I used to frequent a seedy bar on Market Street called The Top Hat. I don’t think it’s there anymore, but I would get $2 bourbon and Cokes while I waited for my then-girlfriend to get off work. A plastic tumbler full of Old Crow topped off with a splash of flat, syrupy Coke reminds me of that summer, which I suppose was pretty seedy on its own.

Old Crow and Coke is great at a sweaty rockabilly show or on a late summer afternoon in a seedy bar, but I’ve since come to know and appreciate the finer points of “the hard stuff.”

Corner Creek Reserve is about as tasty a bourbon as I’ve had the pleasure of drinking. It’s made in Bardstown, Kentucky. A blend of wheat, corn and rye, it’s aged for eight years. One of the first things people notice about Corner Creek is that it’s bottled in a low-shoulder wine bottle. It’s actually quite striking. While so many producers and distributors spend more on their lavish packaging than the actual stuff within the bottle, Corner Creek’s simple bottle, with its unassuming pen and ink drawing on the label, just looks cool and honest — homemade, even.

But on to the important stuff – what’s inside. Corner Creek is extremely aromatic and has a great depth of flavor. It has a woodsy sweetness up front that’s not cloying or overpowering and a warming core of maple, smoke, and spice. There’s even a whiff of bacon in there somewhere. At 88 proof, it’s surprisingly smooth and delicate. A drop of spring water can brighten things up, but it plays nice on its own. It’s a nice sip for the uninitiated.

It’s after supper on the porch kind of bourbon. Rocking chair. Maybe a cigar. Blues or bluegrass playing somewhere. The wife taking a berry pie off the windowsill and the dog chasing a bird through the tall grass.

A fifth of Corner Creek Reserve costs a little more than a handle of Old Crow. It’s not available everywhere yet, but it’s definitely worth seeking out.

As we get older and our tastes change – in music, in women, in wine and whiskey — we can be thankful that we still have the time to sip and savor and enjoy. Cheers.

About the Author

Ben Wiser

Test of the Boomerang is an in-depth exploration of some of the best material found on the Live Music Archive.

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