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Carla Carlton – Bourbon & Banter Member Spotlight

Carla Carlton – Bourbon & Banter Member Spotlight

If you’re a diehard bourbon fan odds are you’re already familiar with this month’s featured Bourbon &Banter member – Carla Carlton aka “The Bourbon Babe”.

During the day, Carla is the director of development communications for a private university in Louisville, Ky. In her free time, she’s a board member of the Bourbon Women Association and an award-winning freelance writer whose work has appeared in The Bourbon Review, Food & Dining Magazine, The Courier-Journal and The Tennessean, among other publications. She writes about all things Bourbon in her blog, The Bourbon Babe, which has been featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered.” And she really gets a kick out of that double-take she often prompts when she orders Bourbon straight up.

For those of you joining us on the 2012 Bourbon & Banter Pilgrimage you’ll get a chance to have dinner with Carla at Bourbon’s Bistro on Friday night.  I’m looking very forward to raising a glass with The Bourbon Babe and enjoying some great evening banter.

Name –  Carla Carlton, aka “The Bourbon Babe”

Current Location – Louisville, KY

Favorite Bourbons
Rock Hill Farms, Booker’s, Woodford Reserve, Blanton’s & Four Roses Single Barrel

Least Favorite Bourbons
I won’t name names, but most of the flavored ones.

How I Drink My Bourbon
Neat or rocks – but I won’t turn down a well-made Manhattan.

What is it about Bourbon that you enjoy the most?
I love the flavor profile and the versatility of the spirit.

How did you come to be a Bourbon fan?
Although I grew up in Kentucky, the center of the Bourbon universe, and my grandmother worked on the bottling line of a Louisville distiller in the 1930s, I didn’t come to Bourbon until college, when my drink of choice was Maker’s and Coke. (Don’t tell Bill Samuels!) As I’ve matured, so has my palate, and I’ve come to appreciate the complexities and nuances of fine Bourbon all on its own.

What you enjoy most about the Bourbon & Banter community?
The opportunity to meet other Bourbon fans and learn from them.

If you’d like to connect with Carla you can do so on Twitter: @carlacarlton.

 

Carla Carlton – Bourbon & Banter Member Spotlight

This is a portion of Carla’s collection displayed on her deck bar, which her father-in-law built from reclaimed Anderson County, Ky., barn wood (yes, her husband, Chad, grew up in the birthplace of Wild Turkey and Four Roses) and unfinished barrelheads from Woodford Reserve.

 

Want to be featured in our Member Spotlight? Drop us a note and let us know. If selected we’ll send you a few questions to answer and ask that you send us your photo and a photo of your current bourbon collection. Don’t be shy. Everyone needs at least 15 minutes of Bourbon Fame.

 

 

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Todd Weiss – Bourbon & Banter Member Spotlight

Todd Weiss – Bourbon & Banter Member Spotlight

Left to right: Shelby Gibson, Preston Davitt, Todd Weiss (Member Spotlight), and Dave Pickerell.

I’m pleased to introduce everyone to this month’s Member Spotlight – Todd Weiss, CEO of Striped Pig Distillery in Charleston, SC.

I met Todd online several months ago when I first launched the Bourbon & Banter website. I think I might have sent him a message inquiring about getting a sample of his products for a review. Turns out that Todd is still working on getting the distillery up and running so I haven’t gotten to try any product but I’m glad to have made another bourbon connection & friendship.

Todd’s distillery, Striped Pig, is looking to open up in Charleston, SC and be producing by end of the year. (They’re finishing up financing right now and are still accepting investors if you’re looking to make an investment in American spirits. ($10k minimum though folks!) Their initial products will be rum focused (read Todd’s words further below) but they will feature  limited edition whiskey releases until their American-style Whiskey debuts in 2-3 years.

Here’s a few more details on their initial products from Todd himself,

White rum: Will combine the caramel flavors of molasses and the fruity, earthy flavors of cane juice to come up with our signature blend.  Look for this unaged rum to have plenty of flavor both on the nose and in the mouth, something missing in most “light” rums.

Gold rum:  Our gold rum features a similar blend of ingredients, but hints at heavier molasses flavors.  Speaking of “heavy,” we aim more towards the Jamaican-style methods for production of heavy rums.

White Whiskey: The focus here is on the sweet taste of South Carolina’s heirloom varieties, but who knows what might happen when we throw in a little wheat or rye?

Our limited editions: We will produce 3 or 4 limited edition whiskeys each year.

Wheat
Rye
Bourbon
Single Malt (Scotch-style)

Our Benchmark: We won’t rush this one, you’ll just have to wait a while.

American Whiskey:  This will be our benchmark whiskey when it is released.  We begin barreling this on day 1 of production, but hold it back for a few years in our coastal Carolina heat to age, much like the island rums.  What to expect?  The initial recipes leans towards a 4-grain whiskey, using both wheat AND rye for flavoring components.  But what is the main ingredient?  That is our little secret.

I personally can’t wait to try what Todd’s distillery puts out. I suggest you keep tabs on his operation and make sure you get your order in quickly when things become available. Until then please give Todd a big welcome as we celebrate his love for Bourbon this month. 

 

Name: Todd Weiss
City: Charleston, SC
Favorite Bourbons:

Most everything from Buffalo Trace, especially Blanton’s and Elmer T. Lee. Also interested in Four Roses methods. Jim Rutledge does some great things there. Eagle Rare is a new favorite. I must admit, most that I have tried between $20 and $50 have been fantastic. OH, also Angel’s Envy (Hi Wes!). I like what they are doing, and can’t wait until everything is in-house.

Least Favorite Bourbons: Honestly, I can’t recall a bourbon I didn’t like. That being said, I can’t recall having anything under $20 or anything flavored…
How I Drink My Bourbon:  Usually with a cube or two.
What is it about bourbon that you enjoy the most?: The main thing that drew me into the bourbon world was historical aspect. The bourbon culture is just such a colorful aspect. My other interest is in the exploration. I’m always on the lookout for something new or hard to find. Whenever I’m in a restaurant, I will always try a bourbon that I haven’t had yet. I’ve tried that with rum, as well, but most restaurants carry Bacardi and, well… Bacardi.
How did you come to be a bourbon fan?:  I’m originally a rum drinker. I am working towards opening a distillery in Charleston, SC. A few years back, I had the opportunity to meet and share a few drinks with Chuck Cowdery. I asked Chuck to ease me into whiskies. So my first was actually not bourbon, but Berheim’s Wheat Whiskey. From there I just branched out and took what I could find (and afford). I’ve found I enjoy the full, vibrant flavors of bourbon over the “other” flavors in Scotch.
What do you enjoy most about the Bourbon & Banter community?: I am always looking for new (or old) information to share on Facebook and Twitter. Whenever I find something, it seems that Patrick usually sent out the same thing a few hours before me. He either has a keen eye or has my computer bugged!

 If you’d like to connect with Todd you can do so on Twitter: @DstillD or on Facebook.

 

 

 

Want to be featured in our Member Spotlight? Drop us a note and let us know. If selected we’ll send you a few questions to answer and ask that you send us your photo and a photo of your current bourbon collection. Don’t be shy. Everyone needs at least 15 minutes of Bourbon Fame.

 

 

 

 

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Dennis Nelson – Bourbon & Banter Member Spotlight

It’s time for June’s Bourbon & Banter Member Spotlight.

June’s Member Spotlight features Dennis Nelson from Belleville, IL. I had the good fortune of meeting Dennis at a local Bourbon tasting almost a year ago. At that time I had just launched our Facebook presence and the idea of a Bourbon & Banter website hadn’t even entered my mind. Since then Dennis has been a regular contributor to our Facebook page and I truly appreciate his active role in spreading the bourbon gospel. I often find myself jealous of Dennis’ ability to locate rare bourbons “just sitting on the shelf” in random liquor stores. 

Please give Dennis a big welcome as we celebrate his love for Bourbon this month. (Or as the photo of his collection suggests…his “obsession” for Bourbon. Yes, I’m jealous of that as well.)

Dennis Nelson – Bourbon & Banter Member Spotlight

 

Name: Dennis Nelson
City: Belleville, IL
Favorite Bourbons:

Pappy Van Winkle 15 | Woodford Reserve Double Oaked | Parker’s Heritage Collection 27 Year | Rock Hill Farms | Blanton’s

Least Favorite Bourbons: I feel all non-flavored bourbons have a place and my least favorites would be those which are overpriced and, therefore, not a good value. I realize, of course, that is an individual determination.
How I Drink My Bourbon:  I always start drinking my bourbons neat. After an initial assessment I may add a splash of bottled water or an ice ball which I make with distilled water using the mold that Makers Mark sent me a couple of years ago.
What is it about bourbon that you enjoy the most?: Certainly the taste is important and I am always trying to recognize the tastes that the seasoned reviewers talk about. I also enjoy learning about and pondering the early days of bourbon making. But the thing I like best about bourbon is its ability to act as the thread which sews friends together allowing for a lively time of enjoyment, camaraderie, and discussion, aka banter.
How did you come to be a bourbon fan?:  I was an avid rum drinker until 2009 when I was attending a Friday night wine tasting at a liquor store in Edwardsville. I had heard of Pappy Van Winkle and spotted two bottles of the 15 year old on the shelf behind the man pouring the wine. Thankfully, I bought both of them, and so it all began. Then in the spring of 2010 I joined the Edwardsville Whiskey Society. Even though that group is no longer active, it opened the door to tasting many whiskeys, including bourbon which became my favorite.
What do you enjoy most about the Bourbon & Banter community?: An easy answer is that it keeps me off the street and out of trouble, but truth be known it is the banter part – knowing that you are part of a “global club” with a common interest, sharing information and opinions. It is not the same as sitting down and sharing a glass with friends, but itʼs not a bad substitute.

 

Dennis Nelson – Bourbon & Banter Member Spotlight

 

Want to be featured in our Member Spotlight? Drop us a note and let us know. If selected we’ll send you a few questions to answer and ask that you send us your photo and a photo of your current bourbon collection. Don’t be shy. Everyone needs at least 15 minutes of Bourbon Fame.

 

 

 

 

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Grant Johnson – Bourbon & Banter Member Spotlight

I’m a little behind in featuring another member of the Bourbon & Banter community. My apologies as clearly the bourbon drinking has gotten in the way of my focus. 

May’s Member Spotlight features Grant Johnson from Franklin, WI. Grant’s been a member of our community for a long time and is a frequent commenter and contributor on our Facebook page. He’s also the President & CEO of Johnson Direct, a direct marketing firm that does some pretty awesome work.

Please give Grant a big welcome as we celebrate his love for Bourbon this month.

BTW, if you know Grant personally and have some funny stories to share please leave them in the comments.

Grant Johnson – Bourbon & Banter Member Spotlight

Name: Grant A. Johnson
City: Franklin, WI (Yes, I’m a “Damn Yankee”)
Favorite Bourbons:

It’s a long list. I have had a lot, sampling many brands over the past 31 years.

Value – Eagle Rare | Old Grand Dad 114 | Rebel Yell

Mid-Priced – Elmer T. Lee | Buffalo Trace | Russell Reserve 10 | Woodford Double Oaked

High-End – Pappy 20yo | Blanton’s Gold | Blanton’s | W. H. Harrison Governor’s Reserve

Go-to choice – Elmer T. Lee (same mash bill as Blanton’s at 25% savings)

Note: Still quite a few to sample, so I reserve the right to update this list!

Least Favorite Bourbons: “Most Wanted”, anything with flavoring (Red Stagg and Evan Williams Honey are both dreadful) and Phillips.
How I Drink My Bourbon:  Typically on the rocks, but more neat and with stones as of late. I also enjoy an occasional bourbon old fashion, made of course with less expensive bourbon.
What is it about bourbon that you enjoy the most?: The deep, complex flavor and the way it makes me feel – it relaxes me. As a friend says, “It’s a snuggie in a bottle.” I love how each brand and each barrel can be unique and searching for the perfect bottle is a fun adventure. I like the anticipated feeling of opening a new bottle and comparing the taste to other bourbon’s I’ve tried.
How did you come to be a bourbon fan?:  When I was 18 I drank beer (still do) but was looking to try some new things. I started with 7&7, then moved to Jim Beam and Coke. I did try other things later like scotch (cough syrup) rum (not much variance in flavor), brandy (too sweet), tequila and gin (pine needles), but eventually found my way to the single barrel selections I most often enjoy today and drink bourbon almost exclusively. I guess I was a trendsetter at 18 based upon the popularity of bourbon today.
What do you enjoy most about the Bourbon & Banter community?: The group is made up of, um, kindred “spirits!” I enjoy the banter, meeting new friends and reading about how other’s enjoy their bourbon, what kinds and what they think of each selection they sample. I like to see what people love and hate so I can narrow down my future purchases. I do feel, as the group’s name suggests, that bourbon is the perfect spirit for sipping and enjoying intelligent conversation with friends and family and the two make an incredible pairing.

 

Grant Johnson – Bourbon & Banter Member Spotlight

 

Want to be featured in our Member Spotlight? Drop us a note and let us know. If selected we’ll send you a few questions to answer and ask that you send us your photo and a photo of your current bourbon collection. Don’t be shy. Everyone needs at least 15 minutes of Bourbon Fame.

 

 

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