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Issue 39 - TemptingSamsoninChicago

Whisky Magazine Issue 39
May 2004

 

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TemptingSamsoninChicago

Why,why,whyDelilah's?Because,saysCharlesCowdrey,it'sacrackingbourbonbar

TheChicagoChowhoundsareagrouphedonisticallydedicatedtothepassionateenjoymentofeverythingconsumable.

InFebruary,whentheydecidedtohaveatastingofbourbonwhiskey,Delilah's,onLincolnAvenuejustsouthofDiversey,wastheonlylogicaldestination.

ProprietorMikeMillerwashappytohavethem,andnotjustbecauseitmeantanotherdozenpeopleinhisbarearlyonaWednesday.MikeMillerissomethingofabourbonevangelist.

Atleastheseemsthatwayatfirst.Afteryougettoknowhimyourealiseheisevangelisticaboutallofhisinterests:singlemaltScotch,Spanishbrandy,music,art,film.Heisabig,voluble,passionateguy–aperfectmatchfortheChowhounds.

MillerbeganbypresentingeachChowhoundwithacopyofhistwo-pagebourbonmanifesto,alongwiththeimplicitchallengeofreadingitbyDelilah'sdimlighting.Miller'sthesisisthatthe1990swereagreatdecadeforAmericanwhiskey,duringwhichtherewas“moreinnovation
inthissectorthanduringanyotherperiodsinceProhibition.”

NationalProhibitionintheUnitedStates(1920-1933)isthewatershedeventagainstwhichallthingsalcoholicaremeasured.AsMillerpointsout,amongothereffects,Prohibitiondisruptedthenormalbourbonageingcycle.

Thewhiskiesthathadbeenageingthroughoutthedrought,releasedafterrepealoftenwith18yearsinwood,tastednothingliketheCanadianwhiskey,blendedScotchandbathtubhoochpeoplehadbeendrinkingduringthebreak.

RatherthanwelcomingbacktheirauthenticAmericanwhiskey,theyrejecteditinfavourofthelighterspiritstheyhadgrownaccustomedtointheinterim.

TheAmericanwhiskeyindustry,anxioustogetbackonitsfeet,washappytooblige.Straightwhiskiesgotl...

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