Have you ever hosted a Blind Bourbon Challenge or a Bourbon tasting? Well for our last episode this year that what we did. It was our second annual Blind Challenge and fourth that the show has done. First you pick the participants and then the type of bottle that will compete. This year we went with a cask strength bourbon. We have had $50 challenge, under $20 challenge and the first was a blind bottle share.
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While these events can be great its best to put in the preparation that will make your event outstanding and memorable for your guest. So this one was at my house and I wanted my guest to feel at home. We had 10 Roadies watch us record the episode along with our two challenge participants Rob Carter and Jordan Riley.
How do you make them feel as they are part of the event, well first you ensure they have plenty to drink so I put out about 100 bottles for them to sip from. I also didn’t want them to leave hungry so I prepared several charcuterie boards for them. What the hell is that? Its an assortment of meats, chesses, fruits, pickled vegetables, nuts and candies. I also added in some carnalized onion jam, tomato marmalade, ground mustard and horseradish spread to spruce them up. Sever with an assortment of breads and crackers and your guest will be amazed.
Another thing to not forget is to have proper glass wear for your guest to drink from. If you don’t have and glen cairns, grab some from our shop. We use scoring sheets from The American Bourbon Association which allow for a 1-10 score for Aroma, Taste and Finish. Don’t forget those pens and clipboards to keep everything nice and neat. You also have to select someone to pour the bourbon for the night and that was a Roadie Jordan Waldridge for us.
We also had prizes for the guest watching to keep them engaged as well as a grand prize for the winner. A bottle of bourbon, a whiskey glass, a bourbon sign or even a t-shirt all make great prizes. While I was the winner overall we ensured one of our two participants walked away with the grand prize which is a The Bourbon Road sign mounted on a barrel stave that our good friend and Roadie hand crafted for us.
It was a great night for sure with some surprises as the night went on. A craft distillery, Horse Soldier took on three giants in the industry and won the day. Like we say the blind challenge is the great equalizer so if you are competing in a blind challenge its good to understand your other competitors palates. I knew all three of mine very well. I know Jim and Rob both love spice, while Jordan loves the wheat like me, so that’s why I selected the bourbon I brought. Jim however brought the heat to the table with his E.H. Taylor Barrel proof, Jordan brought our Bourbon of the year Makers Mark 46 Cask Strength and Rob brought the heavy hitter Elijah Craig Barrel Proof B520.
The big surprise of the night was that our bourbon of the year came in last or was it that E. H. Taylor got beat by Horse Soldier Wheated Bourbon Cask Strength? At the end of the night it really didn’t matter who won, well wait a second, I won so it mattered a little. No for real it didn’t really matter because everyone had a great time and we recorded a great episode with great friends. We meet more Roadies and helped strengthen our bourbon family. We also named our Craft Distillery of 2020 , which is Woodinville Whiskey Company. They have been amazing to work with and have some great whiskey.
So are you ready to host your own blind bottle challenge or bourbon tasting in 2021. If not reach out to Jim or I. Hire us to come in,set up and lead your event. Thank all of you for a great year and for supporting The Bourbon Road podcast.
So grab that glass and fill it with some cask strength bourbon and listen as Jim and I take another trip down The Bourbon Road competing against two of our Roadies in a Cask Strength Blind Bourbon Challenge. Cheers
Mike (Big Chief)
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