The Tasting Panel magazine

April 2012

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Page 65 of 133

Proof I f the Garden of Eden had been in North America, Adam and Eve might have been drinking whiskey (unless they were in Canada, in which case they would have been drink- ing whisky) instead of eating apples, and things could have turned out much differently than they did. For the better, I should think. But as it was, we had to wait until the 18th century to appreciate our native spirit. Today, we've made up for lost time, as there is a renewed emphasis on not only bourbons, but Canadian whiskies and ryes as well. While there aren't enough pages to list them all, here are some of the newest— and oldest—enjoyable pours. BOURBON Contrary to misguided opinion, all-American bourbon doesn't have to be made in Kentucky. Today, Bluegrass State thoroughbreds are joined by entries from further afield. Jim Beam Small Batch Bourbons This is the brand that started the small- batch revolution with its classic four- some. Bookers, named after Booker Noe, the late Master Distiller Emeritus for Jim Beam Brands, is uncut, unfiltered, and clocks in anywhere between 121 and 127 proof, depending on what the barrel feels like. Bakers 107, in spite of its high proof, does not explode in your mouth as one might expect but is more like rolling thunder. Knob Creek has, in my opinion, always been under-priced and makes a perfect Manhattan. For more octane, try Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve 120 proof, but add more ice and let it sit. By contrast, Basil Hayden's is a great entry-level small batch. BEAM GLOBAL SPIRITS & WINE april 2012 / the tasting panel / 65 NORTH AMERICAN WHISK(E)Y Positive WITH OR WITHOUT THE E, NORTH AMERICAN WHISK(E)Y IS RIDING HIGH by Richard Carleton Hacker

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