July 26, 2012
Bird Dog Blackberry Whiskey: Nice Label, But a Good Spirit?
By Chad Love
Though they tend to generate a lot of conversation, I generally shy away from blog posts about favorite spirits. Not because I'm some temperance-loving Carrie Nations character, but because I've noticed that when you stick your neck out and tell the world what you enjoy, there are plenty of hatchet-wielding haters out there ready to cut you down.
Case in point? A few months back Wild Chef blogger David Draper had the gall to proclaim his preference for scotch over bourbon. I think he's still walking a little funny from the reaming he took from all the bourbon-loving readers.
Plus, other than the normal (and well-trod) discussion of what you enjoy sipping while sitting around the campfire, the connection between gun dogs and favorite liquors is, well, tenuous at best. But I was recently e-mailed a link to an interesting bird dog-themed, flavored, bourbon-based whiskey, called (appropriately enough) Bird Dog Whiskey.
I've not tried it, but I must admit, it's an exceedingly handsome package, with a vintage-looking picture of a pointer on the label. The maker even touts its support of several conservation groups like Ducks Unlimited, The Quality Deer Management Association, the National Wild Turkey Federation and The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. I must confess a bit of confusion over why the makers of something called Bird Dog Whiskey don't include a few upland or pointing dog organizations in that group, but to each their own, it's still a cool-looking package.
I'm not a big fan of flavored whiskeys (or "whiskys," if you prefer British or Canadian varieties) but I am a sucker for any kind of gun dog or wingshooting-themed art, merchandise or kitsch, so I'll probably pick up a bottle, for display if nothing else. Has anyone out there tried it? Any other gundog-themed spirits or beers out there we need to know about?
And here's the inevitable question (You knew it was coming.): When you're sitting around the campfire after a long day traipsing over yon hill and dale with your faithful four-legged companion, what's your favorite adult beverage?
I guess I should go ahead and stick my neck on the chopping block now and admit that I, like David Draper, am first and foremost (when the pocketbook allows) a single-malt scotch guy. And like Draper, when I can't afford my favorite Islay, the old, reliable (and cheap) Famous Grouse is a perfectly enjoyable and acceptable substitute.
That's not to say I'm not a bourbon fan. I am, and my current absolute favorite for both price and enjoyment, is Elijah Craig 12 Year. It's the best bargain in moderate-priced, high-quality bourbon out there. In fact, I switch to bourbon exclusively in the summer and early fall. But when real, leaf-dropping, frosty-morning fall gets here and bird seasons start in earnest, my go-to bird camp drink is Laphroaig, or one of the other Islay malts. There, I said it: I love the Limburger cheese of whisky. Does it taste exactly like scorched, peat-infused dirt? Absolutely, and I love it anyway.
OK, I'm ready for the abuse. Heap it on. What's your favorite and why is it better than mine?