A couple years ago, I was sitting up in my home office, watching YouTube on my TV. I wasn’t watching anything in particular, just scrolling through my suggested feed and watching whatever interested me.
There’s a channel that I subscribe to which is run by a guy named Jeremy Siers that I particularly enjoy. I think he’s about my age (maybe a little younger) and I really love his videos. So, when I saw one of his new ones show up in my feed I clicked on it. In it, he was reviewing his top 5 whiskey picks that were all under $50.
I’m fairly certain this was the video…
Having grown up in a very strict religious household, alcohol of any kind was strictly prohibited. So, I had never really had anything to drink before then, but his video captivated me. I had recently left the religion and was open to exploring different things at that point. I had just gotten into cigars and was digging into that hobby as well. There was something about the handcrafted nature of it all that intrigued me.
Whiskey making really isn’t that much different. It takes a lot of time, resources, and patience to produce a consistently good product. I became enamored with the process of producing bourbon, scotch, Japanese, Irish, and other types of distilled spirits. While I enjoy all kinds of whisk(e)y, my first love is bourbon. There’s something about that delicious nectar of the Gods that I particularly enjoy.
I began learning everything I could about bourbon. How to nose it, how it was distilled, how the charred barrel levels affected its taste, how long different distilleries aged it, how some would finish it in port or sherry or other wine barrels, what distinguished it from scotch and other whisky, and of course, how to drink it.
To say I became obsessed would be a massive understatement. I tried as many new expressions as I could. If it had the word whisk(e)y in it, I was game to try it. (Except for Dickel’s Tabasco finished whiskey or Whicked Pickle whiskey…those I just can’t get my head around)
As my obsession grew, so did my collection.
Anyway, during my quest to learn as much as I could, I found a Certified Bourbon Steward program offered through the Stave & Thief Society. I thought it would be really fun to add that certification to my “resume” so to speak, so I enrolled in the program.
As part of the training, they include a nosing kit so that you can train your olfactory system to identify the different flavors of bourbon. A lot of people who are new to bourbon have a hard time getting past the alcohol smell and taste or think that all bourbon tastes the same. Once you can train your nose and palate to get under the alcohol, a whole new world of smell and taste open up.
Their program was really fun to do. Honestly, because I had been so steeped in the culture and history of bourbon along with developing my nose and palate on my own, the test to become certified was pretty easy for me. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I already knew much of what was being taught and even scored a 100% on the test.
All in all, it was a really great experience and if you are into bourbon at all you should highly consider becoming a Certified Bourbon Steward like me. And if you are not into bourbon, what are you waiting for!?