blankA Bourbon Conversation with David Winsor, Senior Director of Corporate and International Accounting, Bloomin’ Brands

A graduate of University of Florida, David is a huge football and basketball fan and a bourbon lover. He regularly attends Gator football games, and he created his own club of whiskey connoisseurs called the Whiskey Wolfpack of Tampa. David and his wife, Christi Winsor, an event planner, even planned planned a bourbon pilgrimage and followed the Bourbon Trail in Kentucky. METRO had a chance to chat with David, and discuss all things whiskey and bourbon.

METRO: Why did you start the Whiskey Wolfpack of Tampa?

Winsor: Christi and I visited the Bourbon Trail last summer in 2018 and had a phenomenal time. We really got into the distilleries, and the different ways they produce their product. Christi originally came up with the idea, since I have several friends that are really into bourbon. I mentioned the idea to Marc who got really excited about it. We decided to give it a shot and here we are today. Our first tasting was in January 2019 and we meet once a month. We have 10 core members, but we’ve had about 12-15 other guests, who have made an appearance.

M: What is so special about bourbon?

W: I really enjoy how unique each of them can be, even though most of them are produced in the same region (Kentucky). I also love how people will have such differing opinions.

M: How large is your collection? Any favorites or surprising bottles?
W: I have 72 bottles right now, and 30 of them are opened. My favorites have got to be the George T. Stagg 2018 release and VanWinkle Reserve Rye. That’s not really fair as they are the two most valuable bottles in my collection. My favorite inexpensive go-to is Eagle Rare. I do have a bottle that surprised me. I heard the Weller Antique 107 was good, but only ABC liquors sells it and you won’t ever see it in the state of Florida. So, I traded a bottle of Stagg Jr. (retails for twice the price) for it. It was definitely worth the trade, as this one has it all. Extremely bold, but also very smooth for 107 proof. The retail price is less then $30, which is surprising! If you want to try it, go to Whiskey Cake in Tampa. They did a barrel pick and have quite a few bottles. A barrel pick is where they travel up to the distillery, taste several different barrels, and choose one for your liquor store or restaurant to receive all the bottles.

M: Tell us about your pilgrimage to Kentucky.
W: I’ve been up their twice now. Once in August 2018, and most recently for a good friend’s bachelor party in September 2019. We stayed in Louisville last year, but traveled to Lexington for one day. This year we stayed in Lexington and went to the Florida vs. Kentucky football game. Overall, I’ve been to about 12 distilleries between the two trips. The restaurant scene is pretty awesome, as well.

M: What was the favorite distillery? Least favorite? Why?

W: I have to say the best experience was at Peerless in Louisville. We met the master distiller, who took us on a private tour of the facility. I still have two of the three bottles, I purchased that day and they’re both signed by him. My least favorite was Angel’s Envy. It was a nice facility, but I was hoping they would have more to their lineup. They only produce the Angel’s Envy bourbon, the Rye, and the Cask Strength, and they didn’t have the cask to try or to buy at the distillery.

M: What are 5 must-have bourbons for the home bar?

W: The distillery with the best product is Buffalo Trace. We went to that facility with the bachelor party group and it was a great time. They produce the coveted Pappy VanWinkle bourbons, along with many other favorites such as Weller, Blanton’s, Stagg, Eagle Rare, and the E.H. Taylor lineup.

blank David Winsor and his fellow bourbon lovers headed to Kentucky for a Gator football game and a bachelor party.

-By Ronda M. Parag