A Gentleman Indeed

This post is not about writing, but it is about liquor, which has often been credited as fuel for writers. Please don’t drink yourself to death like Dylan Thomas or Truman Capote…

I’m not much of a Bourbon drinker. Sure, there’s usually a bottle of Jack Daniel’s Old #7 in my liquor cabinet, but it’s there because Jack is an expected staple. Unlike many of the other liquors I stock regularly, I don’t often drink Jack neat. Jack isn’t bad, but it definitely lacks character compared to the single malt Scotch I’d rather have. So it just gets thrown into an Old Fashioned with Coke and ice cubes.

Enter Gentleman Jack. This “refined” choice from the Jack Daniels brand fit perfectly into my New Year’s Eve liquor budget of $30 (1L bottle from Parkhill’s Liquor in Tulsa). The bottle neck claims that this particular bourbon is “twice-mellowed.” What does that mean? Well, I didn’t know until I visited the website and learned that they pour it through 10 feet of sugar maple charcoal. Twice. That sounds like an interesting process.

The flavor is quite different from the usual Jack #7. It’s much sweeter. I thought of caramel. There is a bit of spiciness, too, but it’s subdued. The body is much thicker, too, swimming around the mouth and lingering on the tongue before a smooth exit into the belly. There is a little warmth on the way down but not the burn that many liquors have. This is a whiskey that, if consumed carelessly, could get you drunk quicker than you might anticipate; it’s that smooth.

I may pair Gentleman Jack with Coke like I’ve done with #7 because its sweetness should compliment cola perfectly, but it exceeds #7 well enough that it will often go neat in my house as a sipping whiskey.


Location Location Location

I was writing a post about something entirely different earlier while simultaneously participating in the #poetparty chat on Twitter. It’s a weekly chat (Sundays @ 9 est) hosted by @32poems, a poetry journal. Now I’m writing this post because the topic of location came up during our chat. Some poets were talking about wanting to move to New York or Paris. Some were talking about getting away from those places.

How much does location matter to poetry (or art of any sort)? What are poets looking for in those cities that can’t be found in, say, Tulsa?

It seems to me that most poets who want to live in New York, Paris, etc. are seeking either vanity or community. I’d love to take the high road here and claim that I’m never moved by vanity, but I’m a sucker for Cape Cod (where Kurt Vonnegut, John Updike, and other notorious writers have lived).

Other than this ridiculously haughty idea of “I’m a New York poet” *nose tilts upward*, we have community to consider. We are attracted to these cities because they are reputed to have great arts communities. This is where the real value is. Poets should seek the company of other poets. It’s good for us to have people with whom we can share ideas and writing.

But we don’t always have to be in the same city to do this any more. I already mentioned the online chat I join most Sundays, but I also email my poetry to my best poetic friends. They live in Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Kansas.

It is nice to be with other poets in person, though. Instead of all of us moving to New York, you should join me in Tulsa. Then we’ll have a world-renowned poetic community.