In this series, our designers discuss and recommend their best whiskey t-shirts at Colonel Bourbon.
First up: Michael.
CB: Your favorite tee is?
MICHAEL: Gotta go with the Bourbon Whisperer tee. It was basically the first of our story-driven t-shirts that declared bourbon was no longer your grandfather's Oldsmobile. Today, both men and women are stewards of bourbon, and romance blossoms as a result.
CB: Go on.
(Photo: The Bourbon Whisperer T-Shirt started it all, as the first tee at Colonel Bourbon.)
MICHAEL: At CB, as you know, we try to give our tees a character; a story to bring the design to life. What I like -- what I love -- about the Bourbon Whisperer is how we honored the nostalgia but brought it into modern life.
This traveling salesman is having a drink somewhere off the blustery shore of Lake Michigan in Chicago, down the street from the old Palmolive Building that once housed the Playboy empire. He imagines what those days may have been like, enjoying a favorite bourbon, courtesy of his expense account.
Suddenly, a mysterious, stunning woman brings him back to the present, not dismissing the past but building on it.
It's a girl next door tale where the girl is next door to him in a booth at a restaurant.
CB: The end of the story reads: "A kiss was in the works."
MICHAEL: Yes but the 2022's, where she is equal in the chase. She pursues you as much as you think you are pursuing her. A modern romance. Or at least a modern fling.
CB: The final words are, 'PS: This is a true story."
MICHAEL: I'll never tell.
The Bourbon Whisperer is part of the Colonel's Bourbon Masters Collection. It includes variations on the Whisperer theme, including the Steward and Wrangler tees (if the Wild West is more to your liking.)
The Bourbon Steward
As you may know, a bourbon expert is known as a Steward. Like a sommelier for wine.The Staves and Thieves offers certifications.
As per their website: "Stave & Thief Society was founded in 2014, and is the first bourbon certification program recognized by the bourbon industry and the only one to be recognized by the Kentucky Distillers Association as its 'Official Bourbon Education Course.'"
There are two certifications: the Basic and the Executive:
Per the website, the curriculum includes:
- What makes a bourbon a bourbon, and how it is different from other whiskeys
- What the different descriptions of bourbon mean
- The science behind distilling and aging in barrels.
- Identify Kentucky’s heritage brands and which distilleries produce them.
- Build a virtual flight of three bourbons demonstrating the relationship among the whiskeys, describing their characteristics and nuances with nosing/tasting notes.
- The history of bourbon whiskey including Kentucky’s role.
- Whiskey classification, including what makes bourbon unique
- The science of bourbon distillation and aging
- An overview of bourbon production practices and equipment
- The history of America’s national spirit
- Sensory and aroma training
- How to educate consumers in a friendly and engaging way
- Tips on how to build and conduct bourbon tastings"
The basic course costs $75, while the Executive course is $495.
Our famed Bourbon Steward T-Shirt:
We have a few more awesome tees in this collection
The Bourbon Hunter is a favorite:
"Are you a bourbon hunter, or do you know someone who is, or who aspires to be? Attire is an important part of the mission, so you will need this skull t-shirt...
"The elusive creature known as bourbon
"You probably know the stories. Bourbon hunters standing in line at 2AM for a few bottles reportedly in a store that won't open for hours. Who else is up at 2AM? Vampires and zombies and those who doggedly track them down! This tee fits your efforts and your challenge. Courage and cheers!"
Back to the interview with Michael:
CB: So is the Master's Colonel's Bourbon Masters Collection about deciding whether you are are Whisperer, Steward, Wrangler, or Hunter?
MICHAEL: Interesting way of putting it. I think you can pick -- and be -- more than just one. They are not really that different: it's all about the bourbon whiskey. At various times, we are all whisperers and wranglers. Of course, we are all stewards, learning more and more about our favorite pour everyday. And these days, we enjoy the hunt: looking for the unicorns, as it were.
CB: So buy a couple t-shirts is what you are saying?
MICHAEL: Expand your wardrobe and thus your bourbon aspirations is what I'm saying. I assume the blog has also spoke of the high quality of the Colonel Bourbon tees?
CB: Of course, top shelf, as they say. What got you into bourbon?
MICHAEL: When I was younger, club hopping and the like, I drank vodka; dry martinis for liquor, and good wine. My dad drank Scotch.
Tea was my beverage and I always preferred strong tea, with a bite. I would try my dad's scotch but it didn't bite enough. That's when I discovered bourbon. It bit me, and I liked it. Soon, vodka didn't quite satisfy the tongue. I would drink a screwdriver but it wasn't enough for me. I needed a kick, a character, and that's when I was captured by bourbon. And good rye too!
CB: And the design of the tees?
MICHAEL: Well, that's the best part. I get to create the best t-shirts about my favorite whiskey. I get to dream about the history, myth, and legend, and create something people love to wear. There was this email we got of a couple who wore out their his and her Whisperer tees, and bought another pair -- actually two pairs.
CB: Just the Whisperer tees?
MICHAEL: No, they bought a few more I'm told. We have good stuff. We're Colonel Bourbon!
(Published by ColonelBourbontshirts.com. Some blog posts may contain affiliate links.)