Thursday, September 24, 2009

Stag Party

Jim beam has been doing some... questionable things, lately. This has me concerned because, hands-down, my favorite whiskey is Jim Beam (white label). I've tried sweeter and stronger whiskeys, but they wear thin after awhile. In addition to white label, Beam has developed and purchased some fine liquors like Booker's, Baker's, Basil Hayden, Old Overholt, and Jim Beam Rye (yellow label). Lately, though, they've come up with (rī)1, an ultra-hip marketing plan to pick up on the re-awakening interest in rye whiskey. Richard and I haven't tried yet, but Paddy says is wholey underwhelming. But now Beam has gone a step further... in some respects. (rī)1 was completely absent of Beam branding, but their latest creation, Red Stag, comes in a standard fifth-gallon glass bottle of Beam with a different label.

It's not the packaging that's hip and cool this time, it's the marketing campagin. If you take a moment to peruse, you'll see what I mean.

Immediately you'll notice their strategy is to associate Red Stag with getting hipster tail. In the background, people in ultra-cool clothes sweat and gyrate to an unheard beat, while a cartoon deer spouts Confucius-esque wisdom on how to get laid.

The add campaign actually reminds me of old posters advertising Absinthe. Just replace the red with green, a fairy with a deer, and update the outfits and parties portrayed in the background. Really, not a bad idea. I mean, those ad campaigns worked so well at convincing folks that Absinthe was a mind-explodingly good time, the stuff was made illegal in many countries for quite some time.

But as I and Beam have said before, the stuff inside matters most. Was this "infused" whiskey some sacchariney cherry syrup? Was it a fifth of a gallon of cough medicine? Or was it a sweetish Manhattan in a bottle? One sounds like whiskey hell, one sounds somewhat tolerable.

So last night, on my way to hang out at Paddy's place, I picked up a bottle. The lady at the checkout said she'd heard good things about it. She looked like someone who has had her fair share of whiskey, and her comments bolstered my slightly sagging confidence.

Now, I've drank quite a bit of Absinthe over the years, and I never hallucinated; I never saw the legendary green fairy. But looking at, I couldn't help but wonder just a teeny bit if some cartoonish crimson deer would start babbling vaguely sexual prose-poetry at me. Cause that might be cool.

Once at Paddy's, we cracked it open immediately and poured two glasses; no ice, no mixers, just whiskey and a glass. First impressions? Not bad. I almost said "it's too sweet" with the first drop on my tongue, but then it splashed across the rest of my palate and warmed my insides as it went down. There was definitely Jim Beam in there, and I liked it. We commenced to taste the shit out of that bottle.

Whoa, hey, um... awesome. Yeah, absolutely! Grab the bull by the balls, carpe diem, it's 5 o'clock somewhere. I mean, it wasn't much of a herd, just me and Paddy, but we were drinking Red Stag and hanging out. It was cool. We actually looked up some recipes for cocktails, because we weren't sure what you could mix with it other than the usual Sprite or 7-up. had some suggestions that sounded tasty: Red Stag and cola, Red Manhattan, Brass Buck (Red Stag and ginger ale), but we just kept drinking it straight.

Paddy isn't really a "potential mate", he's just an old friend. And he's a dude. And that's not really my thing.

Um... yeah. Anyway, recipes the rest of the interwebs had to offer for this liquor were less than appetizing. Some website seemed to want to mix it with every liqueur and schnapps in DeKuyper's lineup. Sorry, but watermelon cherry bourbon is pushing it a bit far for us. And besides, the flavor of Red Stag is strong enough to satisfy the kind of whiskey cravings Paddy and I are prone to, but with its sweetness I think it worked best served on its own. Maybe an ice cube or two. Kind of like a pre-mixed cocktail that's 80 proof.

No, not really. Just two old friends hanging out, drinking some booze, watching TV.

... later on, Paddy's wife came home. Her impression of Red Stag was much the same as mine, a bit sweet, but the bourbon warmth evens that out. We all thought it might be a tad on the sweet side. Paddy even suggested manly-ing it up with some Beam Rye. The sharpness of the rye might compliment the sweetness of Red Stag rather nicely.

What? No! Dude, that's my friend of over twenty years and his wife. We did not get drunk off Red Stag and have a three-way. We just kind of hung out and watched TV. It was relaxing and enjoyable. Paddy made a pot roast, and it was quite yummy. We watched them make Cheetos on the Food Network.

I didn't piss on her either. Moving along, we were about halfway through the bottle when Richard Dicks stopped by. Don't say a fucking word, deersteak! That's his PEN name, not his PORN name! Anyway, by coincidence, Dicks had just been to the liquor store himself and had picked up a bottle. We left that bottle in his car, though, and continued with the bottle I had purchased. Richard's impression was, again, the same. The cherry flavoring is definitely present, but doesn't overpower the charcoal and corn flavor that really makes bourbon the fine American original that it is. Again, he felt it was maybe a tad on the sweet side.

No!  Richard and I did not fuck in the bathroom!  There was no fucking.. It wasn't that kind of party!

No. He most certainly was not. None of us were. We weren't dressed like underage kids sneaking into a pseudo-trendy club. We were just hanging out. Damnit, this hipster ad campaign is starting to get on my nerves. I'm beginning to feel ashamed that I like Red Stag.

But I do like it, and so did everyone else. So before the night was over, the bottle was very empty. Richard was tempted to get his bottle from his car to continue the boozing, but we all had to work the next day, so we called it a night.

No! No orgies! No one had sex. At least, not while Richard and I were there. We were just hanging out. And Red Stag was fine for that. You don't need to be going out clubbing, or having a wild sex party, or even doing some serious drinking. It's a good sipping drink when you want something strong and sweet, but not brutishly forceful or vomitously candy-like. It's a good alcohol to just chill out with.

Whatever, dude... whatever.


  1. I like the veins on the chick's legs in the first promo ad. Truly, this is a high class product... for a trailer park.