It’s Day Two of my extremely arduous task of drinking 33 whiskies in less than 30 days (but I will forge ahead, I will), and I’ve noticed a few things:
#1: I really, really want to leave work on time to go drink whiskey. Leaving work on time is usually difficult for me. But this whiskey challenge is to teach and for me to learn.
#2: I realized I might run out of ways to describe whiskey. Each one is different, but not SO different. Then I realized it’s not the whiskey that will be different, it’s me and the surroundings and what kind of day I have had and what I’m pairing it with. Which means this exercise may not teach me anything permanent. I will still forge ahead.
#3: I should probably learn the names of my bartenders or I might become that creepy person sitting alone in a corner staring at two whiskey glasses and talking to myself – or to the whiskey, tough to tell – and making little snappy movements with my tongue trying to figure out if this whiskey reminds me of the time I chewed paper in class or the time I got sand in my potato chips.
But on to my new acquaintances: Old Overholt and Ancient Age. These are two of those classics I feel like I should know – I recognize the bottle, we move in the same circles – but before today, we hadn’t really sat down and spent time together.
As a general observance, I will also say that tasting a bourbon and a rye alongside each other affects the taste as you go along. But was also helpful when I forgot to look at which glass went with which bottle in the beginning, and it was pretty easy to figure out (bourbon = sweeter). Fun fact: I found age statements on both of these. They are both straight (meaning aged at least two years), but because they are less than four years, they have to put the age on the bottle. Really small print on the neck.
What I already knew: It’s a Rye, 3 years old, and 80 proof.
What I discovered: If Double O (as I nicknamed him after our first date) was a candy, he would be one of those cinnamon kind from the bulk grocery bins with the red wrappers. My first sip made me think “grainy, like a beach,” but I think I was getting at spicy. It also had this wood taste that I couldn’t figure out no matter how many times I smacked my lips. I could only say wood floor. A clean wood floor. It developed a green pepper smell and it leaves a spicy aftertaste on the tongue like after you eat arugala. But I would rather have the whiskey than arugla.
What I already knew: Traditional bourbon, aged at least 36 months, and 80 proof.
What I discovered: If Double O was my bulk cinnamon candy, Double A was my bulk butterscotch. It had a plump orange smell with a whiff of nutmeg, and the taste kind of followed that – it was sweet with a little kick. And when you swallowed, all the sweet went down the throat and all the spice stayed on the tongue. But I have to admit, I think Double O may have overtaken Double A just a tad and the bit of spice from Double A was having a party on my tongue with the spice from Double O, and that's why the sweet left. But that’s cool. Whiskey can party on my tongue any time.