Buckley puts Nashville on notice Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Buckley puts Nashville on notice
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Neat Stuff 32: Jessie Buckley’s whiskey voice, Scottish Whisky Awards finalists, and top 10 bourbons and ryes for a Boulevardier

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If you’ve never heard of Jessie Buckley, enjoy her rise to stardom before Hollywood ruins the whole thing. In Wild Rose, the Irish actor (Chernobyl) plays Rose-Lynn Harlan, a Scottish ex-con and single mom who dreams of making it in Nashville. 

Critics have been kind to Tom Harper’s comedy-drama, with one comparing Buckley’s voice to “a sugar cube dissolving in a glass of whiskey.” Rose-Lynn downs a few drams herself, but true to country music stereotypes, she prefers to swig straight from the bottle

Blame it on the devil’s juice

Proving that her vocal effort was no studio trickery, the classically trained Buckley hit England’s Glastonbury festival last month. And just try watching this unadorned performance of “Glasgow” on Stephen Colbert without getting goosebumps. 

In a 2018 interview, Buckley talked about shooting some of Wild Rose and recording its soundtrack in Music City. “Every window you pass there’s just music bursting out of it and you find these little alcoves, like Station Inn,” she said of Nashville. “Or these inns where you can just imagine things, like, went off, especially if there was, like, a bit of whiskey involved. That’s the devil’s juice that makes everybody go a little bit wilder than they thought they were capable of.”

As for her convincing Glaswegian accent, she told the Belfast Telegraph that she spent a month practising it in the Scottish city before filming started. “I was also drinking a lot of whisky in The Ben Nevis,” Buckley admitted, referring to a local pub with no mean selection. “That is really what I did.” As they say in Glasgow, gaun yersel!

Say it isn’t so! Credit: WABC-TV
Say it isn’t so!
Credit: WABC-TV

Sick burn: The Jim Beam warehouse blaze has us fired up  

Although some physicists disagree, senseless tragedies like this make us think the universe really is a giant video game. A recent fire at one of Jim Beam’s 126 barrel warehouses in Kentucky burned up about 45,000 casks of bourbon, the New York Times reports.


Firefighters let the blaze, which may have been sparked by lightning, rage on so ethanol from the spirits wouldn’t pollute a nearby creek. Given that a standard barrel yields 150 to 200 bottles of bourbon, if each bottle has an estimated value of $18*, the fire could have lost the distiller as much as $162 million in revenue. But the warehouse contained younger whiskey, a spokesperson said, so Jim Beam fans are in no danger of running dry.

Oh, and another silver lining…

“It’s about the best-smelling fire I’ve ever been at,” Drew Chandler, emergency management director for Woodford County, told the Times. “It is not as pungent like in a house fire because it is mostly old natural wood and a distilled spirit, so it has a bit of a sweetness to it.” Drew, ever considered being a whiskey judge?

*All dollar figures in USD

Craigellachie Distillery is in the running Credit: Wikimedia Commons 
Craigellachie Distillery is in the running
Credit: Wikimedia Commons 

Eyes on the prize: Scottish Whisky Awards finalists announced

Let’s face it: whiskey competitions are as common as Cardi B singles. Still, we hope this new one is the first of many. The inaugural Scottish Whisky Awards, which recognize business smarts as well as great-tasting drams, recently announced 52 companies and 97 whiskies as finalists.

Up for Distillery of the Year, the top prize among the 18 categories: Craigellachie Distillery, GlenAllachie Distillery, Glen Scotia Distillery, Highland Park Distillery and Loch Lomond Distillery. GlenAllachie is also a contender for Newcomer of the Year, along with Arbikie Distillery, Glasgow Distillery and Kingsbarns Distillery

The winners, determined by a 32-member judging panel, will be announced September 5 in Edinburgh. To help make history, get tickets here starting July 12.

This Grand-Dad never gets old Credit: Jim Beam Brands
This Grand-Dad never gets old
Credit: Jim Beam Brands

Bittersweet success: Top 10 bourbons and ryes for a Boulevardier

Cocktails aren’t our favorite thing, but we’re a sucker for a well-made Boulevardier, which is basically a Negroni with whiskey instead of gin. The Manual’s Taylor Tobin canvases U.S. bartenders to round up the 10 best whiskies for this Prohibition-era standard.

At Jimmy at the James New York, co-owner Johnny Swet digs Old Grand-Dad Bonded Bourbon. “It’s less sweet than others, which balances nicely with the Campari and sweet vermouth,” he says. “As a bonus, the price point is really good for such a high-quality bourbon.”

Now with more alligator

In Austin, Jack Allen’s Kitchen beverage director David Toby points out that purists believe only bourbon belongs in a Boulevardier. He favors Russell’s Reserve because the 110-proof spirit can stand up to Campari’s bitterness and to richer vermouths. “I like the higher alcohol, the 10-year age, and the flavor of vanilla and toffee that is gained from the #4 alligator [barrel] char.”

For Liz Farrell, lead bartender at San Diego’s Herb & Wood, it’s Few Rye Whiskey, whose “spicy characteristics and dried oak barrel finish enhance the bitter notes of Campari.” Few’s unique flavor profile of raw grains, orchard fruit and citrus matches well with a herb-centered vermouth, Farrell adds. “When all of these tastes are combined, [you get] a grained, spiced, citrusy, floral cocktail that is a flavor-forward simple sipper.” Enough said.

Our kind of to-go cup Credit: Kegan McDaniel and Kickstarter
Our kind of to-go cup
Credit: Kegan McDaniel and Kickstarter

Going mobile: A whiskey decanter for your travels

You might not want to take it through airport security, but we can see the Travel Decanter making itself useful elsewhere—like, say, on that summer kayaking trip to one of the most beautiful places on Earth. At Paste, Jim Vorel sizes up this new gadget, now raising funds on Kickstarter.

The makers of the Travel Decanter, a double-walled steel vessel that houses a 500-mL hand-blown decanter, promise it will protect your whiskey from a fall. In a clever design move, the vacuum-insulated shell doubles as two drinking glasses with a 2-oz. pour indicator. 

How much, you ask? Available in three finishes, the Travel Decanter currently goes for $44, with an estimated delivery date of December. Happy trails!🥃 

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