Our memories and experiences are a major puzzle piece that make up who we are. Some of us might tell another how Christmas is our most favorite holiday as they reflect on the smells of cooking in the kitchen with our mother or running to the front room after waking up our parents early in the morning to tear open gifts with excitement. Some of us may talk about remember their first day of school and how terrified they were walking down the the hallway and entering our class just wondering how everything will turn out and if we will be accepted by our soon to be
discovered peers. Well in fact, whiskey creates many similar moments and times in our lives that we crave and define us. Just look at history itself. In fact, much our American character and personality comes from our history with alcohol, so much more than that which is taught of prohibition.
Just today, as my wife sits next to me asking if I am going to go to the Sandstone distillery which is a local distillery in a neighboring town with our son in the back from a trip to the local Costco shopping expedition. Why would she ask? I think to my self, because she knows how much I just love their great whiskey that they produce, but the positive interactions I may see and and experience myself. As I enter the Sandstone distillery, I see two couples just laughing as they sample some great whiskeys and spirits from the owner. I think to myself, “you know what?”, my wife has many of times come with me to different tastings, not because of her love of whiskey, but her love of me and the time to spend with me. I just get a kick as I think how these two young couples are creating memories and the owner himself who every time is just to greet you with a smile, a story, and a joke. Also, the fact that it is a small business that is
purely family owned and operated says so much more. It’s not about the alcohol entirely, it’s about the relationships and memories that are built around it. As you can see in a pictures from the Sandstone distillery, people gather, yes to taste whiskey, but also to hear the passion that goes into each bottle they make. In a day and age of instant gratification and the quick dollar, that is a very special thing that you do not always get to experience.
There is just so much to appreciate about the art of whiskey distilling. I could sit here and talk about the fine notes of caramel and vanilla you may find in a whiskey aged in a brand new American oak barrel, but truly to hear what goes into this art surpasses that by so much. You want to know why “old timers” from back east that have a family tradition of “moon-shining” take so much pride and love in many see as simply making alcohol? It is the fact that a family has taken pride in the tradition and art they pass down generation to generation. The great stuff that is produced from sometimes so minimal, and the times they are spent together at family functions just having a swig of the family moonshine as they grill up and barbecue some even more unique family recipes. Can you smell it? The corn from the bourbon wafting across your nose as you sip the high octane drink and then in the back your uncle is flipping the barbecue ribs and corn soon to be dished up?
So what is whiskey? yes we can sit down together and define it as a distilled beverage from grain to at least 80 proof and then break it down scientifically, which I will get to in good time as I progress and share with you. However, it is so much more than that if you want to get down to the brass tacks and nitty gritty of it all. Whiskey is a beverage, it is art just
as any other painter or sculpture would partake in, it is a science just as specific and detailed as anything in your chemistry 101 or beyond class, it is an experience with friends and family, it is a smell that triggers memories of ours, and so much more. So next time you go to open that bottle of whiskey, think about it. Are you about to sit down with some friends as you enjoy the complex aromas and flavors from that bottle? Are you about to create a memory that you will remember with those that you enjoy to be with? Are you creating a puzzle piece that will fit into the puzzle of your life that makes up who you are? Yes you are, and it is important to enjoy every moment you are blessed with to enjoy it. Join me next time as I continue with my experience at a local distillery and begin digging into the art and science of their whiskey and share that with you.