Vegetative semiotics is a branch of linguistics that studies the idea of meaning at a cellular level. Cells reacting to population density, quorum sensing, really pithy stuff sure to get you laid at a dinner party. It’s the reduction of communication to a pre-verbal, pre-cognition level. Sometimes things can get so small that they can be entirety overlooked.
Old Carter Bourbon can easily be overlooked. The marketing isn’t jazzy, there’s no Diageo LOST BARREL story, no leveraged mythology of someone from the antebellum south. Just some stupid horse. Small releases, granular impact, communicating through the cellulose of oak prisons.
Bourbon people love a heritage tale more than the liquid itself. Watch how fast they get worked up when you mention Black Maple Hill and the specific color of the label, see them preen over a Kentucky Owl, then watch their adolescent tumescence fall limp with anger when STOLI or NAS is mentioned. It’s predictable on a granular level for dudes who feel empowered through possession. I DRIVE A TACOMA TRD ITS THE RACING DEVELOPMENT EDITION, THOSE BOTTLES ARE FOR SEEING NOT DRINKING ITS AN INVESTMENT, ITS NOTHING LIKE MY ACTION FIGURE OBSESSION AFTER KAYLA DUMPED ME.
Old Carter is expensive, but is very well done. It gives you the mash bill, the age, and lets you know it is Indiana MGP openly taunting you to trample its staves. The bare comfort of a Hinge date admitting he is already in therapy. It flagrantly demands $180 retail with a 2000 bottle release, courting dudes who never open anything to spit pithy ejaculations like “JuSt DriNK SAOS inSteaD” and we all nod at their middle management epistolary wisdom.
The problem arises when the bourbon itself swings on extremely good, reputable distillers within their own segment. Secondary market has propped up worse bourbon so in an ironic inversion, corn juice this good at an extremely high retail become a “deal” as a result. Mark and Sherri Carter are some Napa inn owners, so if youre prediabetic, you can sabre rattle all you want about how they arent hand sourcing corn. Kentucky Owl is now Costco trash, but THIS is fantastic.
$180 retail, 2487 bottles, 12 years old and a pre-hazmat 138.1 proof: batch 3 came out swinging. It is initially a bucking workhorse of ethanol, red hots, snickerdoodles and kerosene. Once it opens up you get the full nutty pecan, almond, zucchini bread, and waves of caramel fondue heat. Closer is peach and cardamom with this GTS dryness like lumber robitussin. This is extremely layered, domineering, but wholly enjoyable even when proofed back.
This tiny cell is communicating to other bourbon purveyors of a systemic infection, casks cellularly pressed against one another, increasing retail temps, improving the system as defense mechanism. We are the virus, bourbon is healing.