Just behind the solid wood counter at The Sporting Gent one might assume that each purchase of a pair of twill-field pocket pants includes one free swig of our growing display of spirits, but truly they were all gifts from loyal patrons and mostly remain as a display.
There is no secret that much of the lifestyle and look we live and support is centered around a mantra of “woods, wings and water” and while flushing quail and landing trout is much of what we do, we also enjoy imbibing responsibly among friends.
As both a relevant component of sporting heritage and a meme of itself, the sportsman partaking of brown water liquor in celebration (or consolation) following a hunt is a classic image of Americana that should be respected and beguiled.
Here at TSG we love a great story, snickering around a campfire and the added warmth whiskey with strangers and brothers alike can provide from an autumn night. In an attempt to pay homage to the role fine spirits contribute to our time outdoors we will feature distillers in and around Charlotte, along with some classic examples of what many have called “the water of life.”
Disclaimer: This is not some lame attempt to appear highbrow and faux-distinguished or choke down booze and call it all “smooth,” but a conversation starter on how a common ingredient to a good time afield often concluded with a splash of something a little stronger than water.
The Brown Water Ramble is a look at how a well-rounded gent might appreciate the pastimes and passions on their own journey and how those who make whiskey, among other things, make the foggy memories a little more clear, the fish tales just a tad longer and the lame jokes all the more laughable. So let’s put aside arguments of whiskey vs. whisky, or bourbon vs. scotch, just grab some ice (or not) and enjoy the ramble.
Fall in Carolina is our best kept secret and the reward for surviving another blazing summer. Almost everything is in season from football to fowl, and the weather is normally just right for a quittin’ time drink.
Here are some great local selections and a few classic and available autumn options that represent the season a helluva lot better than pumpkin spice:
Rua Gold American Single Malt Whiskey – Great Wagon Road Distilling Company (Charlotte, N.C.)
Based in the heart of the NODA district since 2013 and founded by native Irishman, Oliver “Ollie” Mulligan, GWR is the oldest legal distillery in Charlotte. Rua Gold is their featured American single malt whiskey aged in Speyside barrels that has a rich vanilla sweetness and just a hint of spice to knock the chill off your back.
Preamble Straight Bourbon – Seven Jars Distillery (Charlotte, N.C.)
Seven Jars is one maker who bucks the stereotype that making multiple spirits makes you a master of none. Despite the variety of whiskey, rum, vodka and wine, Seven Jars makes a respectable selection of young bourbons. Preamble was created with the forethought of having a precursor to their Special Reserve Bourbon, but it holds its own as a cozy flavored liquor suitable for your tailgate or sunken into your easy chair.
Standard High-Rye Straight Bourbon by Southern Distilling (Statesville, N.C.)
Just a straight shot north on I-77 to Statesville will take you to Southern Distilling to enjoy a seriously good selection of rye whiskey. A trifecta from the High-Rye line includes Standard, Single Barrel and Cask Strength, each of which are perfectly paired to burning logs and falling leaves.
If you do not have the luxury of living near the Charlotte area or are new to whiskey, check out the following suggestions below wherever you can find them:
If you ask someone to picture a bottle of whiskey there’s a good chance they were thinking of Jameson. It’s possibly the most classic and approachable liquor in the whiskey family. So if you are hard pressed to find any of the local distillers or select labels, there are always handles and airplane bottles of this fine Irish spirit.
While the South is devoutly bourbon country, cold weather and frosty mornings has me reaching for the good stuff–SCOTCH. Like catching hand-sized wild trout, quality over quantity can make the experience. Macallan’s 12-year single malt may be a little more pricey, but it is widely available and it truly fits the mold of whisky suitable for sharing.
Back to bourbon, but finishing strong with our friends at Blade and Bow that make Kentucky Straight Bourbon from the historic Stitzel-Weller distillery in Louisville. Blade and Bow uses a unique process known as the Solera-System that allows the preservation of its oldest whiskey stock, but provides you the taste of charred-oak and warming winter spice.
If you are still reading this you probably need a drink by now, but whatever your choice may be, I hope it is surrounded by good people, enjoyed responsibly and revives you for your next leg of the ramble.
Michael Perry | Assistant Shopkeeper, Fly & Field