Sunday, July 23, 2017

Whiskey.... to blend, or not to blend?

Hi.  My name is Fickle McPicky, and I am a whiskey drinker.

"Hi Fickle.  How are you today?"

Well.... I'm in a slight quandry this morning.  I have the notion of blending my own house whiskey, to my own tastes.

"What?!?!  You CAN'T do that!!  Heathen!  Barbarian!" 

I do have a taste for good whiskey, in most of it's formats.  The single barrel imaged above.... yeah, that was a gift and a great bottle.   That, and probably fifty more whiskey variations have passed through the liqueur cabinet here at the castle these past few years.   Some fairly horrible, and some far too good and wasted on my lowly untrained palate.

My interests and favorites tend towards the middle of the road offerings.  Yes.... mass market stuff, found in every store that sells spirits.  I'll admit to being that plebeian.  In fact, my regular everyday sipping favorite is Ezra Brooks, which I believe is a bastardized blend sold by tanker load from distillery to bottler to marketer. 

A bit about myself, to build the picture.   I occasionally like to make my own wine at home.   Is this because I am a huge wine drinker?  Well.... my scale does lean towards that 'OMG GET OFF' side, but it's not from slurping down barrels of wine.

Yes, I like wine on occasion, but not enough to drive a home fermenting operation all on it's own.  The reason I do it is simple... I LIKE doing things like that.  I like the process.  I like learning something as I go.  I like the minor triumph I get from a friend tasting my wine and not grimacing in sensory pain. 

Sometimes I work from a 'wine kit', and the results almost always ranges from decent to excellent.  One particular Gewürztraminer turned out to be spectacular to my jaded tastes, and I very much enjoy a chilled glass of that offering.

Sometimes..... when I get that wild hair.... I buy fresh fruit or pure juice, and experimenting I do go.  That has resulted in a few .... horrible.... results.  It's also lucked upon a few staggeringly good wines that are spoken of fondly years after they've vanished down the gullets of friends.

Different fruit sources, different yeasts, different spices, different methods..... yeah, I really should take notes.  Maybe even read the directions on occasion, as un-American as that is.

 I've also drifted off into blending my own liqueurs. The last one, labeled as 'Blackberry Elixir', turned out especially flavorful.  Running about 40 proof, it involved pure blackberry juice, blackberry brandy, Everclear 190 alcohol, and some spices.

We enjoy it chilled, sipped straight in a small glass.  The blackberry taste is slightly less than intense, but certainly more than snacking on fresh berries.

Given these mad scientist wanderings in the field of alcoholic drinky-poo's, it's no surprise that blending my own whiskey might have an appeal.  I like the idea of building a proprietary house blend.... MY blend.... that highlights the flavors I enjoy in a good whiskey.   

Could I build just one blend that does it all?  I doubt it.  The interests and flavors are too varied.  What I enjoy in Scotch just won't mix well with what I enjoy in Bourbon I think, and adding the Irish is bound to start a war.  A minor police action, at the least.

The smoothness of a wheated whiskey.
The sweetness of Bourbon.
A bare touch of raw cask strength like Bookers.
A hint of smokey peat.

That would be my goal.  Whether it's attainable remains to be seen. When time and money collide, we shall see.

Luck be with Ye, and with me!


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