this and in a private club situation (holding bottles reserved only for him) A.H.Hirsch 20 year old would appropriate. Bottled once in 1994, the distillery in Pennsylvania closed years before that, it is a stellar example of a cult bottling.

    In a less exclusive environment he would be limited to more readily available products, perhaps choosing to drink Van Winkle Special Reserve 12yo "Lot B". Commonly simply referred to as "Lot B".

    At home, knowing that high price isn't a requirement for the good stuff, he would gladly drink Wild Turkey 101.
    2010 Bourbonian of the Year

    As long as you have good whiskey you're not "unemployed", you're "Funemployed!!!"

    I'm no Pappyophile

  5. #5
    Novice
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    Mar 2007
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    Re: New! Looking for some help!

    Thank you SOOOO much to everyone that has replied. You really know your stuff and you've given me lots of inteligent choices that make perfect sense. It may seem silly, but its the small stuff for me that developes the character and the things that were suggested are right on key for what I had in mind!!!

    So again, thank you so much for all of the help! And please continue to suggest things, lol. I can never get too much information or too many other opinions!!!

    (((Hugs)))

    Dani

  6. #6
    Guru
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    Re: New! Looking for some help!

    Gary,

    Isn't that Pappy Van Winkle 20 y/o?

    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield
    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield

    Dog Lover, Euphonium Player, Campfire Guitarist, Marksman,

  7. #7
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: New! Looking for some help!

    Good catch there, Dave. It is actually, Pappy Van Winkle's Family Reserve, 20 years old.

    Gary

  8. #8
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    Re: New! Looking for some help!

    Roger,

    I like your mention of rye. In the context of our would-be author's goal I can't help but think of the scene in the movie "The Big Sleep" where Bogie's Philip Marlowe offers to share "a pretty good bottle of rye" with the the bookstore clerk, played by Dorothy Malone.

    Unfortunately, there aren't as many ryes, or rye-drinkers, around these days. Fortunately, there is Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye, which has always had a spot on my personal Top Five list of American whiskies. Its cyclic availability also contributes to its cachet. (How does one type the letter "t" with the little mark next to it?)

    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield
    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield

    Dog Lover, Euphonium Player, Campfire Guitarist, Marksman,

  9. #9
    Bourbonian of the Year 2010 and Guru
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    Re: New! Looking for some help!

    I like the idea of including rye whiskey, too. The ultimate in insider rye bottlings would have to be Willett's Family Reserve 22 year old, with exactly five cases released to the general public and a great review in Malt Advocate Magazine. A bottle of Rittenhouse BIB could easily be his at home pour.

    Having him like dusties would be cool too.
    2010 Bourbonian of the Year

    As long as you have good whiskey you're not "unemployed", you're "Funemployed!!!"

    I'm no Pappyophile

  10. #10
    Novice
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    Mar 2007
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    Southern Cali
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    Re: New! Looking for some help!

    Hmm... maybe I'll have you guys buying my book just for the rye mention! LOL. I'll have you know when (not if) I get published, I'll be giving a nice dedication to the men (sorry if there are women) to this site who really know there stuff.

    You guys have given me so many ideas already!

    My male lead character is a shape shifter, so he's been around for a great number of years (try 300) so I really like the idea of him having his own private collection in the basement as well as having bottles especially for him at the clubs he owns.

 

 

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