This week’s bourbon and circumstances are pretty special. I am in Chicago to celebrate my first wedding anniversary to my wife Jen. We’re here for a long weekend, and living it up – hotel in the loop, meals at great restaurants like Everest and the Signature Room. Perhaps most fantastic, we’ve gone to two days of Riot Fest, an outdoor music festival at Chicago’s Humboldt Park featuring some of my all-time favorite bands, including (most importantly), the first American concert by The Replacements since 1991.
On Friday, we went to US Cellular Field and saw a White Sox-Indians game, which I will detail further in the future. Then, it was to Everest, where I knew we were going to have a wonderful meal when the drink list included my all-time favorite bourbon, Jefferson Reserve 18 Year. Saturday, it was all day at Riot Fest, where we took in Mephiskaphales, X, The Selecter, Dinosaur Jr, Guided By Voices, Blondie, Rancid and The Violent Femmes. Set after set, we had a fantastic time on a uncloudy, beautiful day. Jen was particularly fond of DeVotchka, a great gypsy-latin-eastern-european band that put on a particularly wonderful performance. It’s not everyday you get to see the hora danced at a punk rock festival! We closed the night on a Ferris Wheel, watching the Femmes perform their first album in it’s entirety. It was a wonderful day.
Day three was wet. Wet and rainy. We had a delicious brunch at the Signature Room, then we headed to Warehouse Liquors, which Yelp had advised us was one of the best bourbon shops in Chicago. Yelp told no lies – this store is truly fantastic. Their selection of liquors – not just bourbons – was amazing, and with so many new sights and bottles to choose from, it was hard to pick one. After chatting with the man at the counter for at least one half hour, we settled on a bottle of Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel, selected by and bottled for the store.
Back to Riot Fest, and the rain. Bob Mould has been one of my favorite musicians for many many years – since his days in Husker Du and Sugar – so it was well worth getting a little wet to see a personal legend play. Best Coast was another new band I wanted to see and despite the cold and rain, they did not disappoint with their reverb drenched surfer songs. Then, back to a rollicking set by Rocket From The Crypt. We decided to stay at the Replacements stage to guarantee a good vantage point, so we watched the goth-punky AFI before the rain stopped, and The Replacements utterly rocked our world. They played a set drawn from their whole repertoire, old to new. So many of my favorites were played I couldn’t have been more pleased, from “Bastards of Young” to “Achin To Be,” “Hold My Life,” and “Takin A Ride.” And all of it with my beautiful wife by my side. It couldn’t have been better.
Now, for the bourbon – the nose on this bourbon is full of rich, aromatic spices. Cinnamon, allspice, apples, it has it all.
The taste follows this with a spicy punch. Tasty, and clean, this is a great bourbon. Pepper, oak char, that cinnamon, and a bit of vanilla helps with a long finish to boot. This is the kind of bourbon my wife particularly likes. We did notice one unique thing though, neither of us liked the changes adding ice chips made to it. Instead of mellowing it a bit, it made the pepper pop more, and lost some of the sweeter notes. Still, an absolute winner.
Dan scale (1-10): 8.3