Bourbon Hat Squad

Reboot 2.0 – Hey, I’m trying.

On a hotter than hot Summer day in July I and my new FIB (Friend in Booze), Hazel had the pleasure of attending a Spirited Event.

Gooring Bros 3
My FIB (Hazel A.) and Ryan Ross


I.W. Harper  held a tasting at one of the best hat shops in Manhattan, The Goorin Bros.

We got to taste a new (for me) Bourbon and get a custom fitting for premium felt fedoras, aptly named The Harper.

Gooring I W Harper (1)
The Harper (Fedora) & I.W.Harper Bourbon
Goorin Bros. Hat Shop on Bleecker Street

Honestly, I’m not a fan of hats or caps. I’ve lost more baseball caps than The RNC has lost Latino and Female voters. Also, that last time I wore a fedora was during the late 80’s / early 90’s when it was all the rage. Blame Robert Townsend’s HBO specials and TV crime dramas like The Hat Squad for that trend. But in the then and there of the event I was ready to sip some Bourbon and commit to classy addition to my wardrobe.

Goorin Bros. Bleecker Street Shopkeeper Alex Mroz doing a hat fitting. NO, that’s not me. 

I.W. Harper- A Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. For those that don’t know what that means, I have a brief explanation –

A barrel-aged distilled spirit made primarily from corn (51%) and must be distilled to no higher than 80% alcohol. The liquor then must enter the new white oak barrel for aging at no more than 62.5% alcohol and bottled with at least 40% alcohol.


Old School ad – Yes, I borrowed it from the website

The Tasting- We were fortunate to be lead by one of Diageo’s Masters of Whisky, Mr. Ryan Ross. Mr. Ross was kind enough to walk us through the history of I.W. Harper. (how it hasn’t been available here in the US in nearly 20 years.) and the details of where and how it’s made (Made from a mash of 73% Corn, 18% Rye, and 9% Barley).

If you’ve never heard a well informed, engaging brand ambassador like Ryan Ross talk about a Spirit they love – then you’ve missed out on the best way to learn about any Spirit. Ryan, let us experience I.W. Harper’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey and the 15-Year-Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey with our nose, eyes and mouths while allowing us to give him our impressions of the Bourbon.

Ryan Ross talking expertly about the 15-Year I.W. Harper

For me, the Straight Bourbon had fine notes of Vanilla, a complementary ambience of cream on the start. The further my senses went into the Bourbon the more deliciousness I found. Finespun micro bursts of wood danced nicely with subtle notes of Apples and Melon. It’s finishing notes of clean sweetness made it easy to drink and ask for seconds. Simply put, it’s a good sipping Bourbon that I plan to add to my home bar.The 15-Year-Old K.S.B. was a masterful blend of throwback bottle design and Kentucky Straight Bourbon awesomeness. The bottle design is reminiscent of the old spiky glass decanters that you see in Black & White movies. Or if you’re like me – actually have from your Grandmother’s liquor cabinet.

The taste is surprising. It’s a 15 year old Bourbon that reminds my senses of something younger. This 15-year  Bourbon is good in all the ways that an aged Bourbon should be. A Citrus zest with spot on sweetness. Solid hits of Apple and Vanilla without one overpowering the other. Balanced sugars with a proper dry finish. But there was a missing ageness about it. And that’s not a bad thing –  just a point to be noted.

All in all, a fun night with old and new friends, a new bourbon to add to my collection and a kickass fedora to help me dress like a gentleman.

I like to close out my reviews (ramblings) with a quote. A ‘bad’ habit I picked up in my journey as a writer.

Love is the magician that pulls man out of his own hat.
Ben Hect -(2/28/1894 – 4/18/1964) An American screenwriter, director, producer, playwright, journalist and novelist. A journalist in his youth, he went on to write thirty-five books and some of the most entertaining screenplays and plays in America.





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