Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Old Crow Straight Bourbon

When I hear the word “crow,” there are 3 things that come to mind:

1.) The ugly, creepy looking bird (duh)

2.) The obnoxiously catchy music of Sheryl Crow (she’s also old, so it works double for her)

3.) Last, and probably least as well, the movie “the Crow”

Now, I don’t know about you, but none of these mental pictures leave me feeling particularly warm and tingly inside. It was with this motive that I decided to buy a bottle of Old Crow on my last excursion to the local Wine & Spirits Shoppe. I figured “What better way to begin my whiskey blogging career than with something God-awful?” After all, no review is more fun to write than a bad one. So with that in mind, I figured this should be a real gem.

After all of that forethought, I must say I was a bit disappointed when I mixed my first drink with some Up-Rite Lemon-Lime Soda. It wasn’t bad. Not to be deterred, I reasoned that maybe this soda was just a very strong mixer. “Enough of this girly, under-pantsy shit!” I exclaimed, and proceeded to pour a generous glass on the rocks. Again, I was disappointed. Not only was it tolerable, but it was downright good. Not only that, but the next morning, the hangover didn’t even make me feel something a crow would be picking at!

My final thoughts: If you’re going to name your beverage after a foul scavenger with wings, at least have the decency to make the liquid inside equally as foul as the namesake.

1.75 Liter : $15.99

- Stan

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Seagram's 7 Crown Blended Whiskey

As graduation rapidly approaches many college students will look back on their university life as a “coming of age story” that defined the soon to be young professional or rather, un-employed arts major. In trying economic times what’s the next step?

There have been few certainties during my time in school. Job prospects, girls, and heat are all things that managed to me eluded at times, for well…far longer then I’m willing to admit. One week you’ve got a freezer full of hot dogs and your roommate just bought Halo 3, the world is truly your oyster! And then the next week you’ve got no heat and your girlfriend is banging some d-bag with a moustache and a Joy Division shirt. For the many ups and downs of the twenty-somethings you need someone that is versatile and reliable even when you aren’t. Seagram’s 7 Crown is that friend.

The moderately priced fifth is tasty on the rocks or in a cola. It’s as smooth as you need it to be. For the money the fifth is ideal for any date, job interview or family function. “Hey there Mr. Glassbottle, look who’s got a mid-range whiskey and sophisticated taste in post-modern literature!” That’s right, I’m confident and smart! And is this a blazer I’m wearing?! Hot damn, Seagram’s I never could have pulled this off without you!

You can’t live the fantasy of $12.99 liters forever though. Sooner or later the party’s over, there’s rent to pay and for Christ sake we’re in the midst of a financial crisis! “Oh fuck, I knew I should have gone to business school!” No worries, Seagram’s 7 Crown 1.75L is a steal $19.99. There are few things more dependable handle of Seagram’s 7 Crown. This handle is the Titanic of plastic handles. Upon embarking on the epic voyage you know soon you’re going to sink into the icy brown abyss, but you’re doing so with style!

Travolta didn’t get a 7 & 7 in “Saturday Night Fever” for nothing and neither did you for shelling out this extra buck. Things can get grim, but a bottle Seagram’s 7 Crown will fill you with enough “Hope and Change” to forget why it was you had to buy Seagram’s in the first place.

Verdict: Semi-classy bargain.

Liter: $12.99

1.75L: $19.99

- Andy

Heaven Hill Old Style Bourbon

In the world of bargain whiskey, it’s important to be able to differentiate yourself from the hordes of plastic-jugged dopplegangers competing with you for that all important shelf-space. Most do it with a name—usually something that’s really folksy or southern-sounding or evocative of cowboys. That, or they just name it after some dude with a really American sounding name. I like to pretend that in real life, the Evan Willamses and Ezra Brookses of the world were really just legendary drunks who reached such awe-inspiring levels of alcoholism that they were no longer shunned for being degenerate drinkers, but championed as iron-livered heroes and given their own distilleries as a sign of respect.

Heaven Hill isn’t really evocative of too much—yeah, it’s a place, but it’s a hill. Big deal, it’s probably like 50 feet above sea-level; This is America, we do things big here—I’ll hold out for Heaven Mountain. That’s what i’m talking about. Snow capped peaks and shit. Real majestic.

But Heaven Hill’s name does have something going for it—I can’t think about it without getting “the Girl Who Lives on Heaven Hill” by the totally underrated post-punk band Husker Du stuck in my head. And that’s why it’s my absolute favorite cheap whiskey.

If you’re considering a bottle of Heaven Hill, you probably have a decent idea of what you’re getting into—it’s right there on the shelf, sitting next to all the other those plastic jugs filled with questionable brown liquor, with maybe a 1 dollar price difference between them all. But if you look around the shelf a bit, you’ll notice something odd—A one-liter bottle of Heaven Hill. A one-liter glass bottle. And that’s all the reassurance I require.

As far as taste goes, I wouldn’t throw it in my flask unless I was really desperate, and I’d probably only drink it on the rocks with a little bit of water added. And shots? Only if you’re a glutton for punishment. But mixing is where Heaven Hill really shines—if you’re planning on a night of whiskey and cokes or whiskey sours, there’s no reason to spring for anything else. If your drink tastes bad, don’t blame the bottle—blame your pouring hand.


Good for mixing on a budget


- Scott

Old Grandad 100 Proof

Back in my high school days, I went through a particularly embarassing period where I fancied myself “straight-edge.” However, as with all straight edge kids, If you didn’t know any better, you would have thought I was just your garden variety sanctimonious prick. This assumption was incorrect, of course, because in addition to my holier-than-thou zealotry, I willingly chose not to drink or use drugs—I didn’t have sex either, but I wouldn’t exactly call that a choice.

I say all of this because out of all the lameness and self-righteousness of those days came a solitary silver lining: the legendary D.C. punk band Minor Threat, who despite ostensibly hating most of my (current) favorite hobbies, knew how to rock the fuck out. Now, it may seem odd to spend so many words discussing a straight edge punk band on a whiskey blogb, but one of Minor Threats more rockin’ songs deals very closely with the whiskey i’m about to introduce you to. The song is “Bottled Violence” and so is Old Grandad 100 Proof.

When you make the decision to purchase Old Grandad 100 Proof Bourbon whiskey, whether you know it or not, you are making the decision to punch somebody in the face. Probably a bunch of times. And you’re probably going to take some hits yourself.

Whiskey has always had a violent reputation, harkening back to cowboys throwing down in an old west saloon, or red-headed Irish stereotypes duking it out in a potato field or the back of a Lucky Charms box. But it never made me violent. Not Jack, not Jim, not Wild Turkey 101. From aged Scotch to the cheapest plastic jug rotgut, all whiskey has ever done for me is put a smile on my face.

Grandad is a whole different story. Taste-wise, it’s pretty solid. It’s got that high-acohol bite you’d expect from a 100 proof liquor, but maintains the right levels of sweetness and smoothness that make it a perfectly acceptable choice to drink straight up—preferably out of a flask. On the rocks or mixed with cola (I’m partial to Diet Coke—laugh it up, asshole), it’s really quite pleasant to drink. The “pleasant” part ends there, though. Once you’ve had a couple, get ready to rumble.

It doesn’t matter how good of friends you are, what the topic of conversation is or who else is around. You think Spiderman could beat Superman in a fight? Put ‘em up—let’s do this. I don’t care if Grandma’s standing right there. You’re going down, motherfucker.


Tasty Bottled Violence


- Scott

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Banker's Club Bourbon Whiskey

Banker’s does it all—and none of it even remotely well.


This is about as generic a whiskey as you can get. It tastes like it was fermented in dishwater, but a kind of dishwater that’s not entirely dirty. I wasn’t even aware the humanity-despising Banker’s had dipped their foul-smelling fingers of mediocrity into whiskey vats until I saw this bastard of a bottle. Its saving grace is that it mixes well, but if you enjoy a stiff drink you will be confronted with an acrid taste that lingers and seems to throw a rope ladder down to acid reflux.

Like all shitty whiskeys (“shiskeys” if you will), shots aren’t recommended but will get the job done. Chances are that if you’re buying this regularly, you don’t have the money to buy a mixer anyway. Or, you could just be someone lacking tastebuds, with a metal pipe for an esophagus.

Definitive shiskey. $8.99/Liter

- Mike

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Old Smuggler Blended Scotch Whisky

Purveyor of leather aftertastes and atrocious hangovers.

Despite its seemingly benign smell, it’s a fucking punch in the throat. It tastes like, to quote a friend, “oil and herpes.” This scotch whisky slides down your throat and molests the hell out of your tastebuds. Mixing this with coke won’t save you from the awful flavor, so your best bet is to take shots. Actually, you should probably just get drunk first on other, less offensive alcohol in anticipation for this throat destroyer.

I’ve tried more methods of salvaging unpalatable alcohol than are reasonable; mixing with various colas, doing an ice-cold shot, mixing it with a big-gulp cup of holy water (thanks for nothing Our Lady of Divine Suffering), you name it. If you can find a mixer that neutralizes whatever demon lives inside this bottle, tell a priest.

Never again. $11/liter.

- Mike