About two years ago we began the Whisk(e)ys of the World Tournament on one of my radio shows called Raise a Glass (now you can listen to the Me and Big Mouth Radio Show in that time slot). The concept was pretty simple: four of us would pick our #1 seeds then we would fill in the rest of the ballot by pulling whisk(e)ys out of a hat. We included all the whisk(e)y brands that the four of us had on hand as well as other major brands that we knew we could acquire easily. No bottle exceeded $100 retail, and really only a couple were even close. Most, as you can see looking at the list on the right, were pretty affordable. We actually had 80-90 in the hat, so nothing other than our four #1 seeds were guaranteed a spot. We also put in a play-in game for the 16 seed in each bracket, so in total 68 whisk(e)ys made the field. These included bourbon, American whiskey, Canadian whisky, both blended and single malt Scotch, Irish Whiskey, Japanese Whisky, and even a couple odd balls. For the most part, the #1 seeds were selected based on perceived value and taste. I picked a bourbon, Blanton's, to head my bracket. My brother Eric from the BR Beer Scene picked Highland Park 12, a Scotch, for his. James and Jeremy both selected Irish Whiskeys for their brackets going with the Powers Gold Label and Tullamore Dew, respectively. The #1 seeds were not meant to be our choice for the best whiskey of all time, but rather our pick for a whiskey that might get farther than others, that we had on hand, and that we wanted to guarantee a spot in the field.
So the field was set. We spent the following weeks tasting every whiskey in every bracket and announcing who would move forward and which spirit got sent home. We went from 64 to 32 in a matter of four weeks, then again from 32 to 16 over the following four weeks. Next week on Whisk(e)y Wednesday I'll reveal the sweet 16. Which whisk(e)ys would be your pick?
Whisk(e)y Wednesday is a blog post series on Bite and Booze sponsored by Calandro's Supermarket. Calandro's has one of Baton Rouge's best selections of bourbon, Scotch, Irish, and other whisk(e)ys as well as wine and craft beer. This WW feature was scored by Jay Ducote, Eric Ducote, and Jeremy Spikes. Scores are marked for Nose, Taste, Finish, and Balance and Complexity using our own proprietary scoring system. Marks are then added and averaged, leaving us with a final score out of a 100 point scale. Our scale should be looked at on the full range of 0-100 rather than an academic range where 70 is passing and anything less is failing. A 50 should be considered a very mediocre whisk(e)y while anything below 20 is absolute horse piss and anything above 90 is rather extraordinary.