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20151128_183228“I need some help, please,” our six-year-old commanded in frustration. She was trying to figure out how to use the fork and knife that the waitress had set before her to cut her pizza.

“Hold on a second, honey,” Jen sort of mumbled while she and I continued distributing pizza slices to the other three kids.

“One or two slices, Josh?” I asked.


Evelyn went into the fray alone. Chasing the pizza around the plate, “Momma,” she said again, “can you help me?”

“Harry, one or two?” I asked. “Evelyn, just wait a second.”

“Just one,” Harry decided.

Evelyn growled a little and then offered a frustrated snort, “But, I need help.”

No longer willing to wait, she set the silverware down beside her plate and jingled loudly for everyone in the restaurant, “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there!”

Everyone at the table stopped and looked at the six-year-old. I think Madeline and Harrison observed to the left and right of her, almost expecting the genie-like insurance agent to appear and say, “Here, Evelyn, I’ve got you covered.”

I just froze. Jen’s hand went to her own mouth in order to hold back a possible burst into laughter.

“Honey,” I said breaking the stunned silence while restraining my own urge to chuckle. I intended to continue with, “I think you have to be a State Farm client for that to work.”

But having already crossed her arms in obvious disappointment, she interrupted, “That commercial lied. Those people lied.”

This is my first review of a bourbon. The only reason that it is happening is because at the moment I’m fresh out of untapped and unreviewed Scotch. But I wonder if I may be forced to begin venturing into this direction anyway. I haven’t traveled overseas in a while, which means that I’m limited to what’s available here in Michigan. And as the loyal followers will most likely have noticed, I’ve started doing more reviews of the bottom shelf stuff. But in the end, no matter what shelf I choose from, there are only so many editions to be had before I’ll need to start crossing state lines to acquire editions that are unavailable in Michigan.

I’m running out of options.

So then there’s Knob Creek. I gave it an honest run. I did. With that, I sure hope that there are other bourbons on the shelf that are better than this bottle of serous toxicant.

The label announces “superior taste and smoothness.” Evelyn is right. Companies lie.

First, the nose is harsh. As it begins, there is a promising hint of something like maple syrup, but then there is an overpowering billow of something pharmaceutic. I expected at least some bitterness, but there was just too much here to make this whisky a pleasurable sniff.

The palate is less troubling, although the medicative bite remains rather noticeably. Beyond that, I sensed that perhaps someone accidentally spilled what was left of a stale Coca-Cola into the batch. With a little water added, it becomes a sugary geist of root beer mixed with whatever that medicine is that you’re trying to sneak past the kid who refuses to drink it from the little plastic dosage cup.

The finish leaves the maple syrup, but it also leaves a little bit of acrid wood spice. Again, too much to be enjoyable.

Let’s just say that after the first sip, I went ahead and tried Evelyn’s trick, except I added a little to the incantation with the hopes that it would produce something other than an insurance agent.

But alas, as I called out, “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there…with The Balvenie 17-year-old SherryOak in hand,” nothing happened.

Why? Because companies lie.