Benchmark Old No. 8 Bourbon Review

Benchmark Old No. 8 Bourbon Review

Benchmark Old No. 8 Bourbon

Welcome to a new tasting series on lower shelf bourbons. Bourbon & Banter contributor, Thomas Fondano, will be trying out and commenting on bourbons priced under $20. Knowing that not all sub-$20 bourbons will be great, Thomas will be adding a new category to our standard tasting notes – Straight, Old Fashioned or Manhattan – to see whether a classic cocktail improves on a straight tasting. We…

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2014 Parker’s Heritage Collection Whiskey Review

2014 Parker’s Heritage Collection Whiskey Review

Disclaimer: A sample of the 2014 Parker’s Heritage Collection Wheat Whiskey was provided to us by Heaven Hill for this review. I appreciate their willingness to allow Bourbon & Banter to review the whiskey with no strings attached. Thank you.

Every year I look forward to learning what type of bourbon will be released as part of…

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Jimmy Russell: The Man Behind the Bourbon

Jimmy Russell: The Man Behind the Bourbon

The folks over at Wild Turkey created this video to celebrate Jimmy Russell and his 60 years of making bourbon at Wild Turkey. It’s a terrific tribute to the “Buddha of Bourbon”.

Here’s a few words from the release that accompanied the video:

It is with great excitement that I share with you a new documentary that celebrates the…

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St. Louis Bourbon Academy 2014

St. Louis Bourbon Academy 2014

Poster about Bourbon Academy St. Louis

Bourbon Heritage Month keeps getting better and better. We’re pleased to announce that the Filson Bourbon Academy is returning to St. Louis on October 11th. Bourbon Hall of Fame member, Mike Veach, will once again be our host and will personally be responsible for boosting your bourbon IQ at least 160%.

This year we’ve partnered with Glen Echo Country Clubto host the event and we’re looking…

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Win A Hudson Whiskey Barrel

Win A Hudson Whiskey Barrel

Photo of a Hudson Whiskey Barrel

To help Bourbon & Banter celebrate Bourbon Heritage Month, Hudson Whiskey is offering the chance for one lucky reader to win their very own 3-liter Hudson Whiskey barrel. The barrel is perfect for aging your own white dog or blending a delicious barrel-age cocktail.

To enter for a chance to win, head over to Instagram and post a videotelling us what you’ll do with a genuine Hudson Whiskey…

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J.R. Ewing Bourbon Review

J.R. Ewing Bourbon Review

Disclaimer: A sample of J.R. Ewing bourbon was provided to me by Warner Brothers for this review. I appreciate their willingness to allow Bourbon & Banter to review the bourbon with no strings attached. Thank you.

Earlier this year fans of the television show, Dallas, were excited to learn about a new bourbon release honoring the…

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Bourbon Evangelists, Please Stand Up

Bourbon Evangelists, Please Stand Up

bourbon-evangelist-shirt

Happy 1st Friday of Bourbon Heritage Month!

It’s been months since we first announced our Bourbon Evangelist t-shirt and made it available for pre-order. Since then we’ve searched for an on demand printer to offer it year-round, added a new “Angel’s” version and setup a new dedicated online store to sell bourbon and other spirit-related products. For those of you who have been waiting patiently…

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Bourbon In The Blind Tasting Dinner 2014 Photo

When we started promoting our most recent bourbon tasting event – Bourbon In The Blind – a lot of people questioned our decision to build an event around pairing bourbon with pizza. Some folks even took to Twitter to question our decision by inviting some well-known chefs to weigh in with their opinion on the matter.

While we know BourbonTruth was actually helping bring attention to our event, it did give us pause. We couldn’t help but wonder if perhaps we were making a big mistake. Sure, everyone knows bourbon goes well with heavy foods like barbecue & steak, but you don’t ever hear about people drinking bourbon with their pizza. Even more so, you never hear about formal tastings that combine the two.

Pizza & craft beer tastings? Yes.

Bourbon & pizza tastings? No.

Lucky for us we usually don’t let doubt get in the way of trying something new and unexpected. And so, on Saturday afternoon we headed to our event full of excitement and anticipation, wondering if our idea would be as awesome in real life, as it was on paper.

Bourbon In The Blind Tasting Dinner 2014 PhotoEvery Bourbon & Banter tasting event includes an educational component to allow our guests to better appreciate bourbon and understand what it is they’re going to be tasting. For this event we provided our standard bourbon flavor wheel along with a tasting notes sheet for folks to use when recording notes about each bourbon. This was a blind tasting event so none of the guests knew what bourbons were being sampled. In addition to our standard bourbon overview, we were thrilled to have Fred Minnick join us as co-host. Fred did a wonderful job entertaining the crowd and took our tasting to a new level with his knowledge of bourbon and bourbon history. We can’t thank Fred enough for taking time out of his visit to St. Louis to join us. Thanks Fred!

So what about those pizzas that I mentioned earlier?

Chef Jaxon Noon created six unbelievable artisan pizzas that were paired perfectly with each of the bourbons on the tasting menu. I sat with him about a week before the event while he sampled each of the bourbons to aid his pizza brainstorming and I still don’t know how he came up with such amazing combinations. All I know is that he would nose the bourbon, take a very small sip, scribble some notes and then move onto the next bourbon. I wasn’t sure if he was going to be able to pull it off with such a limited exposure to each bourbon but I was dead wrong. He rocked it…hard!

In fact, as Fred Minnick was tasting the 3rd pairing that consisted of Old Forester & a cured salmon, plantain and scallion pizza, he exclaimed,

[quote]“This my friend, is a pairing for the ages.”[/quote]

That’s pretty high praise in any bourbon lover’s book & he couldn’t have been more accurate in his assessment. Each and every pairing was well balanced & a delicious work of culinary art.

Here’s the complete list of bourbon & pizza pairings from the event:

Basil Hayden’s
Bacon, apple, fresh basil, mozzarella & a tomato molasses base.

Wild Turkey Rye
Roasted pork butt, caramelized onion, fresh rosemary & mozzarella on a lemon cream base.

Old Forester
Cured salmon, plantain, scallion & mozzarella with a horseradish honey mustard base.

Larceny
Sweet potato, squash, mushrooms & gruyer cheese, with a sage brown butter base.

Four Roses Single Barrel
Berbere spiced chicken, leeks & mozzarella with a spicy carrot puree base.

Wild Turkey Rare Breed
Herbed ground beef, mushrooms, pearl onions, fresh ground black pepper & mozzarella on a red wine reduction base.

Opinions varied as to what pairing was the best but many folks seemed most delighted by the Old Forester bourbon and accompanying cured salmon pizza. Seems like Fred was spot on with his earlier assessment.

As it turns out pairing bourbon with pizza is not only a great idea, it’s also an inspired idea. I hope that The Blind Tiger puts all of these pizzas and bourbon pairings on their menu so their regular patrons can enjoy them as well.

Thanks again to everyone that came out & joined us for a fun afternoon of bourbon, pizza & banter. And special thanks to our event sponsors – Randall’s Wine & Spirits and The Blind Tiger.

We hope to see everyone again at our next event on October 11th – Mike Veach’s Bourbon Academy.

Bourbon & Pizza Tasting at The Blind Tiger When we started promoting our most recent bourbon tasting event – Bourbon In The Blind – a lot of people questioned our decision to build an event around pairing bourbon with pizza.

Review: Michael Veach’s Bourbon Academy II

Review: Michael Veach’s Bourbon Academy II

Michael Veach's Bourbon Academy II Photo

Many of our readers have been lucky enough to attend one of Michael Veach’s famed Bourbon Academy events, including the one sponsored by Bourbon and Banter last November. These events are well-known and respected in the bourbon community and are designed to take you from relative bourbon novice to certified bourbon smarty all in the course of one day. But recently bourbon geeks have been…

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Bourbon Heritage Month Sweepstakes

Bourbon Heritage Month Sweepstakes

Bourbon Heritage Month Sweepstakes Image

To celebrate Day 2 of Bourbon Heritage Month (BHM) we’re kicking off our month-long Facebook sweepstakes.

For the entire month of September, Bourbon & Banter will be giving away bourbon prize paks and other bourbon-themed items for every new 250 page ‘Likes’ we get on Facebook. All you have to do is head over to our Facebook page, ‘Like’ us if you haven’t already, and then submit your name,…

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