Monday, February 23, 2009

Something special at whiskey club

After a bad night at poker league last week and almost no time at home to play online, Friday night's monthly meeting of the Bourbonators was a welcomed event.

This month's meeting was also extra special for another reason.

A few weeks ago, I received a slightly unusual reply on Twitter.

@ohcaptain stumbled upon your blog about the Bourbonators. would love to hear more.
Well, that's kinda cool. Someone found my blog. Being ever curious, I checked out her Twitter page to make sure she wasn't "goooooood girl" and sent her a direct message with an email address she could contact me. A few minutes later, we were talking without the limitation of 140 characters or less.

Seems she was doing some research on whiskey clubs and had never found one quite as organized as ours. We've got a pretty cool club here. It's going on 6 years old and hasn't really missed more then a couple of months in that time. If you want to read more about our club, check out my bourbonator's labeled posts.

Her PR gig was currently focused on working with Canadian Club. Her email also included an offer to send us a sample of 150 Year Anniversary Canadian Club’s 30-year Reserve. Um. Okay. That's a $200 bottle of whisky. It's been sitting in a cask for 30 years. Oaky and smooth come to mind. I had contacted our groups leader with the offer and apparently he too had the same idea I did. "Sure!"

We don't normally drink $200 bottles of anything. We pitch in $5 every month to the whisky fund and through proper bankroll management, our Chief Bourbonator picks out a whiskey, scotch or bourbon within our price range. We average between 10 and 15 people a month, so we usually hover in the $50-$70 range. The whole idea of the club is to give us chance to try a spirit we would normally not get past the wives without risking some serious couch sleeping time.

Our meeting date was set for last Friday. The Chief Bourbonator has been sitting on this bottle for 2 weeks. I've been dreaming about this bottle for 2 weeks. All we need was time to pass and 7 pm on February 20th to get here so we could crack open the wax seal.

Yes, it was sealed with a cork and the top of bottle was dipped in a heavy wax to seal it. This was a bit more fancy then our regular screw tops. It even arrived in this black box with the silky, padded lining. It had a lovely caramel brown color. As John said just looking at it, you knew it was saying "Drink me!"

Upon opening the bottle, we passed around the cork. You notice right away the subtleness of the smell. We weren't sure what to expect, but this definitely didn't have a real strong boozy smell. John had started pouring everyone their glass. As is customary, we each get one finger in a low ball served neat. No ice, water or mixer. We want to taste this thing!

My first reaction to the first sip was a little sharp at first. Some whiskys start soft, but this had a little bite. Like many of the Canadian whiskeys we've tried this one was sweet and bit fruity. The finish on the drink was remarkablly smooth. What else would you expect from something that spent 30 years mellowing.

Our Chief Bourbonator wrote a review he posted on Facebook: 
Tasting the whiskey, I found two things that I expected: It was very smooth, and it had a nice oakiness to it. I expected those things for a few reasons. For one thing, Canadian whiskeys tend to be quite smooth in the first place. Aging for 30 years it only going to make it even smoother and creates the oakiness. What I didn't expect was how sweet it would be. There was a caramel tone to it, with maybe a bit of vanilla. Very tasty, but a little too sweet for me personally. I'm not saying I didn't like it, just that it's something that I wouldn't want a lot of in one sitting.
That seems to be the sentiment of most of the people in the group. He went on to write:
So, what's my final verdict? If I were to give it a grade, I think it would be a B+. You might think "A B+ for a $200 bottle? Must not be very good!" However, when you consider the fact that any other Canadian whiskey that I've tried would likely score a C at most, a B+ is actually a really good score. Do I have a bias against Canadian whiskeys? Sort of. I'm a flavor guy, and Canadians don't have that wow factor in flavor like bourbon or Scotch.
I agreed with a lot of this. It was a very good whisky. We definitely enjoyed this opportunity. Our sincerest thank you to the Canadian Club people.

And you know what. We also played some poker.

Last month, I had a pretty good month. A 1st and a 2nd. I'm still hoping to keep that trophy you see at the top of this post.

There were 11 guys here this month. Not too shabby considering we had a pretty major snow storm coming our way. We decided that we really wanted faster play so we divided into two short tables to get it going.

I had Bodie25 at my table to start. He came out firing with a 3 chamber bluff to get things going on the first hand. Unfortunately, the 3rd chamber was emptied into the sounds of the word, call. Probably pretty close to half his stack. I knew at that moment, Bodie was here for aggressive poker. If past months are any indication, there will be some weak/passive play falling right into his plans.

I chose to play nothing but very tight small ball poker. I planned on only playing hands where I could have position on Bodie and be able to keep the pots small.

This worked pretty well, but so did Bodie's planning. He was amassing chips like he was on a mission. I used his aggression to double through but for the most part, I really didn't see many cards. He got a really sick runner kings to beat AQ with KJ...yes, he knew he sucked out. Marshall had hit top pair top kicker, and Bodie was dead to runners.

I some how kept going long enough to make the money. On our first hand after the bubble, Mumblingsages raises from the button, I fold with my usual vigor and Bodie puts him all in.Click the picture to see just how sick it was. That's Bodie slamming down the Aces. I have a picture with Mumblingsages reaction...he's throwing down the cowboys.

This brought us to heads up. Holding about 5% of the chips in play, I really only had a couple of hands to make something happen. Shoving 65o from the button proved pointless because Bodie had been dealt his 275 consecutive hand with at least one ace in it. (That's an exaggeration...sure felt like it was true though)

A few guys left, and a new guy arrived (we saved him a glass...we aren't barbarians!) To mix things up, the second SNG was pot limit HOP. Hold 'em, Omaha and Pineapple. By now, everyone is comfortably lubricated and the gambooling began. I continued being card dead but ground my way along. One timely shove with KdQd2h during pineapple proved to be a fantastic way to quintuple up. My ability to fold to the money continued and without really playing many hands, I finished 3rd to break even on the night.

Not too shabby. So, my last 4 Bourbonator sngs go like this: 2nd, 1st, 2nd and a 3rd.

The whisky really was a fun experience. We've got big dreams for this group, even considering the idea of spreading it around. It really is a fun way to get together with the guys and learn something new...granted it's about whisky, but hey...learning is good, right? Interested in learning more? Let us know!


cmh76 said...

Sounds like a fun group. Oddly enough, Canadian Club used to be my drink of choice through my highschool years.

Marshall said...

So, for being in Bourbonators, and being more of a beer guy, I truly enjoyed this whiskey. We've had a couple others I'd put at about the same level, but this one was definitely smooth with a modest kick.

WeaselMomma said...

If I the get the opportunity, I want to crash a boubinators meeting. I really don't play poker, but that looks like a great time.

Wolfshead said...

Would love to have tried that. I grew up drinking blended Canadians, didn't discover bourbon until I went away to college, but while CC was my brother's favorite I always found it a bit flowery tasting myself

lightning36 said...

I got sick drinking whiskey during the college years -- many moons ago. I have had only two whiskey drinks since then. Just reading your post started my stomach gurgling ...

Memphis MOJO said...

Glad you had a good time and did so well. Thx for the photos, too.