“Even thirty years ago, bourbon was better than it is today,” says Garden & Gun Magazine. “Grains soaked and fermented in water that came from wells, not municipal water supplies. Ancient oaks supplied the wood for the air-dried barrels that held and mellowed corn spirits. Low demand kept most whiskeys small-batch, and distillers who spent two or three decades at their posts had time to refine and adjust their recipes.”
They go on to cite super-chef Sean Brock, who is opening up bottles from his own “whiskey library” to customers at his Husk Nashville restaurant. “People come to the restaurant to experience Southern food,” he says, “and I want them to experience what whiskey used to taste like. This stuff is going to be extinct soon. It’s a part of our history, and once it’s gone, it’s gone.”
Look. You all know how I feel about the narrative of perpetual decline—the fogey-ish idea that everything is always and forever getting worse, women’s suffrage and Civil Rights and Outlander be damned. The idea gets under my skin… it steams me up… it makes me so, so, so…
Meh. Screw it. If Sean Brock says whiskey is getting worse, it’s probably true.
By the way, folks, I defend my dissertation in less than two days. Friday afternoon, come joy or devastation, I’ll be eating barbecue and probably having a bit of whiskey—though more contemporary stuff than what Brock is offering. Wish me luck!