PODCAST: S2E2 – Bulleit Bourbon/Wild Turkey Rare Breed

The roots of this episode of the podcast run deep.  You see, it was Andy’s Great Great Gran’pappy, a Kentucky cattle rancher and renowned inebriate, who was cooking up pot still whiskey on his ranch while at the next farm up, Stu’s Great Great Gran’pappy, himself a wild frontiersman and walking encyclopedia of folk tunes from far and wide, led the old-time hoedown string band.  After a time, they’d get together on the porch in the evening sun to drink a drop or two of fine spirit and call out tunes to the band of players. It’s a tradition that Andy and Stu continue to this day with This Is My Dram – The Whisky and Music Podcast.

Of course, none of that is actually true but in this episode, This Is My Dram drinks Bourbon and an antebellum origins yarn must be spun. Now listen here…

Andy and Stu were challenged by the illustrious Bourbon Gents to taste some Bulleit Bourbon and they added in a bonus dram of Wild Turkey Rare Breed for good measure.  The playlist theme set by the Bourbon Gents was “country music”, which was treated as something of a general guide.

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Photo: One of the lost episodes of This Is My Dram, perhaps…

It was agreed there should be no attempts at a Southern drawl during the podcast recording, no Dolly Parton and absolutely no comparative references to Scotch as “proper whisky”.  To explain how hideously uninformed that would be, This Is My Dram were joined by the Bourbon Gent’s Mister Pie for an exclusive interview.

On to the bourbon, where Andy and Stu approached the freshly poured drams of Bulleit Bourbon with open minds and open nostrils and found much to like on the nose with honey, orange and oak notes. The palate too was sweet and oaky, with that orange note ever-present. Both found the finish to be a little tame and short-lived. Still, a very enjoyable – and affordable – bourbon whiskey.

The Wild Turkey Rare Breed flew out of its coop with a fantastically rich nose (or beak?) with notes of burnt toffee, mulled wine and oak smoke.  The palate unleashed a thick gumbo of sugar and spice flavours that took some time to unpick while a drop of water – this latest barrel-proof release is 56.4% ABV – opened up even deeper oak notes.  The finish was again short-lived but all in all a superbly balanced and intriguing glass of whiskey.

For the Spotify playlist, Andy and Stu brought in a range of music styles that tended to scrape the sides of the Country genre rather than going all in with a Rhinestone Cowboy costume. Several Alt-country tracks were joined by earlier blues, creole and folk songs from the likes of Vera Hall, Canray Fontenot and Steve Earle.  A thread emerged linking several tracks with the Alan Lomax recordings, which are well worth checking out.

Andy and Stu also launched a brand new feature, the Dramier League Table which ranks all the whiskies tasted so far for nose, palate and finish. Let us know what you think of it on Twitter and Instagram and don’t forget to cast your vote on the choice of jingles for the Dramier League Table Jingle Wars too…

BLOG: A drink at the old local

– ramblings of Andy

I grew up about 10 miles away from the oldest whisk(e)y distillery in the world – Bushmills 1608 in Northern Ireland. In an industry obsessed with pairing up the sometimes unhappy bedfellows of a whisky’s age its resulting quality, you might expect Bushmills to have all the heritage and resources to turn out some of the finest drams known to humanity. If that were true, of course, the entire craft of whisky distilling would be reduced to a protracted game of chicken to see who could hold their nerve, and their whisky casked, the longest.

I am familiar with Bushmills Original, Black Bush and Bushmills 10 from before I ever fully appreciated whisky and have grown to appreciate each of them on their varied and specific merits. In the meantime the distillery has undergone a high-profile change of ownership, witnessed a resurgent Irish whiskey industry and faced more competition in the last couple of decades than it probably saw in the prior few centuries.

I’ve enjoyed the distillery-only release 12-year single malt, as much for the personalised labels printed on site at the distillery shop marking my wedding and the birth of my son, as for its gentle spice and citrus notes. The 16-year malt is a very fine dram; much-celebrated, increasingly hard to find yet almost mourned in some quarters for not being what it once was, if they’re to be believed. I’ve even enjoyed the hot toddy presented to you in the distilllery foyer as you wait to be drawn into a tour that lingers a little too long in the industrial bottling plant before finally sitting you down for a tasting.

It was only recently that I found both the opportunity and the careless slip of the wallet required to try a measure of the top-of-the-range 21-year single malt, in the eponymous Inn at Bushmills. What is certainly true is that this is a very fine glass of whisky, if you can tear your mind away from the pound-to-millilitre ratio provided by the bar’s price list. The sweet toffee nose leads into a complex array of spicy fruit and nut flavours with a rich menthol-tinged, liquorice finish. It is in turns both violently rich and subtly decadent, like a Mafia interrogator who pauses between each flurry of gut punches to fetch you another Macaron.

What struck me most was how much the aromas and flavours were profoundly evocative of the rugged and precise coastline where I spent my childhood. I can say I’ve drank better whisky, sure, but Bushmills 21 was the closest thing to Proust’s madeleine that I’ve experienced – if we aren’t counting White Lightening cider and acute nausea. It seems that in the world’s oldest distillery, age and quality have indeed learned to live side by side very well over their two decades in bourbon, Oloroso sherry and Madeira casks.

PODCAST: S2E1 – Lagavulin 16

What a way to start the second series of the podcast: being blown away by a smokey peat train as we sat down to enjoy a generous dram of Lagavulin 16. Andy & Stu spend the podcast delving beneath the deep layer of peatiness, to uncover the other tastes and smells that gradually reveal themselves as the peat subsides in this complex and interesting dram. To find out what they concluded, have a listen to the podcast itself:

 

So what about a musical accompaniment to this peat train? The lads picked the (rather tenuous) theme of “famous Petes and Peters” for the playlist, to link to the “peat” in the whisky. This led to song titles containing Pete (Boards of Canada, Nils Frahm), artists called Pete (Peter Gabriel, Pete Seeger and Oscar Peterson … no Peter Andre though, sorry!) and bands containing Petes (The Who and the original line up of the Beatles). The latter brought about a discussion about Ringo vs Pete Best… one for the music geeks out there! Here the playlist here:

 

Also on the podcast, we have the exciting conclusion of our first ever jingle wars to decide what should be the jingle for our regular “science bit” feature, as well as hearing the efforts of Andy and Stu for the jingle wars  feature itself. A jingle for jingle wars in the jingle wars part of the podcast, which doesn’t have a jingle yet… yes, we’re confused too!

Here are the two jingles which you can also hear on the podcast:

Don’t forget to vote for your fave! Thanks blog readers and podcast listeners – you’re proper mint, man!