Whiskey and Pizza

I will readily admit that I enjoy reading whiskey tasting notes. Barrell Bourbon has some of the best descriptions that could easily find their way into a pornographic novel:

Crusty, egg battered brioche French toast dripping in butter and dark maple syrup. Thin rivulets of bruleed corn pudding. Rich swirls of darkly scented, spicy Mexican chocolate become soft eruptions at the finish.

The only problem is that, as delicious as that might sound, I don't have a developed enough palette to pick up those individual flavors. But what I do know is this: The whiskey that they are describing is Barrell Whiskey Batch 001 that is so amazingly tasty (to me) that I hunted down a second bottle as my first one came to an end.

The thing is, you know immediately when something tastes great, even if you cannot put into words. Like pizza. It got me thinking about the similarities between whiskey and pizza.

Take for instance that there are some people who enjoy bourbon, rye and scotch. Similarly there are some people who enjoy thick-crust, thin-crust and Sicilian. They are all good for different reasons and you can enjoy them all even if you like one variety a little more than the others.

Pizza sauces can be sweet or spicy. Bourbon is sweet, rye is spicy. You see where I'm going here??

Mozzarella is the cheese most used on pizza. Corn is the grain most used in bourbon. But there are many varieties of pizza cheeses, even the types of mozzarella used. The same is true of the mash bills used to make whiskey.

The taste of pizza can be changed some by adding toppings from pepperoni to mushroom and everything in between. Similarly the flavor of whiskey can be altered by finishing it in various casks, such as sherry, port and rum.

But in both cases, when you bite into a slice of pizza or take a sip of whiskey and your taste buds explode, you know right away how good it is. There's no need to put it into words, other than to say, "May I have another slice/pour please?"

So don't for a minute be concerned that you're not able to describe how whiskey smells or tastes. There are no right or wrong ways. The experience is your own, personal and subjective.

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