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I love Bourbon. Bourbon is the best. It’s American whiskey for an American man. That’s mostly bullshit, it is an American whiskey but it’s for everyone. I love it. I love it on the rocks, I really like it neat, I drink it with club soda to piss off the purists. But I’m getting older. You’re getting older. We’re all getting older. That’s how time works. It’s time to like scotch.

I am not a fan of scotch. I’m pretty sure that’s due to the first time I drank the adult beverage. The first time I drank the adult beverage while of legal age. I bought a bottle of Johnny Walker Red duty free on the way to visit my friend in Amsterdam. I didn’t drink it until the last night I was there. I thought it was like any other whiskey. I mixed a half of bottle with a liter of flat Pepsi. I drank all of it while wandering around the Red Light District. I had a horrible time. I had a more horrible time in my friends apartment.

So I don’t like scotch.

I need to like scotch. My favorite bar in DC is Jack Rose. They have an extensive selection of bourbon but they’re known for their scotch. This makes sense.

They have nearly one thousand single malt scotches currently available. That’s just single malt. There’s also blended scotch (Hello, Johnny Walker Red!). And international whiskey and American whiskey and Irish whiskey so it’s absurd. Their selection is absurd. Their insurance policy must be equally absurd. Who can ever drink that much scotch?

Rachael Ewing can drink that much scotch. The Scotch Specialist at the Jack Rose Dining Saloon has a massively impressive palate for all things scotch. She’s a certified expert at the sales and service of scotch whiskey. Certified. One of only 1,000 people in the world that’s a certified expert. So I asked her what’s good. She knows what’s good.

Good for the super-pro, scotch aficionado

I just tried a seventeen-year-old Port Askaig and that’s going to be similar to Caol Ila, for the scotch snob you want to get a hold of it.

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Via Port Askaig

Good for the non-scotch drinker

Something light and floral, lowlands are usually my favorite, Glenkinchie, but if you go on Master of Malts or Whisky Exchange you can usually get a Bladnoch shipped to you at a pretty reasonable price.

Any certain Bladnoch?

Actually their young ones are pretty good, any young year. Their old ones are fantastic as well, there’s a little bit of a drop off because they were bought by Diageo and then closed down and then this very sliver-tongued Irish man went ahead and reopened it years later, so there’s a little bit of a blank middle period that is why they primarily release younger whiskies but they’re absolutely phenomenal.

Good for the scotch drinker that wants bourbon

I’ve been doing single malt scotch for years, I’ve been doing bourbon for about four months so I’m very entry-level, but Four Roses is definitely my favorite.

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Via Four Roses

The single barrel, or the Mariage if you can get a hold of it. The Mariage is sort of their twist vatted or dumped and it’s just fantastic. It’s essentially a small batch, and the flavors are incredible, you get great cinnamon notes, um toasted mellows, but it has enough of a sort of, I mean that all sounds very sweet but I’d like to say there’s enough acid to sort of counterbalance that, I know that doesn’t sound appetizing, but try it.

Good for the occasionally drinker

There’s a Benromach and a 15 year old Gordan & MacPhail bottle that we like to pull down. It’s very sugary, I can name 2 or 3 other distilleries with that same profile, Glen Moray, Glenrothes, and Linkwood.

Good for the scotch drinker that doesn’t want anything whiskey related

Um, this is terrible, I was out on a date with a craft bartender the other night, and I went ahead and got a Kraken rum because that’s what I used to drink before I drank scotch. Kraken Rum and Sailor Jerry’s.

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Via Kraken

Why Kraken Rum and Sailor Jerry’s?

Yeah I know, I came in, well first those are easy to find in Scotland (Ewing spent time in Scotland – more on that in an interview next week), and uh, it’s sweet and infused with vanilla. I mean I was a non-drinker at the time, it was comfort.

Good for the beer drinker

We’ve got a couple really good Flying Dogs at the moment. The Vineyard Blonde is light, but it seems complex. My big thing about beers like Miller Lite is I feel like you get a bite, and then nothing after that, you don’t have very much medium palette and you don’t have very much finish. The Vineyard Blonde and quite a few other styles have vary fruity middle palette and distinct finishes.