Way back in time, well before wifi and full body airport scans, I bought my first bottle of “premium” bourbon. It was Blanton’s, touted by the company as the world’s first single barrel bourbon, and it was daaaaaaamn good. In those heady crazy days, bourbon was undergoing something of a renaissance, it was available, affordable (screw you scotch!), and several distillers offered fancy versions of their products. These days are long gone. Today, in Québec at least, you will no longer be able to enjoy the enticing promises of Rare Breed, or Booker’s, and I won’t even mention Pappy, because, well, if you know bourbon you know what I mean. It’s not about cost (though they are now on par with scotch), they are simply not to be found. Even “regular” offerings like Elijah Craig and Knob Creek have deserted the shelves years ago. On a bad day Makers Mark can be hard to find. So imagine how excited I was when I heard rumors (read in a newsletter to be exact and less mysterious) that Blanton’s was making a comeback (of sorts). School girls at a Corey Hart concert had nothing on me.
This is not a rum review but a rum rant, the difference is that I don’t pretend to have the qualifications to “review” a spirit. However, in the purest tradition of freedom, and I’m only half-joking here, why should I let that stop me? I’m just up front about the fact that I’m simply a guy that drinks a lot of rum and likes to talk about it. So pull up a chair, pour yourself a glass of something you enjoy, and let’s see what’s what.
It’s a weird feeling to sit down to write a somewhat negative review. I know several bloggers and vloggers who won’t do it. If a product is bad, or falls beneath a certain threshold, they won’t review it. I can respect that. Especially when it comes to restaurants and such, a bad review can really damage a reputation, and if it is based on only one visit, maybe it’s not even representative. I distinctly remember a very lackluster evening at one of Montreal’s perennial best restaurants. It might have been unfair to judge them on that one off night, though the argument could be made that when you demand a certain (very hefty) price from your customers, you really can’t afford off nights, but I digress. So yeah, speaking ill isn’t chill and all that, plus it feels like trashing somebody else’s dream. That being said, it would not be doing you a favour (all eight of you), to pretend the Snowbird doesn’t have substantial woes to work out, or in corporate-speak “significant opportunity for improvement”. This is all according to my own tastes, of course, most people seem to love the place and it currently rates a 4.6 out of 5 on google. Kids these days…
I’m by no stretch of the imagination a rum expert, far from it. Also my palate is not that great, it has probably been ruined by daily doses of hot sauce. Let’s just say, for context, that I am forbidden to gauge if dishes are too spicy for other people; letting me do so, was deemed to border on criminal negligence. So if you are looking for an insider’s opinion or a master’s subtle tasting notes, well this ain’t it. However, if you are looking for 5 minutes to kill between emails at work, and are even vaguely interested in rum or drinkskutlur in general, by all means, read on.
It’s the middle of winter (don’t let the unseasonable thaw fool you), and maybe you’re getting tired of the white stuff, the grey skies, or perhaps the short cold days have got you down? If that’s the case, I have just the cure for you: it’s mai tai time. Because if you can’t go to the tropics, the tropics can come to you. That the drink was created in a suburb of San Francisco by a man who had never been to the south Pacific is immaterial. Sort of, because maybe it was created by someone who had actually been to Polynesia, and maybe we’re not drinking the right cocktail at all (for several reasons that’s almost a given). Sounds complicated? It is. However, the drink I will encourage you to discover has been described as one of the best rum delivery systems ever invented (along with the daiquiri), and I agree completely.