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Drink Barrel Proof

The month of November isn’t just about pumpkin spiced everything and Thanksgiving with the family. For many gentlemen, it’s about growing a sweet beard. And many of those gentlemen, bearded or not, face a persistent, existential question: What bourbon do I drink? It’s an important question, and this list is written to lend a hand. Below is a list of whiskeys available at The Fearrington House Restaurant that pair well with a beard.

1) Old Granddad 114 Barrel Proof Bourbon
Starting on the lighter side, this affordable barrel proof whiskey is perhaps less complex and more spice- perfect for colder weather and a rich turkey dinner. The rye keeps the alcohol from burning too hot on its own, and the light notes of caramel, maple and herbs give a wider profile to this strong, younger bourbon. Try this whiskey if you can fight the heat.

2) Colonel E.H. Taylor: Barrel Proof
Named after Edmund Haynes Taylor Jr., the founder of the forerunner distilleries to Buffalo Trace, the Colonel E.H. Taylor line of whiskeys is the premium version of Old Taylor produced by Sazerac Co. Like most barrel proof options, this whiskey packs some heat, but is loaded with a balanced character of fruit leather and nuanced coffee and leather tack. Grab a glass for some bang for your buck.

3) Stagg Jr.
Younger brother to the equally robust George T. Stagg, the strong proof is matched by the intense yet narrow flavor profile. Aged for roughly 8 years, the rye in the mashbill cuts through the oak, making for an intense, spicy experience with slight chocolate and burnt sugar notes. The heat lingers with a bit of clove and black cherry. Sitting at around 130 proof per bottle, they say this is one you should water down- don’t let them tell you and your beard what to do.

4) Old Forester 1920: Prohibition Style
Based upon the recipe created during the Prohibition era, this bourbon is high-proof, deceivingly smooth, and remarkably delicious. Intended as a medicinal tonic during a time of strict regulation, only the richest and best-dressed could enjoy this whiskey without a prescription. Now, you have the liberty of enjoying this whiskey, and enjoy it you should- Though tamer than the aforementioned bourbons at 115 proof, it is still a big and bold whiskey that could be dangerous given how smooth and agreeable it is. After all, it is intended to be a medicine. With rich notes of cocoa, nuttiness and caramel, it’s excellently paired with a big Thanksgiving dessert. Take liberty by the bottleneck and enjoy a glass.

– Watson, Fearrington House Restaurant Bartender