Last weekend I had what might have been the most transcendent bourbon experience I've ever had.
I was watching MadMen as the finale to a really good weekend of visiting with family (and playing my first ever game of laser tag). Along with some really tasty bourbon, I had picked up what I hoped was some really tasty cheese. Toss that on a few crackers and I figured I had a yummy, though not necessarily healthy, snack to add to my tv viewing pleasure.
The bourbon: Old Pogue Master Select. The cheese: Collier's Powerful Welsh Cheddar. The crackers: Ritz. Yes, Ritz. I love the greasy buttery goodness of those things...
On their own each are tasty. Together they form a super-group that would make all those mulleted rock super-groups of the 80s quake in their odd-looking and inappropriate-with-tight-pants cowboy boots. (Looking at you Damn Yankees.) I mean, this combination is just heaven in the mouth...
...or so I remember. Knowing that memories that come from a relaxing session of drinking bourbon are notoriously suspect, I decided tonight that I was going to try to recreate the experience in a more scientific (read that non-tv watching) manner.
First I tasted the Old Pogue on it's own. Here are my notes:
Old Pogue Master's Select
Nose: initially there is a big hit of alcohol. After sitting for a little while I start to pick up caramel apple, baking spices and some vanilla. This is a pleasant nose. Almost comforting.
Mouth: Repeats a lot of the nose. Tasty, but nothing spectacular.
Finish: A spicy, sweet burn that lasts a while and is then replaced by a bitter and slightly vegetal after taste.
Overall: I liked it. I'll certainly buy it again. It's not a go to bourbon, but it'll do when the mood strikes.
After a fairly thorough tasting to set the baseline, I add the cheese and cracker to the mix. This is where it gets fun. In order to most accurately recreate the initial experience I add a bit of water to the bourbon as well. The cheese and cracker cancel a bit of the burn left after adding the water. The sharp cheddar completely overpowers the bitterness in the finish. It adds a caramel sweetness to the slightly sweet, salty, sharp, nutty taste of the cheddar and buttery crunch of the ritz which is amazing. It's just as good as I remembered. Damn Yankees have been put on notice.
And I have to say, it made for one hell of a supper.