An ongoing series
Did you know that every bottle available through Curiada is assessed and vetted by an unbiased taster? These knowledgeable and curious people are key to helping us determine which spirits we should feature and make available to you.
Most of our tasters are too modest to think of themselves as experts, but from our perspective, their personal and/or professional qualifications make them very well-equipped to assess spirits on our behalf.
Each taster bring a particular point of view to their tasting role, and we're happy to be able to introduce them to you!
First up: meet Josh. Josh tastes whisk(e)y, bourbon, and scotch on our behalf. (Occasionally a little rum sneaks in there, too.)
I have been a fanatic of whisk(e)y and the world of flavors it has to offer ever since my first drink of Maker's Mark. Little did I know what a rabbit trail it would lead me down over the past 13 years. For the past 8 years I have run a blog, Tipple&Text, which chronicles my whisk(e)y adventures and love for books. Since 2014, I have been a member of the Evansville Bourbon Society in Evansville, Indiana and have had the pleasure of serving on the board for the past 5 years and have been the President of the Board since 2020. We have over 200 members and have purchased over 10 single barrels of whiskey for our club members. In 2020, I joined Curiada as a Spirits Taster. It is my pleasure to serve in this role to help bring unique whisk(e)ys to the world.
We had a chance to ask Josh a few questions recently, here's what he shared.
How did you first start getting into whiskey?
My spirits journey all started at a party in 2007. I was sitting around chatting with a few people when the host walked in and slammed down two bottles on the coffee table: Maker's Mark and Crown Royal. The Crown was good but the Maker's caught my attention. After that day and even until today, there has been and always will be a bottle of Maker's on my bar. It was the first distillery I toured but wasn't and won't be the last. Then, I got a new boss at work and came to find out, he liked bourbon and other whiskies as well. Our work relationship turned into a friendship with whisk(e)y as the foundation. We explored all kinds of whisk(e)ys together and had some amazing trips to distilleries: sipping on bourbon and smoking cigars. When we both moved away (him to Florida and me to Southern Indiana) in 2014, I found a little club called the Evansville Bourbon Society. Since joining I have grown close to a few other members and we have explored hundreds of different whiskies and met many master distillers along the way. I am reminded every time I crack open a new bottle of whisk(e)y why I love the product: it brings people together...and it tastes damn good.
Any interesting encounters in the whiskey world that stand out?
In 2017 I got to not only meet Jimmy Russell, Wild Turkey's Master Distiller, but I got to have dinner with him twice over the course of one week. If you want to have a blast, learn everything you could ever want or dream of learning about whisk(e)y, and have a dram or two, hang out with Jimmy.
What are you experimenting with, exploring, and learning about right now?
Since 2019, I have gotten deep into tasting and researching Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Especially, different barrel-finishes and the unique flavors they can impart. I always thought I would be a bourbon man. But, I've transformed from primarily liking bourbon to liking mostly rye to now loving Scotch.
What's your desert island pour?
W.B. Saffell. One of the best bourbons to be released in the last decade. I wish I had more of it.
Most underrated whiskey?
Mellow Corn. It is my summer dram and is super cheap. You can't go wrong with a little corn whiskey.
When you assess a spirit for its quality, what do you look for?
Integration and rich consistency from nose to finish. I want a dram that takes me on a journey. I want a dram that makes me want to immediately take a sip when I smell it, knocks me back in my chair when I drink it, and begs me to come back for another sip or three because of it's long and tasty finish.
Fill in the blank: More people should...
... try more variations of what they like. If you like whisk(e)y, try them all!
Here are a few of recent bottles Josh has helped select: