“Elmer” is not a name that gets a lot of love any more in the modern world. The names that jump to mind are, in order: Elmer Fudd, Elmer Gantry, and Elmer Glue. (What kind of a last name is ‘Glue’? Is that a typo?) Today, we apply a corrective to this unfortunate trend by praising Elmer T. Lee and the Bourbon named after him.
On the nose, wood. But not just any wood; rather mahogany lollipops—and how many licks does it take to get to the caramel center of a WoodsiePop™, anyways? It’s like taking an early fall, late evening hay ride through a field in which the corn was just harvested and wood chips and loam were laid down to re-fertilize the field. And there’s a palpably round understated sweetness, like a shy baby playing peek-a-boo with a nice stranger in the checkout line of the grocery store. Nosing this is like looking through a scanner, darkly. If you follow me. [Stephen and John: No Bill, we don’t follow you! ]
On the mouth, a bit bite-y, a bit herb-y, and bit barrel-y, and a bit barley-y. The rye underlies the other grains like ambergris underlies the attar of rose. Popcorn flan, flambéed with, well, Bourbon. Caramel perfectly blended with the laughter of little children and the satisfaction of a life well-lived. Clean flannel sheets, old golf clubs, and Cinnamon-Oak burl Chewing Gum (light on the cinnamon).
The finish lingers like the guest you’re sorry to see go and wish could have stayed around another few days. Smooth and assertive, like Roger Moore’s James Bond from the 70s, long before the idea of “gritty reboots” entered the movie industry’s hive mind.
With water, this genteel steel-edged Southern gentleman transforms into Conan the Bourbarian, explosive bon-bons on the palette leaving the afterglow of a nuclear holocaust as survivors emerge from their bunkers and dance with joy, because life triumphs again. How do the mix-masters, the MC “Big” Bourboners, pack all this into the Elmer T. Lee? Is it all hidden in the mysterious “T.” ?
The Elmer T. Lee is King Louis XIV, the radiant Sun King in all of his splendor, pomp, and glory–He was the most powerful King of France, and the country of France (and really all of Europe) blossomed during his reign. The name “Elmer” is forever redefined for me: splendor, pomp, and glory; the Sun King of Frankfort, Kentucky!
Our thanks to Jobie Smith and Sazerac for the sample!