Traditional breweries may be popping up like pimples all over the face of Huntsville, but I had a taste for a new trend that is emerging in the local Spirits scene.
No, I’m not talking about the paranormal (although I am into that as well). I’m talking about a refined, heady liquor that will make anyone feel instantly classier: Bourbon Whiskey.
I caught wind of two new establishments that specialized in this brew, and ran my butt over for a tasting.
Huntsville Bourbon Scene
My first stop was Irons Distillery on the North Floor of Lowe Mill (next to Suzy’s Pops).
This place opened last August, and owner Jeffrey Irons does all of the distilling himself, calling his line of bourbon whiskeys Irons ONE.
Irons Distillery is equal parts liquor laboratory and tasting room, with Irons himself doing tastings every Saturday.
He poured me a small cup of his first product, Irons ONE Bourbon Mash Whiskey, which has been aged a second time in his barrels.
I did not expect a whiskey to be that smooth, but hints of vanilla and smoky wood guided it all the way down my throat.
The Irons ONE Bourbon Mash Whiskey and his second product, Irons ONE Bourbon Whiskey, comes in bottles inscribed with the distillery’s story.
Irons Distillery is planning to stock local stores with its whiskies, and I cannot wait to see it fly off the shelves.
Website and Facebook page are in progress.
The Nook Bourbon Room
I then bellied up to the bar in the Bourbon Room at The Nook, a local pub that is considered a staple among beer and liquor snobs.
This room is a special extension of the pub that opened last December, with dim lighting and earthy décor that screams sophistication.
Resident bartender at the Bourbon Room, Akinde Olagundoye, hand-selected five different half pours for me to try.
Four of them bourbon whiskey and one rye whiskey, each drink ranged from sweet, to woody, to spicy, ending with the fiery rye whisky.
I have to admit, I handled some better than others (only because I am a lightweight), but each one had complicated flavors of their own, like apples or earl grey tea or vanilla.
Along with Bourbon Whiskey, the bar also services classic and signature craft cocktails, and the atmosphere is perfect for a laid back hangout.
Bourbon Tasting Tips
Although I wouldn’t go calling myself a whisky expert yet, I do have a couple of tips for any inexperienced whiskey-drinkers:
1.Keep Water on Hand
This is especially important if you are a lightweight. Plus, a little water added to whiskey makes it take on a whole new flavor.
2. Don’t Breathe
What helpful bartender Akinde instructed me to do is: breathe in before you drink, drink small sips and let the air out slowly in your mouth as you swallow. Not only will this bring out flavors in the whiskey, but your throat won’t feel like it’s on fire.
3. Have a Designated Driver
This one is obvious.
4. Ask the Bartender Questions
Want to know the history behind a certain liquor or what flavors you should look for? Just ask!
5. Take it Slow
You have all night (or at least until the bar closes). Pace yourself and have a blast.