Posted on May 23, 2010 | By The Bon-Vivant | Comments Off on Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel Sour Mash
For this tasting the four principle locusts gathered late on spring evening, following a dinner on the lawn, to sample Elmer T. Lee’s Single Barrel Sour Mash. The conditions were not optimal, as we’d all enjoyed more than a few strong drinks, and were feeling the lateness of the night. But, in the interests of expanding human knowledge, we soldiered on, keeping in mind those great paragons of experimental science, Madame Curie, Galileo, and the Reverend Elijah Craig.
A draught was poured and sampled…
The Palate: Lots of apple. The aroma invites a drink.
The Bon-vivant: Uh oh. I guess it shouldn’t have used paper cups for this tasting.
The Enabler: The knowledge that its strong enough to eat through our Dixie cups lends a certain gravitas to the tasting,
The Bon-vivant: Apologies. Let me wash out a couple glasses. (leaves to wash glasses).
The Enabler: Yes, glass would be preferable to having my hand eaten away by this. I’ll drink it, but I don’t necessarily want it on my skin.
The Bon-vivant: (returns) Here you go. (Pours bourbon into proper glassware.)
The Enabler: There’s a hint of cinnamon in this. It’s a bit spicey.
The Bon-vivant: I’d say there more than a hint. Also a strong vanilla flavor.
The Enabler: I’m finding this very smooth, very drinkable. Definite vanilla. A pleasant hint of ketones.
The Bon-vivant: Ketones?
The Enabler: Yes, ketones, like the scent of a dry erase marker.
The Bon-vivant: That’s a good thing?
The Enabler: Don’t you like the smell of dry erase markers?
The Bon-vivant: I hadn’t really thought about it before, but now that you mention it, it is not unpleasant.
The Enabler: Exactly. It’s not unpleasant.
The Connoisseur: I agree that it’s very smooth. Vanilla. Theres a sort of apple pie going on.
The Enabler: This is a very easy drinking bourbon. There’s not a lot of edge to it. It’s not going to challenge you with its harshness.
The Connoisseur: There’s a tingle in the front of your mouth, but going down it’s smooth.
The Enabler: Slides down very nicely. An easy sipping whiskey.
The Bon-vivant: I agree this is a very easy drinking bourbon. It’s nice.
The Connoisseur: I know the context for drinking cognac and brandy, you know late at night after a meal as a kind of digestif. But for bourbon I admit I’m a novice. When should one drink it?
The Enabler:After the sun goes down, or after the sun comes up.
The Bon-Vivant: A philosophy best expressed in the phrase, ‘it’s after five somewhere’.
The Enabler: This is a good mixing bourbon, and at 90 proof, it would make a hell of an old fashioned.
The Connoisseur: It has very complex finish, that I really enjoy.
Conclusion: We consider Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel Sour Mash, at $25 to $30 a bottle (in California), to be an excellent value. It has an inviting nose, with a spiced sweetness and complexity that makes it seem like a much more expensive bourbon. It presents hints of apple, cinnamon, nutmeg, with a strong vanilla component. We found the finish to be not especially long, but pleasant and easy. Letting this bourbon breath seems to really open up the flavor and smooth it out. In all, this is a good everyday bourbon, one that will make you think you’re drinking something much pricier.