Whisky Magazine Issue 39
This article is 9 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.
Copyright Whisky Magazine © 1999-2013. All rights reserved. To use or reproduce part or all of this article please contact us for details of how you can do so legally.
Why, why, why Delilah's? Because, says Charles Cowdrey, it's a cracking bourbon bar
The Chicago Chowhounds are a group hedonistically dedicated to the passionate enjoyment of everything consumable.
In February, when they decided to have a tasting of bourbon whiskey, Delilah's, on Lincoln Avenue just south of Diversey, was the only logical destination.
Proprietor Mike Miller was happy to have them, and not just because it meant another dozen people in his bar early on a Wednesday. Mike Miller is something of a bourbon evangelist.
At least he seems that way at first. After you get to know him you realise he is evangelistic about all of his interests: single malt Scotch, Spanish brandy, music, art, film. He is a big, voluble, passionate guy – a perfect match for the Chowhounds.
Miller began by presenting each Chowhound with a copy of his two-page bourbon manifesto, along with the implicit challenge of reading it by Delilah's dim lighting. Miller's thesis is that the 1990s were a great decade for American whiskey, during which there was “more innovation
in this sector than during any other period since Prohibition.”
National Prohibition in the United States (1920-1933) is the watershed event against which all things alcoholic are measured. As Miller points out, among other effects, Prohibition disrupted the normal bourbon ageing cycle.
The whiskies that had been ageing throughout the drought, released after repeal often with 18 years in wood, tasted nothing like the Canadian whiskey, blended Scotch and bathtub hooch people had been drinking during th...