January 17th, 2008

bar

bourbon vs. scotch vs. whiskey

We've been quiet lately and for that - I apologize.

The whole hand thing hasn't helped that for me.

So tonight I ended up alone, basically, and bored out of my skull as it snowed/rained/whatever here in the DC area.  Couple that with the fact that I fell and busted my arm - THE SAME ONE - on my way to lunch today (this time the elbow, though I'm sure my right leg is battered, too, and I took out a coworker while doing it) I felt like after dinner, well, I needed a drink.  And a cigar.
But it's raining!

Darn that!

Matt & Cathy went to dinner.  Therefore, I had plenty of time to block the door.  I set up my cigar smoking rig - folding chair, bowl full of water (actually leftover from earlier in the week but hey, it's WASTE water) - to block the glass screen door, in other words, so that I could smoke with plenty of light to read my David Drake book and not care who came and/or left while not getting rained on.

That was awesome until the guys cleaning our sidewalks threw salt into my beer.  Yeah, that sucked.

But before that I'd asked three people what kind of whiskey should I drink with my cigar: rye, scotch, or bourbon?  I love me some bourbon, but I do have a rather good bottle of scotch currently, and a damn good bottle of rye.

I'm not one to throw around money numbers (note: lie) but the bottles I was looking at:
  • Willett bourbon.  I bought for $50; last we saw, was $90.  Barrel strength, very tasty.
  • Glenfiddich 15 year old.  About $50.  Probably currently my favorite scotch.
  • Red Hook Rye.  Hard to get - $125 a bottle.  Thanks to a very good friend, as well as tmfiii , I paid about $75 for mine.
So not horribly out of price range with each other.

Two of my friends suggested bourbon:
  • bourbon if it's sweet, otherwise scotch
  • I have always been partial to bourbon with cigars
The latter did point out he's more of a Bushmill's guy.  BLASPHEMER!  I go for Jameson's or, preferably, Redbreast (which I'm out of right now).  Yes, I know that they're now made by the same distillery.  Watch The Wire if you really want to know the difference, or I'll go on about it later (note: I will).

But Marshall suggested:
  • On a cold night, rye is the answer.
Hmmmm.  Would've been handy if I'd seen that before pouring a couple of ounces of Willett, watering it down a bit to make it a bit acceptable to my palate.

But the Willett was very good with my Rocky Patel Vintage 1990.  I'd poured myself a Dogfish Head Shelter Pale Ale to drink after the bourbon.

The guys cleaning my sidewalks, though, managed to throw salt into that.

Sigh.

I mean - at the time - it wasn't "sigh".  It was more of "seriously, guys, what the hell?!"

The dude hadn't been paying attention.  Admittedly - it was like 8:00 PM.  They'd been out there a long time and probably didn't expect a random guy drinking and smoking on his front stoop.

And I have a kegerator - so I just got a new glass and refilled.

I finished the Patel and decided, hey, I've got Lone Wolfs on the way, I should smoke the last one in my humidor.  I grabbed the raggedy Lone Wolf Wolfpack I had left (it being the one that probably has been taken out and returned more times than others for bar trips) and refilled my various glasses - a dash of Red Hook rye, a glass of beer, and time to go.

Marshall was right - on a night like this, the rye had a stronger complexity and spiciness that cut through the cold and really hit the spot.  The Willett was good, don't get me wrong - but bourbon is a more subtle sweet taste and even the Glenfiddich 15 year old would've been the wrong choice.  At best, scotch-wise, of what I had would've been the Macallen 10 year old, maybe better would've been a Dalmore cigar malt.

The Lone Wolf was a tight smoke, but smoked evenly and well; a good change of pace from the RP.  It'll be interesting to see how the Wolfpack torpedoes I ordered are different from the robustos I'd gotten before.