Jim Beam Bonded

Mondays.  Nobody is excited for Monday.  Monday is never the best day of the week.  Then again sometimes, it’s worse than others—as was the case for me today.  I woke up early, and I freakin’ hate waking up.  I had to go to the dentist, which meant minimizing morning coffee intake.  I got my cleaning done, with a thorough thrashing of my gums and scraping.  Worse yet, I have to go back to get a filling.  From there I went to one of my favorite coffee shops to catch up on my chemicals, only to realize I had forgotten my wallet.  Onward to work in the pouring rain.  Work was guaranteed a stressful day, payroll reporting, though that went rather smoothly.  Not everything did, which meant—without going into any details—I spent a good hour dealing with someone in a less than pleasant mood.  That’s a touch of an understatement.  That’s a big understatement.  Fortunately, I made it through the day, made the gym, made it home.  Now, I would never be the one to recommend alcohol as a coping mechanism (hahahahahaha,) but I think it’s a fine night for a firm drink.  On the docket tonight?  Jim Beam Bonded.

Jim Beam Bonded is a pretty fresh release, hitting the shelves nationwide.  The first natural question, what the hell does bonded mean?  I imagine this is a pretty frequent question, as the term is rather specific and therefore rarely applied (aside from on my beloved Old Grandad.) Basically bonded, or “bottled in bond,” means that the bourbon comes from one distiller in one distilling season, has spent 4 years or longer in the barrel, and is bottled at 100 proof.  Simple enough, given the government involvement. So the real question here is, is it going to soothe my tattered soul (and taste good doing so?)

beam

That first deep whiff, more deep breathing exercise than nose, comes through robust, with a heavy cedar note, more than a touch of spice, some warm molasses and a lingering forewarning of booze.  The mouthfeel is surprisingly gentle with a rich warm oily consistency hiding the 50% of booze in here quite nicely, and the flavors that pop out are decidedly different than your standard Beam.  The profile, I would say, can best be described as dark, with a touch of leather and toffee resting on a solid backbone of char and toasted oak.  That leather clings on with an almost cigar like finish that is less aggressive than one would expect, pleasantly warming the throat as it winds down.  Overall, I’d probably describe this as old school, if I had any basis for that judgement.

Two fingers down, and it’s almost Tuesday.  Monday doesn’t hurt so badly anymore, except that brutal 3rd person flossing.  The takeaway here is that sometimes you just need to take a deep breath, a full sip, and let it go.  Other days are bonded days—a bit rougher, hotter, but worth the hassle in the end.

Wild Turkey Rare Breed, the Rise of “Friendsgiving” and Deep Regression Hypnosis

I left New Hampshire from work, just a hair past 6 p.m.  My car was loaded with the following: a sleeping bag, a back pack with enough clothing for two sober days, a Martin 000-15sm guitar, a case of beer, a roasting pan containing roughly 10 pounds of Cajun cornbread stuffing, and a bottle of Wild Turkey Rare Breed.  From the last two contents you may have guessed—I was bound to give some thanks.  This journey was part of a growing movement known as the “friendsgiving,” or some corny ass shit like that, in which young friends get together to reunite, eat, drink, and talk about all the grown up shit they’re doing to convince themselves that the world isn’t beating them bloody and the floor under their feet isn’t about to rot out from cultural decay and student loan debt.  Sounded like a great idea, so I cruised my way down to Philadelphia.  The plan, if I had one, was to get rather intoxicated, review this whole cultural phenomenon thing, eat a mountain of starchy foods, write a review of the aforementioned Wild Turkey Rare Breed, then proceed with the blasting until I awoke with throbbing liver to drive back to New Hampshire.  I succeeded in some respects; at least I made that whole “painful internal organs” thing occur.  I must not have eaten that much though because I came home 3 pounds lighter somehow, still pondering.  Let us behold the mysteries of Turk.  Which brings me to my point—I completely did not take notes on that Wild Turkey.  So here is where things get ambitious.  I’m going to try to piece through my cubist recollections of the weekend and give you some kind of goddamn.  This could be difficult, because I drank a lot of other whiskies, and I need to try to parse them out of my memories.  But buried beneath all of absinthe, beer, chipotle, stuffing (that stuffing, gahhhhd yes), madness, depravity and shame, I think I may pull this together.

First off, the googled portion:  Wild Turkey Rare Breed, a fine product by the Austin Nichols Distilling company, barrel proof (108 and change) bourbon whiskey.  108 proof, seems to explain things a little… Wild Turkey Rare Breed comes in at about the mid-range price point, just ahead of $30 around me, which points it within reasonable grasp.  But is it worth it?  That’s where my impressive memory comes into play.  I swear I remember most of it.

I remember the nose as having a surprising smoothness—warm sugar notes and rich spice, a touch of citrus and surprisingly little heat.  I think that was about 3pm on Saturday, that memory…Now very vividly I remember Friday morning about 1am, shortly after arrival.  Ben and I were commiserating with the Turkey—the body of which was rich, and oily, with a pleasant but in no way overwhelming warmth that revealed, as the nose had, caramel and toffee notes and a full spectrum of spices. Also, I got a good deal of citrus, but on further review I was being enthusiastic with orange bitters (Embitterment plug).  The grand finale?  Warm, happy belly, a few more whiskies, increasing joviality—dare I say, a loss of shits being given?  There was music and wonderful roses.  Wait, no roses.  There was a glass boot that one of the multiple other bottles of Wild Turkey (101) came with though.  That would make a fine vase, Ben.  There were also Cards Against Humanity, because depravity can make for a fine parlor game, too.

This is definitely were I would a picture, if I'd taken one...

This is definitely were I would a picture, if I’d taken one…

So what conclusions can I draw?  First, on the idea of the “Friendsgiving,” it’s a good thing.  Damn terrible name, but the mix of youthful indiscretion and burgeoning maturity is kind of cool.  Also, I really should not be allowed in polite company.  As for the Wild Turkey Rare Breed?  It’s a fine breed, worth every penny, and given it’s festive name, perfectly seasonally appropriate flavor profile, and barrel proof ability to make the oncoming holiday season bareable—it was the perfect choice. Also, I’m pretty sure wild turkeys are now my spirit animal.

Social Media on Social Media on Bourbon:

ImageSipping on bourbon in the late evening the television flashes something about Smirnoff sorbet, and the DD is eating sorbet out of a martini glass, blah blah flavored vodka, fuckin blah. But this reminds me of a trend I’ve been seeing on Facebook.  I am a fan of a lot of adult beverages on the Facebooks–surprise.  Well I’ve noticed that some of them tend approach their social media in different ways.  Let me just take some examples out for you.  First up is Bulleit: the responsible one.  I’ll let this sink in.  The bourbon that is branded as frontier whiskey and has a name that sounds like something that can tear holes in human flesh (like the lining of your stomach, for instance), is the one that is responsible.  Bulleit likes to make every other post about responsibility in fact.  For example one they use slogans like: “With maturity comes great character & responsibility,” “enjoy responsibly and create your own luck,” and “love bulleit responsibly.” My guess is they have some pretty cautious lawyers.  But they have a good point; drink is something to be respected.  Then again, I write a spirits blog that I refer to as a booze blog, and which at times portrays a less than moderate approach to love and respect.  But that’s just me.  The other end of the spectrum is Buffalo Trace.  The guy who posts for Buffalo clearly loves his job.  He sits on the internet all day (I imagine he keeps inspiration nearby) and he finds memes and e-cards about drinking bourbon.  Some examples from them are: “Friday is the beginning of my liver’s work week,” “I’d like to apologize for bourbon’s bad behavior this evening,” “I tried to log on to your iPad but turns out it was just your kid’s etch-a-sketch and you don’t even have an iPad—also you’re out of bourbon,” overly manly-man’s “comfort food? You mean bourbon?” and Mark Twain’s classic quote “too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.”

ImageThe point here is that they like a little excess. I enjoy that.  It’s entertaining.  Then again, everybody posts tons of cocktail recipes.  I have a feeling 80% of people who like bourbon enough to like them on Facebook, probably either think cocktails are those little hotdogs or know how to make something Facebook couldn’t handle.  Then again, some people post recipes for 5 liters of Sazerac.  So that’s my rant on social media about social media, talking about bourbon. By the way, here’s that Sazerac Recipe:

Sazerac recipe for 5 Lt Barrel:

4 bottles Jeffersons Rye(750)
1 1/2 cups Sugar in the Raw
52 dashes Peychauds Bitters
Zest 4 whole lemons over top, letting rind fall into the mix.
Spray glass with Absinth
Chill and strain into rocks glass.