Tasting Whiskey with Americans
Recently, I attended a whiskey and Bourbon tasting with the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (Big fancy name), and it was actually extremely insightful for someone that considered himself something of a whiskey taster. But, as I soon discovered, I had no idea.
The evening involved a lot of tasting and chatting about how American whiskey and Bourbon have been a strong import in South Africa and one of the corner stones of US-ZAR trades. It’s interesting to think that something that brings our two nations together is liquor, who would have thought.
As the evening progressed, we were addressed by Master Distiller of George Washington’s Distillery at Mount Vernon, David Pickerell. Dave, among other awesome accolades, oversees the production of George Washington’s original Rye Whiskey, he even oversaw the first batch made since 1814. Dave walked us through some familiar South African favourites like Jack Daniels and progressed into the more complicated American Imports such as the interesting Whistle Pig Rye Whiskey.
Though as first I admit, I didn’t care much for American whiskeys, I mean, I’ve been brought-up with Irish Whiskey and Scotch, knowing they make some of the best in the world. But what I learnt quickly, the Americans have other world strong whiskey and neck hair hitting bourbon.
I may have fallen for the sales pitch, but I found that, although American whiskey and Bourbon are much stronger and boulder than I and many of my South African colleagues are used to, the product is a missed opportunity for South African whiskey tasters. American spirits may hold a new adventure, but one littered with history, culture and a certain American chutzpah that we enjoy from that part of the world.
Also published on Medium.