Sunday, April 14, 2013

Whiskey Madness

Today, I'm hoping to take a couple of friends back to my favorite stop on the Bourbon Trail, Wild Turkey.  I finished The Trail last month, and though I'd go to just about any of them again, Wild Turkey was definitely my favorite.  It's massive.  It feels the most scientific because of the scale of its mass production, and honestly, I always thought Wild Turkey was crap bourbon.  It turns out that I was very unfamiliar with their full line of spirits.  Anyway, planning today's adventure reminded me that I never posted about the bracket we set up for comparing all of the whiskeys my group of friends had been drinking lately.

There have been 6-8 of us that have been touring distilleries and drinking all varieties of whiskey (primarily bourbon), and we've been purchasing bottles along our travels.  Saturday night before the Super Bowl, Annie and I hosted the Michigan @ Indiana (1 v 3) Mens' Basketball Game at our house.  Since it was going to start late, we decided to skip all of the food and instead compare all of our favorite bourbons over the past few weeks at the same time.  It didn't take long before I made a bracket, set up a way for anonymous voting for each pairing, and lovingly dubbed it 'Whiskey Madness'.  We set the bourbons up against each other to see who would come out on top.  Here's what it looked like at the beginning, a lineup that The Bourbon Trail's Twitter account would eventually dub "Murderer's Row":

Following were the contenders:  Woodford Reserve, Woodford Reserve Double Oaked, Four Roses Single Barrel, Bulleit, Angel's Envy, Blanton's, Russel's Reserve Single Barrel, Russel's Reserve 10 year, Knob Creek, Kentucky Spirit, Stranahan's Tennessee Whiskey, Russel's Reserve Rye, Chivas Scotch, Jameson, and Trader Joe's Bourbon.  I wish we could have had Elijah Craig's 12 Year or Basil Hayden's, just to round out representation from the western side of the state, but I hadn't even finished the Bourbon Trail yet.  In the end there was one:

I had never had Blanton's before that night, and it's definitely the most distinctive of the bourbons I've tasted.  It's the easiest one to do a blind tasting and confidently state, "This one is Blanton's."  So, it was interesting to watch it walk to the Finals.  However, the most expensive (I think?) and what showed up being heralded as the best bourbon eventually won:  Wild Turkey's Kentucky Spirit.  Here's the Whiskey Madness bracket:

By the end of the night, I had learned several things.  Though KY Spirit won, I was really happy with how our bottle of Russell's Reserve 10-year faired.  It fought some stiff competition to make it to the quarterfinals. I was also happy to hear how much everybody liked plain ol' Woodford Reserve.  That's been my go-to for mixing since we moved here, and it's nice that, under the scrutiny of the Madness, one of the more popular comments was 'I forgot Woodford was this good'.

After posting both the lineup and the eventual winner, I was impressed at the Bourbon Trail and Wild Turkey's quick responses via Twitter:

So that was cool.  Thanks, Twitter!

Happy Drinking,

P.S. Why didn't the Trader Joe's Bourbon show up in any of the pictures?  Because you shouldn't drink it.  That's why.  You're welcome.

P.S.S. No we're not professional tasters or anything, so what does our opinions matter, but I will defend that I actually work in the wine industry and am considered to have a good palate in that field.  Regardless, you like what you like, so take our results however you want.

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