DC Drinks

Reviews, rantlets and ribald on all things alcoholic.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Bourbon Bunk: Hype and America's Greatest Spirit

I might not be the first to notice the strong correlation between alcohol and exaggeration, but reading some Bourbon labels you might be led to believe Kentucky is the one true home of Bourbon, the kind Abraham Lincoln drank and drinking it is synonymous with freedom. Bullshit.

As much as I love Bourbon--and I really love Bourbon--these marketing myths just aren't true. Now I suppose this is no revelation to the experienced Bourbon drinker, but it doesn't hurt to point them out to the novice or uninitiated.

Made in Kentucky
While most Bourbon is made in Kentucky, you could make it in sunny California and call it the same. Bourbon, in order to be Bourbon, only has to follow a few regulations. One of those regulations is that it must be made in the United States but not, necessarily, Kentucky. Look for "Kentucy Straight Bourbon" on the label to indicate it's made in Kentucky, not that you can't make perfectly fine Bourbon in, say, Virginia.

Abraham Lincoln Drank Here
The connection between Bourbon and Abraham Lincoln is the same connection you could make between Bourbon and just about anyone from Kentucky in Honest Abe's time. Lincoln, "...personally did not drink except for an occasional 'drop of champagne, just to be civil'," says Bourbon expert Chuck Cowdery. Lincoln fell in a creek. He lived near what is now the sight of the Knob Creek distillery. He owned a few bars. But don't expect Lincoln to be the great hero of Bourbon. Although he waffled on this point, he also signed legislation advocating temperance.

Freedom is Never Free... That's Why We're Charging You $80
Eagle Rare 17 Year Old is a really great Bourbon, truly great Bourbon, with the thickest America-loving, flag waving, gobs-of-shit story on the side. I truly expect the Eagle to turn toward the drinker/reader and shed a tear for polluted forests. I love the true Bourbon story. I love America. If I wanted to read this kind of propaganda I would move to a thoughtless mind-controlling police state (please no comments about the current administration). Whenever your heart strings are strummed, expect your purse strings to follow.

Here's an excerpt:

Eagle Rare 17 Year Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is the ultimate symbol of our undying pursuit of freedom. It is that freedom that gives us our heroes, those individuals with an unparelled passion, regardless of the odds... buckety-buck.

I'll stick with Bourbon just the same, and I'll even praise Bourbon's unique American qualities. Just don't expect me to pledge allegiance everytime I drink a bottle.


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