February 21, 2020

Don't Get Jaded

This quote has been making the rounds on some of the Facebook groups this week. While it's not super far off base, it's worth discussing.


Maybe I'm just an optimist, but the quote above just brings me down. For those who don't know, Chuck Cowdery is a whiskey journalist who has been covering bourbon for a long, long time. To his credit, he stuck through a lot of the lean years in the 80's & 90's and helped bring whiskey coverage into the online era. Given the proliferation of sourced whiskey and some of the slick (and often deceptive) marketing you are seeing out there, this quote does ring partially true.

But man, the "I'm Smarter than You" attitude and the disdain for bourbon newbies is just terrible here. We were all new to this hobby once, Chuck, and we all made the mistake of getting excited about some esoteric sourced brand from Total Wine only to be disappointed later. Worse yet is the people who have latched onto this quote and used it to stick their noses far up into the air as a way to feel superior to people who have less bourbon knowledge.

To me, this is what will kill the Bourbon Renaissance. When you have seasoned experts putting down new (potential) connoisseurs. This type of attitude makes bourbon unapproachable to the common man. It creates an aura of sophistication that makes the uninitiated feel anxious about trying something new. It turns the bourbon culture into the wine culture. Bourbon has incredibly humble beginnings and humble origins, turning this into iconoclastic world just ruins it for everyone.

I always, always, always try to remember that this is just a hobby. It's just something that I like to enjoy and learn more about. It's never a way to benchmark myself against other people. Whiskey is meant to be enjoyed and to mark a celebration. Maybe Freddy Johnson's words still ring true to me, but the reason we buy all this is whiskey is to ultimately enjoy it with friends and family. The connections and the memories are all far more important than knowing who sourced what from where.