Inhale her scent of beautiful corn and vanilla when you lean close to the nape of her neck. Some roses too, surely from the corsage pinned to her dress. A real heady experience. Quite simply gorgeous.
Show some respect when you take her hand. Don’t grab it or squeeze too hard. She is like a steaming cup of tea. Take a small, I mean tiny, tentative sip. At 90.4 proof, she is not to be trifled with like the flotsam jetsam you encounter in those tawdry beer dance halls that you should no better than to patronize. She is not suitable for some carefree summertime fling. She demands you place her upon a pedestal . . . or else her Daddy may show up with a shotgun and angry, overalls clad, sons to teach you a lesson.
A dance with this fair Southern Belle of the ball will begin with her curtsey and a sweet smile reminiscent of corn fields bending in the wind. You bow to her sweet greeting. You and she advance towards each other. Her strapless gown is breathtaking. You’re staring! As you advance you encounter rye spiciness in her demeanor that compliments the sweet thoughts of corn fields in the wind.
Get ready for the do-si-do. You and she advance towards each other. As you pass each other, right shoulder to right shoulder, the contact is like the taste of vanilla and broken candy cane. Without turning you go around each other back-to-back and then step backwards to your starting position.
You and her move towards each other once more. This time you join hands and kiss. Charcoal, American oak and vanilla linger on your lips. There is a burn in your throat and she is gone.
After the Ball
You’re left standing there, the lights are on and she’s gone. Damn, you never should have turned your back on her and gone to the bar to get that drink.
Woodford Reserve is uncompromising like Janis Joplin’s rendition of the George Gershwin classic standard Summertime. Soulful, bluesy, bitter sweet shards of candy cane, vanilla, with a dash of brown sugar and . . . a little harsh. The harshness comes on the finish. What I am referring to is a little alcohol burn on the throat. This is unfortunate if you are seeking perfection in bourbon. It’s most noticeable on the first drink and fades with subsequent sips. For me, Knob Creek or Maker's Mark (competing small batch premium bourbons) are a little more refined on the finish. No burn! I’m not crazy about the burn on the finish. You can feel it in the back of the throat. For me I would not pick this up again because of the burn and the price. It is a little over priced to the point that I would opt for Maker's Mark or Knob Creek over it. Woodford Reserve has legions of fans but I am not one of the die-hard ones. I enjoy it and can imagine it working in mixed drinks well, but not completely satisfied. In order to take away the nasty burn on the finish, I add to big ice cubes to a double pouring. Problem solved! Nevertheless, it is a very fine bourbon though a little lawless, unbalanced and unpredictable. You’ll just have to try it and decide for yourself if you can handle her.
P.S. Janis, we will always love you. Rest in peace.
Copyright © Jason Debly, 2009-2011. All rights reserved except for photos of Janis Joplin which are published for the purpose of education and entertainment. Photo Credits: Janis Joplin singing: Photograph © Jim Marshall from the book Trust: Photographs of Jim Marshall (Omnibus Press)