What brings me here?

What has led me to create this blog? In general, I inherited my worldly tastes from my mother. Unfortunately for my wallet, my interests as a consumer run deeply throughout the worlds of clothing and electronics, as well as food and drink. Having to manage food sensitivities and dietary restrictions throughout my life has forced me to focus a keen eye on how what I put into my body affects the way I feel. As a result, I make my food choices almost exclusively based upon ingredients before taste, and the truth is that a nourishing, wholesome meal just tastes better to me than the standard American fare of cheap and convenient.

Now, on to drinking. I did not grow up around alcohol. My father was prescribed medication as a teenager that chemically altered his digestive tract such that he can tolerate neither alcohol nor caffeine, and my mother has only developed a mild taste for alcoholic drinks in the last decade or so. I first experienced the effects of alcohol when I was around 6 years old and over-did the Mogen David wine at a Passover dinner. I still recall the pleasant, warming and somewhat disassociating numbness I felt. I was drunk less than a handful of times in high school, and got sick on one of those occasions.

I went to college in New York City and thoroughly patronized bars from the Upper West Side down to the Lower East Side, everywhere in between, and the occasional romp to Brooklyn. My friends were other actors, filmmakers and photographers, and they taught me the ways of the ‘warrior alcoholic’ (I’m not exactly sure how much exposition this term begs, but I’ll undoubtedly revisit it down the road). There was neither time nor money for me to adequately explore much in the way of subtlety in the world of spirits during my NYC period (roughly 1996-2004), but I learned a bit about my limits, my tendencies, my preferences and style.

Forward to 2006, living with my then-girlfriend (now adoring and adored wife of 1.5 years) in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago, I was fortunate to be curious enough to rent the first season of Deadwood (HBO television series that takes place in 1870’s South Dakota, love it love it, can’t recommend it enough!). The way the whiskey looked as poured from the plain, scuffed up bottles, into the heavy shot glasses of the Old West, and down the gullets of weathered settlers fired up my romantic imagination, and I dutifully went out and bought a bottle of the only named bourbon I gleaned from the show: Basil Hayden.

I drank the Basil like they did on the show, sipping and sometimes shooting from a shot glass. This was my first step into the world of whiskey I now find myself in: a world of passion, discernment, and subtlety building upon a romantically held base on the subject.

I love Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey for its American honesty, its past traditions, current momentum and future craft. I love straight Rye Whiskey for its grainy bite and cinnaminty sparkle that seems to all but defy its nature. I love craft distillers practicing the plain alchemy of turning soil into spirit, the idea of a natural product massaged into a sometimes complex, layered, always intoxicating juice. I enjoy employing my imagination in translating to words the various effects whiskey, whisky and other spirits have on my senses.

I hope to express my passion, and I hope to inspire others’ passion with my own.

-Aaron

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~ by WhiskeyWonka on February 9, 2011.

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