Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Attempt to Squash My Basic Freedoms

It's been crazy here lately dealing with all these legal motions, court documents and proceedings.  Please allow me to explain.

Shortly after my trip to Ralfy's place in Skii Island Scotland, I received a knock on my front door.  When I opened it, a man handed me an official document for which I had to sign.  After closing the door and reading the envelop, I quickly realized this was no joke.  The return address was from the District Attorny of Brattleboro, KY - Jeremaiah Behoozlemouth.  I quickly yanked the FedEx strip to unleash the letter within and after first quickly scanning it and then closely reading it, I was in absolute shock for it was a CLASS ACTION lawsewt against me.  The companies whom were listed in the suit were:

Heavens Hill
Sanseric/Buffalo Trance
Old Rip Von Wrinkles
Wood Ford Preserve
Shively Exports
Cadbury Schweepes
Jim Beem
Knot Creek
Fortune 500
Black Foreman
Wild Turkey

The State court of KY ordered me to decease and cist all blog entries until further noted.  How ridiculous, I thought.  Geez, just because I am public figure with a pulse on the bourbon industry and the ear of bourbon-consuming people, does not mean you attempt to shut down one of our most basic freedoms as an American people as noted in the Declaration of Independence - the Freedom of Writing, Talking and Opinionizing.

Since the beginning of this blog, I have never catered to bourbon industry nor the bourbon consumers.  Instead, I told it like it was and is, with fact-based reporting (something so lost in the world of Professional journalism today) and opinion. 

I've keep quiet over this last month or so, pondering what to do.  Should I Lawyer Up, or should I represent myself "Pro Quid" as they say in Latin Law?  Then this morning came upon me like a sulfer bomb in a school cafiteria.  I wolk up bushy eyed bright haired and said, "You know what, I ain't gonna be bullied.  No way, no how."  And that's when I decided to BLOG ON...And so that's just what I'm doing.

Could you believe that I even thought of shutting this site down like the referandum stated?!  I am not going to my knees to bow to these political/law-type people who drew up such a suit!  I am going sit tall and fight the fight until I win (or get paid a ton by counter-sewing them).

Anyway, I will keep you posted as to what happens.  Please bear with me during this trying time and I promise I will make you proud (not you, you distillerator owner, but you the consumers).



P.S.  If you are for me, please add a comment saying as such.  I will attempt to used this evidence as a petition.  You do not have to use your real name.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Woe is me...

Hello my bourbon breatheren.  Sorry once again for the delay in updating my blog but I have been very busy -- what's new, right?!  Anyway, I received an email from a gent who's been reading my blog.  He introduces himself, gives some background and then asks what my background is.  Of course, I could have written a novel with my experiences in the bourbon world but I simply replied back summarizing my bourbon background, dedicating no more than 10,000 words.  Anything more would have been ridiculous.

So, as I'm about to put an outline together to begin writing my next blog entry which was, "Bourbon-ation -- The Matuaration of bourbon and how it affects the 'meat bone,'", the phone rings.  On the other end of the line is a man with a very thick accent, sounding very much like a Leperkahn.  I ask him to kindly repeat his introduction but much slower and he does.  Turns out this dude is from Scotchland and has a vlog and blog that is very big across the world.  His name is Ralfy and his website is ralfy.com.  His v/blog is all about Scots Whiskey, its history and review of each type of Scots - Single Malt, Double Malt, Blended, etc. 

It was as if we were desdined to meet.  We were on the phone for more than an hour trading stories of our respective whiskeys and the impact it has on our lives, etc etc.  So Ralfy wraps up our conversation by extending me an invitation to Scothland to tour the distileratories (I know, sounds weird, doesn't it?!  We call them distillerators and they...distileratories!) while staying at his estate!  Not house, home, lodge, lean-to, but ESTATE!  Of course, I jumped at the chance.

Sporting morning wood the following day, as I headed to Sandoval Int'l Airport in Tuscaloosa, I couldn't believe this was all happening.  Last night I was home with no particular plans for the following day other than to write my blog entry and the the next morning I'm picked up by Coach Limo at Ralfy's expense and I'm being shipped COD to Ralfy's address in Scotchland.

Now, as you all well know, I'm not a Scots fan at all.  I mean, the people are great and all that but their Scots Whiskey leave a lot to be desired.  But shit, this a twice-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fly to the british isle of Scotchland!  No way am I passing this opportunity up, no matter if the Scotch no how to make whiskey or not.

When I arrived at McGrady Int'l Airport in Gualway, I was greeted by a man dressed in all black holding a sign with my name on it.  From there I am whisked off, by stretched limo, to Ralfy's estate and would you know it, it's equipped with Bourbon Whiskey, not Scots!  hahahahaha.  Ralfy's got a sense of humor, he does.

As we pull up to his "Estate" (there's a reason for the quotes), I quickly realize that the Scotch have an entirely different definition of "Estate" than we Americans.  This "Estate" of Ralfy's had a 3-ft tall wooden gate with what looked like a tiny garage about 10 feet behind it.  Turns out that's no garage.  That, my friends, is Ralfy's "Estate" home!

I am immediately greeted by Ralfy who jumps out of a tiny hedge drunker than an irish-cursed albino.  In his hand is his Scots of choice, Arbdig 10 year "case strength" (that's barrel strength to us bourbon lovers -- why they call it "case strenth" I still don't know).

Ralfy is about 4' 7" with the absolute tiniest hands I've ever shaken.  Geez, this guy may really be a leperkahn after all!  With a GlennKaren glass in his left hand, he pours a rather large drink from the bottle in his right and hands it to me.  His hands are so tiny that they don't even wrap halfway around the tiny glass.  Being a generous guest, in a Cousin Eddy sort of way as I noticed lip marks all over the glass, I accepted the glass and took a swig of this delightfully awful burnt ember-tasting liquid.  Making a funny face, I say spit out the words, "Oh how delicious," while almost vomiting my tonsels out.

As he tours me around his "Estate" grounds -- all 100 feet of it -- I see a plastic water fountain that Ralfy refers to as a well, tiny little "loove" equipped with a half-mooned door hiding a hole inside used for the releasing of various human waste. GREAT, no indoor plumbing. Immediatley beyond the "loove" is a malted barley vine.  Wow!  Breath-taking (note sarcasm here)!

As he takes me inside, I almost wanted to run like a Mick to Happy Hour, but I follow as if I'm in some strange trance.  In this lush home, I notice to the right a hot plate with a tea keetle atop, a collection of whiskeys in a mult-paned glass cabinet with a desk before it full of whisky, syrup, medicinal and prescription-looking boottles.  On the left was a large whiskey barrel stood up straight with bottles on top and a little shelf in the back.  And finally, the peace de resistance, Ralfy's bed - a poor excuse for a twin bed.

Stretching his right arm out and moving it from right to left, he says "Welcome my willing whisky wallower to my humble abode."

Immediately I ask where my sleeping quarters are and he point a pudgy index finger to the bed.  I then quickly ask where he's to sleep and again Ralfy points to the bed!

This is what I like to call a What The Fuck moment!  Are you kidding me?!  We're sharing a bed?!  But of course I don't say that out loud.  Instead, I put on a reluctant smile and say, "How delightful your home."

The limo driver, who had initially left, was back carrying my suitcase and hanging clothes into the house.  Rubbing his hands together, Ralfy says, "Well, shall we?"  And off we go, into the limosine and of to our fisrt distileratory.

A short distance from the home of Ralfy, located in Lancanshire, was a tiny peninsula called Islay (pronounce Izlee) where there are two famed distileratories -- one called Arbdeg (his fav) and the other called Laproyg (pronounced Laff-Roy-Gee).  We were headed there first.

On this shorty but bumpy voyage to Islay, we have a drain (that's what the Scotch call a pour) of Laproyg 52 1/2 year old Case Strength Scots Whiskey and a boongoggle of (ginger and palmagranite juice as a chaser).

Once parked at the Laproyg Distileratory, we tumble out of the car, put on our best sober face, and trip our way into the gift shop on our way to the Put Stills (we use colemn stills while they use put stills).  Wow, there must have a benn 250 of these big bad boys, churning out a bunch of Leperkahn's Gold, as the Scotch say.  The smell wafting out the stills was magical, I must say.  I felt as if I was in Whiskey Heaven.  The nose knocked the buzz out of us both and we immediately coothed ourselves and walked down toward the office of Joynathan Webley Laproyg IV.

...I will finish this delightful story off tomorrow.  A bit tired now...Until tomorrow.


Friday, October 7, 2011

Blacks love 40's but not bourbon?!

"What's up with that?!"  --Cliff Clavin

In watching my DVD boxset of Cheers last night, I came across the episode where Cliff unsuccessfully attempts to become a stand-up comic.  One of his jokes, while standing on the The Tonight Show stage was, "Blacks love malt liquor but not bourbon.  What's up with that?!"  To which, he is booed off the set.

Well, as politically incorrect as that sounds -- don't shoot the messenger, it got me to thinking and I decided to do a little research today and I found some very interesting facts.

Bourbon Consumption in the US (2010):
73.2% Caucasian (this includes american-born micks, waps and jews)
19% Asian (this includes chinks, curry heads, japs, gooks and slopes)
6.78% Latin (this includes wet-backs, spicks, and ricans)
1.02% African Americans (this includes darkies, negros, spear-chuckers, jungle bunnies, head-lights, coons, oreo-cookies as well as any other offbreed mix)

Wow!  That's it for the African Americans?!  1.02%?!

It's even more alarming when you couple these percentages with the following:

Total Alcohol Consumption Per Race:
92.45% African Americans (this includes darkies, negros, spear-chuckers, jungle bunnies, head-lights, coons, oreo-cookies as well as any other offbreed mix)
3.91% Latins (this includes wet-backs, spicks, and ricans)
3.05% Asians (this includes chinks, curry heads, japs, gooks and slopes)
.59% Caucasiana (this includes american-born micks, waps and jews

Being Caucasian, I am very proud of my people.  Yes, we embibe but we do not turn to the bottle for drunkness but rather for flavor, texture and joy.

African Americans are quite the opposite and one wonders if this has to do with all the violence among these people and why they are among the poorest race in America today.  Or could their violence and lack of intellect?  Now I'm certainly not saying AA's are dumb but it could be that they aren't quite as smart as Caucasians.  As Jerry Seinfeld would say, "Not that there's anything wrong with that."

I will see what I can find in terms of welfare percentages by race as well as average income and violence and add over the weekend.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

REVIEW: Olde Rip Von Trappe 10 year, 107 proof

Yesterday night I found me a hot-spot of bourbon antiquity while picking up some sundry items at the local grocer.  Across the way was a liquor store called Raghead's Middle Eastern Liquid Delite.

I'd never been in there before and up until this very moment I assumed that this store was a front for Al Qaeda or some shit like that.  But Praise be to Mohammed for leading me into this secular den of liquid porn.

As my feet flopped through the dirt floor of this far-from-fine establishment, and I began to seize like a Panzer tank through Tripoli's desert sand, I spied before me the coveted Olde Rip Von Trappe 10 year, 107 proof bourbon!  My poker shot its gasket immediately and its contents caused the sand to coagulate unnaturaley on the floor.  Ashook -- the Terrorist Tonic Toter -- wearing a beard on his face, a brown towel on his head, and a backpack full of TNT -- undoubtedly, ready for Martyrdom at a moment's notice -- asked from the counter behind me, "May I do the needful and to help you find good liquors today evening?"

I told him, "No," as I slowly walked to the shelf that Old Rip called its tenement.  As much as I wanted to sprint across the desert sand inside this liquor store straight out of Dante's Inferno, I figured any quick movement would alarm Ashook to the point where he may detonate himself and me along with him!

Slowly grabbing Olde Rip Von Trappe, I laborously made my way to the counter and checked out.  As I paid Ashook, I gave him a wink and said, "Why don't you come to my car where I have a can of Crisco and a gaping hole that needs mending."  Full of anger, Ashook began to shake violently as his cold heart began to burn with hatred toward my guise of gay advances. 
Oh how the Sandys hate Gay people.

Winded as I began my treck through the thick sand toward the exit, I figured I best role out of here quick before possible detonation.  The bell atop the door dinged as I opened the door and just before it closed behind me I heard Ashook say, "Oh, you white devil, you no more come into my liquors store with your gay penises!!!!!"

Once I reached my care safely, I chucked to myself as I thought what a steal this bourbon was.  After all, it only cost me a leg of lamb, a loaf of flat bread, and a bushel of chic peas!

Now onto the review:

REVIEW:  Olde Rip Von Trappe 10 year, 107 proof

This is a new one for me but it's something that I've shot many a nuts to.  I have searched high and low for this bourbon to end up finding it in, of all places, a middle-eastern liquor store.

ORVT is often talked about in the small dork circles of online bourbon heaven.  Anyhow, the price was right and I can't wait to try it.

I open the bottle and let it breathe for 37 hours in the freezer right beside my frozen lamb carcus sans the 4th leg.  On the 37th hours which was last night at 10:31 Post Meridien, I pulle it from the freezer and quickly put it in the microwave on high power for 1 hour.  After rubbing my freshly swabbed nads on the bottle neck (an ancient ritual of my African Indian Ancestors), I poured 5 1/2 dolups into a chardonay leaded-glass.

At precisely 11:42 Post Meridien, I took my first sniff.  As I snorkle my nose deep into this brown liquid, I pick up the faint sent of must (could have been from my nads), fig, nutmeg, 2-cycle motor oil, Viagra, a porn-store bathroom (again, possibly the nut rub thing), lamb skin, poker chips, broccoli rab, and the armpit of a male spear-chucker after a hard day's work of napping on the outdoor easy chair, in the heart of the projects, fantasing about his EBT card soon to arrive by mail carrier.

Upon swirling the glass, I notice luscious chunks of corn at the ends of each arm while this thick liquid languidly slips back down into the pool of bourbon.  I bring the glass to my mouth, apply my lips to the glass and tilt the glass.  Once it passed my tongue and teased my tonsils, I took my first swallow and...what the fuck is this?  I taste buttery caramel, pecan pie, dark chocolate and brown sugar with a hint of corn and alcohol!  This is total shit!  Where's the motor oil?!  The spear-chucker's armpit?!  The broccoli rab?!  The poker chips?!

This is total crap!  An absolute turn-coat!  A sheep in wolf's clothing!  An imposter!

If this is how this bourbon typically tastes (and I'm assuming it is), then I want no part of this ever again.  I will most certainly forever bypass this shit that the Von Trappe family attempts to pass off as bourbon!

Rating Scale
50+ putrid
40-50 below average
30-40 average
20-30 good
10-20 very good
0-10 excellent

My Score: 98

Monday, September 26, 2011

REVIEW: Jim Beam Red

Sorry for the delay in updating my blog.  It's been a while, I know.  But ever since my wife caught me spinning a protein web, I've been in the dog house.  No, seriously.  Literally in the dog house without an iPAD or a laptop or wifi or anything.

Anyway, on to the blog...
Here is a classic bourbon that's been around for near about 200 years.  Here's some background for you history buffs:

James D. Beam, founder and original distillerator of bourbon under the same name, was born in Cottonsapple, KY in August of 1799 to Bertha and Reinhold Beamenstien.  Growing up in KY during this period was most difficult for Afro Americans but surely a close runner-up was the American Jewish populus.  Often times, when a black slave went down with dissintary, collora or whatever other malnutrient disease, there would be a Jewish backup "on the bench" as they used to say, ready to take his place.

Often times, Jewish men and women would share a slave rooming house and were often bought and sold as if they were true slaves.  Due to their status, not one Jewish man ever owned a slave.
It was a tumultuous time in America, especially in the South, for a child to grow up in.  Each morning, when Jim was old enough to pitch in, he would get up at 3AM, get the fire started, and cook breakfast for his Father and his younger brother, Tyrone.  The women folk -- and there were plenty of them in the Beam family including Gelda, Unice, Eugenia, Abigale, Wilma and Salteen -- were left to fend for themselves, often times, sharing the leave-behinds of the men folk or, if nothing were left over, they would lick the plates.

If Father Beam was not impressed by the warmth of the house when he arose at 4AM, Jim would receive a beating at the family "Whoopin' Pole" just outside the back door.  The same would apply if breakfast or anything else that Jim prepared, was subpar.  Mother Beam and the rest, dismissed the greusome act as Father Beam being moody due to his slave-like laborous life.

Once Jim fastened his father's boot straps, he handed his Daddy his lunch and off Father Beam went for a day's work in the fields picking cantelopes and rye bread fresh off the vine.  Due to his father's long hours (often 20 hour days in the fields), Jim was given the responsibility of raising the family.  Mother Beam would do many of the chores around the house but Jewish women could never be seen outside the home so, therefore, Jim would tend to the outdoor work which was quite rigoruos - chopping wood, mending fences, plucking hens for pillows to be sold in town each Saturday, milking cows and working in the family vegetable garden.

One evening, after a very long day at work, Father Beam returned home to find Jim masturbating behind the woodpile near the barn.  Sickened by what he saw, he grabbed Jim by the ear, dragged him to the whoopin' Pole and gave Jim a beating that he would speak of in his later years, often making light of it to deflect the pain of this traumatic event. 

Laying in bed that night, as the sheets soaked up fallen tears and uncoagulated blood, Jim knew he had to get out of there lickedy-split.  No more of this, he thought.  Frightened of his father, Jim wasn't sure how to make a run for it.  Then it came to him!  There was a Rick House on Elijah Craig's property where bourbon was aging that he could hide in for a spell.  Later that eve, at the sound of his father's snores, he jostled his jimmy all over his bed -- leaving his mark to infuriate his Daddy -- and took off to the rick house. 

Since the towering structure was downright hot, Jim decided to stay on the first floor of Rick House ZZ, which was 50 stories high.  He emptied one of the lightest barrels and jumped inside, closing the lid on top.
The next morn, Jim was awoken to a fit of nausea and didn't at first realize why.  Then he knew - it was due to the barrel being rolled.  It was very difficult for him to hold in his vomit and just when he thought he couldn't any longer, the barrel stopped and was heaved high into the air and slid into something but what?!
Hearing a door close and the trollup of horse hoofs, Jim knew that he was in a carriage.  Elijah Craig's bottling plant was 10 miles away from the bourbon warehouses and that's when Jim knew that this was his best chance to be free.  When the carriage arrived at the bottling plant, Jim was out of the barrel and waiting for the perfect time to jump.  As he opened the carriage door, he saw people mingling about and knew that he'd have to wait.  Once the carriage pulled into the bottling house, Jim jumped down and ran out the wide open doors.  Looking behind to see if anyone was trailing him, he suddenly came to an abrupt stop and flopped to the ground.  High above him was the face of Elijah Craig himself.  He must have been 7 feet tall with an elogated beard.  Jim didn't know what to do or say, so he just sat looking up at Elijah, while in complete shock.

Elijah, a quick-to-anger Catholic Minister, was ready to lay a whoopin' down on the boy when he realized what a gold mine he just came across.  Oh yes, Minister Elijah sure knew what to do with this down-trottin' boy - put him to work, hard labor, that'll "learn him", thought Elijah.  "What's your name, young'un?"

Frightened, Jim began to sputter knowing full-well not to give his real last name or else he'd be housed with the slaves and treated as such.  "Muh, muh...my name is James...James Dennis Beam."

"Well James Dennis Beam," Elijah announced.  "I'm gonna learn ya some good ole' fashioned hard work boy."  And off the two went.

Over the next 10 years, Jim performed back-breaking work around the Elijah distillerating grounds.  He would carry the barrels up and down the rick house and was responsible for daily manual rotations of each barrel, turning them exactly 172 degrees.  Essentially, Jim was a slave of Elijah and his eldest son, Richard.  Jim often took severe beating from Richard who was jealous of the ever handsome boy-turned-young-man, Jim, and would often try to beat some ugly into him.  It never did work though, as Jim morphed into a ruggedly handsome man that women moaned to be around.  No noodle tossing for Jim, he was a fuck machine and Richard despised him for it and did everything he could to seperate Jim from the ladies but to no avail.

One evening, while out about town, Jim, decided to pop into McSwiggley's house of ill-repute.  Though he could get the ladies for free, Jim somehow like paying for them.  So after laying down $2 on the bar, he took a shot of Elijah bourbon and sauntered up the stairs to pick a special lady friend for the eve.  As he reached the top and turned down the hallway, he noticed a line of men waiting for their turn with one of the 15 ladies of night. 

Fridays were always busy and Jim didn't mind waiting.  As he sat down reading the latest copy of Horses and Whores magazine, he glimpsed up and to his right to see Richard Craig - the devil himself.  Oh how Jim despised Richard - hated him, actually.  Richard had a wiley smile on his face and was with one of his friends.  Jim looked back down to continue his reading (or at least pretend to) when he received a mighty blow to his face and down to the floor he went.  He quickly got up and, realizing that Richard kicked him in the face, he launched himself toward the laughing Dick and drove him back hard into the railing which gave way.  As Richard tumbled backwards, Jim noticed that his smile quickly disapeared. As Richard crashed to the main floor below, he cracked his skull on the brass shoulder of the bar and died instantly. As the lady folk screamed, a man yelled above cries and pronounced Richard dead. 

Jim raced like a horse to a trolly and skeedadled out the rear entrance of the whore house.  Not knowing what to do, he decided to cool down by the fishing pond next to Cracklin's Stable and stayed awful still and quiet while he gathered his thoughts, alert to every sound.

Calming himself down, Jim knew he had to to Father Elijah, and the sooner the better.  He hauled off back to Elijah's distillerator and entered the Craig home.  He was immediately greeted by Elijah's wife, Taniqwa who escorted him into the living room to relax.  As she conjured up Eljah, Jim was trying to figure the words he'd use to tell Elijah was had happened.

When he finally spat out the words, "Sir, I dun killt your son, Richard, accidentally.  We dun got into a fight and he felled over a railin' and died."

Shocked, Elijah raised his hand as Jim sat with his head down crying on the coach.  But as he was about to lay into him, Taniqwa grabbed his hand and said, "P'haps  we should tell Jim about Richard. 
As Elijah and Taniqwa sat to either side of Jim, she began to tell the story.  "You see, Jim, ever since Richard was a little boy, he was...oh well...umm, you know...different.  He would often play with his ummm...anus and try to put thing in there..."

As Taniqwa attempted to tell the story, Elijah cut in, "Stop you jabberin', woman.  Look, Jim, Richard was a homo.  He liked men and he was an evil-doer for it too.  Shoot boy, you did what me and Taniqwa have been wantin' to do for years."  They both immediately embraced Jim and said in unisone, "Your like the boy we never had."

Elijah stood up and said, "Let's celebrate with some of the best bourbon I'd ever made."  As Jim fetched the whiskey, Jim packed the very tan Taniqwa's fudge, buttered her sticky buns and was all cleaned up before Elijah returned. 

"Here you go, boy.  Take it.  And let's drink a toast.  To a job well done, Jim.  And you know what?  Not only is that bottle yours but the new distillerator that I'm building is all for you.  I'll get that 'BEAM' name up on the entry-way arch first thing tomorrow morning and off you go with your own distileraration business."

And that's how Jim D. Beam started making bourbon.

Okay, on to the review.

Jim Beam Read 78 proof

It pours like a sulfite explosion, enveloping my Glenn Karen glass.  As I swirl its contents, I notice the nice long arms that stick to the sides of the glass like maple syrup.  Nostril fucking the glass, I pickup notes of sod, wisdon, grass weed, urine of a pug dog, caramel, ants and worm wood.

As I engage the glass, I feel the tickle of alcohol and the burn of the tannins.   While this spirit dances upon my tongue, I taste wild bush, granite, parsley, copper, ginger sprouts and mandeline (yes, the musical instrument).  The end is quite long.  In fact two week after having first tasted this luschous new love, it is still with me.

Wow, what a ubiquitous devil of a bourbon this is.  A true Budweiser of bourbon and that's a compliment as we all know Bud is the best beer this blue earth hath ever seen.

Rating Scale
50+ putrid
40-50 below average
30-40 average
20-30 good
10-20 very good
0-10 excellent

My Score: 3

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The infamous Bourbon Glout

I have been pepper sprayed with questions about bourbon glout as of late, to the point where we really need to clear the air.  There are so many silly stories about it that they all can't be write.  Well, I'm here to set the story straight.  There is one right answer and I've got it in my back pocket and I'm going to pull it out and type it for all of you to see.

BOURBON GLOUT FACTS by Johnny "Bourbon Law"

Time frame:  September 16th 1942 - October 1st 1959

Cause:  Two major reasons for the glout. 

1., The Whiskey Rebellion - The bourbon distillerators were being taxed by the British Empire and they, in turn, were forwarding on the tax burden to the consumer.  As a result, on September 16th 1942, roughly 75% of the bourbon-consuming american public protested the bourbon tax by lighting themselves ablaze in Jowelville, KY.  That day, at 4:59:55 Post Meridien, 198,463 people went up in flames for a worthy cause.  This crippled the bourbon industry and revenue dropped 80% instantaneously.  So, as a result, all the bourbon aging in each distillerator's rick houses, did nothing but age and collect taxes (bourbon was taxed each year, not just by sales but by aging in the barrel).  Over the next 17 years, more than 5,000 Bourbon Distillerators would either be shut down or swallowed up by the big guns of the industry ie., Jack Beam, Diageo, Seagrams, Sazerac, Brookers, Knob Creek and Ten High.

2. The rise of pornography - Though still illegal, it was picking up major steam in the late 30's due to big-time rackets, run by the mob, jumping in and peddling this immoral material in both film version and magazine to the masses.  Research later showed that more than 81% of american men who consume hard liquor also had a weakness for pornography.  As bourbon sales were beginning to rise by 2% in May of 1952, pornography was becoming a major black market player and it not only flatened bourbon sales by November of 1952 but by February of 1953, bourbon sales plummeted 11%!  Hard-drinking American men were no longer hittin' the bottle hard but, instead, hittin' their "San Pedro" hard.

Affect:  A bourbon lover's dream.  Bourbon just wasn't gathering dust and taxes, it was gaining additional flavor and complexity as it sat in the barrels and bourbon consumers were reaping the rewards.  Commonly found on the liquor store shelves were, 30 year old Bottles in Bond for a nickle ($2.50 in today's money).  Bourbon labeled 10 years was actualy 20 or more years old.  Bourbon labeled 20 years was often times -- especially toward the end of the glout -- 100 years old and selling for a dime ($5 in today's money)!

Cause for the bourbon rebirth:  Baby Boomers - they started to become of age, sort of.  The first tier of Baby Boomers were in their middle years of high school and began drinking.  Due to a rough economy in the late 50's, these young high school kids were receiving less of a drawer from Mommy dear and as a result turned to bourbon instead of other spirits simply due to cost.  Bourbon was cheaper than any other spirit at that time.  Before you knew it, these BB's were scooping up all the Old Fitzy, Snitzel & Weeler, Old Rip Van Winkle, Old Pogue, Diageo Bottles In Bond and so on that they could get their greasy, pimple-poppin' fingers on.  And so, on October 1st, 1959, it was decreed by Chief Master Bourbon Distillerator Quinipeas "Q-Tip" Seripitis that the bourbon glout had reached its official end due to revenue increases over the last two years of 31%.

Today's Industry:  While sales of bourbon have continued to increase at a steady pace throughout the years following the glout, it has never regained the sales of the 1920's and 30's.  Still, the bourbon industry has become a major seller among Whiskey, outperforming blended scotch and Canadian Whiskey handily.

While the quantity of bourbon sold is not near what it once was, this era can be considered in many ways, a bourbon lover's dream as well.  The reason?  There are so many bourbons with so many different styles, aged at so many different years at so many different proofs that it could make a bourbon hound's hair stand up on end!  What today's bourbon lacks in quantity it gained in quality 10-fold.

Could there be another bourbon glout?  Not only could there be but there will be.  It's just a matter of when.  I would say over the next 10 years, we should see a downturn in sales by as much as 15% with Baby Boomer generation unfortunately aging, becoming sickly and dying off.  And their children and grandchildren really haven't taken to the dark spirits but instead the clear stuff like vodka and tequila.

In short, enjoy what we've got while it lasts because it will soon be gone and our choices will be severely limmited when glout part II occurs.  Though, the age of the bourbon will rise, so that will be a fairly even trade-off.

Online Chat with Uncle Johnny

Last night, I was fortunate enough to be invited onto Chuck Cowdery's blog for a live chat.  So as not to be inundated with spam, Chuck made it so all questions were not posted live but were first reviewed, selected and then posted with my answers.  We had a great time and once again, thanks, Chuck, for inviting me to share my wisdom about all things Straight Bourbon.

Have a read:

BourbonHoundinMI:  John, I love your blog.  The best in the biz, and you knowledge is unbelievable!  What do you think of KBD (Kentucky Bourbon Distillers)?

Uncle Johnny:  Thanks for the praise, BHMI.  I was fortunate enough to be invited down for a tour and a sampling of some white dog fresh off both a row still and potstill.  Evan Cussvein is the owner and Master Distillerator and what a guy he is.    He's the great nephew Johnny Willett though he obviously doesn't have the same last name.  I immediately called him out on this but he shrugged it off by saying that Johnny Willett's sister was his great aunt and married his great uncle Paddy Cussvein.  I'm still very skeptical but other than that, he's a great guy.

Anyway, he has a nice wheaterized Bottles in Bond called "Wheat As All Get-Out" which is unbelievable and very comparable to the legendary Snitzel and Weeler brand bourbons.  We also tasted a 8 year old and a 10 year old (they've only been distillerating bourbon for 10 years, all other bourbon prior to this comes from Evan's Hill and is repackaged under the Willett name).  The 8 year, 199 proof was awesome and hardly burned going down while the 10 year, 70 proof was just okay.

Overall, great distillery and master distillerator.

SloopJohnE:  John, what are your thoughts on Pappy Van Winkle 20 years bourbon?

Uncle Johnny:  It aint bad but it sure as shit ain't no Jimmy Drum.  It's far too acrid and woody for my taste and it has a very metalic taste to it.  But to each is own.

BubBourbon1973:  A lot of people view your blog as nonsensical and full of mytical stories that don't add up to history.  And some of these people get down-right pissed off and find your blog abusive to all things bourbon.  What are you thoughts?  Care to clear the air?

Uncle Johnny:  Thanks for the tough but fair question.  Everyone knows me in the industry.  I'm highly respected and regarded by many, if not all, within the bourbon industry and widely considered the Matt Jackson of the bourbon industry.  My knowledge is so vast.  Those who disagree with my facts, please feel free to call me out on it and I will gladly back my so-called mythical stories with absolute fact.  As far as people hating my blog.  That's just silly.  If you don't like it, don't read it.  That's what I do.

RalphsodyinBourbon:  What's your take on BT experimentals as well as Woodford Reserve as well?

Uncle Johnny:  With BT, most of what they put out (and I get all the samples and when I say samples, these are handles, not 750's or 375's, etc.) on the experimental side hasn't been good at all.  Regarding Woodford Reserve, they've had some duds as well but the Seasonized South American Oak was awesome and I highly recommend it.  But definitely stay away from the WR Cherry Finish, it's horrible.  So horrible, that I'm wondering if they used cherry wood varnish and not real cherry trees.

ChrisJackson1121:  Simple question.  What's your favorite all-time bourbon.

Uncle Johnny:  Simple question deserves a simple answer.  I would definitely go with the 1954 Ten High Bottles in Bond.  What makes this so special is its subtlety at 100 proof, it's depth of profile and long finish all resulting from the bourbon glout era (1949 - 1962) and was 37 years old.  Normally, I don't like any bourbon over 10 years old, this was amazing.

LympDiskitt:  What's your favorite color?

Uncle Johnny:  Bourbon red. :D

DZell:  What's your favorite bourbon message forum?  And what do you think of BourbonDrinker.com?

Uncle Johnny:  Aside from my site, BourbonEnthusiast.com and whiskywhiskeywhisky.com.  I highly recommend those for sure.  Regardin BourbonDrinker.com.  It should be called BourbonStinker.com.  Terrible wasteland.  Don't even bother going there.

Sadistic Sal:  You do realize that your blog is founded in fiction and that none of what you've written is actual bourbon fact.  Shoot, it's not even the typical mythical stories we normally read about bourbon.  why waste everyone's time, including your own?

Uncle Johnny:  I'm not wasting anyone's time.  In fact, I've received so many comments and emails stating how much they love my site for its accuracy and for finally cleaning up the history of bourbon to make sure everyone get the clearest and most concise and correct version.  That's what my site is about.

I tell you what.  If you find something factually incorrect, let me know.  If I cannot back that story with facts, I will take it down and write a huge apology.  But, trust me, it would be like fishing in above-ground pool.

Poppy Dole:  What's your relationship with Chuck?  Are you two friends.

Uncle Johnny:  Oh yes.  Me and Chuck has been friends for years and I really tought him the way of bourbon and was, and still am (as Chuck wants me to mention) his mentor.  I love the guy and he's like a little brother to me.

Uncle Johnny:  Alright everyone.  It's been a pleasure.  Sorry that I couldn't get through all the questions but I may post the interesting ones on my blog later in the week.  Just way too many to answer now - I think I got through like 1/100 of the questions.

Have a great night! --John

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Golden Age of Bourbon

So there I was, standing in my living room wearing my leopard-print leotard, dancing to Barbara Striesand and drinking my favorite imbibery, Straight Bourbon, and I hear a knock on my front door.  Figuring it's one of my ex-girlfriends, I ignore and keep dancing.  The Straight Bourbon I was drinking was some of the finest bourbon in the land, Kentucky Gentleman.  Right in the middle of my minuette, I hear wood splintering in the distance.  Frozen in fear, I waited to see who was about to come around the corner.  I'm thinking thieves - this is a robbery and I may get myself killed.  But much to my chagrin, it was only the Police.  But before I could say anything, I was eating carpet with one of the officer's knees in my back.  Oiled up, wearing my leotard, with my mini-mouse cap on my head, I asked, "Is there a problem, officer?  Because, you know, I'm really upset that my Kentucky Gentleman bourbon was spilt."

The office quickly  jumped up and turned me around with the cuffs still on and said, "Are you kidding me?!  Was that really KG?"  I said yes while pointing to the bottle of bourbon sitting on my mantle place next to my Peewee Herman doll and picture of Oprah Winfrey.

His jaw dropped to the floor and he began to drool.  One of the other officers in my house began singing, "Awwww yeeeeeea, there's a party up in here, up in here, up in here," while the other four officers dance around Babb's.  I was quickly uncuffed and introduced to the crew of officers.  Lt. Robert Stonecolde, the one who threw me about like I threw Peewee in bed, shook my hand and asked if he could have a drink.  I said, "Have a drink?  Why sure.  You all can."

After pouring five additional GlennKaren glasses with this lucious bourbon, I asked why they broke into my home, as I handed each a glass.  Lt. Robert responded, "We're looking for a Perv who lives in this tenement matching your description.  But hell no can it be you.  We obviously got the wrong apartment.  After all, no man who drinks Kentucky Gentleman can be a bad guy.

Now, of course, that is a paraphazed advertisement inside of a 1956 Sports Illustrated magazine I found in my Grandfather's garage years ago but one I will never forget.  I tell you, those '40s and '50s bourbon advertisements were just great!  What a time to be alive and drinking bourbon.  Too bad those carefree, purified days are over.

Gone are those days but, dare I say, we are in golden age of bourbon like no other.  If I may make a baseball reference, this is like going back in time and watching Johnny Rice and Dave Raghetti battle it out on the baseball diamon in '77.  We have so much quality bourbon in our midst, that it's almost unfathomable.

I mean, how many off-shoot micro distilleries are pumping out top notch, unique, collector's items, bourbon like the Knob Creek distillery, Booker's Distillery, KD, Diageo, George P. Stagg Distillery, W. E Weeler Distillery and so on?!  I've never tasted so much diversified bourbon in all my life and I lived through the great bourbon glout of 1956 when bottles in bond were 50 years old and 100 proof (Snitzel and Weeler and Old Grand Pop to name a few).  And I will tell you, even still, we've got it much better than that.

Let's be thankful to originator and Grandfather of Straight Bourbon, Elijah Craig and those who brought it to the forefront like Elmer T. Lee, Bill Bixby, JJ Dynomite and Mr. No.

Boys, we have it good.  And even though it makes my job tougher (with all the reviewing of so many bourbons, covering the opening of so many new distillerators, interviewing so many bourbon legends, and ectcetra), it sure is a blast!

What's that old saying, "Find something you love and never work a day in your life."  Well, don't that hit the nail on the head?  Don't it?!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Elijah Craig was the keystone of Bourbon

I was reading the blog of much respected, Chuck Cowdrey, who claims that Elijah Craig was not the founding father of Bourbon and this, my friends is very untrue.  Nothing could be further from the truth, in fact.

Prior to Elijah Craig's invention of bourbon, the prior alcohol of choice was born from the Native American tribe, Plaboians.  They were a small group of Indian, now extinct who migrated from the West to the East back in 1701.  They were an interesting tribe in many ways, however, there was one physical trait that really stood out more than any other; they had sloped foreheads.  This occurance was not natural but as a result of a head brace the was harnaced to a new born's head.

Anyway, the selebate local medicine man, Van Dome Broken Hose, was conjuring up his typical Diptheria drug when he inadvertantly boiled his corn, barley and rye in a covered copper pot.  Condensation began to build up and rise to the top of his teepee.  The next thing Broken Hose knew it was raining on his head.  Looking up with his mouth open, one of the drops managed to fall into his mouth.  And he liked it.  And that's how corn whiskey was born.

Where does Elijah come into play, you ask?  Simple, one day in November of 1787, he meandered upon a drunken Indian tribe and asked what they were imbibing in (thanks to subtitles, Elijah was able to communicate perfectly with the tribesmen) and the medicine man gladly showed him.  Once in control of the master recipe for this new-found concoction, Elijah burned them all alive, took over their 5,000 acre corn, barley and rye fields, and created a distillerator of his own design that he called The Vandome - in loving memory of the ex-master distiller Van Dome Broken Nose.

The rest, I've already mentioned in another post but I will quote myself here as it is a very important turning point to the history of whiskey, specifically Bourbon.  After sitting on this future goldmine for 3 years, Elijah using it only for his family's own consumption, the events to follow ocurred rather randomly.

"Back in 1792, a Catholic Minister and accomplished Whiskey distillerator named Elijah Craig -- who invented the Rick House, Fulling Mill and Paper Mill -- upon realizing that he'd distillated too much corn whiskey, decided to store the leftovers in an empty old sugar barrel. A month later, after having run out of corn whiskey in his house, Elijah Craig decided to tap the sugar barrel he stored in his hay barn.  Upon drawing the corn whiskey from the barrel, he immediately realized that it had turned from clear to a light reddish hue.  Once he tasted it, he knew he was on to something.

"Before too long, Elijah Craig built a house to store these barrels and began selling them to the public at varying levels of "agedness," as he called it - from one month to two years.  He decided to name the house which stored his aging bourbon, after his eldest son Richard. Hence the now famed name, Rick House.

INTERVIEW: Harlen Wheatlee

I was very fortunate to have the good luck of sitting down with Master Distiller, Harlen Wheatlee.  He was actually at the Ohio Bottles in Bond Bourbon Fesitval in Mt. Peate, OH.  We had a raucous time.  I was about 3 bourbons full to the till while Harlen was 5 deep.  Still, we were both able to keep our composure and put on a good interview.  It was crazy, we had about 10,000 people who impromtuly gathered around us trying to get their listen on.  So here it is:

ME:  Harlen, it's great to have you here and thank you for sitting down with me.  Whatcha drinking?

HARLEN:  First let me say, I am a huge fan of your blog.  And this is just a quick shout-out to all you listenin', go visit straightbourbonblog.blogspot.com for the most accurate information you'll find on the 'net about bourbon.  Nobody, and I mean nobody, has knowledge that this guy's got (HUGE APPLAUSE FOR LIKE 10 MINUTES OR SOMETHING).

HARLEN:  But to get back to your question, John, I'm drinking one of your recipes, funny enough.  Of course, I've tried them all but this here one is the Mexican Lollipop and it's a damn fine drink, I tell you.

ME:  Tell me a little bit about your first time in a rick house and working at a distillery.

HARLEN:  I musta been 5 years old and I was so enchanted with the rick houses that I snuck away from my Daddy, Waldo Wheatlee, and ran up to the tippity top of the rick house.  Now, I know you're familiar with a rick house but for those of you who ain't, they're made out of 100% pine and rickety as all get out.  Anyway, there I am on the top floor and it's starts swaying and I got so scare I nearly mussed my overalls.  So, I comea runnin' down only to see my Daddy at the bottom of the stairs and he, right then and there, gave me a beatin' I will never forget.  Actually, I kindda did forget it since I was knocked unconsious and had a sever concussion that landed me in the hospital for a couple weeks.  But I do know it was 'cause a Daddy hittin' me.

ME:  Ain't nothing wrong with putting a beating one of your own.  In fact, I just beat the crap out of my 29 year old daughter for coming over to my house for dinner and not domesticating enough with her Mom.

ME:  So tell me, Harlen, what's your favorite bourbon?

HARLEN:  Of course I'm gonna say one of our own, and I'm not bein' biased neither.  My favorite bourbon is Ten High.

ME:  That's one of my faves too.

HARLEN:  I know.  I saw it on your blog (ALMOST UNENDING UNCANNY LAUGHTER).

ME:  How about for mixing?

HARLEN:  Oh for that I go with somethin' not special at all, like a Sazarac 17 year.  Overage bourbon is perfect for mixin'.

ME:  Damn, we think alike.  I feel the same way.  So, let me ask you about this White Dog you came up with and I'm seeing all over the market.  Give me the lowdown on that if you would?

HARLEN:  Sure, I'd be delighted.  I came up with this myself and got the whole industry sucked into it.  White Dog is nothing more than distilled vodka fed through a filter, walkin' the dog, as we say in the industry, but instead of using charcoal we use raisins.  And that's why you get that potato/raisin flavor up front.  It's the cheapest thing to make and we charge like $50 a pop to the suckers out there who don't know no better (ABSOLUTE LAUGHTER FOLLOWED BY "SUCKERS" CHANT).

ME:  So what's next, what's brewing?  Any new expirements going on at the Trace?

HARLEN:  Oh yea.  We are currently aging some distillerate in used pine box coffins and also we've got some plastic barrels with led floating in it that we've been aging for 12 years now.  In fact, I just tasted it and it's wonderful stuff - got sick for a week after, but I honestly think that once the human body builds a tolerance to it, it will stop all the hurtin'.  What's weird though, is all the black smoke and funky burning plastic smell but other than that, it's awesome.  We'll be bottling and packaging next week.

ME:  You're going on 99 this October.  Tell us what your secret is.

HARLEN:  Me and Ernie (Earnest Bourgnine) subscribe to the same theory.  It's called "self love" (puts his right hand in the air), meet Mary Palmer and her 5 sisters (UNCONFORTABLE SILENCE AS HARLEN FONDLES HIMSELF THROUGH HIS JEANS).

ME:  Well that wraps it up.  I've got to run, it was real nice talking to you until you broke out Mary and her sisters but it was still a pleasure.

HARLEN:  Oh, it's a pleasure indeed.