Sitting alone at a bar with just a glass or two of whiskey can be a very intimate experience. Spending time with a whiskey and trying to figure out what makes that whiskey unique. Smelling it, feeling it, tasting it. Trying to learn about it – learn its personality and secrets. In a way, it’s like writing a letter to someone in the old-fashioned hand-written way when you sit down with a pen and paper and spend a half hour or hour with someone in your mind as you write to them.
It can be frustrating when you are trying to express what you feel – or taste – but can’t quite find the words. That moment when you are on the edge of a memory that you are trying unlock. That taste, that familiar but elusive taste, what is it? Why do I know it? The experience can be, oddly, emotional.
My challenge to myself is to taste – really, spend time with and taste – 33 whiskies in less than 30 days. They are whiskies I think I should know and have either never properly met or just don’t quite remember. And along the way I want to learn to nose, to taste, to articulate the flavors so they are no longer just “tastes like a bourbon,” “tastes sweet,” but instead they are living memories in my mouth and my mind. I like most whiskies, so it’s not really about discovering what I like or don’t like, but what I like about each one. And why.
Is it possible? We’ll find out.
Today’s new acquaintances:
Michter’s US-1 Bourbon and Old Grand-Dad 114.
_My only Christmas tradition in Brooklyn is my tree-topper. I didn't have a Christmas tree my first two years here, so last year, I was determined. We picked out our tree at a sidewalk stand up the street and had it "delivered," which in New York means a teenager awkwardly carries the tree behind you and follows you home. Then I had to get a tree stand and find lights and unpack some ornaments. But what to put on top of the tree? I needed something that would fit...like an empty bottle...Michter's just happened to by lying around. This year, Four Roses was about ready, so I took care of those last few drops and topped the tree. Whiskey really is the best Christmas spirit.
Deck the halls with boughs of whiskey
Stand up the tree, it's lookin' tipsy
Now we drink our Lagavulin
And give a toast to this year's coolin'