Louisville Magazine

FEB 2019

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 2.19 53 Bottles from Butchertown Grocery owner Bobby Benjamin's growing collection. the bourbon boom, the barrels weren't as new, the wood wasn't as new. You have to think about the trees when they're grown and how old they are before they get cut down. ey also weren't selling as much bourbon, so if it says (aged) 10 years, it might be 14 years." Minnick says that sometimes old bour- bon can go bad though, like if a bottle has been sitting in a garage next to a can of gasoline or a litter box and the fumes seep in through the cork. Rice has tasted pours of vintage whiskey at bars in other cities that have developed a flat taste after being open for too long — three to nine months seems to be the limit. "You lose the mid-palate," he says. A bar in Chicago gave him the idea to preserve his opened bottles with a vacuum pump typically used on wine bottles. He tried it on a bottle of 1941 Old Hermitage and says that it was still good a year later. "You gotta remem- ber, these things haven't seen oxygen in 30, 40, 100 years, so when they get air it re- acts," Rice says. And while whiskey's flavor profile, in theory, doesn't change once it's in the bottle, that all depends on how well it's sealed, the mechanisms of which have changed from decade to decade. "ey used cheap corks for a period of time and it smells like Grandma's mothballs," Rice says. For these reasons, he tastes everything before he puts it on the menu. Minnick owns some bottles he prob- ably won't ever open. "I think to myself, you know, this is a little bit like my son's college savings," he says. And while it's hard to predict the bourbon stock market, tomorrow's golden liquid might be on shelves today. Minnick mentions Heaven Hill's Henry McKenna, a single-barrel bourbon aged for 10 years. Last spring at the San Francisco World Spirits Compe- tition, Minnick was a judge when it won best bourbon. And it sells for $30 to $40 a bottle. "Anything from Heaven Hill has potential to be the whiskey anytime in the foreseeable future," he says. Rice mentions Silver Dollar's house- selected single barrels of Old Forester, which are aged about four years and cost $8 or so per pour. "ey don't fly off the shelves because it's a younger whiskey, but it's still super-unique and it's delicious and affordable," he says. "ere's a lot of great whiskey out there. But it's maybe not as exciting because it's easy to get."

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