...where distraction is the main attraction.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Jilted Lovers on the Rebound?

Has our lover, Whisky, ditched us for the stupid coked-up rich kids? Then should we not chase prim and proper Cognac? Or maybe Armagnac, the Frenchie who doesn't shave? How about Rum, the one with the piercings and a more exotic background than our former lover?

Did Whisky free us to explore other relationships, knowing full well we'll always come back because no matter how exciting these new experiences are, nothing compares 2 U, Whisky?

I enjoy brandy. I've liked Calvados for a long time. But having once spent over $40 for a bottle of it, I shan't do that again. And though I've had some good armagnacs, I prefer cognac. With few exceptions, long-aged armagnac reads (to me) like "Wow, this is almost as good as single malt scotch!" Actually, unaged brandies from around the world appeal to me more than most brown brandies.

Same thing with rum. A good clear rum spirit registers so much brighter and enjoyable than its aged siblings. That's not to say I don't like brown rums. I've had a number of very good ones (Hampden and Caroni!). But the new pricing of decent rum makes me think, "I can just buy whisky."

Some whisky bloggers publicly shit on gin. Not I. Gin is cool, in general. There's another unaged spirit I adore even more, and I've hinted about it plenty during this blog's life.

I waste your time with this subject matter right now because I've been playing tourist at some aged-spirits social media groups. Some of these groups spawned like Athena, violently and fully formed. Others existed long before my fellow Whisky Rejected joined up. Though I like (and occasionally love) the booze they discuss, I feel no interest in engaging or arguing about the nerdy stuff. I've also noticed the gradual creep of Here's More Shit I Just Bought And Must Show The World posts beloved by the whisk(e)y world.

To get back to the starting metaphor...... As your pal from the Whisky Relationship era of your life, I must ask about your new partners:

"Are you happy?"

"Is this progress?"

"Yeah, I know whisky is a trollop (you can thank his/her parents for that), but did you really have to dip your wick that quick just because everyone else was?"

"Whisky is never coming back. It's not your fault. Actually, it is your fault, but that's another story. I forgot, what was I going to ask you?"

This subject came to mind on Thursday as I was pouring a few birthday beverages. I was enjoying a blended whisky, a highly hyped rum and an old armagnac. And I liked the whisky blend the best. It was thicker, more complex and (most importantly!) a better drinking experience than the other two spirits. (Here's my old review of the stuff, I'm sticking to it after three years.)

Before opening the armagnac, I knew there could be some issues with it, but I was prepared to engage fully with it even if problems arose. The rum was monolithic, but good. Yet it made me think of a cheaper rum that's of at least equal quality.

I realized this moderate cognitive dissonance wasn't because Whisky is inherently better than Brandy or Rum. And my three drinks were not perfect examples of their genres, as if there could be a good single stand-in for any of these three broad categories.

But still, I can't bring myself to review the rum and brandy. So I have decided to bring in two guest reviewers to report on their experiences with these spirits, this week. Stay tuned...


  1. This sentence struck a chord with me:

    "Actually, unaged brandies from around the world appeal to me more than most brown brandies."

    I second that! Last night I had one of the best drinks I had all year: a pear brandy from a small farm distillery from the Swabian countryside, not far from Stuttgart. It was pure and crystal-focused, the essence of the ripe juicy pear flavor. Afterwards I had a similar thought as yours - that I enjoyed this more than almost any barrel-aged drink outside of whisky and rye.

    Incidentally, I also agree with your take and relative ranking of that particular rum and Japanese whisky. And while I don't know what your Armagnac was, I understand the general sentiment and reaction. I would add however that between Armagnac and Rum, the latter has some surprises in store, if you know where to look: Jamaica.

    1. Yeah, you and I have similar palates when it comes to clear brandies. Perhaps I should dig up my bottle of Clear Creek Pear and send Randy Brandy a sample to review.

      And, yes indeed, Jamaican rum has been pretty reliable so far for me. :)

  2. Florin - can you please tell us the name of the pear brandy you mention? I've been enjoying St. George (unaged) Pear Brandy quite a bit recently, and would be very interested in more items in that category. Thanks!

    1. The distillery is called Bosch-Edelbrand, but I don't think you can find it even on the German market. I have a bottle of St. George Pear open and it's nice, but not in the same category. In US, Edgefield Distillery makes a comparable, incredibly delicious pear brandy - also hard to impossible to get, unless you live in Portland. I haven't had Clear Creek pear brandy recently, but my past experience with them has not been stellar.

    2. Hey Tyson. Thanks for your comment. I might just pick up a 200mL bottle of St George's Pear brandy b/c there's a place nearby that has one. Beware, Florin is an international man of mystery when it comes to brandies...

    3. I now feel I've been unfairly glib regarding St. George's. My brother-in-law and I went through quite a few different brandies this afternoon, and St. George's pear brandy stood out (especially for him, but I enjoyed plenty, too). It's great from the fridge, most likely no additives, very clean aftertaste. It's not the richest at room temperature, it hits mostly in the high register, but I'd have no problem buying another bottle. I should be able to do a side-by-side with Clear Creek soon.

    4. I also got to try a recent half-bottle of the Clear Creek pear brandy. It's quite good. The nose is the star. The mouthfeel is too smooth for my taste, which I always associate with added sugar (or God forbid other crap). It seems like they went for crowd pleasing on that front. The aftertaste confirms that impression, just a tad bit cloying. In contrast, the St. George pear brandy loses on the nose (there are some foul notes in there at room temperature), but wins on mouthfeel and finish. I'm always looking for a more biting, bracing texture in a pear brandy (or eau-de-vie in general), so my preference is with St. George. But that could well be just me.