Wednesday, August 14, 2019

What Would Owsley Think?

I saw this in Walgreens the other day. Maybe not this brand, but this fragrance. Whiskey & Tobacco. At first blush, that doesn't seem like a good choice for a scented candle. I certainly have been in many rooms redolent with the scents of actual whiskey and tobacco. I can't say it was edifying.

I think I would be more disposed to burn a scented candle to mask, rather than reproduce, the aroma of whiskey and tobacco.

But maybe I'm looking at this the wrong way. I'm reminded of an interview I did with Owsley Brown, president of Brown-Forman, makers of Jack Daniel's, Old Forester, Early Times, Woodford Reserve, and many other whiskeys. Owsley Brown was the great-grandson of Brown-Forman founder George Garvin Brown. He spent 37 years working for the company, but he told me about his memories of visiting the distillery as a child.

Today, the corporate campus in Louisville, on Dixie Highway just south of West Broadway, houses only offices and bottling. Distillation and maturation happen elsewhere. In Owsley Brown's youth (he was born in 1942), everything was done at Dixie Highway, and Brown-Forman's plant was right next door to a huge Philip-Morris cigarette factory.

Mr. Brown told me he enjoyed his childhood visits to the distillery. He described them as "magical." He recalled the musical cacophony of the bottling line, and how the women who worked there always made a fuss over him. (Bottling line staff in those days were mostly women.) And he remembered the smell, the aroma of the whiskey mingling with the tobacco scents from next door.

Since Owsley Brown died in 2011, we can't ask him if this candle brings back any happy childhood memories, or if it is more in tune with my decadent adult pursuits. I guess we'll never know.


Anonymous said...

I'd buy one to check it out. What I am most interested in is what "Whiskey and Tobacco" scent smells like, as there are lots of conditioned, "fake" aromas and tastes. For instance, cherry and grape Kool-Aid...does it really taste like cherries or grapes? No, it tastes like cherry and grape flavoring. I'm curious to know what Whiskey and Tobacco flavoring imparts.

Brian (AKA The Dean) said...

I think a distinction needs to be made between old, stale tobacco smoke and the smell of fresh tobacco (or in some cases the tobacco flower). I've found some very pleasant unflavored pipe tobaccos. I think it goes without saying the smell of bourbon is heaven.

There are some traditional shaving soaps with scents of tobacco and bourbon. Zi' Peppino from Razorock is one tobacco scented soap that is very nice and there are several with whiskey scents, too.

But a candle? I'll probably pass.

Anonymous said...

The real question is, would it be illegal to label it a straight bourbon whiskey and tobacco candle?