Welcome to the Whisk(e)y Warrior Award!
On the first of every month, someone is awarded the prodigious title of Whisk(e)y Warrior. A question and answer interview is conducted with the valiant warrior, and then distributed to the world! What is a Whisk(e)y Warrior? Find out more by clicking here.
And now, we proudly present your Whisk(e)y Warrior.
He cuts down marketing hype with the hot revolving barrel of a golden microphone. He seeks the truth of the juice. A blind warrior who sees clearer than most. He is…
John Edwards, Whisk(e)y Warrior!
Zac: How long have you been in whiskey and what first got you into it?
John: Probably 13 years. Having gone to school at the University of Kentucky it kind of comes with the territory. So, what first got me into it was just the environment I was in. It was what people were drinking. You would go from Jim Beam to Makers, Woodford and then to the more finer things once you realized. I think everyone in Kentucky gets a minor in bourbon.
Zac: Yeah exactly. It’s like wine in Italy. It just comes with the territory.
Zac: What’s your day job?
John: I am a project manager and a client engagement manager.
Zac: What are your current endeavors in the whiskey community?
John: Myself along with Zeke Baker have a weekly podcast, Dad’s Drinking Bourbon. It started off as a review site and we realized we didn’t have enough time to really write. So, we started doing video’s and IG lives, and the goal has always kind of been to get to podcasts. I have a radio background, so knowing that, it’s a very portable on-demand media. We are definitely going to continue to do videos and things like that. But with technology, smartphones and things like that, when you are watching a video, you’re stuck watching a video. A podcast is something that you can multi-task. You can be driving in the car, you could be doing all sorts of stuff, getting ready in the morning and listen to the podcast on demand at your leisure.
Zac: Most of your whiskey reviews come from blind tastings. What made you decide on that approach?
John: It’s understanding what are the good values. What’s your daily drinkers? What’s something that you’re going to have a splurge on a little bit? How good are store picks compared to regular releases? These are all things that we level the playing field and taste things blind. You can really get down to the answers.
Zac: Logistically, how do you make sure that your pours are blind?
John: So, I blind pour Zeak and he blind pours me. And we make sure the other one goes in the other room while we’re pouring it. We’ve had some funny shows were the blind gets messed up.
Zac: If our roles were switched for this interview, what’s one question you would want to ask me?
John: I guess what I would ask you is one of my favorite questions to ask people. When you’re tasting something, what do you gravitate towards?
Zac: I love anything that has layers and changes minute by minute as I’m drinking it. Anything that keeps me interested. If the first notes I get on the opening nose are the same ones I’m still getting in five or ten minutes, then I start to lose interest in that whiskey.
Zac: What advice would you give to knew whiskey drinkers?
John: Taste as much as you can blind. Don’t run out to buy stuff. Find your pallet before you really start investing in bourbon. Because you could go off and buy something based off of hype and you really don’t like it and then you’re out over hundred dollars. Keep tasting, you know, taste, taste, taste. I’m not saying overindulge, you don’t need a lot to taste. But always hone your pallet because your pallet’s going to even change from last year to this year.
Zac: What are your top three budget bourbon recommendations?
John: Early Times bottled in bond for sure. One that I think would surprise a lot of people is Four Roses yellow label. There is so much flavor in an 80 proofer for under twenty dollars that you would be very, very surprised. And then Heaven Hill bottled in bond, but not everybody can get it.
Zac: What you do in the whiskey community takes a lot of effort and time, so it’s very much appreciated on our end. For you personally, what is the reward that keeps you putting forth the effort?
John: It’s, and I’m not just saying this cause I’m talking with you, but it’s meeting people like you. There’s plenty of other people through the community that I consider really good friends and talk to on a daily basis you know from the podcast. It’s getting to sit down, getting to have a conversation with Al Young, getting to have a conversation with Shawn Joseph, getting to have a conversation with all the guys who are coming through Nashville, the Filibuster guys and just the regular people too. One of the things on our show is that we have an open-door policy. We’re like, “Hey we’re recording. If you’re in town, if you're in Nashville, come talk to us. This is where we’re gonna be.” And if you want to be there just message us and we’ll get you over. So, it’s getting to meet the people who are in town for the weekend and come in. Hearing their stories and hearing about their bourbon stories and how they got to where they did. It’s all about the experiences, about the people, the stories behind the bourbon and whiskey. That to me is the biggest reward.
Zac: John, thank you so much for all you’re doing for the whiskey community. Please keep the awesome reviews coming and I, for one, am happy our paths have crossed.
Check out John and Zeke’s podcast, Dad’s Drinking Bourbon. It’s available on every major platform and then some. If you want to connect with the Dad’s on social media, you can find them on Instagram @dadsdrinkingbourbon, on Facebook @dadsdrinkingbourbon, and on Twitter @BourbonDads.
The next award will be released September 1st. We’ll see you then, and remember to nominate your favorite Whisk(e)y Warriors by clicking here!
— Zac Smith