Meet New "Scout" Mike

This month, we welcome Mike B. of Richmond, VA to the Bourbon Scout team. Mike (on the left holding Belle Isle moonshine) is a native of the Bronx, New York, the son of Italian immigrants, and a lover of fine food, wine, and spirits. He brings a wealth of humor, energy, and experience- from drinking in airport bars to running his own bars- to our blog. His inaugural post is below.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I traveled for many years while working for my southern Indiana employer, Kimball International. It was a Fortune 500 company based in Jasper, Dubois County. I would either be on private flights in/out of Evansville but most were commercial ones through Louisville, Kentucky. For the first year or so, I would stop at the bar in the main terminal for an occasional Makers & Ginger. But there were delays and group coordinations that would keep many of us held up at that central location for hours with nothing more to do but wait and drink (most likely on an expense account). I soon learned not to waste any more time and expand my Bourbon vocabulary exponentially. I started taking notice, asking questions and tasting many of those “no-name” bottles up on the neatly arrayed, mirror backed shelves. I became a student of our country’s uniquely own drink and I haven’t stopped since. 

Now, I’ve been around and have had ridiculously priced grappas in Trasterve and Louie Cognac at Oak Bars but Bourbon was different. You needed to play it safe, be cool, like you’ve been drinking “YOUR BRAND” since it was mixed with your mother’s milk. It was a kids’ game for all grown up, gold card carrying businessmen.

As a first born, first generation American, I’ve always sensed that there’s been a peer pressure like no other in ordering Bourbon. Rye and Scotch were not off limits. You didn’t need to have a history in order to vote with them. Rye was Canadian, cheaper. Scotch was International. I however look back at the Bourbon lineage that allowed only the established consumer to remind the rest of us that this spirit of choice was reserved “for members only”. And while the color of our Dad’s hard earned money was just as green, there are many men, women and minorities today with a self-imposed relegation to stay in certain aisles at the ABC store. Monster conglomerated distillers know this all too well. They pose a brand like a private club, “if you want to look like you are one of us…you need one of these in your hand.” What do we do? We go along and willingly step towards the big names, well set traps and over priced brands. All the while, we just need to close our eyes and take a sip…

I say this as the one in my family who has ventured out the furthest and assimilated the most towards becoming the middle American that is now, no more than a virtual persona, limited only by imagination and enterprise.

I’m going to share my own story and opinions through the landscape of American Whiskey. Not as some descendant of a founding father but rather, as a pilgrim that knows what puts a smile on his face and a warm sense in his heart. Join me.