A group called Bourbon Women hopes to show that ladies can enjoy the Kentucky beverage too. Was this really in doubt?
According to Bruce Schreiner of the AP, Bourbon Women was founded by a marketing exec named Peggy Noe Stevens, who likes her bourbon stacked — "that's one ice cube at a time, followed by equal shots of bourbon." Fellow board member Mary Quinn Ramer says, "I think there's this sense of relief that finally we were at a point where we can be taken seriously as women who enjoy bourbon and the lifestyle that accompanies it." I'm not sure what the bourbon "lifestyle" is, but here's Stevens's description of the Bourbon Women: "They are very independent, they are very curious. They're confident, they know what they like, immediately."
Obviously you don't have to drink bourbon to be independent and curious (although it does seem to help one ask questions like, "do you think I could jump over that fence?"). But Bourbon Women does address a real issue — people seem to think ladies can't drink whiskey. Even when he's trying to talk about the increasing popularity of bourbon among women, distiller Patrick Beam manages to sound kind of condescending: "With these kinds of top-shelf products, many women are getting to experience the softer, smoother side of bourbon." And Bill Samuels, CEO of Maker's Mark, whose fan club apparently includes more women than ever, says, "All the bourbons are much more approachable than they used to be - they're better."
I remember being introduced to single-malts with something called "the ladies' scotch," and there seems to be a general perception that whiskeys for women have to be somehow "approachable," a word also sometime used by literature teachers to describe poetry for people who don't read. But just as everybody deserves good poetry, women and men alike deserve to drink good bourbon. And while I'm all for smoothness in alcoholic beverages, it's time to retire the notion that women have to have everything "soft." Hopefully the Bourbon Women will help accomplish this.
Bourbon Women Share Love Of Ky.'s Signature Whiskey, Show It's Not Just Man's Drink [AP]
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