Up to Snuff We take what we sell so seriously that we travel to major distilleries like Buffalo Trace in Frankfort, Kentucky, to choose our own barrels. The bourbons are then bottled exclusively for our customers and in our stores within 6 or 7 weeks. Each barrel of the same bourbon has subtle differences based on where it is aged in the warehouse. It’s always cooler on the first floor, dryer and hotter on the upper floors. Distillers either bottle single barrels or marry together ones from specific spots in the warehouse to get a consistent taste. But when you buy your own barrel, you get to hand pick which one tastes the best, and you’d be amazed at the subtle differences between barrels in both smell and taste that had sat side-by-side in the warehouse for eight, ten, twelve years or even longer! The process we use for tasting bourbon is the same as for wine: sniff, sip and spit. You don’t swirl it before sniffing, the way you do wine; you just put your nose in the snifter and inhale. Tasting is done at barrel-strength and again at 60 proof so you can get an idea of what the finished product will taste like. The snifter is shaped like a tulip to help distill the aromas coming off the bourbon. You can smell and taste vanilla and caramel in most bourbon, just in different proportions, and there are other notes, too, like fruits, spices and nuts. Some bourbons smell stronger than they taste; some taste stronger than they smell.
On the Cover Tequila Cured Salmon with Chimichurri Crème Fraîche Recipe on page 37. cover photo by Romney Caruso • • • WHAT I’M DRINKING My taste tends towards longer-aged bourbons, but in the summertime, when I’m on the boat or at the beach, I’m all about Fireball Cinnamon Whisky. Fireball is made with real, natural cinnamon and Canadian Whisky and aged in used American bourbon barrels. Fireball mixes so well with so many things, no I fish and cook fish all summer long. I’ll be in Grand Isle for the International Tarpon Rodeo in July. The waters around Grand Isle are nationally recognized as some of the best sport fishing anywhere. There’s no trouble finding speckled trout, redfish, yellowfin tuna, blue marlin and red snapper. • • • wonder it’s a number one seller. WHAT I’M EATING
Choosing our own barrels of bourbon is a lot more fun than picking our own field of potatoes in Idaho and Vidalia onions in Georgia, but we do that too. We go all over the country and all over the world to taste what we sell in order to bring the best products to you. We also want you to have the chance to taste before you buy. That’s why we hold regular free food and drink tastings in all of our stores. We’ll also slice and sample any of our cut-to-order deli meats and more than 300 cheeses. Just ask us for a taste! Donny Rouse 3 rd Generation
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Donny Rouse — photo by Frank Aymami
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