It’s tournament time!
No, not the springtime variety with elite eights and final fours, but rather the first annual Bourbon Basement Bottom-Shelf Battle! Eight of the finest brown spirits found just below knee level were gathered in preparation for four rounds of raucous bourbon taste-off. Each contestant was seeded (by me) and placed into a single-elimination bracket.
I had five friends participating as judges, plus myself. For each matchup, judges would sample both bourbons, and cast a vote for their favorite. Votes would be tabulated, and the winning bourbon would move up the bracket. For the first round, the judges were broken up into two groups, and alternated games.
The first ‘game’ was Old Taylor vs. Early Times. Old Taylor had a smashing victory, winning all three votes. The second game pitted Old Heaven Hill (Bottled in Bond) against Ten High Whiskey. I was pretty sure that this would be a no-brainer, but Ten High pulled the upset with a 2-1 victory. I was flabbergasted, but there’s a dark horse in every group. Up next, Old Crow squeeked by Yellowstone with a 2-1 win, and finally in what was to be the closest matchup (a 4 and 5 seed), Kentucky Tavern ran away with the victory at 3-0. It looked something like this…
The first round went something like this…
The first round was full of great bottom-shelf surprises. With the first four contestants headed back to the cubby hole under my desk, the judges were primed and ready for round two. Since round 2 only serves up two games, the judging groups were combined into one massive pile of judgement. In order for the contending bourbon to move to the championship round, it must curry the favor of at least 3 of 5 judges.
The next two games were nail-biters. Old Taylor marched into the round as the #1 seed facing #6, and may have been a tad over-confident. Kentucky Tavern and Old Crow are long-time arch rivals, with a storied history of drawing blood and pissing vinegar. These were matchups for the history books, ladies and gentlemen. Tune in next time to discover the mighty victors, and lowly losers. Not only that, but the supreme champion of the bottom shelf will also be reavealed!