Like walking around school without wearing boxers under your jeans, there was a forbidden thrill knowing that we had a depraved book in our rucksacks. We imagined the dirty looks people would give us when we brazenly wiped it out in a Starbucks. Children would be there. They’d see us reading that corruptive and subversive text. It would be electrifying. At least we thought it would be.
We flipped through the pages anticipating the sweet climatic moment when we’d connect with Holden Caulfield. But it never came. We waited to see the world through the lenses of privileged despair and appreciate the insights of a petulant teen, world-wearing and naive all at once. But it never came. Eyes straining, we searched for the beauty in Salinger’s prose. But it never came. Turns outs Catcher in the Rye is a bit rubbish.
Everyone loved that book, why didn’t we? We found ourselves rolling our eyes when people talked about how moved they were in class and our friends tried to convince us that we didn’t read it properly the first time around. We spent a lot of time wondering whether it was Salinger, the caustic Caulfield or our own ignorance that left us feeling flat after we put Catcher in the Rye back in our rucksacks.
We were met with the same righteous indignation when we told our friends that we didn’t think Bulleit Rye had the depth of the standard Bulleit Frontier. ‘Certain things,’ as Holden Caulfield himself said, ‘should stay the way they are.’ The Bulleit Frontier already has a high rye content, which is crafted from a mash of corn, rye, and malted barley. The Bulleit Rye come from a mash of 95% rye and only 5% malted barley. The Bulleit Bourbon is sweeter and full bodied while the Rye is a spicier whisky. Despite winning a Double Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirit Competition and the Ultimate Spirit Challenging giving Bulleit Rye a score of 95 points, we are just not that impressed.
Nose: ‘I like it when someone gets excited about something. It’s nice.’ The astringent briny rye isn’t particularly nice.
Mouth: ‘The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one.’ This is a whisky that’s seeking a noble death.
Throat: ‘People never notice anything.’ The smoky cinnamon and mint notes are easy to miss.
2/5 – Let someone else buy you a measure and you can cook with it, maybe you can even add it to the food.
When we read Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, we couldn’t put it down. Equally, we couldn’t convince our friends that the themes of identity, race and politics in Invisible Man were so much more complex and satisfying than Catcher in the Rye. ‘What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend if yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.’ We wish we could give Bulleit a ring to talk about the Frontier Whiskey. The Rye would make a great Manhattan, but it’s nothing to call them about.