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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

92

The Bourbon Taste Test

"Why not just raise the price?" ...

“[Because] Rob’s grandfather did not like ostentatiousness."

A Maker's Mark rep explains why they're watering it down from 45% to 42% alcohol. The last question sticks out in particular.

Elsewhere in beverages: breakfast soda.

92 Comments / Post A Comment

Lisa Frank

I wonder what their new tag line is going to be...

"It doesn't taste expensive...but it is."

"It doesn't taste dilluted...but it is."

Tammy Pajamas

That last question was amazing (and thoughtful)!

My question: So, is it going to be cheaper now?

Onymous

@Tammy Pajamas I take it that it won't be cheaper, but it won't be see a price hike.

PatatasBravas

Whatevs, hipsters will reclaim it like they did PBR. Shopping in thrift stores for well-worn flannel and ironically swigging the new Mark.

funfetti

Fun fact: almost all whiskey/whisky is diluted with water. Adding water to a neat glass of whiskey can also 'bloom' all the fun smells and it often tastes even better.

A. Louise

@funfetti There's a bar nearby that serves bourbons with a teeny porcelain pitcher of distilled water for said purpose. I'll never find out if I like bourbon on the rocks/ice hockey pucks, because the water presentation is just too darn cute & fancy.

feartie

@funfetti Scotland blesses you for including the 'whisky' spelling.

Water is the way to go. At least it was in the whisky tasting society I belonged to at university. Oh, so many hazily remembered nights (and all for the £5 entry fee, back in 2001-2005).

Top tip for single malt: Bunnahamhain 18 year old.

smidge

@feartie I obviously went to the wrong university.

Emby

@funfetti Yup. My standard order is: "Maker's, rocks, splash of water, please."

Beatrix Kiddo

@funfetti Sure, but I think most people prefer to control the amount of water they add to their whiskey/whisky-- not have it watered down before they've even poured it out of the bottle.

Amphora

@funfetti Though most distilleries will sell a cask strength. Laphroaig Quarter Cask is almost 60% alcohol. You have to take a sip and let it evaporate on your tongue.

Hot Doom

@feartie Yeah, one of the things I learned at a whisky tasting was that the addition of water can bloom and open up the drink, whereas adding ice can curb sharper flavours (and personally, I think it often dulls the overall character). They recommended it with less refined blends, like Johnny Walker Red. I'm genuinely curious to know if ice actually improves the flavour of specific whiskies. Anyone?

PatatasBravas

@Hot Doom WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON WHISKY STONES woo me with a dissertation on drinks

Hot Doom

@PatatasBravas I wish I knew! I have never tried them. I remember someone on here not too long ago saying that they make the whisky taste like rocks. I would just guess that the coldness of the stones do a similar thing as ice to the flavours of the booze, minus the watering down aspect. I think (but don't know fer shure) that it's the cold, more than the water, that smooths the flavour.

PatatasBravas

And lo, it is a tragedy that there are no other options for the Drinker of Bourbons, particularly not Four Roses and Buffalo Trace and Jim Beam and Bulleit and Basil Hayden's and Knob Creek and Elijah Craig and Wild Turkey and Pappy Van Winkle if you're feeling really rich.

A. Louise

@PatatasBravas God, to find a bottle of Pappy, much less be able to afford it...

PatatasBravas

Sometimes you just wanna save up and drink a $30 pour for your birthday!

parallel-lines

@PatatasBravas Oh god, it really is worth it, every once in a while. It's seriously that good.

A. Louise

@PatatasBravas I managed to get long pours of the 15 & 20 yr. this fall in Kentucky, (the 20 year was a STEAL at something outrageous like 40-50 bucks) but finding a whole bottle seems like a fool's errand when you have celebrity chefs trying to track it down. I've seen empty bottles go on ebay for a hundred bucks. MADNESS.

leonstj

@parallel-lines - I knew my future-Brother-in-Law was worthy when, a couple days after my sister informed me they were engaged, he texted me a picture of a bottle of a pappy and said "Drop by soon!"

SarahP

@PatatasBravas They may not be diluting it, but the scarcity applies across all bourbon producers, so they'll be getting more expensive. Alas!

ohmy

@PatatasBravas Add to that list Old Weller (made by Buffalo Trace). Cheaper than Makers and tastier. Also, recommended to me by a liquor store owner from Kentucky, so it must be good.

Beatrix Kiddo

@PatatasBravas Plus Bookers, Blantons and Woodford Reserve...

parallel-lines

Makers Mark is for vodka drinkers who want to be "adventurous" and try a brown spirit every now and then.

(fighting words, I know--but that stuff is kinda not so good. You know I'm right. It's what you drink until you find the real stuff.)

Real bourbon usually has a name that starts with B, or a horse on the bottle, or sounds like it was made by someone who was in a jug band. Drink that instead.

Onymous

@parallel-lines
We're talking about Blanton's aren't we.

PatatasBravas

are we gonna get into some PDT shit

are we

are we?!

(i'm excited!)

PatatasBravas

LET YOUR SNOB OFF THE CHAIN i am so excited for this!

parallel-lines

@Onymous I LIKE IT!

When I met my husband, he never drank bourbon because every place served Makers as their standard--when I gave him a bottle of Michters he was like, "Hmm...guess bourbon isn't shitty after all."

martinipie

@parallel-lines :((((( as a new bourbon drinker (I am only 22!) now I feel sad my usual bar order might be looked down upon. Is this gonna be like the Great Vodka Soda Debate of Whatever Year That Was?

parallel-lines

@martinipie You're young enough you can get away with that sort of thing, don't sweat it. I didn't get my real drink on until my thirties, when I could afford it.

Probs

@parallel-lines yeah, I came down to say more or less this. Maker's Mark is so, so bland. It has nice packaging and the wax and whatever, but it tastes like brown water that can get you drunk.

parallel-lines

@PatatasBravas I took some mixology class and they were using makers as the base and I could not take them seriously at all for the rest of the class. C'mon son!

A. Louise

@parallel-lines I collect bourbon bottles with horses on them!

Probs

@martinipie if you like it, you like it! In my view any sort of statements about booze, food, music, etc. being good or bad ahould be preceded with, uh, "in my opinion." However, laziness. Also, consider branching out. My main beef with Maker's is it's not good value for the money. Try Buffalo Trace, Wild Turkey, or weirdo local stuff.

par_parenthese

@parallel-lines *facepalm* Makers in a co--jkldhafsdfasdjkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk sorry I just dozed off there for a second. There's just nothing TO it!

Emby

@parallel-lines Well, that's just, like, your opinion, man.

I love me some Maker's and consider myself fairly acquainted with the world of bourbon. So there!

Onymous

@Emby You also apparently drink it with both water and ice.

ohmy

@parallel-lines Maker's tends to be sweeter and easier to drink. I think it's a good gateway bourbon for those who are unfamiliar with the category. I don't mind makers as an alternative to whatever well crap they have at dive bars.

I started out drinking Jim Beam and transitioned into better stuff. Jim totally tastes like water now.

Emby

@Onymous Ah, so a purist! I do hope you enjoy your cheese pizzas, too ;)

Emby

@Probs At the bars around here, Maker's and Buffalo Trace are the same price. So I drink Maker's. I like the sweetness.

parallel-lines

@Emby uh oh, guns are comin' out (quietly back out of room)

PatatasBravas

Cheese pizzas are my favorites, in all seriousness.

Onymous

@Emby
You get to do one or the other. You're watering it down twice and then killing what little is left to kill by making it cold in addition. I'm not a purist, I just believe in ADDING flavor to things.

Amphora

@Probs This thread is inspiring me to try revisiting bourbon. I wrote it off completely after a couple years of drinking Maker's (and my dad's favorite, SoCo...shudder)

Emby

@Onymous And I believe in cold booze and watering bourbon down just enough to not shock my taste buds so I can actually taste it. Trust me, your point about watering it down is well-taken, but to me the benefits outweigh the negatives. Of course, sanctimony makes everything taste better.

Onymous

@Emby Which might be a valid defense in the face of a slab of burnt peat on a 2x4, not so much Maker's.

PatatasBravas

@Amphora Oh man, SoCo is the worst! (I think)

I really like trying bourbons that aren't from KY, just for fun, to see what local distillers are up to. Poke around and have fun with it!

Hot Doom

@PatatasBravas GEORGE T. STAGG OR DEATH (I don't normally drink bourbon, but when I do, I'm a real snob-asshole)

PatatasBravas

@Hot Doom THE GLOVES ARE OFF, WE'RE SNOBBIN' IT UP IN HURR

I haven't tried it yet actually! But I will do my best to repair that situation :)

Hot Doom

@PatatasBravas To be honest, I haven't drunk it in a while because my azz is broke, that shit is 'spensive and I tried it in a free bourbon tasting. I loved it because I tend to enjoy peaty and smoky whiskies, and I often find bourbon too cloying, but I remember liking the sweet-spicy notes in the George T. Stagg. I've found it here in Britain in a pub, but it was being sold for £11.50 a dram :((((

PatatasBravas

@Hot Doom It's all good. I got some Swanson Approved Lagavulin 16 that I am pretty fond of too, for all my peaty needs!

pajamaralls

@PatatasBravas Southern Comfort is somehow simultaneously the best AND the worst.

SoCo + Sweet Tea will forever hold a place in my heart, however.

EpWs

EVERYBODY IN THIS BAR NEEDS TO COME TO KENTUCKY. We'll all hit the Bourbon Trail and then have a giant sleepover at my place.

KeLynn

@parallel-lines I'm so late to this thread but! On the topic of non-KY bourbons! I am from KY, currently living juuuuust across the river in Cincinnati. So, there is nice bourbon a'plenty in these parts. Anwyay, I just got home fron a Denver vacation (hence my late posting) and while there, tried Colorado Straight Bourbon (from Peach Street Distillers). And I don't want to start anything with my friends in KY, but that shit was probably the best bourbon I've ever had. (There is the possibility that I'm saying that because I haven't actually had bourbon in quite some time, after a particularly bad night had me swearing it off for a while, but it's my SO's standard drink and he was similarly impressed.)

heyderpette

I used to love Maker's Mark, until I read an article about their restaurant refusing to serve black people (or something, I don't remember all the details, but black people were involved). I mean, Kentucky bourbon is awesome because it's so rednecky and I feel like I'm a character on Justified when I drink it. But, um, there's a line for how rednecky I'm willing to be.

So now I drink Jim Beam, because it's fun to say.

ohmy

@heyderpette When I lived in London Jack Daniels was doing a big advertising push. One of their posters said "There's only one stoplight in Lynchburg." I mean, I know the town is named Lynchburg, but maybe not the best thing to put on your advert.

Jenn@twitter

@heyderpette Jim Beam and Maker's Mark are owned by the same company...

Ldubs

@heyderpette That was the Maker's Mark Restaurant and Lounge in Louisville, which is different from Makers Mark itself, which is in Bardstown, KY. The restaurant pays Makers Mark for the rights to use the name, but that is the extent of that relationship.

Woodford is way better, though.

heyderpette

@Ldubs That's probably true, but if the lawsuit holds up and Maker's Mark still lets the restaurant use their name, then I think that says something about Maker's Mark's integrity. My boycott stands, damn it! I'm a political rabble-rouser!

I don't know. Good bourbon's just so expensive, anyways. I need a new drink.

EpWs

@heyderpette Hi! Resident Kentuckian here! Just popping in to say that we're not all rednecky and racist. Also there are myriad options for good bourbon around--all from Kentucky.

whizz_dumb

Bulleit wins.

Jenn@twitter

@whizz_dumb That's rye, though!

PatatasBravas

@Jenn@twitter Nope, they do both rye and bourbon! I'm more fond of the latter, because I usually use Rittenhouse rye to mix with and drink the bourbon straight.

Jenn@twitter

@PatatasBravas Weird, I've only ever seen the rye out here (tiny town in Oregon). I'll have to watch for it when I go up to Portland next! :D

whizz_dumb

@PatatasBravas Rittenhouse (100 proof) is the shiiiiit. Templeton is good, but too sweet for my taste and how pricey it is. That's why I still like Bulleit rye, it's almost spicy! ...and for $20 a fifth (bourbon too), it's Trouble.

PatatasBravas

@whizz_dumb
'Cause I knew you were trouble when you poured in
So shame on me now
Flew me to places I'd never been
'Til I put you down, oh
I knew you were trouble when you poured in
So shame on me now
Flew me to places I'd never been
Now I'm lying on the cold hard ground
Oh, oh, trouble, trouble, trouble
Oh, oh, trouble, trouble, trouble

iceberg

Seriously no one commented about breakfast soda yet? Um, I drink my first soda of the day no later than 9am (and have been since how-old-are-my-triplets now?) and it's not going to contain any fucking fruit juice, that just wastes valuable caffeine/sugar space.

PatatasBravas

@iceberg The idea was too gross for me to actually click through!

PatatasBravas

I can't do soda, I dunno, I think it is the fault of watching a video about dentistry in West Virginia or something in which Mountain Dew was really all there was to drink because of economics and sooooooda nooooooooo

PatatasBravas

I realize this is more of a misremembered nightmare than it is an actual comment on the article, sorry for lowering the quality of conversation.

fondue with cheddar

@iceberg I love carbonated beverages, and I have no qualms about drinking them for breakfast as long as they're not the syrupy super sweet kind. Orangina or the like with breakfast? Yes, please!

par_parenthese

@iceberg I have very specific morning food/drink aversions that wane gradually as the morning goes on), so while I can imagine drinking a Fizzy Thing midmorning (champagne! Perhaps with a suggestion of orange juice, Jeeves?), I can't even face a soda in the A.M.

Amphora

@iceberg Because the only reason to drink soda is as a vehicle for Maker's Mark.

formergr

@par_parenthese I am the same way with very specific morning aversions-- what is that about?? For me, the most prominent is that I can't drink water in the morning. Coffee, tea, OJ, tomato juice, all go down fine, but not water. The rest of the day I drink plenty of water and am even fine with it not chilled, so I am definitely not picky. But until about 10 or 10:30 am, no water please.

fondue with cheddar

@formergr I'm that way about fish. I know there are people who eat fish in the morning, but I just can't. Fish! For breakfast! It sounds disgusting and completely insane to me.

PatatasBravas

@fondue with cheddar I will eat all the fish at all the hours, I'll swap you soda for fish :)

fondue with cheddar

@PatatasBravas You've got yourself a deal!

par_parenthese

@formergr You are me! It takes everything I have to get down enough water for so much as a Tylenol before about 9:30. Crazy.

Ham Snadwich

Black Maple Hill, son. Tell me I'm wrong.

cruel shoes

@Ham Snadwich You're not wrong. When I tasted BMH, I stopped looking for anything better; she is the one for me. Last time I bought a bottle at the bougie whiskey shop on the bougie street in SF, guy in the fedora behind the counter told me it's his "House Bourbon." I love it nonetheless.

Ham Snadwich

@cruel shoes - It's apparently a spec product (as in, BMH isn't really a distillery, but pays other distilleries to blend for them), but damn if it isn't good.

Jenn@twitter

No love for Corner Creek? I like Buffalo Trace but find it too sweet, most of the time. Corner Creek is my go-to when I'm looking for mid-range bourbon and Jim Beam Green Label is what I make Presbyterians with...which probably knocks me right out of the argument re: what bourbons are great, as far as the purists are concerned.

Whatever. I'm more of a Scotch girl anyway. Booze and let booze. As long as you're drinking responsibly, it's all good, man.

zamboni

@Jenn@twitter I did not like Corner Creek, but I love Buffalo Trace (partly because it is sweeter), so maybe our palates are just very different!

And somehow I'd never even heard of Presbyterians until right now.

Jenn@twitter

@zamboni they're my current favorite use of bourbon (other than, you know, old fashioneds and drinking it straight), mostly because they're easy to mix at home and are fairly delicious. also you can fiddle with your desired sweetness level by using different ginger ales/bourbons. I think they're amazing, most of my friends think I'm a heathen for loving them, but I also love a good gin and tonic made with Sapphire East, so I'm the last person to take booze advice from.

PatatasBravas

@Jenn@twitter omg can we have a gin battle next?????

HENDRICK'S OR SENECA DRUMS OR BUST

Jenn@twitter

@PatatasBravas butbutbut I like Hendrick's. and Tanqueray. I like most gins, unless they're really shitty (I see you, Seagrams, and I DO NOT TRUST YOU TO MAKE GIN). I don't like normal Sapphire, but Sapphire East is pretty OK, and I like it when you mix it with cucumber and the teeniest bit of Chartreuse...

also I'm p. serious about that whole, "as long as you're drinking responsibly I could not give two fucks" thing. :O

PatatasBravas

@Jenn@twitter I am not seriously donning gloves and prancing about and challenging you to fisticuffs! I just really like talking about booze and get excited when other people have opinions!

Chartreuse is truly delicious so we are definitely friends. I like green approximately 4000x better than yellow, for the record.

Jenn@twitter

@PatatasBravas fair enough, the thread above got really ugly at a couple of points and I don't want a repeat of that!

Chartreuse Green is completely superior in every way and is actually what I was talking about in the above comment. I WILL FIGHT TO THE DEATH OVER THIS...well, probably not.

Honestly, I'm not a booze hound, but I do like me a good cocktail, and I have yet to find a type of alcohol I don't like. minus things like, you know, Jager, which I still hold is cough syrup. (Apologies to anyone who likes Jagermeister, I guess, I just lit. use it as cough syrup at my granddad's suggestion.)

spoondisaster

@PatatasBravas Hendricks for when I'm feeling fancy or New Amsterdam for when I am brokeypants. New Amsterdam is actually quite good for a less expensive gin. Whereas Hendricks is nice and piney, NA has some good citrus notes to it, which are really refreshing.

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