Sunday, 8 May 2011
Jack Daniel's or Jim Beam? A sober reflection
Friday 13th proved uneventful, though Kim was still not speaking to me. Having just passed through Tennessee and Kentucky, Roland and myself debated the merits of their respective bourbons and decided there was only one real way to find out. A bottle of Jack Daniel’s and a bottle of Jim Beam, were duly purchased, and we spent much of the afternoon beneath a shady tree.
First we examined the colour. Jim Beam in sunlight looks like piss, the kind that would earn an approving nod from an urologist but not perhaps from a drinker. Jack Daniels is darker, only slightly so, but sufficient to give that same urologist a degree of concern.
The smell we found difficult to differentiate and we spent several precious minutes sniffing and swirling before finally agreeing that although both shared a similar sweet and sour aroma, Jim Beam’s had the sharper edge. Was that a good or a bad thing? Did sharp mean thin? Further discussion ensued but with no definite conclusion.
Preliminaries satisfied it was time to exercise palate and tongue, teeth relegated to filtering as we sucked and swilled and nodded our heads.
Roland suggested a spit bucket as though we were testing fine wines. He was getting above himself and I reminded him gravely that instead of tasting eight or nine separate and distinct wines, ours was the less onerous chore of sampling just two bourbons. A spit bucket would not be called for though if Roland wanted to spit his out on the grass – away from me – well that was his democratic right.
The afternoon passed quietly other than the occasional clink of bottle on glass, the considered slurp, and every so often an appreciative ‘ummmm’. We drank slowly, sound judgement being the ultimate arbiter.
Hours passed, as we irrigated mouth and throat, savoured that slow, final trickle from oesophagus to stomach until a decision was at at last reached. It was unanimous. Jack Daniel’s was sweeter. And there the discussion continued. Did sweeter mean fuller? Which was the superior drink?
If either distillery would like to sponsor a rematch, this could be arranged, though we draw the line at a Pepsi Vs Coke challenge.
That evening I made curry for the group, with unfortunate consequences.