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Don’t look a gift whiskey in the mouth

Posted on by Eric Burke

My wife’s boss doesn’t drink whiskey. I hear he is a nice enough man and though I’ve never met him, I have a feeling we wouldn’t get along. I’ve heard that there are people out there worth talking to that do not drink whiskey, but I don’t know that I’ve found one. I have a hard enough time understanding folks who prefer scotch to bourbon. But no whiskey at all? That’s kind of a stretch.

Anyway, my wife’s boss received a bottle of whiskey from his daughter-in-law who got it at work. He didn’t want it so he gave it to my wife and I since he knew we liked whiskey. When we first found out he would be doing that, we were appreciative, but joked that it would probably be something like Rebel Yell. Rebel Yell being the only bourbon so bad that I couldn’t finish the bottle. (I’m even finishing the Old Crow!) 

So it was with a bit of amusement that my wife told me as she got home that, “guess what, it really was Rebel Yell.” It’s an interesting feeling being both amused and disappointed. I was as amused as she was. Because “of course it is.” But here’s the thing. As I pulled it out of the bag, I noticed something. I saw that the label had changed, reminding me of a PR email I received.

I get a lot of people asking if I want samples. I always say no even though sometimes it’s hard, knowing I might not get to taste it otherwise. Other times it is really easy. The Rebel Yell email was an easy one. The gist of my response was: “Sorry, already reviewed that one and I wasn’t nice.” I wish I had read the press release a little closer. It seems that Luxco has released a couple more whiskies under the Rebel Yell name. And the gift whiskey I got was one of those. It’s not Rebel Yell Bourbon. It is Rebel Yell American Whiskey: a blend of bourbon and rye whiskey. So I opened it up. And it wasn’t bad.

Which caused something to crystalize in my brain: 

If you’ve never had it, you never know what is going to be in a bottle until you open it. 

It’s simple and sounds obvious once you hear it, but it’s worth reminding ourselves sometimes. Too often we tend to judge a whiskey by what we “know” about it, it’s price or who did or didn’t produce it, instead of what it tastes like. In this case I almost let my preconceptions get in the way of something that seems fairly tasty. I have no idea how long that would have remained on the shelf in the closet if I hadn’t taken a closer look at the new label.

So it seems my wife’s boss and I are cool now (even though we’ve still never met). It seems that having someone in your life who doesn’t drink whiskey is an ok thing. I mean how else would I have gotten free whiskey?

(A more formal review will come once I’ve been able to spend some time with the bottle, but I was reminded of this lesson and felt like sharing.)


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