Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving Pie Fight

It was the last card on a long day. Naps were over, dishes were done. Time for a last piece of pie. Oh... maybe a thin slice of that Pecan.

Oh, and for a last nip to close the evening. Whatllyahave? The early thought was Zaya aged rum, but that seemed too safe and easy and then the decision was Rye or Bourbon and why the hell not, bring out the George T Stagg. And the battle was on!

A little background.

A hundred and fifty years ago legendary Kentucky distiller E.H. Taylor partnered with distiller/financial wizard George T Stagg to build the state-of-the-art distillery of its day, known for many years as the George T Stagg distillery. It was one of only a handful to survive Prohibition and is known today as Buffalo Trace. Every year Buffalo Trace chooses a handful of old barrels of the most powerful aged bourbon they can find and bottle it uncut and release it under the George T Stagg label as part of their "Antique Collection."

Up until a few years ago these bottles sat in dusty lockboxes with other rare old whiskies and waited for the rare collector to show up and claim their prize. Today they are fought over tooth and nail. At the store, we have over a hundred names on the waiting lists for the meager allocation of bottles we will receive. More customers are hurt and angry than are made happy. The sad thing is that there are more great American whiskies on the shelf than ever before, but no one wants to buy goods off the rack.

But come on, it's not about the whisky it's about the coup. Pappy Van Winkle. Buffalo Trace Antique Collection for the new cognoscenti. Jeez, Amerika! Are we drinking whisky or collecting baseball cards?

Ok. Deep breath. Rant over. Eat pie, Drink whiskey. Calm down.

The pie is delicious. Rich, sweet and nutty, Susan adds a layer of broken pecan pieces which float to rest just under the decorative top layer of arranged Fancy Jumbo Halves for extra pecan nuttiness.

However, as delicious as the pie may be, the first sips of the Stagg blow the pie clean off the palate like a flamethrower with its hot, stinging breath of alcohol (70.9%) and massive flavors. But curiously, as I eat more of the pie, it offers more and more resistance to the whiskey. Creamy layers of dark, nutty candy coat the tongue until finally balance is achieved and the flavors merge with the sweet cinnamon tobacco richness of the whiskey in some form of Southern Nirvana.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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