Aged, Small Batch-Bourbons at Pour

Time was, Salvation Army types with tambourines and good intentions got the whole nation riled up and they actually passed a constitutional amendment against booze!

As a nation, we came to our senses in 1933 and realized that Prohibition was just dullsville, baby—plus, we’d been turning our backs on our heritage. We’re Americans; our Founding Fathers left respectable countries to grow demon tobacco and get filthy rich in a lawless country, perhaps enjoying a snort or two with their chattel-cum-mistresses.

In that vein, we caught up with Anthony Colasacco at Pour, who told us of a great event he has planned: An Evening of Aged Bourbon Whiskey, Tuesday, April 28, from 7 to 10 pm. These rarified corn distillations have been in the news lately, with some critics questioning the prices of small-batch bourbons. Most notably, James Rodewald, Drinks Editor at Gourmet, opines in this fascinating piece that while tiny batches of single-malt Scotch whiskey manifestly taste like they were handmade, industrially made American bourbon whiskies can be excellent without all the angst. He attributes the counter-intuitive, counter-snob quality of mass-made bourbon to the juju of Tennessee rickhouses, the storage buildings where barrel-aging occurs. Magically, the taller storage structures of large distilleries allow for wider temperature fluctuations, which, in turn, create more complex bourbon.

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Is it true? Perhaps, though Rodewald pollutes his Makers Mark with an ice cube, making a quaff that seems rather downmarket for Gourmet. At the risk of any future employment at that prime venue, I’ll only say that, personally, I’m a fan of Tuthilltown Corn Whiskey and Baby Bourbon—though, at $40 per 375 ML half-bottle, both are quite dear. These frugal days I seem to be curling up around a finger or two of Basil Hayden’s, one of the four small-batch labels released by the corm whiskey mammoth Jim Beam. At about $35 to $40 per full-sized 750ML bottle, Hayden’s is about half the price of the Tuthilltown products. All three are small-batch distillations that I wouldn’t dare assault with an ice cube.

If you want to see what all the fuss is about without investing in a thousand-dollar home tasting, check out Pour, where Anthony will be serving A.H. Hirsh’s 16 Year Old Bourbon, whose single bottle retails for about $289.99 (if you can get it), A.H. Hirsh’s 28 Year Old, retailing for $350,  Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 20 Year Old and 23 Year Old, which retail for about $129.99 and 219.99, respectively, and Black Maple Hill 21 Year Old, which retails for about $119.99. As usual, Anthony will be offering generous pours of each, and providing info, instruction, and graciousness. The evening costs $150 per person, which seems reasonable, given all the rare, pricy proofs on offer—and, even better, Pour now sells cigars. This means you can take your cheroot out on the porch, pop your boots on the railing, and overlook downtown Mount Kisco as if it were the rolling fields of your own private plantation.

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