You remember Blockbuster Video, don’t you? Do you remember walking up and down the aisles trying to select a movie? You covered every inch of ground from New Releases to Comedies to Sci-Fi and back again. You see a movie that’s a “Tyler pick”. Tyler is the 35 year old behind the counter rewinding returned video tapes as a vocation. Sure. He seems qualified to recommend my movie. You’re reading the back of the case and trying to remember if the girl from “Cheers” is in a good Star Trek movie or a bad one. Tyler wouldn’t steer you wrong, would he?
Now we have streaming services. Should be easier, right? Wrong! First you have to decide which platform to browse: Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Google Play, or on demand movies from your TV provider. There is no “Tyler” so you ask Alexa to recommend a movie and she suggests the Star Trek with Sherlock Holmes in it. That never seemed to make any sense. So, you just start scrolling and scrolling and scrolling (and scrolling and scrolling and…). You’re on your phone trying to find reviews and you’re not sure if a movie getting a lot of tomatoes is a good thing or a bad thing (whatever happened to the simplicity of “two thumbs up”?). 45 minutes later you’re watching Season 5 of The Office for about the hundredth time (and which Star Trek was Idris Elba in?).
So, what happens when you’re trying to choose a movie with other people? That is the Kobayashi Maru: The no-win scenario. You should just prepare to be assimilated because resistance is futile.
To Boldly Go
Now, you’re in your favorite liquor store and, logically, you want to buy Bourbon. You carefully scan each shelf. Then you scan again just in case you missed some hidden gem. You’re reading labels. You’re brain hurts from trying to figure out why Captain Kirk has a Bourbon. Pulling up reviews on your phone doesn’t help. The ascot guy says it is like “ashtray and bong water” (actual Fred Minnick review). Another guy says that same Bourbon is better than Pappy’s (I can’t find where someone actually said that about Kirk’s Bourbon, but there is some dope out there who says something is “better than Pappy’s” about everything).
Let’s add a couple other people to the decision making process. You and two friends are going in together to buy a bottle to share. You’ll need to agree on where to shop, price, brand, etc. While we’re at it, let’s make a blind tasting competition out of it.
This is what we did at The Bourbon Fellowship. I assigned three teams of three guys each. Each team went to a different liquor store with one rule: you had to pick a Bourbon. The team would have to agree on which store to visit, how much to pay and what brand to choose. Each of the three teams brought their carefully concealed bottle to The Wife who transferred a portion of each Bourbon to a color-coded flask.
Once each team had arrived at my house, everyone did a blind tasting of each Bourbon. After the blind tasting was completed everyone voted on which one they liked the best. The team who brought the winning bottle not only got all-important bragging rights, but took home the bottles submitted by the other two teams, too.
It was interesting to see what the three teams chose. Fortunately, no team brought Star Trek Bourbon (or whatever it is). The first team selected a Kroger store pick Smooth Ambler Old Scout. The second team decided on an Old Forester 1910. While the third team picked an Old Forester 1920! Jackie Zykan would be proud.
All the votes are counted. The tribe has spoken. The judges have made their decision. The United Federation of Planets has made a proclamation. We’ll have the results…after this commercial break.
Actually, we don’t have commercials. However, if anyone is interested in sponsoring The Bourbon Fellowship blog, I am open to offers. You spell “million”, m-i-l….
Live Long and Drink Bourbon
The vote count was 4 to 3 to 2. Two votes came in for the Old Scout leaving the title between two Old Fo favorites. The campfire marshmallow sweetness of 1910 was not enough to overcome the classic, boldness of 1920. Old Forester 1920 was the winner. Gold and silver medals were a nice showing for Old Forester. Next time I may need to make a rule that you can’t choose a Bourbon with the word “old” in the name.
The guys enjoyed this event. They were serious about trying to pick the winner with their selection. The blind tasting aspect is always fun, too. This is something you could easily do with a group of your own. Or, it is also a good time to meet up with two or three friends and jointly pick a bottle and let that be what you sip on together that night.
Maybe there is a way to beat the Kobayashi Maru after all. You just have to be named Jackie Zy-Khan.
Apologies: First, to Jackie Zykan for the bad pun with her name. Second, to all of you for having to endure the ridiculous and contrived Star Trek references. As I was writing it fit naturally a couple of times so I just went with it. At any rate, the Bourbon teams is a good idea and I hope you get to try it with your friends.Kevin Rose