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Better Know a Fringe Sport: The Timeless Art of Bourbon Drinking

Suntory Holdings Acquires U.S. Spirits Maker Beam For $13.6 Billion Photo by Luke Sharrett/Getty Images

With the offseason fully upon us after Texas’ revenue sports teams went a combined 16-29 (in the immortal words of John Oliver: Cool.), I thought it would be fun to revive BWG’s long-dormant “Better Know a Fringe Sport” series.

But (A) I don’t technically possess technical knowledge of fringe sports, (2) discussing distilled spirits seems way more fun, and (iii) it’s always enjoyable to discuss subjects in which Jeff Haley’s neuralink-esque brain will put both you and me to shame.

Also, as I’m on my last finger of Angel’s Envy, I’m trying to restock my bourbon shelf.

So I’ve got two open questions for the Barkers at large.

(1) How do you describe your preferred Bourbon flavor profile?

For example, I’m firmly from the Ron Swanson Pyramid of Greatness School when it comes to scotch. To explain why Lagavulin 16 is the greatest mead on earth, I find it exceptionally helpful to point folks to the Diageo-sponsored flavor map below.

But I’ve never found a proper parallel for bourbon. When prompted, I’ll usually say it’s “sweeter” than scotch, and for flavor variation, that it’s “spicy” instead of “peaty.”

What say you?

(2) Suggest away.

I’m just now deep-diving into bourbon and haven’t thoroughly researched my bourbon preferences as much as I have scotch, and actively seeking suggestions.

25 year old me liked Maker’s over Jack, then switched to Buffalo Trace as my well of choice.

More recently, my preference is the spicy kick / high-rye content. Think Four Roses Single Barrel. But I’ve been sliding down my scale to mellower, “sweeter” stuff - the aforementioned Angel’s Envy and Willett Pot Still are two I’ll back.

Give me another bottle to pour.