Bourbon versus Scotch.

The following is the original and the re-write can be found by clicking here.

I "discovered" Bourbon about two years ago and have been developing my palate ever since; along with that I have carried the presumption that everyone sees it as the finest of all the whiskeys, has the same enthusiasm for the amber ambrosia, and wants to raise a glass whenever the opportunity arises.

You know where presumption takes you? 

More or less the same place as assumption... and that brings you face to face with that ol' adage. *

Recently I had the opportunity to join a number of old friends for a weekend out of the city; an agenda of good food, relaxation by the water and at my insistence, bourbon tasting (because I am still looking for my "signature taste") - I have very obliging friends as each arrived with a different bourbon in tow. 

The tasting started in earnest the first evening after dinner with plenty of amateur commentary about bourbon, the odd "blind taste test" bet, and many life stories. It was in the middle of this I noticed someone was operating on an empty glass so I "enthusiastically" convinced him to pour another bourbon and join in. My "enthusiasm" continued as it became apparent he was not drinking. With that he looked at me, offered a frank and appropriate perspective regarding my pushy enthusiasm, took a sip and said, "I don't really like bourbon, I prefer Scotch". **

"Me, me, me... me, it's all about me, think like me, me, me; be me, me, me... you should all be like me, think like me... me, me, me..." Am I ever exhausting! (As well as humbled and embarrassed.)

You would think after all my years in sales and marketing, launching products, involvement with a focus group or two, and being someone who has always said listen for the needs of the customer, that I would have been able to "read the room" much better than I did. As I dissect why this happened (not in a neurotic way but more for intellectual understanding), I have to say it simply comes down to my enthusiasm. It was like an emotional blindness had occurred, preventing me from seeing anything else but my view on bourbon; accompanied by the enthusiastic belief that everyone else also saw it my way.

This story of "Bourbon verses Scotch" has now been added to my collection of pity stories, fables and metaphors that have come in handy over the years as I meander through business and life. Its lessons still ringing in my ears:

  • It may be the best Bourbon ever made but there are people who just don't like Bourbon.
  • Just because you "really, really like it" does not make other people "really, really like it".
  • Ask yourself, "Is emotional blindness impacting your ability to see something for what it really is?" And then ask others.
  • Look in the mirror and ask, "Is this about me?"
  • Don't forget to ask the simple question, "Do you like Bourbon?"
  • When someone says they like Scotch, serve them Scotch. There are some battles you just won't win.

The next time I see Kevin I will buy him a Scotch, thank him for his patience, and for giving me this story. I will have Bourbon... I really don't like Scotch.


* They say when you "assume", you make an ASS of U and ME.

** Three weeks earlier a group of us caught up for drinks and Kevin had a Scotch when we all had Bourbon. It was an $18 Scotch so I think it's fair to assume (see above) he's quite sure about his whiskey of choice. Interesting how I knew he liked Scotch but was blind to it.