Welcome to the Whisk(e)y Warrior Award!
On the first of every month, someone is awarded the prodigious title of Whisk(e)y Warrior. A question and answer interview is conducted with the valiant warrior, and then distributed to the world in a special Whisk(e)y Warrior Release. What is a Whisk(e)y Warrior? Find out more by clicking here.
And now, we proudly present your Whisk(e)y Warrior.
He’s a whiskey explorer, sailing the high seas of flavor and taste. Never intimidated, he hacks through popular opinion with his cutlass of curiosity. Shoveling insatiably, he digs for the why’s, how’s, and stories that make you whiskey wealthy. For those brave enough to follow him, new whiskey worlds open before their eyes, and the riches of each golden dram pours between their fingers. He is…
Jake Cain, Whisk(e)y Warrior!
Zac: Jake, let me be the first to say congratulations on winning the Whisk(e)y Warrior Award! I’m excited to get to interview you today. Let’s start by having you tell us where you’re from.
Jake: I was born and raised here in Tucson, Arizona.
Zac: And what first got you into whisk(e)y?
Jake: As far as whiskey goes I think the fondest memory I have that’s the earliest was my closest group of friends, we’ve been friends for about 20 years, sitting outside one of my uncle’s houses. It was not the best whiskey ever, it was Canadian Mist, and sitting around and sipping it and just enjoying the company and everything and everyone. Before that, it was all beer and you know casual stuff. I remember thinking, “this stuff is really good when you’re not trying to take it as a shot.”
Zac: Definitely! I think the whole “a shot of whiskey” thing is cool in a cowboy movie, but detrimental to whiskey culture in real life. So, you became aware of whiskey’s potential. What made you want to further explore the world of whiskey?
Jake: We have Total Wine out here and it’s huge. There’s Bourbon, Scotch, Irish whiskey, everything. And I was like, you know what it’s all whiskey to me right now but let me get into it a little bit further. I started out trying some Irish whiskey and stuff like that and trying to pick out notes and stuff. And from there it just opened the floodgates for, “What about this Scotch? What about this Japanese whisky? What about this? What about that?”
Zac: How have you benefited from your exploration?
Jake: Up until whiskey, to perfectly honest, I really wasn’t big on picking out flavors. Like even in a restaurant with food it was, “that sounds good, let me eat that and get it down as fast as I can,” kind of thing. But since I started exploring whiskeys, really getting into it and being able to identify flavor, it opened up the floodgates to a whole new world.
Zac: What advice would you give to new whiskey drinkers?
Jake: Imagine your favorite food. What’s your go to? Whether it’s a dessert or an entrée, whatever it is, there’s a whiskey out there to match it. Savory or sweet, what do you lean towards? There’s a whiskey out there that has those characteristics that’s going to make you appreciate it even more. So find your flavor, find a region, a type, whatever kind of whiskey you can that matches it and just start there. Explore it. See what opens up to you and what you appreciate about it. Then move on to the next and continuously challenge yourself. And just appreciate it because at the end of the day, your drinking whiskey.
Zac: Are you #teamscotch or #teambourbon?
Jake: So, I know there’s a whole Bourbon camp/Scotch camp situation, but I genuinely enjoy both. It’s more of what kind of mood I’m in if I’m going savory or sweet. Or it’s just, you know, what looks good at the time. There’s something to love about every whiskey I’ve ever tried.
Zac: What’s your day job?
Jake: I’m an illustrator, that’s what I went to school for. But I also am the AGM of a gym.
Zac: Do you have a whiskey goal for the future?
Jake: Sommelier. I’d love to become a whiskey sommelier. I think at the top of my list in terms of something that I would really like to accomplish and take my passion and my hobby to a different level, would be becoming a sommelier.
Zac: As you mentioned, your hometown is Tucson. So if we were visiting Tucson, what would be a good whiskey place to visit?
Jake: There’s a spot here, it’s called Batch. They have a bunch of different whiskies and they specialize in that. They have a menu that’s really interesting. It’s got cereals that have whiskey as the base of the milk and certain things. You’re just like, “Wow no way.” But it’s incredibly good, and I think it’s the way they experiment that brings it together very well.
Zac: Jake, thanks so much for taking the time out to do this interview, and we hope the best for you and your whiskey exploration.
The next award will be released January 1st! We’ll see you then, and remember to nominate your favorite Whisk(e)y Warriors by clicking here. Thank you all for your nominations, past, and future!
— Zac Smith