November 2011

Maker's Mark

Bourbon Whisky

Maker's Mark bourbon whisky- my personal favorite among bourbon whiskys, and one of a very few to use the Scottish spelling without the Irish and American “extra e.” Maker's Mark is distinctive for several reasons, some of which are cosmetic- like the Scottish spelling and the red wax seal on the unusually shaped bottles- while others are a matter of taste.

 

Take the ingredients, for example. Bourbon whiskeys are generally made from a mash containing rye and corn. When the creator of Maker's Mark was deciding on his recipe, he couldn't possibly know how the finished whisky would turn out after sitting in barrels for seven years.

Finnegan's Wake

Whiskey and Irish Stick-Fighting

“Finnegan's Wake” is one of the great all-time whiskey songs, with more references to whiskey per verse than any other song I know of. It also has some great references to Ireland's eighteenth and nineteenth century martial culture, which was based on rural fighting gangs known as “factions” and their weapon of choice, the shillelagh stick.

Whiskey and Poetry

A Natural Combination!

Whiskey being the most poetic of all alcoholic drinks (because it is also the must sublime), it is only appropriate for particular whiskeys to be paired with particular poems, much as one would take care to select the perfect wine for the perfect meal. There is a website called “The Whiskey Corner” that endeavors to provide this service, by assigning whiskeys to various poetic classics. For some reason, the most profound of all the whiskey family (single malt Scotch) did not find its way into this list, and nor did the blended Scotch whiskeys. However, there are pairings for Irish whiskeys, corn whiskeys and rye whiskeys.

Moonshine

I'm Not Convinced

I've met people who swore by moonshine, but I'm just not sure. My own experience of moonshine was not that great. It came in a rinsed-out milk gallon, had no flavor and gave me an instant headache. I couldn't exactly refuse it, because it was offered to me by a crazy Scotsman who was known for his sharp-shooting skills and his distorted perception of reality. Actually, let's not mince words- his nickname was “Madman,” and his claim to fame was that he liked to climb mountains with a shotgun in one hand and a bottle of moonshine in the other, blasting anything that moved.

 

So in that situation, when he offered me some moonshine, I didn't really feel I could turn him down. The context might not have helped too much, but it does seem appropriate. What it comes down to, in the end, is that it just didn't taste good. When you think about it, why would it?