It’s hard to guess how things might go when two podcasts join together for a collaboration episode.  Jim had been planning a fireside podcast with “The Bourbon Lens” for some time, and the opportunity finally came.

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Our two podcasts met at Jim’s house in Simpsonville to record. Unfortunately the 90° heat and the plan to drink cask strength ryes made us rethink the fire idea. The move to a nice 68° basement kept old “Big Chief” from withering away in the blasting heat.

The guys from the Bourbon Lens Podcast are younger and just a little bit better looking. Jim and I are veterans and are a little older (wiser), so that makes up the difference. None of that really mattered in the end as these fellas were awesome and a wealth of knowledge. They truly knew their bourbon and rye whiskies, which was no surprise.

As we set up the equipment to record an episode, they shared with us their techniques in the art of social media while we demonstrated our recording equipment and explained how we engineered an episode. It was great that each of us had valuable information to willingly share. It was a true collaboration.

We learned that Scott is a “bottled and bond” guy, which was evident by his red “bottled in bond” t-shirt. Michael chuckles as he tells how Scott should own stock in JTS Brown. Scott is proud of his budget bourbon choice, and wouldn’t have it any other way. We all agree the it is “your money – your bourbon – your way”. In any case, who am I to judge? I use to drink the Military Special. Very Old Barton is considered the “Military Special” Kentucky Straight Bourbon which service members can buy at base liquor stores for under $9.

Jim had pulled a few cask strength ryes from his stash. I brought a couple and the Bourbon Lens crew came bearing a backpack of bottles. All together we had about 12 bottles lined up to choose from. We debated for a few minutes and decided on the five most interesting bottles to select from the lineup.  What made the cut? Peerless Single Barrel Rye “Spiced Tea”, Kentucky Owl Rye “Batch 1”, Sagamore Cask Strength Rye “Batch 2F”, Willett Family Estate Four Year Rye, and J. Mattingly Single barrel Rye “Fickle Mistress”. We decided to pour in order of increasing proof (110.5 to 129).

Peerless Rye was first out of the gate and it didn’t disappoint. Everyone agreed that these guys are producing some great juice. Next was the Kentucky Owl which was a very good rye, but Scott felt it was a little hot for his taste. Then we poured the Willett Family Estate Rye which is exactly what you imagine a rye should be with its spice and nuttiness. The Sagamore Rye, a Maryland rye whiskey was next. We were a little confused how a cask strength rye sourced from Indiana can contain Maryland spring water, but it was delicious. The Sagamore will definitely surprise you. The unsettling nose was bitter persimmons, but the taste was sweet and pleasing. This just might be the sweetest rye I have ever tasted. The last of the rye whiskies is from J Mattingly. At 129 proof, this is some dark juice. The barrel is named “Fickle Mistress”. Great tasting and full of flavor. It is everything you could hope for. I really don’t know how he does it, but this is some mighty fine whiskey.

Can you guess who wins the night out of all these fine rye whiskies? Well, Grab yourself a pour of rye whiskey and get comfortable. This is a long episode with a lot of great discussion. We team up with The Bourbon Lens to take you down The Bourbon Road looking for everything a rye whiskey has to offer.

Mike (Big Chief)

Find out more about The Bourbon Lens Podcast at

Check them out on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter at @bourbonlens

To Find Out More About the Whiskies:

Peerless Distilling at

Kentucky Owl at

Willett Distillery at

Sagamore Spirit at

J. Mattingly 1845 at