Blog entry on WhiskyFest in San Francisco (2007) and Bourbon & Branch Bar (which I need to get to next time I am out there)!

...My impulse was to go directly for the Stagg — at 144 proof, the bulldozer of bourbons — but instead I started gentle, with a taste of the Sazerac 18-year-old rye. Christ – I love all the Sazerac ryes (the Thomas Handy is one of my top 3 ryes, ever), but the 18-year-old is really a centerpiece of the Antique Collection, and it’s easy to see why. Dry, oaky, almost musty in its austerity, the rye has a beautifully crisp flavor that really primes the palate. It was hard to tear myself away from the Sazerac, but for the sake of the Stagg, I managed it, and JESUS! was that a big bunch of whiskey in the glass. At 144 proof, this bourbon is afraid of nothing, and it had this amazing aroma of pipe tobacco that made you just want to settle down with a glass and spend some time getting acquainted. This is probably gonna be my Christmas present to myself this year, assuming I can find a bottle.