At this point, my two cents worth is worth much less than two cents. Nevertheless, I will sally forth. Many times on this very site have I extolled the skills of our master distillers. In my very strong opinion, and in support of a statement of Chuck Cowdery that some skills can only be acquired from a master craftsman, it is the case that some bourbons (or other spirits) are truly exceptional and achieve a greatness worthy of unabashed praise due to the skills of these craftsmen.
Now, realistically, I do not claim for myself the ability to truly appreciate these spirits in their fullness........but, by God, I am experienced enough to know they are there.
This is a backwards approach to the question of craft. I know that there have been (and I insist, are) folks, human beings, of extraordinary skill in the whiskey making art, because I can discriminate at least a few of the great products they are capable of producing. I know next to nothing as to their processes, or their art, or their reliance on the lab (lab work alone will not make great whiskey, it is not a chemical enterprise, it is a HUMAN one, it is not instruments that must be satisfied, it is HUMANS..........Pappy Van Winkle was right!).
That subjective evaluations of taste place first among criteria I do not contest. But, folks, that ain't the end of it. SOME BOURBONS ARE BETTER THAN OTHERS.........for those of you who may be hard of hearing as I am, I repeat, SOME BOURBONS ARE BETTER THAN OTHERS. If this were not the case this whole post is completely meaningless.
You are entitled to your taste, but to dispute what Chuck Cowdery also said, I say that Beam White ain't as good as Beam Black. Bourbon Joe had it RIGHT. This is no disrespect to Chuck, a man for whom I have utmost respect..............he shoots straight most, most, most of the time..........but he is a human and, in my opinion, was aiming more at getting that poster to trust his own palate (which you must do, but only after you have sufficient experience) than at selecting a good bourbon.
Pardon my interruption in this most interesting and important post, but exactly how the master arrived at the destination of producing good or great bourbon is no more important than that he did so...........and knowing that he did so is sooner or later (like it or not) a public affair. It is the rare artist indeed who can survive on his good opinion of himself alone............and those that do are probably insane.
Last edited by Mike
on Sat Jul 10, 2010 7:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. - Dylan Thomas