January 3, 2012

Red State/Blue State Bourbons

The presidential caucus being held today in Iowa is the starter for the run-up to the November presidential election. Heaven Hill Distilleries is using the event to try a clever marketing gimmick -- Red State and Blue State bourbons.

This entertaining marketing effort allows political-minded consumer to purchase a bottle of bourbon along party lines -- Red State for Republicans, Blue State for Democrats. The colors are in line with politial pundits' nicknames for states that tend to vote one way or the other in presidential elections.

However, Heaven Hill Distilleries is being very neutral despite the political overtones. The two bourbons are actually the same, just with different labels. And, if you click on "like" on either one's Facebook page, the same $1 donation goes to the same organization, the VFW Foundation.

Heaven Hill generally makes nice spirits -- rye, bourbon, gin, bodka, etc. -- and this basic bourbon is one of them. Bottled at 80 proof, it has plenty of wood notes on the tongue and a lot of the requisite caramel and vanilla notes.

It seems to be just a touch raw, although it is aged at least two years since it is labeled "straight bourbon," but let it breathe for just a few minutes, or open up over a couple of cubes of ice and you have a nice drink. I especially liked it in my favorite cocktail, a bourbon Manhattan.

If you like this one, stock up because it won't be produced after this year.

Suggested retail price: About $15 for a 750ml bottle.

Go to Dowd's Spirits Notebook.

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