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BourBonCon 2008 wrap-up

In short: A grand time was had by all. No one got arrested, the house is still standing and all cars still had all their windows intact the next day.

We chose four bourbons to whet our whistles for the evening: Wild Turkey 101, Knob Creek, Elijah Craig & Evan Williams Single Barrel. These are unpretentious bourbon whiskies in the $20 – $30 price range for a fifth at any given liquor store and all very, very fine. In the end, tho, we collectively took on the challenge of that Kickin’ Chicken and destroyed it all that evening.

Wild Turkey 101 is my go-to bourbon – it’s what I ask for at a bar even if I know you’re picking up the tab. This dirty bird kicks back if you’re not careful but packs a huge wallop of flavor. It’s easy to find, relatively inexpensive and is simply delicious. I couldn’t agree more with our sadly departed Michael Jackson when he described it as, “A Clint Eastwood of whiskeys“.

Knob Creek is one year older than Wild Turkey, being aged nine before bottling, but is 1 proof fewer at a straight 100. I find it to be less complex and bold as Wild Turkey 101, but on its own right, it is quite tasty. This was our mixing bourbon of the night and it made some very, very fine mint juleps. Our own Iconotron was manning the muddling for the evening and he made up some drinks that did our most beloved of brown liquors a damn sight finer than most have done on their own. Tasters are less consistent on this bourbon, but I certainly can see the notes of rye in it, which I personally enjoy.

Elijah Craig is the old man of the group at twelve – but you will know where those years have gone when you drink it. This is very smooth and unassuming, and the flavor builds nicely. It makes a fine drink with just the addition of a few ice cubes. The lower alcohol content – only 94 proof – certainly adds to its smoothness. I won’t turn this down, but it is a little mild for my tongue and yet another bourbon that tends to polarize its tasters.

The last bottle opened that night turned out to be quite a surprise, the Evan Williams Single Barrel. I don’t recall the vintage, but it may have been circa 1996 and was well worth the wait. This was more complex than Knob Creek but smoother than Elijah Craig, a truly excellent balance of flavor and smoothness. Certainly seek out a bottle if you can find one, ours was well worth the $30 we spent on it.

The Gentlemen’s Auxillary of the North American Booze Council also enjoyed the afternoon, as we had a shaving swap meet for lots of double-edge razors, blades, aftershaves, soaps and other goods, but the real deal was the fine drinking that went on that evening. We introduced many to the delicious brown liquor in various forms – neat, with water, in a mint julep and my preferred preparation, over ice. One internet celebrity in attendance spoke of it later as saying, “I did not fully expound upon bourboncon, but it was a life-changing event… it was not long ago I had sworn off corn-based liquors forever, and now I feel very differently about the subject. [N]ow I’ve only sworn off crappy corn-based liquors.”

“My children, bourboncon is a place inside us all.” Enjoy bourbon frequently, friends. It is proof that “Bob” loves you and wants you to be happy.

In closing, we have met the brownest of the brown. And it is us.