“I really wanna taste the barrel,” said Team Beer’s Hazel Cills during Thursday’s Cool Girl Olympics challenge. “I really wanna taste the wood and how long it’s been sitting in that wood.”
Cills, alongside three other competitors, had 60 seconds to talk about whiskey in a way that convinced me (who knows negative facts about whiskey) that a) they knew facts about whiskey, b) they cared about those facts, c) they drank whiskey, and perhaps most importantly, d) that they could tell the difference between whiskeys and had an opinion about which was better.
Team Wings’ Phoebe Bradford stood out from the pack by having a snobby opinion—both very Cool Girly and a very accurate portrayal of someone who “knows about whiskey.” “If you’re drinking whiskey from America, it’s bourbon,” she said. “Sorry. Even if it’s from Tennessee whiskey, it’s bourbon.” Wow. Chills.
She continued that the only proper way to enjoy a whiskey is with a little bit of water splashed into it because ice, she says, ruins the composition of the beverage. “Which means those whiskey stones are also bullshit, because you’re just making it cold, when you should put water in it. It opens the bouquet.” Oh shit! She introduced the bouquet! She is not fucking around!!! She also said the words “angel share,” “casks,” and “evaporate”—all worthy of points.
Team Football’s Clover Hope had a great opener: “Anyone who knows anything about whiskey knows...” I don’t even care what came after that; she’s already succeeded in making me, who doesn’t know about whiskey, feel stupid, and at the same time made herself look awesome. She succeeded in naming five categories of whiskey, but framed it like she was just having a conversation with an idiot (me). “A lot of people don’t know that whiskey is basically beer that you age for two or three times. This is a fact.” “Everything I know about whiskey I learned from my high school boyfriend who was really cool. He played football. So I know these are true.” She then named her “go-to” whiskey brands, which made me think she was telling the truth.
Team Franzen’s Megan Reynolds disagreed that there was a difference between bourbon and whiskey, beginning her presentation with the statement that bourbon, whiskey, and rye are all “the same thing... a brown liquor aged in barrels.” Reynolds said that whiskey is a “good beverage” year-round and, while your judge does not want to be overly rude, but she did then appear to stall (she only had 60 seconds to convey all her knowledge about whiskey) by naming all four seasons of the year, and fairly slowly at that. She continued, “It can be smoky, it can be peaty, it can be mossy, it can be made in Ireland, Canada, Australia, Denmark, America, literally everywhere... Please, I want this to be over.”
Team Beer’s Hazel Cills started strong with an opinion: “I definitely prefer drinking whiskey straight,” she said. “Never mix it, with anything. Just like in a glass with ice cubes. It doesn’t even have to be a glass, it can be like a mug. Anything goes.”
“Definitely prefer to drink bourbon because it’s a lot stronger and smokier. Sometimes with American whiskies, it can be a little sweet and too light for my taste,” she continued, convincing me more and more by the minute. “I really wanna taste the barrel. I really wanna taste the wood and how long it’s been sitting in that wood. Because I want it to be aged for a pretty long time.”
The only points to be subtracted from Cills’s otherwise excellent performance would be a lack of actual facts.
Gold medal: Phoebe Bradford, Team Wings
Silver medal: Clover Hope, Team Football
Bronze medal: Hazel Cills, Team Beer
Failed to place: Megan Reynolds, Team Franzen
Team Wings: 2 gold medals
Team Football: 1 silver medal, 1 bronze medal
Team Beer: 1 silver medal, 1 bronze medal
Team Franzen: 0 medals