Tuesday, February 5, 2013

It started out as an idea, it ended with a backfire

By Matt Adams

Listen up. It's been really busy for me the past few months, so the bourbon blog has taken a hit, but not the tastings, so leave it alone alright. The real excuses I have... Gold Rush is painful to watch and I can't stop watching it. They've been showing these God damned boxing matches on HBO each Friday and it's fucking Oscar season. I never expected to put Ben Affleck above Tarantino in the director's arena until I watched Argo and Django in the same week. I'm having a really hard time dealing with that right now, so if you're waiting with a calm bated breath for this stupid bourbon blog to update, deal with it.

I'm going to bring it back to the beginning with my "idea" I was going to try for this next post and move into how it all ended.

I discovered this blog. http://sourmashmanifesto.com/ by this bad ass M.F. Jason Pyle. He's reviewing the Bourbon and Whiskey with a passion. If you check out his blog, he's got about a million drinks he's reviewed and he's making shorts on youtube of each review. Some of the reviews go on a little long and could use some editing, but that's just my profession so pay no attention to my bullshit. What really sucked me in was his review on Elmer T. Lee. http://sourmashmanifesto.com/category/reviewsratings/elmer-t-lee-reviewsratings/ I got a little history lesson as well as a nice little introduction into the $20-$30 bottle of bourbon which "Private Pyle" actually put on par with Makers Mark.

Holy shit. Why don't I try some $20 dollar bourbons and do a blog about them too! 

So I ran out and got myself 3 bottles of Bourbon that were all around 20 bucks. 

Elijah Craig
From Heaven Hills Distilleries

This gem was on sale and I got it for 18 bucks. It's a little higher proof at 94 so I was taken back when I was into the second glass on my first tasting. I needed to slow down a little. 4% makes a difference. The things I like about this drink are the earth tones you get right up front. A burnt sugar and fruit taste with only a hint of Oak. Some leather taste in the finish, but I chock that up to the "Magic" that these odd ball bourbon reviewers call complexity. When I first got into this bottle I stopped trying it for a really long time because I opened up the second bottle in my under $20 reviews right after this one. I had to force myself to go back to it. This shit is something I'd keep at the store, but not too far from the cabinet. If you have 20 bucks in your stupid pocket, go ahead and buy a bottle and drink it. If you have a little more cash to throw at some shit aged in a barrel, I'd hold off and get something else. What the hell do I care, do what you want with your money.

Taste: Complex

Price: $20 -$30
Purchase Again: No 

Elmer T. Lee
From the Buffalo Trace Distillery

This is the shit that I really wanted to get into because of Pyle's review. I got this for a deal as well at 25 bucks. Everything he says about this bottle is true. Up front you get caramel, honey, vanilla and in the finish the taste is like caramel corn. It's a hell of a drink that doesn't stop tasting good. There's a little burn that comes back at you, but I would recommend this bad boy before the Elijah Craig. I'm keeping this in the cupboard and I'll maybe even put it next to the Maker's bottle as a back up. Drinking this sucker has peaked my interests in trying more of the Buffalo Trace line. (Read Keith's guest blog for the 1792)

If you want to check out an hour long interview with Elmer T. Lee that really breaks down his history as a kick ass guy, hit the link below during work. Kill an hour during lunch while you choke down some shitty Progresso soup and actually learn something about the Buffalo Trace Distillery. Reminds me of one of my favorite work quotes, "The only thing I plan to accomplish at work today is to turn a gallon of coffee into a gallon of piss." Don't be THAT person. Educate yourself.

Taste: Complex
Price: $20 -$30
Purchase Again: Yes 

Four Roses Small Batch
From the Four Roses Distillery

How does this fucker taste? Don't know. Why? I felt guilty spending 60 dollars on 3 bottles of booze and put it back on the shelf. I paid for cable alright. I wanted to watch fucking Gold Rush and boxing. If you want to talk about the Hoffman crew or the upcoming fight schedule let me know.

How the under $20 reviews ended.
So, last week I was chatting with my cousin Keith and he said that he was going to be in town over the weekend with his lovely wife and wanted to get together. My first response to him was, "Let's do a flight of everything we have!" He agreed and it was on. 

When he arrived, we set up a row of bourbons and whiskey and drank them in this order. Hudson Baby, Templeton Rye (This was a bottle that was brought over by my friend Jason one night and has become a favorite.. review to come) the Elijah Craig, and lastly the Elmer T. Lee. I'm not sure why we kept out the Makers Mark, but we had more than enough of our plate as it was.

Quick comments from our tastings. Think of them as movie poster reviews.
Hudson Baby
"Tastes like a barrel of Oak."
"Very drinkable."
"This is one of my favorites so far."

The comments start becoming more free now.
Templeton Rye
"Surprising. I'm definitely going to try some more Rye."
"Was a prohibition recipe, so this shit must be good."
"I'm buying this."

The reviews takes a turn.
Elijah Craig
"This shit tastes like a leather glove."
"Holy shit, you're right. It's a baseball glove in a bottle."
"4% extra proof... Sweet."

Finally the review turns to story telling and Elmer is drained...
Elmer T. Lee
Keith and Katie tell us a story about an old RX7 they had when they lived in Maryland that used to idle when they took out the key to shut it off. Apparently this car would putter for 10-20 seconds until it would finally backfire. Hysterics ensue regarding the situations they were in with the backfiring RX7. Each scenario ended with either of them explaining to the offended or terrified individual with a simple nod and a few words, "That's just our car." I kept picturing the car in Uncle Buck that did the same thing. Keith finally ends the conversation with, "God I loved that car. Best car in the world." 

I guess Elmer T. Lee won the flight with a few tips of the bottle and a dozen good eye watering stories. But the best thing of all was having good friends over to enjoy a few tales from the old days. For me personally, the under $20 reviews are over because it was too much commitment at the start. Now I'm stuck in that decision making process again whenever I see the Elmer T. Lee empty in the recycling bin. Do I go back and get that Four Roses or get into something totally different for the sake of the blog. Perhaps a Rye? Either way, there's an RX7 out there somewhere giving someone a laugh and another bourbon with our name on it for a blog that no one gives a shit about. 

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