Thursday, February 04, 2016

Live Life in Style is no stranger to posting about liquor brands. At the age of 31, I do enjoy the occasional yummy cocktail or two. So far, I've mostly worked with vodka brands, so this is my first post dabbling into the world of whiskeys! I know, I know--I never would have taken myself for a whiskey person either, but with the right mixers, a whiskey cocktail can be quite enjoyable. I should state that at my core I'm not a big drinker. I'm more of a one to two drinks a month gal and only at social settings. When these rare occasions occur, I tend to order the same drink over and over again, so it's nice to finally have some other options. I think it's cool to receive samples as well, because then you can test drive a new recipe before spending a lot of money on it at a bar, or wasting a drink at a friend's party (alcohol is not cheap and the amount of times I've ordered a drink and wasted it because I didn't like it, is probably sacrilege to liquor connoisseurs). Luckily, I have one friend that is well versed in the art of mixology to help me navigate! 

It was due to said friend, Harry Parsons, that I accepted the offer to try the re-imagined Kentucky Whiskey Brands; I.W. Harper and Blade and Bow. At first I was going to say no, because I've always associated whiskeys with being a "man's" drink... and never had the desire to try them (yep...I pulled the gender card).  I'm the girl who always orders a Strawberry Daiquri! But Harry convinced me that I would enjoy it and I would like the history of the whiskey brands since I'm big on the prohibition era. He even came up with the idea to do a "Whiskey Tasting" party. I submitted the idea to the brand rep, and she loved the idea so much that she decided to send us an assortment of whiskeys. For the party I received:

Studebaker Pre-Mixed Manhattan Cocktail & Bulleit Rye Whiskey

George Dickel Tennessee Whisky No. 12 & Studebaker Old Fashioned

Apparently, in the world of whiskey, Studebaker, George Dickel and Bulleit are fairly popular brands. George Dickel, was conceived by the man with the brand's namesake in 1870.  George Dickel is one of the few non-European brands that spell their whisky without an e to be on par with Scottish scotch.  Dickel also discovered that his whisky tasted better in the winter months, and to this day, their batches are chilled before moving onto the charcoal mellowing step. Studebaker wanted to make it easy for whiskey fans to enjoy a quick cocktail by creating pre-mixed bottles of Manhattans and Old Fashioneds. Referencing Studebaker's recipe No. 6, their Manhattans are comprised of Canadian Whiskeys, Bitters, Vermouth, and Maraschino Cherries, and their No. 7 Old Fashioned recipe is Canadian Whisky, Bitters, Lemon, Cherry, Orange, & Simple Syrup. We tried both at the party and while both were good, it seems that most of the guests loved the Manhattan the best! Bulleit was started by Thomas E. Bulleit, who apparently revived an old family recipe for Bourbon to create the Bulleit brand. We made Old Fashioneds with the Bulleits Rye Whisky as well.

I.W. Harper & Blade and Bow Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskeys

I. W. Harper & Blade and Bow
Blade and Bow has an interesting history.  The brand is the rebirth of the Stitzel-Weller Distillery that was closed in 1992. The name Blade and Bow comes from the two parts of a skeleton key that represent the 5 keys that hung on the doors of the Stitzel-Weller Distillery. Using the last batch of whiskey distilled from the now-closed Stitzel-Weller Distillery , Blade & Bow entered the industry last year with their limited edition 22-Year-Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon and their regular straight bourbon.  Within a year they've already won "Best Straight Bourbon” and a Double Gold medal at the 2015 San Francisco Spirits Competition.
I. W. Harper, while able to survive during the Prohibition era (due to permission to make whiskey for medicinal purposes), was unable to survive in the U.S. during the distilling slump of the 1980s. I.W. Harper made the decision to close it's doors in the US and pursued capital overseas. 2015 marks the return of the brand to U.S. soil, and to commemorate they released a limited edition 15-Year-Old Kentucky Straight Whiskey.

After researching all of this information on the whiskey brands, we were even more excited to plan the party! Especially, with such iconic whiskey brands as the host! Harry and his wife Ashley did most of the work; planning an amazing party that was held at their house.  Ashley made some yummy hors d'oeuvre that went well with the cocktails and they have a portable bar that made for the perfect spot for Harry to play bartender for the evening. They even planned a cocktail menu for the night:
Hor D'oeuvres made by Ashley for the party!

Harry the Bartender for the evening!

Studebaker Old Fashioneds

Leader of the Pack with I.W. Harper Whiskey

Studebaker Manhattans

More Old Fashioneds made with Bulleit Rye and Blade and Bow
We had such a great time at the party and trying out all the cocktails! I'd like to thank I.W. Harper, Blade & Bow, Studebaker, George Dickel, & Bulleit for sponsoring our event!!

*Drink Responsibly
*Whiskey was provided in exchange for an honest review. Thoughts and opinions are my own.

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