Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Jim Beam Red Stag Bourbon - Utterly delicious neat and born to be mixed

For the record, I'm not a liqueur drinker. I'm a whiskey drinker who prefers single malt scotch and single barrel bourbon neat, never anywhere near ice and aired for 10 minutes before first sip after well sniffing in a small cylindrical glass. I was expecting to HATE Red Stag - but it seduced me because it puts the taste of bourbon first. It smells like bourbon with a hint of cherry pipe tobacco in the glass: notes of popcorn, molasses, tobacco, leather, and cherry. At first sip the first taste is bourbon: corn, honey, bacon, and molasses. The mid palate explodes with cherry and tobacco and leather. It's sweet, but it's oddly sophisticated. The finish is sweet with honey, cherry, and smoke.
It's utterly delicious. I polished off my glass like a hungry wolf. The cherry is robust - but tastes real. It never obscures the bourbon which shines through with character, age, and American cowboy splendor like Johnny Cash's voice.

I'm a whiskey snob, but this liqueur is the only whiskey adulteration I've ever loved. The cherry bourbon alchemy is killer mixed with coke. It's even better in a modified Manhattan. I suspect it will work in any mixed drink where bourbon plays a part and you'd consider putting in a cherry.

Why only 4 stars? I love this stuff - but I'm a whiskey purist and this isn't pure whiskey.  It's an adulteration and displays a liqueur's syrupy sweetness, thick sugary mouth feel, and a candy fruit intensity of flavor that's alien to real whiskey.  By all rights I ought to hate this... Yes... where's my glass? I want more... ****

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