new orleans

The Bourbon Boom

Bourbon is as American as blues and jazz.  It’s been here since the beginning of this nation and seems to be more popular than ever.  So much in fact that bourbon producers are starting to struggle to keep this American Whiskey on your store shelves.  One of the largest bourbon distillers, Buffalo Trace, recently put out a statement addressing their inventory shortage, saying “…there is no way to predict when supply will catch up with demand.”

I recently produced a piece for News with a Twist – a newscast on WGNO-TV in New Orleans.  It touches on the bourbon boom, bourbon in general, and a unique story that ties bourbon to New Orleans.  You can watch it below.
Video courtesy of WGNO-TV.

Bulleit Bourbon Review

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You’ve seen the bottle on the shelf.  The great looking one that belongs on the set of the long-gone HBO show “Deadwood.”  Nothing says Old West like Bulleit Bourbon.  BTW, the “i” in bulleit is silent.

Bulleit Bourbon is a NDP (Non-Distiller Producer) bourbon owned by Diageo.  Huh?  It means Diageo doesn’t distill this bourbon.  Instead, they purchase, age, and bottle it.  Apparently Bulleit is distilled at Four Roses, and word around the campfire is they are going to stop distilling Bulleit this year.   What does that mean for you?  Nothing, at least for the next 4-6 years.  See, if Four Roses stops distilling Bulleit this year, then Diageo will find someone who will.  It’ll take 4-6 years of the new distillate to age and make it to your supermarket shelves.

If you read a lot of bourbon blogs or forums, you’ll see there’s lots of negative attitude towards NDP bourbons.  You see, a lot of NDP bourbons don’t list who actually distills the whiskey, and people want to know who makes the stuff.  I get people’s frustrations, but who makes the bourbon isn’t as important as how it tastes.

So how is it in your glass?  One word:  spicy.  Not a tongue-tingling spicy like Noah’s Mill or Booker’s gives you.  Those are barrel-strength.  Bulleit Bourbon is 90 proof.  It’s more like a little bit of cinnamon spicy.  There’s lots of rye in the mash bill.  A quick search says as much as 28% rye.  It’s not completely one sided, however.  Like most, if not all, bourbons, there’s some sweetness there. I find the sweetness really comes out in the finish.  It’s a great “everyday” bourbon.  Because of the spiciness, I like this one in cocktails, especially an Old Fashioned.

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You can probably find this around the $25 range.  It’s readily available.  Bulleit also offers a rye whisky and a 10 year old bourbon.  I’ll get to those soon enough.

A great mid-tier bourbon.  8/10

Sazerac

This blog isn’t all about drinking whiskey neat.  I do enjoy the occasional cocktail.   A few months ago I produced a piece for WGNO-TV’s “News with a Twist” entitled “Sazerac:  The New Orleans Cocktail.”  The cocktail itself, like most bourbon stories, has an interesting history.  The video is courtesy of WGNO-TV.

The Sazerac

  • 2 oz rye whiskey
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar (or simple syrup)
  • 3 dashes of Peychaud’s bitters
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Herbsaint
  • lemon twist

Start out by filling an old fashioned glass with ice and setting it aside.  In another old fashioned glass, mix together the rye whiskey, sugar and bitters.  Dump the ice from the first glass to the one with the whiskey mixture and stir.  Add the Herbsaint to the now empty glass.  Swirl it around to coat the glass, and discard the rest.  Strain the whiskey mixture into that glass.  Rub the lemon twist around the rim of the glass and drop in. Some people don’t like the lemon twist in the cocktail.  Some do.  That part’s up to you.  Enjoy.