Alright, here it is! As heard on episode #927-928 of The Bourbon Daily, I've put together a team of semi-professional candy connoisseurs from The Bourbon Underground (don't look for their credentials) to sort through the results of the most recent bracket challenge discussing which candy bar pairs best with bourbon. The rules on these episodes were simple; to determine which common, off the shelf candy bar goes best with our favorite American spirit. In the first episode, several candy bars were discussed, but we ultimately settled on 8 finalists. They were:
- Mr. Goodbar
- Baby Ruth
- Hershey's Almond
- Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
Now on the show, you may have heard that Butterfinger won in the bracket challenge. Not a terrible choice, however we wanted to do a bit of fact-checking to make sure that these results were credible. So in the spirit of good science (and sweet tooths), we embarked on a scientific endeavor like no other! Here's how the experiment was framed up:
We picked a fairly standard, bottled-in-bond whiskey to perform the experiment to provide a control for the sampling. We settled on Old Forester 1897 BiB.
You have to find a way to eliminate the individuals "candy bias" from the equation. We were able to accomplish this by having all of the participants rank their favorite candy bars in order from 1-8, with 8 being their favorite.
Once the individuals candy bias was determined, we had them sample each of the candy bars with the bourbon, and then they re-ranked their choices based on their preferences.
We gave credit for candy bars that went up in the rankings of the participants. For example, if a participant rated Butterfinger as their favorite candy bar (#8 on the scale), but then said that it was their 2nd favorite when paired with whiskey, we gave them a -1. Conversely, if a participant rated a candy bar as their least favorite initially and then rated the candy bar their 2nd favorite with whiskey, they'd go up 7 points. This eliminates the candy bias and gives us a better representation of what's actually going on with the combined flavor profiles.
The results were actually quite surprising. After scrutinizing a complex spreadsheet for 2 hours (it wasn't that complex, but math gets tricky after large amounts of chocolate and bourbon), it was determined that the true champion in the candy bar/bourbon pairing world is indeed Mr. Goodbar, followed by Butterfinger. Mr. Goodbar experienced the most movement upwards from the pre-ranking lists to the pairing list, which let it to victory. The list in order of best pairing is:
Just a few things to note here:
The general consensus from the team is that milk chocolate doesn't doesn't pair well with bourbon, it's much too sweet.
Some of the candy bars actually turned to poison after mixing them with bourbon. They weren't palatable at all. This was especially prevalent in the candy bars with the cookies inside.
If you're going ot eat milk chocolate with bourbon, choose a lower proof whiskey to offset the sweetness of the chocolate and the burn of the alcohol.
If you're going to eat candy with bourbon, pick up some dark chocolate.
So there you have it, scientific proof that The Bourbon Daily isn't too far off in their bracket challenge predictions! I'm happy to share the spreadsheet for scientific proof ,(but don't be that person, come on. You're better than that!). Thanks to The Bourbon Underground members Cory Welch, Emilio Russo, Tyler Brown, Lauren Owen, Josh Leblanc, and our special guests Jeff Hirstius and Sara Russo for suffering through 8 candy bars and lots of whiskey. If you have any other whiskey-based fact checking request, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to give us more info, we're always looking for a new challenge. Thanks to the ABV Network for letting us have some fun here, go check them out at www.abvnetwork.com. Cheers!