Let’s start at beginning. I dove into the whiskey world knowing I was embarking upon the manliest drink of all time. Say what you will about beer, martinis, and shots, whiskey is the physical incarnation of testosterone—even when compared to a tube of literal human testosterone. It’s the liquor that Don Draper drinks before he delivers an awe-inspiring full-color advertisement about tampons. It inspires, uplifts, mends, binds, and soothes. Whiskey, like a Jimmy Carter to an unbuilt house, makes you feel whole. It is within that valiant subtext that my initial feelings of intimidation and anxiety planted their roots in my brain. All before I had my first proper drink.
Like many amateur pre-connoisseurs, my first glass of the ol’ tornado juice was underwhelming to say the least; hell, I didn’t even drink it from a glass. It was the summer of 2007 and my substance-free lifestyle had come to an end. I broke edge, shattered it rather, and celebrated with a red Solo cup full of the ol’ Kansas sheep dip. That first night, giddy with the notion of willful intoxication, I gained the courage to drink whiskey and did so like Mormons on the first night of their honeymoon. I was uncaring, reckless, self-serving, and immature. I just wanted to get it in. I vaguely recall shots, chasers, mixing, and an ensuing hangover that could only be described as: HNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGGGGG.