Our first bourbon was the Amador 10-year, a blend of 60% straight malt whiskey and 40% hop-flavored whiskey, each aged separately for over 2 years in French oak wine barrels and then married in Chardonnay barrels for another 2 years before being bottled. Tasting it neat, the initial impression is caramel, cloves and vanilla, which paired nicely with our Arcadian spring mix salad topped with a warm bacon-dijon vinaigrette (“Getting our iron in!” as attendee Dan Simpson so eloquently put it!) Next, we tasted the Tomatin 12-year, which was smooth and silky, having been matured in traditional Sherry casks. It had a rich fruity aroma with sweet flavors of apple, pear and a subtle nuttiness before a long, pleasant finish. This paired perfectly with our take on Irish white pudding – pan-fried pork sausage in a shallot and red wine butter with a shredded apple and beet slaw. Our third spirit was a double barrel-aged rye mash from Widow Jane that had a sweet, tropical aroma, a front of vanilla, maple and brown sugar, with a tannic and almost peppery finish, alongside lamb lollipops with sweet potato dumplings and butter-braised leeks over a maple-balsamic sauce in a match for the ages! In between dinner and dessert, we tasted Lexington Brewing’s Kentucky Bourbon Ale, which had subtle flavors of vanilla and oak and made for a perfect after-dinner digestif! When it came time for dessert, we were met with a lovely surprise – a rum-soaked angel food cake topped with fresh fruit and homemade whipped cream, and just when we thought we were out of booze, lo and behold, out came a special dessert cocktail consisting of espresso-soaked Tullamore Dew mixed with Rum Chata over ice! Things started to get a little fuzzy at this point, and there may have even been some Irish words of wisdom spoken by owner Chris Flynn towards the end…but what happens at the end of the bourbon dinner stays there!