A couple of weeks ago, I went and listed my top five bourbon-related annoyances. And then I asked what annoyed you, the readers. And I got so many great responses that I want to share some of my favorites. So I've poured a measure of Jim Beam Black into my favorite Heaven Hill glass and here we go.
Lynn R. writes: "Wax!!! It drives me insane."
And Lynn is not alone. Over 10% of respondents listed wax as the thing that annoys them most about bourbon. And I'm right there with them. If you want me to drink your product, don't force me to make a mess of things just to get into it. Save that for after I've had a few tastes of what's inside...
Now Drew P. agrees with Lynn but takes it a little bit further: "Faux premium, charging a high price for a bad product but fancying it up through marketing. Also the wax and packaging."
So yeah, on some level, I agree with Drew here. How many times have you bought something that looks great on the shelf and costs a fair bit of money only to have it be just..."fine" or "ok, I guess?" This situation sucks! And even worse, to prevent this, you only have two options: buy the same thing all the time, or really know how to read the label. You'll need to look for terms like "Straight," or "Bottled in Bond" (which fewer and fewer people are using these days) to guarantee it is at least two or four years old. You need to look for an age statement—if it doesn't have one, it is at least four years old. And very importantly, look for the words "bottled by" because if you see this, it is a sourced product and is very possibly overpriced.
And speaking of ages, Christopher F. writes: "No age labels."
Yeah, this is a battle we are all losing. Age statements are dropping everywhere we look. And even worse, the "straight" designation is dropping now too. And not necessarily because producers are putting out products that aren't old enough, they are just leaving it off. And I don't understand why. It's a small word that tells you that it is at least two years old, is all made in the same state, etc. Why not use a designation you earn? Annoying.
Greg P. writes: "I really don't have any, as most of the people I know who drink bourbon are pretty darn cool people!"
I may not have met Gregg in person before, but I'll speak for all bourbon lovers out there when I say:
George H. is annoyed by: "Living so far away from Kentucky."
I hear you, George, I hear you.
Joshua C. writes: "People who don't know the difference between a rye whiskey and a bourbon whiskey. I'm tired of seeing posts stating: "This is my favorite rye" with a picture of Russel's Reserve SB Bourbon above it. Get it straight. There is a difference. And there is a reason for it. Anyway, minor but it is quite a bit annoying. Cheers to good rye! Or is it bourbon?"
Yeah, I mean at least read the label a little bit, right?
Allen L. says: "This can be applied to other spirits as well. The "Costco" sized 1.75-liter bottles are such a deal per ounce that one's liquor cabinet can no longer hold a variety of different and interesting varieties. And it then becomes a job (although not that much of a job if the bourbon is to your taste) to get through the bottle. A bottle can be a sizeable investment."
I love you, but are you really complaining about getting too much bourbon for too low a price? That sounds more like a brag to me...
Jeff W. writes: "Asking what brands of bourbon a bar/restaurant carries and being given a BS answer like "we have whiskey" or " we have Johnny Walker" or "we have Jack Daniels.""
Jeff needs a new bar. I'm kidding. But seriously, this doesn't happen to me as much anymore. I normally have a much better bourbon selection than a lot of the bars I visit, and if I don't, they usually have at least a little knowledge. But, if it does happen, I'd move to beer and save my bourbon drinking for home.
And now the annoyance that had the biggest percentage of complaints: snob/dicks/etc. I'm going to share a few of these before I comment on them.
Anthony B. writes: "Snobs. If someone like a cheap Bourbon, that is their business. It tastes good to them, and that is all that matters."
Dave K.: "The "you are doing it wrong" crowd. It makes people that are new to whiskey or are trying new things afraid to talk/post about what they are trying, or afraid to ask questions. We should all be as welcoming and helpful as possible to everyone that shares our love of whiskey!"
Ross says: Being told that I only drink cheap whiskey by people that don't even drink the stuff. Went to a national championship game party with a bottle of Wild Turkey Rare Breed and was berated by the host because it was Wild Turkey...so he pulled out his bottle of Basil Hayden's. Just annoying that people think they need to spend so much on whiskey."
I could keep posting, but these hit the high points. So let me start by saying: you gotta be a special kind of asshole to tell someone that they are enjoying themselves incorrectly. And that's what I see here.
Anthony, if your favorite bourbon is inexpensive, that is awesome for you, and it is no one else's damn business what you like. There is a reason there is always a handle of Wild Turkey on my shelf. (Sorry Allen.)
Dave. Right on man. "There are no dumb questions" is on the wall of schools for a reason. If everyone could just remember that at one point they were also new to this and offered encouragement instead of insults and snide comments, the whiskey world would be a much better place.
And Ross: Good lord man! I wouldn't have stayed. If someone is that clueless, and so proud of their cluelessness? That isn't just annoying that there is a special kind of asshole. Let them drink the overpriced and overwatered Old Grand Dad, and the rest of us can keep the good stuff a secret.
Finally, Kevin says he is annoyed by: "An empty glass"
And since that is what I have right now, I'll end this right here.
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