Whiskey & Vinyl: Old Rip Van Winkle and George Strait

Whiskey and Vinyl Old Rip Van Winkle and George Straight

(photo by Brandon Chesbro: Outsider)

Let’s get regal. Time for a pour of Old Rip Van Winkle Handmade Bourbon while we spin an album from George Strait. Some of the most coveted bourbon in the world deserves musical accompaniment from King George.

Stick around for the highlights.

Old Rip Van Winkle

  • Company: Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery
  • Distillery: Buffalo Trace Distillery
  • Manufacturer: Sazerac Company
  • Location: Frankfort, KY
  • Style: Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
  • Proof: 107
  • MSRP: 69.99 (but routinely goes for $600+)
  • Old Rip Van Winkle Full Review.

The nose on Old Rip opens with the welcoming warmth of sweet apple cider, followed by wafts of fresh-cut hay and rich honeyed wheat. There’s more floral warmth on the way, with the slightest tinge of cocoa and cherry blossoms. It’s definitely sweet, both fruity and grassy. Delightful.

On the palate, ORVW’s warmth is inviting, to say the least. The first taste yields notes of fresh caramel popcorn and creamy apple butter. Chewing evokes more sweetness in the form of candied fruit and marshmallow, like a sweet potato casserole topped with toasted marshmallow and pecans. In other words, it’s like dessert for dinner. Outstanding (echo, outstanding).

The finish is long and delicious with the lingering hints of Mexican chocolate (just a tad of cayenne) and sweet leather, before the candied fruit fades, and fades, and fades. It’s creamy and rich and delicate. It’s not so much layered and complex as it is truly harmonious. Fabulous.

King George deserves a regal pour, and ORVW delivered.

George Strait: ‘Strait From the Heart’

  • Artist: George Strait
  • Year: 1982
  • RIAA: Platinum (1 million units sold)
  • Singles: “Fool Hearted Memory (No. 1), “Marina del Rey” (No. 6), “Amarillo by Morning” (No. 4), “A Fire I Can’t Put Out” (No. 1)

When we like an artist, the reasons rarely have anything to do with numbers. Invariably, it comes down to less tangible qualities: talent, friendliness, sincerity, authenticity, dependability. George Strait has those qualities in spades. But if you like metrics, you’ll love King George. He has scored 44 No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and sold more than 69 million albums, according to the RIAA. In fact, George has sold more music than anyone in the history of country music, sans one man named Garth.

Strait From the Heart was George’s 1982 sophomore album. While his 1981 debut album, Strait Country, may have served as a tip of the cowboy hat to the emerging neotraditional movement, his sophomore effort was a full-on rodeo (unlike the Urban Cowboy movement of 1980).

Strait From the Heart is straight-up country music. The album’s opener, “Fool Hearted Memory,” earned George his first No. 1 single. And, the album also produced George’s second chart-topping hit, “A Fire I Can’t Put Out.”

Additional singles included two of George’s most enduring hits: “Amarillo by Morning” (No. 4) and, my favorite, “Marina del Rey” (No. 6). But George’s neotraditionalism is evident throughout, including a cover of Guy Clark’s “Heartbroke” (Ricky Skaggs scored a No. 1 hit with the tune in 1982). And you can most definitely hear the influence of Bob Wills on songs like “I Can’t See Texas From Here.” And here’s a little fun fact. The album’s third track, “The Only Thing I Have Left,” was on Tim McGraw’s 1993 debut album.