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Guss West

Bourbon Burnout

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Harry in WashDC
On 12/29/2018 at 10:11 AM, Guss West said:

Thanks all for the thoughtful replies. 

 

After further reflection I think what I really want is to go deeper in my understanding of the art and tek of distilling and aging whisky.  My academic background means I naturally "geek out" on new hobbies and go as deep down the rabbit hole as I can afford.  I'm currently working on a reading list to scratch this itch, and have read a number of seminal books on the topic. Book recommendations welcome!  A trip to Kentucky is on the bucket list too, but I need to go deeper than the typical tour.  I want to intern in a distillery for six months!   

 

I have done what many here suggest, and thanks to the great guidance here have accumulated a bunker of fantastic tater-free bourbon that will last more than my lifetime.  Currently, I am also buying mostly private selections, but even this year had trouble finding any standouts.  The BT was good, but just a good expression of the line. Nothing like the unique barrel I got a case of in 2017.  I'm only buying single bottles, when the rare new expression strikes my fancy.  (I hope to snag a Bowman port-finished today.) 

 

Like many of you, I seem to know more about whiskey than 99% of the population.  And, given my career is in science education I'm thinking of trying to make additional part time work as a brand ambassador.  I travel for work, and have evenings free.  Would be possible to set up tastings/classes in the cities I visit weekly.  I want to use my earned whiskey knowledge to get other people excited and interested in whiskey.  Anyone ever come across a whiskey curriculum?  Curious what Daniel has developed at Wizard Academy. 

 

The history of scotch whiskey seems to be an unexplored avenue for me and provides a generous background from which to explore whiskey.  I've ordered the MacDonald book as a start. 

 

Now I'm just rambling.  Yes, BTAC hunting is just frustrating; but that isn't my primary angst.  I don't want to try Pappy, I want to try Stitzel-Weller juice.  I found plenty of GTS this year.  Not worth the $400 asking price.  I need to find a bourbon mentor who built their bunker in the Seventies and Eighties. 

 

Happy Holidaze, Y'all!!

Try reading some of these (which I copied from a post I did in March 2018 on a thread re: Bourbon history books, of which threads there are several on SB.com) --

 

[begin quote]

Reid Mitenbuler's "Bourbon Empire"

Fred Minnick's "Bourbon Curious" and "Bourbon: the Rise and Fall and Rebirth . . ."

Mike Veach's "Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey, an American Heritage"

Clay Risen's "American Whiskey"

Lew Bryson's "Tasting Whiskey"

 

CHUCK COWDERY's "Bourbon Straight" and "Bourbon Strange" and his BCR newsletter (I have read both books several times, have annotated my hardcopy B.Strange, and give hard copies to friends expressing an interest in bourbon; his blog contains additional reading materials)

 

Apologies to those authors on SB whose books I did not list.  Please see the next paragraphs.

 

Also, repeated and creative use of "search" for "books" and "chemistry" etc. and perusing the "History" threads should turn up discussions and references to books on the distilling process as well as the distilled spirits business.

 

Also, the books above have good bibliographies listing books from the 1960s-1980s, many of which I have found on eBay and on Amazon's third party sellers. [end quote]

 

Also, check out Amy Stewart's "The Drunken Botanist" and "Proof" by Adam Rogers.  And, add Fred M.'s "Whiskey Women".

 

FINALLY, we all go through periods when nothing strikes our fancy.  I haven't had any bourbon since about 2PM today (hahahaha).  I had one gin drink night before last and no bourbon as I was just not in the mood.  What I do is - I don't force it or fret.  Rather, I go into the bunker periodically and stare at labels until one speaks to me.  If none do, I don't drink.  I've gone days with nothing jumping out.  When all this fails, I read through the several hundred cocktail recipes I've amassed over the years.  If nothing STILL jumps out, I make a gin and tonic with fresh Key lime and a spot of blue agave syrup to tide me over.

 

Vodka and GatorAde sometimes hits the spot.  I even go days without alcohol. 

 

I have yet to resort to scotch although my collection of Irish whiskies is growing at the same rate my collection of laid-up ports is shrinking.

 

Wine and beer don't count, of course, which I drink instead of water as we  all know what fish do in water.:o

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smokinjoe
On 12/28/2018 at 10:51 AM, Guss West said:

I've found and tried most modern bourbons, all but the rarest unicorns.

The demotivating effects of constant denial in procuring them has tempered my enthusiasm. 

 

I've found myself drawn more to Scotch, but mostly can't afford the bottles that catch my interest. 

 

I'm taking a dry week in January, and cutting back to 3x3 drinks per week in 2019.  Might switch to more red wine. 

 

Hoping to try some more unicorns at on-premise accounts, but not holding my breath any longer. 

 

What to do when facing bourbon burnout?

 

 

I read in your follow up post that you fancy being a Bourbon/Whiskey Brand Ambassador. 

Pro Tip:  don’t include this post in your application cover letter.  :D

 

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graftonbc1

While reading this thread, I was sipping OGD 114. I got it for Christmas. I had never tasted it before. 

 

The flavor was huge. But what was a delight was the finish; first, lots of fiery spice, then black licorice and mint. 

 

My my daughter bought it for me and paid under 25 for it (I believe). 

 

As as long as great tasting and satisfying bourbon exists at a great value, there doesn’t seem to me to be a need to stress over expensive and difficult to find things. 

 

Excuse me. I need to pour another finger. 

 

 

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kcgumbohead
On 12/28/2018 at 11:28 AM, The Black Tot said:

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law

Is that Crowley?

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WhiskeyBlender
Posted (edited)
On 12/29/2018 at 7:11 AM, Guss West said:

Thanks all for the thoughtful replies. 

 

After further reflection I think what I really want is to go deeper in my understanding of the art and tek of distilling and aging whisky.  My academic background means I naturally "geek out" on new hobbies and go as deep down the rabbit hole as I can afford.  I'm currently working on a reading list to scratch this itch, and have read a number of seminal books on the topic. Book recommendations welcome!  A trip to Kentucky is on the bucket list too, but I need to go deeper than the typical tour.  I want to intern in a distillery for six months!   

 

I have done what many here suggest, and thanks to the great guidance here have accumulated a bunker of fantastic tater-free bourbon that will last more than my lifetime.  Currently, I am also buying mostly private selections, but even this year had trouble finding any standouts.  The BT was good, but just a good expression of the line. Nothing like the unique barrel I got a case of in 2017.  I'm only buying single bottles, when the rare new expression strikes my fancy.  (I hope to snag a Bowman port-finished today.) 

 

Like many of you, I seem to know more about whiskey than 99% of the population.  And, given my career is in science education I'm thinking of trying to make additional part time work as a brand ambassador.  I travel for work, and have evenings free.  Would be possible to set up tastings/classes in the cities I visit weekly.  I want to use my earned whiskey knowledge to get other people excited and interested in whiskey.  Anyone ever come across a whiskey curriculum?  Curious what Daniel has developed at Wizard Academy. 

 

The history of scotch whiskey seems to be an unexplored avenue for me and provides a generous background from which to explore whiskey.  I've ordered the MacDonald book as a start. 

 

Now I'm just rambling.  Yes, BTAC hunting is just frustrating; but that isn't my primary angst.  I don't want to try Pappy, I want to try Stitzel-Weller juice.  I found plenty of GTS this year.  Not worth the $400 asking price.  I need to find a bourbon mentor who built their bunker in the Seventies and Eighties. 

 

Happy Holidaze, Y'all!!

@Guss West, since you are academically inclined and you are interested in learning more about the science and art of fermentation, distillation, and maturation of whiskey, I have some reading list and class recommendations for you, if you're interested.  

 

One of my all-time favorites production books is "Fermented Beverage Production," edited by Andrew Lea and John Piggott. Although it discusses everything from fortified wine production, brandy, rum, tequila, etc., as well as whiskey, it is an excellent primer in the technology of spirits production. In fact, pretty much anything that is written or edited by J. Piggott will be solid gold. 

 

A good book which obviously focuses more on whiskey production is "Whisky: Technology, Production and Marketing," by Inge Russell and Graham Stewart. Another excellent but very expensive book is called "The Alcohol Textbook: A Reference for the Beverage, Fuel, and Industrial Alcohol Industries." This book is really more like a giant tome but is full of great information. Finally, there is the "Compleat Distiller," which is published by the Amphora Society. This book is more geared towards home distillation, which unlike here in the U.S. where home distillation is a felony, is legal in New Zealand where the book is published. Even so, it still gives a great intro to the mechanicals of distillation. This isn't an exhaustive list by any means, but it is a good start. 

 

If you are looking for whiskey distillation classes, then there are a few that I can personally vouch for. I'm not trying to promote the classes I teach necessarily, but if you are interested, there are some great whiskey distillation 101 classes that are taught through the American Distilling Institute (ADI) or through the Distilled Spirits Epicenter "Moonshine University" in Louisville, KY. I'm on the faculty at both of these organizations and I teach Maturation, Warehousing, and Blending and also Nosing for Faults for both of them. However, it seems that a whiskey and/or bourbon distillation 101 class would be more of what you are looking for. There are of course other many whiskey production 101 courses out there besides the ones offered by these organizations, but regardless, even taking a 1 or 2 day class like that would really let you know if it is something you might want to pursue professionally. 

 

At any rate, I wish you all the luck in the world in your quest! 

 

Cheers,

Nancy

Edited by WhiskeyBlender
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Guss West

Nancy, I am a huge fan! 

 

Your recent interview with the Dummies was a hoot. 

Dare I say I've crashed more than one party with my set of graduated cylinders!! 

 

Was thinking how much I'd enjoy taking your whiskey courses.  Commencing research forthwith. 

 

Here's to a successful 2019!

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Harry in WashDC
5 hours ago, graftonbc1 said:

While reading this thread, I was sipping OGD 114. I got it for Christmas. I had never tasted it before.  [I snipped the rest of the post for brevity's sake.  /s/Harry in WashDC]

Circa really early 2014 when I joined SB.com, I, too, had not had OGD 114.  I had had many gallons of JD and VaGentleman and lots of Lot B but had never really focused on "bourbon" as an art form.   Shortly after joining, Squire and Tunnel Tiger and some other SBers were talking about OGD 114 on some thread (Bottle of the Month?), and I bought a bottle.  I poured a little neat.  It burned and spit at me and was HOT and peppery.  I was reallyreally disappointed.  I went in the kitchen to get some water and some ice.  When I returned to the TV/guest room, a fruit ambrosia FILLED the room.  I traced it to the OGD 114.  I added one ice cube and waited until it melted, and the aroma got richer.  I took a TINY sip.  Magic was in my glass.  I spent the next four nights consuming the whole bottle with various amounts of water and ice.  THIS experience more than any other taught me that bourbon has a complexity that most people nevernevernever appreciate.  IMHO, it rivals some Bordeaux, some really expensive ports, and a lot of beers I've had over the years, and I don't have to pay $many for it.

 

Through trial and error and some really anal measuring, I have determined that one ice cube from our fridge's ice maker in 2 measured ounces of OGD 114 takes it to about 104.5 or so proof which, when allowed to return to room temp, makes me really happy.

 

In other words, YEP.

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The Black Tot
7 hours ago, kcgumbohead said:

Is that Crowley?

It's the only thing I know about Crowley, yes. I use it facetiously now and again when I want to tell people to just do what they want :)

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GeeTen
15 hours ago, graftonbc1 said:

While reading this thread, I was sipping OGD 114. I got it for Christmas. I had never tasted it before. 

 

The flavor was huge. But what was a delight was the finish; first, lots of fiery spice, then black licorice and mint. 

 

My my daughter bought it for me and paid under 25 for it (I believe). 

 

As as long as great tasting and satisfying bourbon exists at a great value, there doesn’t seem to me to be a need to stress over expensive and difficult to find things. 

 

Excuse me. I need to pour another finger. 

 

 

And you can vat the OGD114 with some WSR (2:3) and have a nice bottle of Granpa Weller's Four Grain, my friend.  If you need any WSR, please let me know . . . . . . . .  ☺️

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graftonbc1
49 minutes ago, GeeTen said:

 

And you can vat the OGD114 with some WSR (2:3) and have a nice bottle of Granpa Weller's Four Grain, my friend.  If you need any WSR, please let me know . . . . . . . .  ☺️

You never fail to surprise me, my friend. I have some WSR in the bunker. How long do I let it rest before tasting?

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Harry in WashDC
3 hours ago, graftonbc1 said:

You never fail to surprise me, my friend. I have some WSR in the bunker. How long do I let it rest before tasting?

I let my first batch sit about a month with no agitation (according to the Sharpie notes on the label I put on it).  I did taste it the day of vatting and found it "confused" but that second sip a month later was creamy, well-balanced, and complex.  My most recent batch, mixed with about an inch of the old batch still in the bottle, sat two weeks before I tasted it.  It was fine.  I have no intention of tasting the next batch, when I make it, at under two weeks.  Not a rule, just an intention.

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FacePlant
1 hour ago, Harry in WashDC said:

My most recent batch, mixed with about an inch of the old batch still in the bottle,

I think they call that sour mash.

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WhiskeyBlender
On 1/4/2019 at 6:05 PM, Guss West said:

Nancy, I am a huge fan! 

 

Your recent interview with the Dummies was a hoot. 

Dare I say I've crashed more than one party with my set of graduated cylinders!! 

 

Was thinking how much I'd enjoy taking your whiskey courses.  Commencing research forthwith. 

 

Here's to a successful 2019!

Thanks @Guss West! Yeah, you gotta watch out when the pipettes and graduated cylinders come out late at night, especially after there's been some serious consumption beforehand! ?

 

Cheers, and I hope you explore some path in the alcohol beverage industry this year!

Nancy

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bayouredd

I find the whole "Single Barrel" thing to be a total intrigue. It amazes me how different they can be and how exciting it is to open a new one that may not be as good as the last of the same label. Don't get me wrong, I do hope to grab a unicorn, still. Store selects are also a big deal to me.

 

Warm weather takes me down craft beer lane, not to mention my desire never fails for a good ole' Yuengling.

 

Burnout, you say? Just downshift and take the left fork!

 

 

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