Women and Bourbon Whiskey

As a woman who loves bourbon, I’m often left feeling like I’m forcing myself into a men’s club when I order two fingers or want to join in on the bourbon conversation. Don’t get me wrong. I am not man-bashing. My husband can attest, I’m a big fan of men. It’s just that most men probably don’t realize there are women out there who enjoy the layers of notes in a fine bourbon and the fun discussions that come from it (if they can find someone to talk to).

Times are changing for sure, but the world of bourbon is still aimed at men. Yet, I know women, including myself, who are fascinated by the stuff and enjoy drinking it. It’s no mystery as to why this attitude exists. Bourbon is as old as America itself, and with that comes old customs and habits that are tough to break. Back in the day, it wasn’t ladylike to go into a bar, let alone enter a smoke-filled room with gents and ask for a whiskey. Men today certainly aren’t against a lady drinking bourbon — they just aren’t used to it. And hey, it goes both ways. If a guy wants a pink comso, let him enjoy his cosmo.

If you are new to bourbon, as a woman it is intimidating for sure. Here’s the thing: you were born for tasting layers of flavor. It sounds dramatic but hear me out. According to Health, women’s senses behave differently than men’s and it may make them better at catching flavors and aromas. When tested, women often pick up smells that men can’t, and there are actually scientific reasons for it. For females, the area of the brain that controls our ability to smell shows 43% more brain cells and nearly 50% more neurons than a man’s. And when it comes to taste, women have more tastebuds on their tongues than men do. Interesting stuff. It’s not a competition; however, it’s an encouragement for the gal who wonders if she can taste bourbon as well as the guys.

If you need more encouragement, check out the awesome ladies from BourbonWomen.org. The founder of the organization, Peggy Noe Stevens, recognized a need for women to find like-minded women who enjoy bourbon whiskey. She is a Master Bourbon Taster and, in the past, she felt odd having so much knowledge, understanding, and love for bourbon in a world where she almost didn’t feel welcome. You can search for local branches of Bourbon Women in your area, here.

If you’re considering trying bourbon or learning more about it; jump in. If you’ve loved bourbon for a while now, keep sipping away. Bourbon whiskey was meant to be shared and everyone is welcome.


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Meet Melissa

Bourbon stole my heart a few years ago when I had several opportunities to write about it. Food stole my heart when I was lucky enough to be raised by a mom who managed to make nearly everything from scratch when we were growing up.