February 26, 2014 by Bourbon Empire
Much of the credit for the resurrection of American whiskey has gone to America’s thirst for “authenticity.” In a world that gets more intricate and complex by the second, we’re questing for simple things, true originals, and a desire to “get back to the basics.” Whiskey’s a part of that because it’s a big part of the nation’s past, economically, politically, and culturally. Our rediscovered fondness for the spirit might very well be an attempt to clear away the clutter of modern life and just sort of reset.
But anyone that has ever sat through a Disney movie about the American frontier, sat in one of those faux-speakeasy bars, or sat through this recent Bloomberg News interview with Raj Bhakta, the CEO of Whistlepig Rye, knows that America’s concept of authenticity is slippery at best.
Or is it? Reimagining history and bending the plot points to conform to whatever it is you’re selling, be it an idea or a product, is as original as ever. So why shouldn’t a former reality TV star* that’s cashing in by purchasing whiskey from Canada and repackaging it as an American original be getting buzz? Oddly enough, that’s just as American as anything else you’ll find on a whiskey bottle.
The best part, I suppose, is that Whistlepig’s whiskey is really good–a little to the consternation of whiskey geeks that would like all the other parts of the story to conform to that. But then again, part of me also loves the shrieking audacity of it all–PT Barnum is as much of an American original as anybody else. That, in the end, might actually be the best part of the overall story.
*That one show with Donald Trump.