Since our thirsty food & drink editor’s cup runneth over, here’s a space for her to spill the tea on all of the greatest, tastiest, and trendiest sips. There's really only one thing you'll find here ... NO BAD DRINKS!
My Current Drink Crush: Penelope Bourbon
Why This Drink Matters: It's no secret that the whiskey industry is a bit of an old boys' club. Marketing keywords like “big,” “bold,” and “barrel-strength” are used unilaterally to describe the big names of whiskey. Overtly masculine commercials idealize the whiskey-drinking manly man. It's Conor McGregor saying the word "man" at least 12 times, man.
On the rare occasion that a woman is featured in a whiskey commercial, it's Mila Kunis sauntering around a distillery, serving us "brooding whiskey lady" not-realness. Because she is tough enough to sip whiskey neat, but sexy enough to not threaten the other males in the room.
My point: Gender stereotyping in the spirits business — and specifically in whiskey — is really nothing new. But now with the steady rise of alcohol consumption among women, largely fueled by
our political dystopia more women working in the spirits industry, and re-shaping that landscape, things are changing. Spirits brands are readjusting their marketing strategy to be more inclusive and (gasp) even non-gendered.
Penelope Bourbon — a slightly unconventional four-grain newcomer that has already picked up plenty of awards and recognition — is a prime example of this inclusivity in the spirits world. Penelope is described by the cofounders as "an easy-drinking, all-day (everyday) bourbon" and "something smooth and light." It's even proofed down to be under 100 calories per serving — a metric rarely (if ever) used as a whiskey's selling point.
Perhaps most tellingly, Penelope is named after cofounder Mike Paladini's daughter. It seems counteractive to describe this bourbon as "marketed towards women," but this whiskey was certainly made with powerful ladies in mind.
How We Met: With her long, light brown hair and pointy white leather boots, Penelope walked into my life on a cold, gray autumn afternoon. Dressed in all white against the throngs of black-clad New Yorkers rushing around, Penelope arrived at my office a little before 5 p.m., a bouquet of peonies in hand.
To describe Penelope's style as minimalistic would be not quite right, but her aesthetic was decidedly simple, clean, and fresh. She was elegant, with an easygoing attitude but a little bit of trouble in her laugh.
The most memorable part of that late afternoon with Penelope was that she smelled like toffee and strawberries. She said she always kept little caramel candies in her purse just in case she got a craving for something sweet.
After a few rounds of drinks together at the bar around the corner, she gave me a kiss on the cheek and a caramel candy for later.
Tasting Notes: On the nose, this amber-colored bourbon has an aroma of oak, maple syrup, and caramel. Lighter-bodied on the palate, this bourbon has notes of toffee and red fruit. There's not a lot of spice on the finish, but there are savory grain notes and a woodsy, lightly charred flavor.
You Might Also Like