Sunday, January 8, 2012

Just a Jiggerlo

I am a Maker's Mark ambassador. Here's my card:

Next time you have a bourbon, why not make it a Maker's?

You'll note that I've only been an ambassador since last year. I put off signing up for years, because while I do enjoy Maker's Mark, I don't actually go around introducing people to it.

Then I went to a wax-dipping event and met a for-true, professional Maker's Mark ambassador. I told him some of my family members only drink Maker's Mark, but I drank other bourbons as well. "So do I," he answered. "So does Bill Samuels [Maker's Mark president]."

He went on to say, "People ask me what we think of our competition. I say we don't have any. There are one hundred thirty different bourbons, and each one has its own group of people it appeals to."

So I figured, if the president of Maker's Mark can try other bourbons, someone who tries other bourbons cab be a Maker's Mark ambassador. And I'm glad I signed up; I didn't know it at the time, but they send gifts to their ambassadors at Christmas. (This year it was those adorable bottle sweaters. I'm fresh out of Maker's Mark right now, so I put the sweater on a stuffed bear I had -- the only way I like to mix bourbon and Coke.)

My willingness to enter into non-monogamous relationships with whiskey brands by no means ends there. I am also a member of Four Roses' Mellow Moments Club, even though I sort of fudged my answers to the Mellow Aptitude Test. (That too brought me more than the email announcements I was expecting: a nice coaster for Christmas, and even a birthday card.)

I think it all started when I became a Friend of Laphroaig more than a decade ago. A few emails, the occasional letter or pin mailed to my home, and that was about it.

Every now and then, though, I'd come across another distillery that had a fancy name for its mailing list (though I think Laphroaig is still the only place where I have my own plot of land). And I'd say, why not?

Looking through my email records, I see I am now an Ardbeg Committee member and a Jura Diurach. I'm in the Highland Park Inner Circle, and I was a Kindred Spirit of Glenmorangie back when that meant something. I'm in the Chivas Brotherhood, whatever that is, and I may have once been in the Chivas Circle, whatever that was. I can get into Balvenie's Warehouse 24 and the Buffalo Trace Saloon (where I'm no better at pool than I am in the real world). I am a Glenfiddich Explorer. I belong to the Bardstown Whiskey and of-the-Crown Societies (if it still exists, I'm also in the the Striding Man Society).

Of the above, I'd particularly recommend Warehouse 24 to anyone who likes Scotch whisky. Although they occasionally taunt me with give-aways only available to residents of the UK, their Whisky Academy videos alone are worth the price of admission.

If you like a brand of whiskey, or are even just willing to be talked into liking it, it's probably worth the minute or two it takes to sign up (although it would be nice if more of these websites would actually "Remember Me" so I didn't have to enter a birthdate on every visit (and don't get me started on scrolling past Algeria and Lesotho to select my country of residence)).

Are there any distilleries or brands whose membership programs you recommend?

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