Podcast Episode: Jim and Big Chief of The Bourbon Road Podcast
Listen as Drew joins Jim Shannon and Mike "Big Chief" Hiatt on The Bourbon Road podcast. We'll sip some Angel's Envy Cask Strength and Shackleton Single Malt Whisky.
Listen to the Episode
Recently while in Kentucky, I had a chance to stop in and meet up with the Jim and Mike from The Bourbon Road podcast. We sat down in Mike's home and they guys asked me questions about Travel Fuels Life, the Whiskey Lore podcast, my travel book, and we sipped some fine whiskies.
I introduced them to Shackleton's Single Malt Whisky and they introduced me to Angels Envy Cask Strength. Just three podcasters sitting around, enjoying a couple of drams and talking shop.
It is the first of 12 episodes for the 12 Days of Whiskey Lore. A celebration of a year of podcasts and also the debut of two new episodes about Virginia City, the old west, and saloons.
Remember, if you ever want to hear episodes early, just head to Patreon.com/WhiskeyLore and for as little as $5 per month, you'll become a full-fledged member of the Whiskey Lore Society and you'll gain early access to episodes as well as tasting videos and bonus content.
Listen to the full episode with the player above or find it on your favorite podcast app under "Whiskey Lore." The full transcript is available on the tab above.
Welcome to the 12 Days of Whiskey Lore
Hello there, Drew Hannush and welcome to the 12 Days of Whiskey Lore.
This may be a little unexpected for some of you. I said I was going to be taking off until January to start season four, but something special happened. Something I was hoping was going to happen I didn't want to let the cat out of the bag in case it didn't But I am excited to announce that I have two unique episodes of Whiskey Lore that will be coming up over the next 12 days. And those episodes are in partnership with a friend of mine Chris Wimmer. Now Chris is the host of the Infamous America podcast and also the Legends of the Old West podcast. He's a really great storyteller and I truly enjoy his show and how he presents things. He did the show on the Black Sox scandal which really just sucked me into to what he does as a storyteller and I've been really enjoying his profiles of some of the Legends of the Old West.
And while we were at a podcast convention he got to mentioning while we were talking about Whiskey Lore that he's always been fascinated with the idea of whiskey in the old west and of course I'm interested in whiskey all the way around. I've been itching to tell some stories about whiskey in the old west. There are a lot of myths there's a stereotype that we get about saloons in the old west and for me I've wanted to know whether that's true or not how much of that is true how much of that is just Hollywood.
So we've decided to do not just these two episodes that I'm going to present to you over the next two weeks but also to do some series down the road and focus on different aspects of the old west and on whiskey. So for the coming episodes this season I'm going to be looking with Chris at Virginia City in Nevada which is a very interesting place. In fact it's a great place for us to start our journey because there were so many saloons there that we have a lot of them to pick from. And he's also going to tell you in his style about Mark Twain and about the boomtown era of Virginia City. And then I'm going to jump in there and also talk about Virginia City saloons and also about whiskey in the old west so hoping you're going to enjoy those
And if you are a supporter of the show through our subscription at patreon.com/whiskeylore Lore I want to say a big thank you to you and know that you are getting these episodes four days ahead of the rest of the world. And there are going to be for you 12 episodes for the rest of the world there will be a few less than that, and so this is all is a big thank you to you for being a member and subscribing to the show.
And if you are getting the regular feed just know that if you want to catch the rest of these episodes early for as little as five dollars a month you can join the Whiskey Lore society at patreon.com/whiskeylore and beyond supporting the show you're going to get all of these episodes in future episodes in advance of the normal feed now every dollar that's added to the coffers is going to help me gain more independence and allow me to provide more episodes to you, which up until this point I've been producing out of my own money and doing all the travel on my own dime. It's really expensive to do this so getting your help it will be a big factor in me being able to continue doing the show down the road, and it also makes me feel good when I see money come in I know that you guys appreciate what I do and that you're willing to put up a little of your own capital to help me continue doing this so thank you to everybody who is subscribing to the show right now.
And I hope you guys enjoy all of these new episodes.
So let's talk about what's going on in this episode. During my last trip to Kentucky I had been trying to work out an arrangement to sit down with the guys at the Bourbon Road podcast to do an interview on their show and I've been conversing back and forth with Big Chief who is Mike Hiatt and and trying to set this up well finally got it all worked out. And so I sat down with Mike and Jim, and I wanted to give you guys a sense of what their show sounded like, because in this world of podcasting sharing is very important and getting the word out and getting you guys hooked on other shows that may be of interest to you. That kind of resonates with the shows that I'm doing here and vice versa so. They're sharing this interview on their podcast. I'm going to share it here so you can get a sense of who they are and it's the Christmas season so it just makes sense to share.
And in this episode we're going to be doing a little bit of tasting and I decided that since we'd probably be talking about what my inspiration was for starting the podcast that I would break the rules on Bourbon Road and bring in a scotch whisky and bring in the Shackleton blended malt because I know we were going to talk about Shackleton at some point during that episode. And they were happy to share some Angel’s Envy cask strength with me. So it was a real honor to sit down with these guys we'll be talking about tasting notes we'll talk about whiskey and history and travel it's all coming up here.
So let's go ahead and kick off this 12 Days of Whiskey Lore and step right on to the Bourbon Road.
Hello everybody I'm Jim Shannon and I'm Mike Hiatt and this is the Bourbon Road and today Mike we are once again unfortunately I like your place but you know it's getting kind of old.
I know I know I know but I got up at 3 30 this morning went to work worked a 12-hour shift it was just to do a recording after that which was a busy day I appreciate you coming over here I know I know you no no it's not it's not that I want to I want to get out there
Oh we do need to get I want to get out there and do what we used to do that we can't do anymore.
So yeah I mean I'd like to record over your house though because your wife cooks good she always has cookies or brownies or something she's like that's right.
I mean this is a great place it's a wonderful atmosphere it's a great place for us to record and actually we have a guest today who will inspire us both to get back out on the road and start seeing some people.
Yeah I mean we haven't had a live guest in a while really it's true we did Stream Yard and we just haven't been on the Bourbon Road but actually somebody took the Bourbon Road and came to us today we have Whiskey Lore on with us Drew Hannush he's been here in Kentucky doing the bourbon trail been down in Tennessee a little bit he's doing his thing we tried to hook up with him before he's got a podcast he's got a blog he's got a Patreon account he's got it all he's got two podcasts so he's been rocking it out all right well and he came bearing bottles he did something that we haven't drank on the show before I don't think we've had any scotch right that's right I'm pretty excited about it.
Drew welcome to the show.
Thank you very much it's an honor to be here. Beautiful beautiful spot nice little drive up made me feel at home going through the countryside to get here.
You didn't hit any deer did you?
I did not hit any deer. I saw plenty of them on the side of the road but I didn't hit any one of them.
Well it's the rut in Kentucky you know like I said before them deer like teenage boys they're just going crazy. Well Drew we're going to spend a whole lot of time talking about you and what you do and but before we do as usual we like to get straight to the whiskey.
And this first one you've brought for us yes so I would like to turn it over to you and let's introduce this bottle okay and we'll go through tasting.
So what's interesting about this whiskey is that I read the label. I don't know how many people when they buy a whiskey spend the time reading the marketing stuff that's written on the back of a of a box or and scotch usually comes in a box so you have some kind of literature to read over whether it's tasting notes or something about the whiskey and so this scotch along with one other scotch called Cu Bocan were two that inspired me to do a podcast. And the reason that I was inspired to do a podcast by these two is because both boxes had very interesting stories that I didn't know anything about and I thought I’ve got to know more about this story so the Cu Bocan was about a ghost dog that haunted this little Scottish village and this other bottle that we're going to be tasting today is Shackleton whisky and you've if you walk into just about any liquor store in the United States you can find it it's me being from North Carolina Carolina blue packaging on it it's got a nautical kind of theme on it says Shackleton. I bought it on a whim I picked up the box I didn't really read it initially I just saw that it was thirty dollars a bottle and it was a blended scotch maybe this will be pretty good let me see what it's like. And so I took the bottle home I started reading about this character serena Shackleton and that basically this whiskey had evolved from Sir Ernest Shackleton who was an Antarctic explorer taking his ship down to Antarctica in 1907 and they had to leave because of conditions changing weather conditions changing and they left a case of whiskey behind in the ice under their camp and one of those bottles from that or actually three bottles were found a hundred years later by the New Zealand society that was down there doing excavating and seeing what else was left there around Sir Ernest Shackleton's campsite and so they brought these three bottles back to New Zealand contacted the distillery that made them and said we have your whiskey and do you want to interact with it in some way or another. and so the master distiller whose name is Richard Paterson, he's a 50-year master distiller he works for Whyte MacKay who's the company that purchased Mackinlay which is the original distiller of record for this whisky. So he flies down to New Zealand and he says okay I'd like to take this whisky back with me and do some testing on it and see if I can nose it and figure out what it is. Do a chemical analysis on it and also do a tasting and see if I can match it. They said well you're going to have to take it with you in handcuffs. So they handcuffed it to him and he took a private jet back to Scotland could not let the bottles out of his sight they did the chemical testing he did the nosing on this whisky and recreated the whisky. So I read this part of this story on this box and it just intrigued me. So I thought this is another story I gotta go chase all inspired by me picking up this blue box of whisky and saying I wonder what this tastes like. And it's 30 bucks I wonder if it's any good and the surprising thing is is that I think it's actually really good. It's a uh it's a malt blend so it's not like a Dewar’s or a Johnnie Walker which have some grain neutral spirit in them. This is a blending of all single malt whiskies into one whiskey.
So to try and create a profile that spoke his story.
Yeah so it was really interesting because one of the things that I assumed about this bottle was that this was a recreation of the whisky that he found that was 100 years old. He did do that and you can buy that whisky. It's about 200 a bottle to get it and it's a it's a beautiful packaging where they've put the bottle in straw and just like he found it or pulled it out of the the crate and and so if you spend the money which I haven't done yet. But I saw one actually here in Kentucky and I said oh I should buy it I should buy it but I didn't. I'm that way about buying whiskey i'll see a price tag and i'll go do I really or I could get four bottles of that for what I'm gonna spend that.
Yeah so I think we all do that I think it's a fitting uh whisky to drink on the Bourbon Road not only because a story is great because the Endurance got crushed in the ice and obviously that whisky they didn't think it was good enough to take on their 100 720 nautical mile trip trying to get to actually civilization. I think it's South Georgia Island they tried to get to where there was a whaling station and a little bitty lifeboats is how they got there that that's a feat by itself yeah, but they didn't take the whisky with them I probably would have took a bottle whisky but me and Jim are both sailors so a sailor's whisky I guess for us yeah absolutely yeah. So yeah let's nose this thing.
All right so so I think the first thing you're going to notice is that you're jumping straight out of the uh the bourbon territory into something a lot fruitier probably lighter kind of a…
Yeah they ain't no corn that Mike!
Yeah I'd say it has that kind of a straw color to it. Super light. It's 80 proof which for bourbon drinkers we've talked about that on the show before you know most Americans think 90 proof is that's the low end but if you go across the pond people over there drink 80 proof you get a lot of 80 proof.
What's interesting is one of my favorite whiskies is Laphroaig and if you get it in the United States it's 43 it's 40 over there. So that was something I found out too when doing the a podcast episode I did about Jack Daniels and their evolution. I was talking to their chief historian Nelson Eddy and he said that I questioned him because I said you've been a historian there since around 1988 or so and that's when I had my first Jack Daniels and Jack Daniels back then was at 90 proof and then it went to 86 proof and then it went to 80 proof, and I said why did they do that? Why did they drop it and he said because the rest of the world drinks it at 80 proof and they just wanted to be consistent across the board and that was the reason that they dropped it. But what was interesting too to that point he said but notice that we now have a variety of different you know stronger proofed versions that you can get the single barrel and you can get uh the one I'm interested in is that they sell a bottled and bond in duty-free and every time I see that I'm like I want to buy that. But I always pack light on my trip so I have nowhere to put it.
So what you get on that nose definitely a fruity nose mic a lighter fruit a peach no no a pear yeah I think a pear but I'm getting a little hint of like and I'm gonna use the wrong word here sort of a camfo a little bit of camfo just a little bit of lightness mintiness on the nose it's kind of uh kind of like a vapor like a I don't know it's hard to say very light very refreshing I'm getting actually a little.
I don't know why I do this but I get a little bit of uh unripened banana on this.
I'm always interested in your tasting and nosing notes he what what I like about what Mike does is that he he comes up with things that aren't normally the things you know if you were looking at a flavor wheel it's more like I like to try to figure things out the first time I smelled Maker's Mark I said I smell toothpaste I said I don't know why I smell toothpaste in there there was some kind of mint I was getting out of it which was interesting I've never seen anybody put mint as a tasting note but there was something about the combination of the alcohol and that mint that made me think of toothpaste a bite a little bit of a bite along with that mint and so I had to get to toothpaste to be able to move into oh okay that's that's a mint that I'm picking up and it's a bit of the bite of the alcohol.
I think that's the way I want to taste is from my personal experience in life you know when you're younger you get those tastes that come out and I have some weird taste sometimes like the first time my wife made me like a lemon meringue pie and she's like how does that taste what's it taste like and it's like it tastes like lemon pledge because I smell lemon Pledge and that that knows is what I would get off of that and she was like that is so weird like when I smell yogurt I smell paint that's just me yeah you know it was growing up in the army and painting on boats I had that smell of of paint and yogurt has that somewhat of a paint smell to it so yeah but I try to bring those notes out to especially the the whiskey novice that can can't know stuff off of a wheel and they're not gonna get that a lot of people say hey I don't get what you two are getting right but whenever I'm saying hey think back to what is a childhood and you know Jim one time he's like I smell cedar and I gave him a hard time and I feel bad about it because it was one of uh he was like I smell cedar so I was like you telling me you go around chewing on cedar sticks.
Yeah but who who chews on leather you know but I hear leather notes all the time whiskey tobacco yeah so yeah to each his own.
I my tasting notes are mine and you know I smell a little bit of a ripe unripened banana in there what I'm talking about is green banana you peel it back and you kind of smell it a little bit of bitterness yeah but not a whole lot and I get that pear you get into Jim just a little bit like a fresh pear not an over ripened pear.
And so I pick up a little citrus in it and because I picked up a little bit of like a hint of orange in there I paired it with Lindt's Intense Orange chocolate man it makes that chocolate just dance in your mouth it's it's amazing the combination.
Well I'll say cheers to you Drew let's let's taste the stuff
Now this has a totally different taste than the nose this actually to me like a little bit of cream brulee or something to it.
I think it's buttery yeah yeah it's definitely buttery.
You know on the nose there I was starting to get a little bit of like uh you know clovers different than grass and that smell like if you crush clover in your hand it's got that different kind of aroma to it I didn't want to say this had a grassy nose to it because it really didn't but I thought I thought man it's got that just light hint of clover which I think is a good thing yeah I think it's a good thing and as I taste it I get that buttery wash across my tongue uh a nice sort of warming finish on the end there and uh and that that a little bit of oak that buttery intenseness kind of comes back on the back of the tongue and then I start to pick up that clover again and that's on the exhale yeah I'm getting that on the exhale yeah
It's it's fun to really kind of dig into it and sometimes you can be in a particular mood and any flavor jumps out and then you're in another mood and another flavor pops out of it. It's like your mind is open to certain memories at certain times and and other times it's sure it kind of blocks them off so I mean, I struggle at times to pull out flavors when I'm say if I'm under pressure if somebody you know I did not want to do live tastings on the podcast or on YouTube or anything for a while. It used to bother me going into distilleries and having the distillery manager doing the tasting and then looking at me saying what do you think what do you think because I would go I can't taste under pressure. I just I can't do it because I don't know if it's my ADD or what but for some reason I can't get my full focus there. What's interesting is that when I started doing tasting videos I realized that when I did the video I would come up with certain tasting notes and then after I turned the video off and sat back and just took a drink with no pressure on suddenly all these flavors started jumping at me it's like whoa you know where did that come from where did that come from. So it takes a little relaxing I think to sometimes be able to to pull things out.
I'm waiting for Jim to tell me some kind of candy.
No not candy I know I mentioned early on on the nose that I was getting a campho kind of aroma to it and it's it's so distant it's so distant that it's not fair for me to say that because I'm getting it it's there but it's almost as if somebody walked across the room the far end of the room in a big hall after a little bit of Vic's rub and I'm just carrying I'm just catching just a hint of it nice okay but yeah for me it's in a good way yeah both that clover that just hinted campho the pear the buttery warmth the oak on the end
So this is where the Whiskey Lore part will will come in how many people I hear say I don't like scotch because I don't like that smoky aspect to it. You taste any smoke in this?
No yeah I don't get I've every bourbon I've had is more smoky than this right here yeah more oak into it you know it just this has no none at all and actually after I took a sip of water I took another sip of this and the notes of honey you're starting to come out and sweetness you know almost like a Bit-o-honey you know those little candies I'm talking about that gets stuck in your teeth and you're yeah yeah you're gonna pull your fillings out exactly yeah so that's what I get out of this. Beautiful scotch I don't get the smokiness and me and Jim are scotch drinkers or whisky drinkers so I think we both can appreciate that for what it is and be able to pull those notes out our notes and that's the great thing about both of us and he's a rye guy I'm a wheat guy this this has neither of those I do I do have a bottle of Glendronach that I like to go to every now and then
So what's interesting about Glendronach is that now Brown Forman owns them when I went there for my tour it was the first place I went to where they had an American flag flying over the distillery I'm in Scotland and they're why am I seeing this American flag I didn't know that they had been purchased by Brown Forman at the time so they uh related that to me but it was it's interesting because Glendronach is probably the most sherry influenced whisky and while I was here in Kentucky one of the bottles that I bought which I can't find at home is GlenDronach's cask strength so I'm expecting a sherry bomb out of that that it will definitely be full of the plum notes and the you know kind of dark fruits that you get out of that and but on a much more intense level than I've tasted before so GlenDronach is my favorite it's not space side it's a Highland but it's like right on the edge of of Speyside so
Drew let's get to let's get to how did you get into podcasting and then into whiskey podcasting
Okay so what's interesting is uh I've been a web designer for the last 18 years and I have a company that you know basically I got everybody doing everything that I need to have done I don't program anymore I'm more customer service than anything you know I'm the CEO that they come to to be the personality of the company other than that I've got my guys working on doing the development of the sites so I found myself sitting in the back room trying to find work to do and I said what am I not doing in my life that I really wish I was and I thought traveling I absolutely love traveling. So I mean I could get a laptop and hit the road and do work from anywhere because all I need is a GoToMeeting or something like that to be able to have communications anywhere in the world with my clients. So I started taking little trips just to see and then I decided to go to Europe and see if I could pull off doing a trip to Europe I did a James Bond trip I basically looked up all the different places that James Bond movies had been filmed and I plotted a trip across Europe to go to as many of those as I possibly could.
So did you go to Piz Gloria?
I did not that is one oh one of the few places I did and I love that movie yeah no that was one of a few places I couldn't go I went to Solden which is where they filmed Spectre up on the mountaintop which is not far from there uh but because of the weather I wasn't able to get to Piz Gloria so that is on my list yes but I have not gotten there yet. So I do this whole planning out of this trip and I thought I need to do a blog about this and so I started a blog called Travel Fuels Life the idea behind that name was that that was kind of an expression of who I was that to me travel fuels my life and so I'm going to start traveling and writing about all the different places that I go. Well that soon evolved into a friend kept nudging me saying you should do a podcast you should do a podcast you used to be in radio and I was petrified of doing a podcast. I thought I'm gonna get in front of a microphone I'm just gonna stumble all over myself why would I do that I just don't feel uh confident with that. And doing interviews I've never done interviews before so I don't really know how I'm going to pull that off. And so just finally one day I said just do it you know it if you fail at it you fail at it just see what you can can do I have a radio background so I should know how to be able to buy equipment and do that that sort of stuff and I know how to present so I mean I at least got that out of the way. It's the perfectionist in me there's a part of me that wants to get it right the first time I do it and so that was a struggle for me. But I ended up getting in contact with a couple of people doing interviews through go to meeting was basically how I was doing it, did a couple of in-person interviews basically talking to people about how they live a travel lifestyle and trying to get tips and ideas on how to do it. And so I did that for a full year and, then at the same time I had gotten together with a group of friends who were really into uh well one friend was really into drinking scotch and another friend who was into bourbon and they said well buy a couple of bottles of whiskey come on up we'll all bring three bottles bring a low price amid price and a high price whiskey and we'll sit here and we'll taste among us. And so I said I don't know because I had a bad experience with whiskey when I was younger I'm a beer drinker I just don't know about this whether I should try this or not, And then that first day walking into a liquor store looking for whiskey I was at the mercy of the marketing departments you know which bottle looked the best which name did I recognize. There was really no knowledge in my head between scotch or or bourbon what I should buy. So my first purchase was for that event was Glenfiddich 12 because I love the bottle it's a triangle shaped bottle so that was my whole reason for buying that one was because the marketing department's packaging. I brought a Canadian whisky I got caribou crossing which looks uh has it's oh you got it okay yeah because having been born in Michigan I have this thing about I always hear people talking down Canadian whiskey so I said you know what I'm gonna challenge people I'm gonna bring a Canadian whiskey and see if I can I can pull this... I remember what the third bottle was the third bottle was Johnnie Walker Black because my friend said who is a scotch drinker said I only drink single malt whiskey you know nose up in the air kind of thing and I said okay I'm going to find a blend and see if I can fool him into liking a blend. So that was my first experience actually picked some pretty decent whiskies to get started with on that tasting theirs was interesting but I walked out of there going they all tasted like whiskey I can't really tell you know one from the other. So we did another tasting a few weeks later and I felt like I was getting a little more out of it but we were all sitting here talking about whiskey like we knew what we were talking about but none of us really did. And so I remember saying bourbon I think it's limestone water from Kentucky and it's uh you know it it can only be made in Kentucky and so I said no I need to know more about this. So I thought well I'm doing this travel podcast why don't I just travel to Kentucky I can write blog posts about it and I will immerse myself in bourbon for a week so for eight days I planned out 19 different distilleries to go to 17 in Kentucky two in Tennessee and just immersed myself in it. And it was so interesting I video uh recorded myself at each place I went to what am I learning here you know what was this experience like. I started with Maker's Mark which was a great first distillery to go to because I felt like I got a you know good amount of exposure to finishing because you get to see the you know 46 barrel with the slats in it and you get to see pretty much the whole process taste the sour mash uh do all of that so. But then I went to Wilderness Trail was my second one so talk about a complete shift now all of a sudden I'm into the science of whiskey and then my third one on that same day was Town Branch which was doing pot still you know Scottish style uh whiskey and after that first day I remember going this is amazing. You know my friends were like you got 19 distilleries you're going to be bored to death hearing the same thing over and over and over and I got to tell you after 19 distilleries I was ready to plan my next trip because every distillery was different and it was finding those little unique things about that distillery that made those bottles so much more interesting when you walked into the liquor store and said what do I want to buy today? Now I've been to Maker's Mark I know about that bottle why it's shaped the way it is you know why there's wax on the top of the of the bottle how they make it and then you know Wilderness Trail we didn't have any around us but then you think you know if somebody is posting that on online I can tell them you know hey here's what I thought was really cool about that particular distillery or for my scotch friends I go if you go to Kentucky you're driving through Lexington you should go to Town Branch because that's the closest you're going to see to what a scotch distillery looks like because they do the exact same process that they do over in Scotland and so so it's just it was just a real eye-opener so I wrote all a blog post for every distillery that I went to and and after doing that I said I gotta I gotta do this in Scotland. So I planned a trip to Scotland and I did the same thing I learned how to drive on the left-hand side of the road uh took my life into my own hands planned out all these little distilleries to go to and I just fell in love with touring distilleries and hearing stories. Every distillery had stories they were interesting sometimes they would contradict each other you know one of the things when I go through the distilleries in Scotland is they talk about the cooper's union there was a cooper's union in the United States that forced single-use barrels. They basically lobbied congress to get single-use barrels for American bourbon when they wrote the law but you don't hear that anywhere I've never heard that in any u.s distillery but every distillery you go to in Scotland they have that story and it made me go...is it is that true? So I started start researching it and that's when I got the idea that you know all of these little mysteries that we have it would be fun to tell the stories of them like how did bottled and bond come about and so I would start researching and I'm like wow this is really an interesting story I got to tell this story I got to get this out so that I help people who are like me who started out spouting off a bunch of stuff that we heard secondhand that may or may not be true we find out whether that actually is true or not or maybe we find out like with Elijah Craig that we'll probably never know whether you know he had a mysterious fire in his building that only burned the inside of his barrel for some reason so yeah yeah.
I'll tell go ahead Jim go ahead I'd tell our listeners uh if you were taking a long trip and uh me and Jim have both been on those cross-country trips driving before whiskey lures that kind of podcast it's almost to me like listening to a Louis L'Amour book on tape nice relaxing trip you almost don't want to get out of your vehicle stop get gas or the bathroom or anything hey we could drive 30 more miles down the road so we could get the next episode finished that's what I like about your podcast is that you aren't digging into those bourbon truths I would call them that back story that me and Jim always crave. Those inside little mysteries of was Weller’s really the first wheated bourbon did Maker's Mark come from Wellers you know those kind of stories to me are fascinating you know you said you went to TW Samuels yeah old distillery which is the TW Samuels distillery right which is really the family that started Maker's Mark people some people don't know that kind of stuff and that's the stuff that I think me and Jim find so fascinating.
Yeah and I think you know I'm sitting here thinking you know all of our listeners out there listening to you talk about your travels and you're just you're living their dream yeah so yeah how many how many of our listeners would love to be just traveling the globe and visiting distilleries and tasting whiskeys well anyway. I'm really enjoying this oh good thank you so much for bringing this yeah I think we'll continue sipping on what we have we're going to take a short break okay when we come back we have a bottle for you.
So hey listeners we're back uh with Whiskey Lore Drew here and uh Drew so what we got for you it's a bottle I've had on the shelf I don't pull it out for everybody it's in a nice wooden carved box over there. It's from Angel's Envy they release it once a year it's their cask strength from 2019. you see I haven't drank a whole lot out of the box and I've seen Jim's eyes light up when I've pulled it out because but Jim can truth be told Jim could come over here any time he wants and pull out anything maybe a couple unopened bottles I have closed up.
Well I got here before you today and Viv invited me in the house and and uh and she said just make yourself at home you know and I went straight over and gotta pour your Ironroot Harbinger uh that's a good one to get right yeah.
Is that the 115?
I think that is the 115 up I have I have a couple bottles of that uh if I see a bottle I don't know I got a bad habit about trying to buy more of it because I'm afraid it's going to run out yeah or they're going to create you something different something's good like Henry Mckenna 10-year you want to get it and you got to have a couple extra bottles right Jim yeah yeah this is a bottle that I it's I keep in a wooden box over there I have some other wood carved stuff like a rum case over there I guess bottle case from haiti and I have some other wood carvings over there some wood ducks and I set it over there and I kind of forget about it because it just kind of sits back in that shelf but this is a 122.4 proof it run at about $199. I think they only had about 1400 bottles of this wow so I would call this this was probably my first big boy whiskey bottle right here I'd ever bought I felt super sick about buying it
I get that. I get that.
But I bought it and it comes out for special occasions or for good friends and I appreciate you coming out here to Jephta Bend farm with us and sitting down with some fellow podcasters and just talking about whiskey
Hh it's great I appreciate you inviting me out and uh and actually I've only tried one Angels Envy which is the regular version of this versus the cask strength version so this will be interesting.
This is the port wine finish it's just cask strength you know.
And they kind of pioneered that that whole port wine finished bourbon deal in fact you know that was their that was their flagship brand was the finished bourbon which sure and you know there's been a lot of uh a lot of people who you know say that's not really bourbon well you know according to the law it's not but it is bourbon finished in port wine barrels.
Yeah well that's and I think that's the trick is that you it's how you state it so if you say it is a bourbon finished in then you are being you know truthful about it and we were talking about earlier uh before we start recording about Tennessee whiskey and Jack Daniels now people will say oh overseas they'll call it bourbon and I remember being a James Bond fan the first time M pours and says uh well I like bourbon and she starts pouring at Jack Daniels I'm like come on but but it's funny that I've mellowed on that over over time now and it's I now say you know it is bourbon but it goes through another step there's one extra step that they throw into it and uh we were talking about Evan Williams bottled and bond that it goes through that extra step too it just goes through it at a different point in the process right exactly.
We could all say agree on this right it's whiskey it's whiskey it's definitely whiskey it is whiskey.
And you know it's released under a different category so they do have control of that but you just have to be a wise consumer you need to like you said earlier in the first half you got to read that label yeah
Well and then my other question that I I've run into the more that I've started experiencing some of this more creativity in making bourbons or or whiskeys is, should a distiller always keep themselves to the rule or should they go outside and not be afraid to release something that they just call whiskey and not have to put bourbon on it because they really want to try something and see if it works and yeah it breaks a little rule here let's just put whiskey on it and see if we can you know see do something different to challenge people's idea of what whiskey from Kentucky could be or you know that that sort of thing. I think the only reason why that doesn't happen is because you have the stigma I think that comes with stuff like Early Times if you go buy a bottle of Early Times it is called Kentucky whiskey uh because it's been put in a used barrel instead of being put into a fresh charred oak barrel so you know maybe that's what they're worried about is that you don't want to just put whiskey on it because people will think it's not good enough to be bourbon. But could you not make something with whiskey on it that could outdo a bourbon just by doing something a little extra I'm not talking about doing the moonshine route where they're putting artificial flavors in and doing that sort of thing but a natural process that just kind of enhances that whiskey and.
Now there are some American whiskeys that hold just quite honestly I think blow you away you know uh Old Carter has a great American whiskey it's it's it's hot I mean it's hot yeah but it's really good Makers has a great American whiskey so there are some people putting some American whiskey's out that are uh that gets your attention yeah and
And let's to be honest Lincoln Henderson and Wes they went outside the box here and not that they were the first to do it but I think they were the first successful yeah at it and they've introduced a lot of people into bourbon because of this bottle right here not the cask string but the regular bottle it's a beautiful sleek bottle it and it's a port finish so it might be more appeasing to a wine drinker to just taste some of this before I dip my toes all the way into a bourbon bottle.
Well I tell you who else that could probably help cross over as the scotch drinker because scotch really started experimenting around the latter end of the 20th century into the 21st century with doing finishing on different whiskies and we talked about Glendronach. Glendronach was one of those distilleries that was early on Glenmorangie they did the same thing of of introducing these different barrels to finish a whiskey and if you're used to those notes that you get from that in a scotch and then you move over and you try to experiment with bourbon the best place to start would be with something like an Angel's Envy that has that same character that you have been pulling out of your scotch that's now starting to show up in bourbon.
Sure absolutely I agree.
Well I'll say lets nose thing let's get to the whiskey all right sounds good
Now I'd like to say that this right here is a dark almost ruby amber not a scotch color.
No definitely not although when you when you start getting the cask strength ones that are finished in like oloroso sherry barrels you'll start uh you'll start seeing those darker colors but yeah if you see a dark scotch it's usually got color.
And to be fair this is 40 proof points higher
Yeah that's true that is very true
It's got that floral nose on it super floral
Very uh very sweet uh very rich it's got it's got that uh that that dark plum, yeah yeah I don't know plum raisin.
And see after uh nosing a scotch I get I get the vanilla and the caramel notes right right off of it almost instantly because it's it's light it's not a strong in in either of those two but it's there and kind of pick it up now
Jim you're going to laugh at me a little bit here I'm actually getting a little bit of prune juice off this oh okay that's good yeah you know when I was a little kid you know my grandmother might have a little bit of uh stomach issues yeah you know people of her age they would drink prune juice back then
I almost said stewed plums but I didn't say it because I never had stewed plums I could just visualize them in my mind you know what they might be like that doesn't sound too good
Well let's taste this thing
Pow a little bit of pow yeah that hits right home right yeah it does
It's rich it it feels a little thin towards the the finish but it, what's interesting is there's almost like a berry kind of thing coming on the finish just lingers on on the tongue like a maybe a raspberry kind of a
Yeah so it's really kind of it's concentrated very concentrated flavor yeah not not just a hint of it but very concentrated.
This is a note I always pull out of that I seem to be the only one that pulls out of whiskey but I get a swiss cheese note on the very finish and I don't know what it is I think it's from the oils or something that maybe reminds me of swiss cheese but uh there's just like a little swiss cheese note in there.
You said berries on this there's a berry cereal like a Fruity Pebbles maybe I don't know it's just that there's a there is a berry cereal I can't it's on the top.
Well there's like raspberries blackberries I I seem to be getting a little bit of it's just uh
Yeah I don't remember Mike we'll we'll edit that.
um count blueberry or something those Count Chocula chocolate yeah that that's got some punch to it it does
But it's some older whiskey in there because I'm getting that that leathery you know oak that that older oak flavor on the back I don't think this is just their normal.
You think that well is it a single barrel.
I don't think so I don't know okay
I get like a I get a baking spice of some form on the nose too I like to say I'm still learning I get I conquer a flavor every once in a while and then I'm like yes yeah it's like three by five cards every time we drink a whiskey every time we eat a meal every time we have a snack or visit a new kind of food we follow away one more three by five cards oh nice with a little bit of knowledge on it and we're gonna pull that out one day when we taste it.
Well I think the the way that I do it that really helps me out is I do comparisons I never just taste one in isolation I try to put two that are if I'm doing an irish whiskey i'll put another irish whiskey with it or you know if I'm doing a rye I'll try to fit another rye and in fact I've struggled with rye in trying to figure out what the differences are in the different types of rye. Rittenhouse is the one I usually have in my cabinet and I've been happy enough with that but I've brought some Sazerac home and I tasted it and I went you know this is very different I had Knob Creek right I didn't like it I actually made it into an infinity bottle because it just didn't it was too sweet for me I've had Canadian rye so it wasn't until I put three rides next to each other one was uh Pendleton 1910 which is a 12-year Canadian versus uh was it written house yeah Rittenhouse and Sazerac and they were all so different from each other yeah they are I mean but still to try to pick out you know and label one I could say one's maybe a little more herbaly but I'm trying to find what those adjectives are that I'm looking for to describe one rye flavor from the next now when I did the 291 that rye was like I could taste caraway seeds I felt like I was eating rye bread. Yeah I mean it was so heavy with rye and the bourbon tasted like rye to me yeah whatever they're using for their rye is really dominant because it just seems to take over whatever it's in and stand out.
Yeah we've still got some early bottles from them that we haven't opened up yet I think
You're talking about the berries and I was thinking about what that berry taste was yeah and uh Captain Crunch actually has a crunch berry okay and just that little bit of cereal note plus that berry sweetness and stuff yeah this cask strength has to it I know people get weirded out when I bring out some serial notes
I love your serial notes I mean because if that if that's what it takes to get you to what ultimately it is I think that's uh I that's how I try to help people when I'm going through a tasting is I say it's your experience whatever you I had one that tasted like nutter butter to me and I love Nutter Butter's favorite cookie in the world and if it tastes like nutter butters it sold me.
It must've been Noah’s Mill no smell I don't know what it was but it was so you get that out of that smell I don't know I don't say nutter butter will be something from heaven hill right because it's that nutty taste yeah yeah
Well in addition to traveling the world and visiting distilleries you've also taken time to to write a little bit of that down and and put out a book.
Tell us a little bit about that so I was writing all of these different blog posts about different distilleries that I was visiting but they were basically me just kind of running off at the mouth and saying here's what I experienced here bullet points on different things and it really wasn't organized in any specific way and I looked out there to see if there were bourbon travel books and I found some but they were again they weren't really organized to help you figure out which distilleries should I put on my list. If I am coming from California and this is my only trip I'm ever going to be able to take to bourbon country how do I pick out which distilleries that I'm going to go to. So what I wanted to do was I wanted to give my own experience in this and say here are 32 different distilleries that I went to. I'll take all this blog post information I have I will condense it down and I will put it into a format where you can compare every distillery side by side, the experience that I had my top three reasons to go to this particular distillery, my top three reasons to go to this particular distillery uh, how to get there what you're gonna taste or at least, what I tasted when I went there what kind of freebies you might get. Are you gonna get a Glencairn tasting glass when you get there are you gonna get uh you know maybe some extra sample of this or that.
And I thought that'd be really good information for people to just be able to flip through and find that and then be able to easily get to the website to the page they need to go to because the struggle I had in planning out my first trip is that I don't know how many times I entered my birth date into a website just to be able to find out what their hours are. And then I click that little box that says remember me and then the next time I come back that box would pop up again.
They don't remember you.
Yeah nobody remembers me I I have that kind of face I think I don't know but for some reason it just it annoyed me and it made the job so much harder plus when you look at that website for any distillery there's beautiful pictures there's what they want to tell you they're about but you really have no way to compare apples to apples. What's this distillery experience going to be like versus what this distilleries is.
So like if somebody wants to learn about the process when they read my page about Wilderness Trail they're going to go oh that they're about the science of whiskey they're going to take me through the process I'm going to see that there let me check that off and say maybe that's one of the distilleries I want to go to. If you're interested in you know the marketing side of things or you're just really into like Maker's Mark and you want to read what am I going to experience when I'm on that tour what are those sorts of things I'm going to see then I wanted to give enough detail on that that somebody could say wow okay I am going to give you I could dip my own bottle, here's how much it's gonna cost for me to dip my own bottle when I get to the end and here's some of the things that I'm gonna see along the way so that you could really craft the perfect trip for yourself when you go. And that's the last half of the book. The first half of the book is first teaching you a little bit about the history of whiskey so you have a baseline knowledge about the history of whiskey the baseline process of whiskey. And my goal with the book is not to give the tours away you can jump on YouTube and you can watch all the videos you want to of people who have videotaped when they've walked through or recorded on their phones of their journey through a distillery but to me the joy of going to the distillery is discovering it for yourself. So I want to give just enough information for you to make an informed decision about what distillery you're going to go to but I don't want to give away all the secrets in fact one of the things I do in there is I say what to look for and I give a tip on something to keep your eye out for or to listen for on the tour that's unique to that distillery as just kind of like an easter egg to go hunt for when you go to Angel's Envy we're tasting angels envy it was an old warehouse that was a tool warehouse and there's some elements of that tool warehouse. Getting that into somebody's head when they're looking around that distillery now they're not only just listening to the guide taking them through and telling them the specifics about the the distillery they want to tell them but they're getting to see some extra things or look out for extra things that they wouldn't really have noticed probably right off the bat so it kind of
What's the title of the book ?
So it's called Whiskey Lore's travel guide to Experiencing Kentucky Bourbon but it says experiencing Kentucky bourbon pretty pretty large on there it's on amazon and so if you do a search for Kentucky travel guides it comes up in there or just type in Whiskey Lore and it comes up that way as well
So why don't you go ahead and take the next one.
My question for you is you have a podcast a whiskey podcast you have written a book so what would you say the top three distillers if somebody had a pick because people are always asking us right hey Mike what distilleries would you go see and I'm I am a different cat than most I'm going to want to look for different stuff than most people would go to so if you had to tell people they only could pick three distilleries to go to they're limited on that where would you go.
I actually did a blog post called uh the top 10 my top 10 favorite whiskey distilleries uh that's on my whiskey-lore.com page but I will say that if there is one distillery if you had only one distillery to be able to see the whole time you're in Kentucky and you wanted to get a whole view of what Kentucky bourbon is from the beginning of the process to the end of the process I would say go to Old Forester because the Old Forester distillery has the history and it has the process it's very visual I was very impressed with the way that you you really could go in and just read the boards while you're walking through and it's very clear and concise. They have gone into a distillery location that they were in when they started they went off a Whiskey Row for a long time and they rebuilt in the same spot they used to be in. We're talking about a building that is not that large in turn in terms of footprint yet it has more things in it than any other distillery that you can see as a visitor and it's mainly because you can see bottling there and a lot of distilleries you don't get to see bottling, and you can see a barrel being fired there and that's not something you can see at any distillery in Kentucky. Kentucky Cooperage is probably your best bet as a tourist to go see and they're shut down right now actually Old Forester may be shut down at this point too because they're in downtown Louisville but but you see everything in that one little compact building. It's in Louisville so it's an easy place to get to two blocks from your hotel yeah exactly exactly so to me if somebody said just give me one to go to which one do I go to I think Old Forester's probably uh the one that I would put up at the top. My second favorite and it's a specific tour to go on it's not on the Bourbon Trail but it is a large distillery and that is the Barton 1792 tour and you have to sign up for it online but it and it only runs once a day it's the Estate Tour it runs at 11 o'clock and the tour guide Rick the day I was there he said I remember him saying how much time he got. I thought, well this is cool I mean he's basically saying this is going to go on as long as you really want it to go on and we'll go see every bit of this distillery. Now funny story to go along with that is that the day that I went to Barton 1792 we saw the fire marshal driving around and we were standing in the warehouse and I said is it normal to have the fire marshal driving around the whiskey distillery, he said no not really. And uh somebody came over to him about halfway through the tour and whispered something to him and he said after they left he said well unfortunately we can't take you everywhere in the distillery uh I can't tell you why but we just right now we just can't take you everywhere in the distillery where we're gonna go to. You still get to see the world's largest bourbon barrel and have your picture taken we'll still go in the bottling hall and all that but but we just can't do the whole thing. It wasn't until my next tour when I went to Willett uh and I was there and somebody said did you hear what happened over at Barton's I said no they said oh a warehouse collapsed I was there the day that I was on the tour when that warehouse came down. But that that was a great tour I felt so bad too when I heard that because I thought that was such a great tour and and and such nice people and you don't want to see that happen to uh to to somebody like that. But that was a you you leave with a little bunghole uh stopper and they stamp it with a date. So that's how I can prove I was there the day that the the warehouse collapsed because the uh they gave me the the bung hole stopper when I went in there.
So before you get on to your your last one some of our listeners might be wondering and they might have picked up on this that that's not part of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and neither is Buffalo Trace and I just wanted to kind of point that out right that Sazerac doesn't belong to the Kentucky Distillers Association because they wanted money from them right.
And they do free tours and they do free tours so this great tour that I went on didn't cost me a penny and the same with Buffalo Trace I've done that too or you know two three times and uh you get to do a tasting at the end it's a nice tasting they don't take any shortcuts and just really good uh tour so you know like I say if you're looking through your Kentucky Bourbon Trail uh through the website you're not gonna find these two particular distilleries and there's other distilleries that are gonna be the same that are uh I've listed a couple in the books that aren't on the trail and are worth checking out a lot of people don't go to western Kentucky but there's some really interesting stories that are going on in some of these western Kentucky distilleries and there's actually a mini trail out there where you can conquer the entire trail in one day it's called the State Line Tour and if you go to M.B. Roland and you go to Casey Jones and you go to in Tennessee just across the border in Clarksville to old glory that's the state line tour and each one will give you a little shot glass with their logo on it and when you get to the last one they'll give you a stave to put your whiskey glasses on so it's a nice little quick way to do to conquer a tour instead of you know taking off.
You know Mike we need to get over there too to western Kentucky and check that out.
Yeah it's just right down the bluegrass parkway right western Kentucky parkway so Drew what's that last what's that last distillery.
So the last one is find the one that fits your personality find one there are again between history if you love history there are ones that are great for history if you love the process and you want to learn more about the process they're ones that are great for that or maybe there's a brand you just love and you've wanted to learn about it and learn more about it that the great thing about going to the distillery is you will be closer to that whiskey that you love more more intimate with it than you ever could be just by pouring a glass of it because when you can actually pour that glass and it starts reminding you of the smell of the warehouse that you walked into you know and and got that experience of it or you know seeing the the still that it came out of those things I think add to the richness of the experience of of drinking a whiskey. And hearing those stories and hearing where they came from and why they made the whiskey because every distiller started their distillery as some kind of passion project. There's very few of them that I've heard say well we just got in it for the money most of them have a real desire to try to do something unique with whiskey.
Absolutely well Drew it's been amazing to have you here on the show we really enjoyed our time with you we've had a couple of great whiskeys tonight.
I certainly hope we get the opportunity to do this again in the near future same here so next time you're coming through the area or maybe we're through your area we'll hook up we'll have a drink and talk about good times perfect I love it.
Well you can find us at the Bourbon Road on Instagram Twitter Youtube and Facebook we also have a website thebourbonroad.com I write a blog on there we're going to have some reviews on there pretty soon he keeps asking we got some swag on there our whiskey glasses were up Jim's actually wearing a Bourbon Road hat tonight hopefully we'll have some Bourbon Road hats on there yeah check out our website we also have a private Facebook group called the Bourbon Roadies which Drew is a member of.
I'm sure after the show if you guys pop in that pop in there and send Drew a message he'll probably uh we'll see it yes he'll answer any questions you might have about the show today uh the the Bourbon Roadies is a private Facebook group if you go to our Facebook page and you and you look uh on our page you'll see a place for groups and on there will be the Bourbon Roadies we we just ask you a couple of questions we want you we want you to know you're getting yourself into a bourbon group we don't want any entries by mistake and then we want to make sure you're 21 and that you agree to play nice once you're in the group because we want all of our members to play nice and lift each other up.
Drew man it's been great having you on I think got to say thank you for the book thank you for sharing your whiskey with us like I said before if you're a listener and you looking for another podcast out there to get you on down the road get you on down that Bourbon Road you know maybe you're traveling between distilleries or you're making a cross-country trip put on Whiskey Lore I promise he won't put you to sleep it'll keep you interested the history the back story of distilleries in America in Scotland and Ireland and hopefully his trip to Japan I guarantee you'll like it if not come knock on my door and we can we can talk about it
In the meantime if you need to reach out to me or Mike, I'm jshannon63 on Instagram I'm oneBigChief and we will see you down the Bourbon Road.
And remember if you want to find the Bourbon Road just look for them on your favorite podcast app coming up next episode one of my shared journey to Virginia City with Legends of the Old West podcast host Chris Wimmer as we continue our walk through the 12 days of Whiskey Lore.
Whiskey Lore is a production of Travel Fuels Life LLC research and production by Drew Hannush for more information transcripts and show notes head to whiskey-lore.com episodes and until next time cheers and slainte mhath.