Saturday, after a very heated three-hour white elephant gift exchange with fifty extended family members (my dad’s mom was a very good Catholic) I headed home with a new bottle of Jesse James America’s Outlaw Bourbon Whiskey.

I’ve seen it at the local liquor store and was curious, but not enough to buy it even at the $20 price point because I already have enough stuff that isn’t great straight. I keep less-than-favorite spirits around for my brother. He likes variety and will drink anything remotely good, always doused with Diet Coke. So I hide my Pappy and angry (but efficient) Boss Hog which should never (ever) be mixed, and take out the Four Roses, Lion’s Pride, and Triple Smoke. They didn’t make it into the rotation and were thus demoted to mixers. My brother can’t tell the difference so technically I’m not being stingy with the good stuff. It’s just that pairing 23-year-old whiskey with anything other than ice cubes is close to (if not entirely) an act of heresy.
This new bottle of bourbon was cultivated in Kentucky, mellowed with charcoal and aged for at least 36 months in oak caskets before heading to the liquor store. Sounds promising enough, but I wondered if the whiskey’s namesake was just a marketing ploy. There isn’t anything on the bottle indicating that the distillery truly bears a relation to the American outlaw, Jesse James.
I poured a couple ounces over four ice cubes and took a sip. It was surprisingly very tolerable for $20. Not exactly super smooth, but definitely decent for a quarter shot.
So I Googled "Jesse James America’s Outlaw Bourbon Whiskey" as is noted on the bottle, waited a second, then started giggling immediately when I saw photos of familiar knee-length hair, tight acid-washed Levi’s, and of course, that famous chain saw. The whiskey brand belongs to none other than Jesse James Dupree of the hair band, Jackyl. As in, The Lumberjack!
Remember that crazy chainsaw solo? I found the music video and played it for my kids several times, reveling in the creative use of tool shed staples as instruments during the 90’s. Like Eddie Van Halen with the power drill on Poundcake! I love that song in my car with the windows down and the Harmon Kardon cranked up. Sounds so much better than it did on my Walkman.
Branching out into liquor is not a new idea for celebrities. Madonna, Vince Neil, Wayne Gretzky, Jeff Gordon, and even Nancy Pelosi all own vineyards. Sean Combs has a Tequila brand and Trump had vodka (that flopped). Why shouldn’t a headbanger have his own whiskey label?
Dupree still regularly tours with his band and maintains quite a following. I suppose having a distillery is one way to stay drunk on a dime, but maybe he’s a better business man than his stage antics would suggest. Perhaps he’s growing his investment portfolio, preparing for the time when his trademark follicles are absent and his chainsaw’s too heavy to swing. And for $20, Jesse James Dupree’s whiskey is definitely worth a try.
Now if I could only find out what conditioner he uses…
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