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A night spent in: Whiskey Review

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Sometimes you finish a long week of work and realize you just don’t have it in you to go out and mingle with the crowd in a new city.  Sometimes you want to sit at home and read a good book.  Other times you may want to play a guitar, piano, or other instrument and immerse yourself in the music.  On this particular occasion, I’ll admit I felt like loading up on Battlefield 3 and winning a few Conquest Domination rounds with my trusty rocket launcher and Remington 870 Express.

But I digress….

Whatever your alone-time activity, Sometimes you need a drink to pair up with it.   On the way home from work I decided to stop by the liquor store and look for something new.  Having recently moved to Charlotte, I’ve felt a bit immersed in Southern culture (Carolina BBQ represent!).  As a whiskey drinker, I was curious what I could find on the shelf for a reasonable price.  I put my limit at $30, which is well under your standard single-malt scotch (or High-end Tequila for my FSU pals) and started browsing.  No prior research except for the price, and the description on the bottle.  

I came across the bottle of Big Bottom American Straight Bourbon Whiskey, aged and bottled in Hillsborough, OR.  Priced at $29.99 it came in right at my price cap.  I can’t say that the thick walled simple bottle, rustic label, and cork cap didn’t appeal to my inner mountain man.  

Bringing it home, i popped the seal on the bottle and took a look at what I had acquired.  At 91 proof, I was ready for something that would either put hair on my chest… or make it fall out.  Fortunately I had found a bottle that would do neither.  

The smell of the whiskey surprised me in being a lot mellower than I expected for something of this proof.  The smell alone has strong hints of Spanish Oak and cinnamon, with a cool vanilla floating in the background.  I could tell from the smell alone that I hadn’t wasted my money.  I decided to try it in several different fashions as I’ve learned that different whiskeys can appeal in different ways.  I have listed my experiences below:

Straight:  I poured a measure of Big Bottom into a brandy snifter so that I could immerse myself in the experience of trying it straight.  It definitely did not disappoint.  I will warn all my readers right now, that you should NOT shoot this whiskey for the simple reason that is a waste of a truly incredible experience.  The brandy snifter was helpful in gathering all the aromas from the bourbon as I drank.  Sipping this bourbon, the first tastes to hit me are a peppery combination of cinnamon and mint, flowing into a very light oak body, and finishing with the hint of vanilla.  For sipping a 91 proof bourbon straight there is very low whiskey-heat with Big Bottom.  In fact, I’d be hard pressed to think of another straight liquor that goes down this smoothly.  

1 to 1 on the rocks:  I’ve preferred some of the stronger whiskeys I’ve had like this and decided to give it a try.  The flavor comes across much sweeter and the vanilla is the dominant flavor, having a hint of caramel on it.  The smell reminds me of stepping outdoors on Christmas morning inhaling cold air and the hint of pine.  I would almost rate this as a “dessert bourbon”.  With this much water added it’s almost too smooth for my taste, but I think some people will find it enjoyable.

2 to 1 on the rocks:  I decided to cut back the water just a little bit and see if I could find a better balance.  The vanilla stayed the dominant scent, mixing well with the caramel flavorings.  It finished with a strong spice that reminded me of a chai latte.  The water and ice quenches what little heat there was from the straight liquor, making it something you can drink instead of just sip.  

My recommendations with this bourbon are to either sip it in a snifter like a brandy to stimulate the appetite.  It would work well before a strongly flavored meal like a steak or hamburger (just drinking this made me think of red meat).  I would also say that  the 2 to 1 ratio with a few ice cubes is more of your typical drink, and an amazing experience in its own way.

If this is available to you, i would definitely recommend you try it.  I hope it helps you enjoy your next night in as much as it helped me.

 

MB 

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