Nobody really wants to revisit Thursday’s match against Liverpool. I certainly don’t. “Dispiriting” is probably the least you could say about that match, which put a dent in Spurs’ chances for top four and also snapped Liverpool’s winless streak.
So let’s do the opposite of dispiriting: let’s talk about spirits. Specifically, bourbon. I’ve done this theme before, but it’s been a while — more than five years, in fact. After nearly seven years of weekly themed player rating articles, coming up with new ones is difficult. Also, sometimes it’s good to go back and revise something old with more current information.
Bourbon is a huge category, but you can narrow it down significantly, and so that’s what I’m going to do. We’re going to restrict the category to bourbons that are available in most areas for under $25. Your mileage may vary, obviously. Those who aren’t familiar with bourbon and more familiar with scotch may think you probably can’t get a good bottle for under $25. You’d be very wrong. And since my initial ratings, there’s been a huge boom in bourbon production and popularity, so it’s a good time to revise.
Here are your Tottenham player ratings to the theme of budget bourbons under $25. Grab the nearest bottle and let’s drink away the pain. Cheaply.
5 stars: Heaven Hill 6-Year (Green Label)
OK, this is kind of a cheat and a bit unfair, but it’s at the top of my rankings for a reason — Heaven Hill Green Label is one amazing bottle of bourbon and can be found for around $13. It’s an 90 proofer, which gives it a little more heat and character than your average bottom shelf booze, with tons of soft vanilla and oak flavors on the palate. The only problem — it’s only available in the state of Kentucky. That’s in some ways a good thing, since it gets zero marketing from Heaven Hill and a wider distribution would almost certainly make it go up in price. This is a $30 bourbon easy, available for less than half that. If you’re ever in Kentucky, or just driving through, stop by at a liquor store and buy a case. It’s worth it.
Tottenham players? In THIS category? Ho ho ho ho ho ho, how droll!
4.5 stars: Larceny
In my previous rankings, a picture of Larceny showed up in the header photo but not the rankings. I’m rectifying that right now because Larceny is fantastic, and just $25. “Wheaters,” bourbons whose secondary grain is wheat as opposed to rye, are popular because they tend to be more approachable, sweeter, and softer. Pappy Van Winkle is a wheater. So is Willet. You can’t find either of those around these days thanks to the damn bourbon hoarders/traders, and when you can they’re hilariously overpriced (Willet 12 used to be one of the best bargains in bourbon), but you can find Larceny, and it’s outstanding. Good for mixing or sipping with a rock — a little water opens it right up.
There’s nothing here, I just wanted to talk more about bourbon.
4 stars: Old Grand-Dad Bottled In Bond
This is a legacy brand but one that has kind of been kind of looked down upon for a long time. It’s certainly not one of the “trendy” bourbons with the cool labels and bottle shapes. But those who know, know and getting a good bonded bourbon (described as 100 proof bourbon bottled in one season by one distiller and aged under a federally bonded warehouse for a minimum of four years) for under $25 is kinda hard to find. This one smacks you in the face with baking spice flavors but despite the proof it doesn’t come across as too hot. This is a bargain at $25, and sometimes you can find it under $20 if you know where to look. And you really should look.
Pierre Hojbjerg (Community — 4.0): I mean, he worked his tail off in midfield and scored Spurs’ only goal. If there’s a bright spot in this game, that goal was it. A banger. Wanyama-esque.
3.5 stars: Old Tub
Old Tub may be new to some of you — it’s an old Jim Beam label that previously was only for sale to visitors to their distillery. This year it’s gone mainstream with a nationwide release of a 100 proof non-filtered bourbon that’s frankly pretty fantastic for $23. They basically just screen it to get out any bits of the barrell that are left and bottle it. It’s got a little spice due to the rye content but it’s a pretty good all-round crowd pleaser that works alone in a glass and in cocktails. They say it’s a limited release, but it’s proven to be pretty popular, I bet it’ll stick around.
Tanguy Ndombele (Community — 3.5): Had some fantastic moments playing as an 8 in the first half, but saw his usefulness decline sharply when pushed into the 10 role. Hard to blame him too much for the loss when there was so much else to blame.
3 stars: Wild Turkey 101
There’s so much choice in bourbon these days, from the major distillers coming out with all sorts of new varietals to the raft of small craft bourbons popping up like mushrooms. If you’re like me you can easily get paralyzed by indecision at the wall of bourbons in your liquor store, which is why when that happens I often will gravitate towards a Wild Turkey 101. Why? Because it’s ubiquitous, it’s inexpensive ($20), and I know I’m going to get a good, unpretentious bourbon for a good price. Sometimes that’s all that really matters. And if you don’t like or can’t find Wild Turkey, try Fighting Cock — it’s similar (and also makes it sound like a Tottenham product).
Ben Davies (Community — 2.5): Maybe I’ve blocked it out, but strangely I thought he was pretty cromulent without making that many mistakes? IDK. I don’t have strong feelings about this particular rating.
2.5 stars: Ezra Brooks black label
There are tons of cheap, decent, utilitarian bourbons out there, so there’s literally no reason to spend $14-15 for a bottle of Ezra Brooks when you can spend the same amount on a bottle of Evan Williams, which is a far superior product. You won’t necessarily regret buying this bourbon, it’s just that at this price point there are so many better options, so why would you want to?
Joe Rodon (Community — 2.5): Look, he was probably the best of Tottenham’s defenders on the day, but it’s hard to overlook that huge mistake he made that caused a goal. He’s going to be a good defender, I’m pretty sure of it. I can’t rate him higher than this.
Son Heung-Min (Community — 2.5): Thought he scored in the first two minutes only to see it called back for a toenail offside. Had one other shot attempt but nobody was feeding him the ball and he couldn’t create his own shot.
Steven Bergwijn (Community — 2.5): I want to like Stevie, I really do. He’s not making it easy. On a day when other stars were faltering he had an opportunity to be more direct with the ball and he didn’t take it. I guess he did get an assist for Hojbjerg, though.
2 stars: Press & Clover
I like to try new things. Sometimes I’ll just randomly pick up a bottle of bourbon I’ve never seen or heard of, especially if it’s at a decent price point. Press & Clover was one of those experiments, and at $20 I thought “why not.” Well, let me explain why not. This was my first encounter with a “TerrePURE” bourbon, which uses TECHNOLOGY to try and achieve in months the flavor that other bourbons develop inside a barrel over the course of years. I’m not opposed to that in theory. I am very much opposed to this particular bourbon, which tasted like neutral grain spirits with a pack of menthol cigarettes crumbled in it. This bottle went down the sink after one glass.
Matt Doherty (Community — 1.5): The idea of Matt Doherty was that he probably wasn’t going to be a super great defender but he could pop up in the box and score goals. He... has not done that and his performance against Liverpool was one of the worst I’ve seen from him this season. He looks like an absolute flop at this point. I hope Daniel Levy kept the receipt.
Serge Aurier (Community — 2.0): Serge may have been scapegoated by Mourinho for Liverpool’s first goal, but he was also pretty bad in that first half. He’s not the first or the last player to get brutalized by Sadio Mane, but it happened a lot in that first half, and he was nowhere to be seen for the goal. He wasn’t the only player who deserved to be hooked at halftime and not quite the worst performer on the day, but he definitely deserved it.
Eric Dier (Community —2.0): His day was epitomized by his lack of communication with Hugo that led to the first goal, but he wasn’t great much of the rest of the time either.
Hugo Lloris (Community — 2.0): We know how good Hugo can be, so it’s a bit shocking that he had such a spectacularly bad match on Thursday. Yes, he made a couple of good stops. He was also at least partially complicit in all three of Liverpool’s goals. Just an all-around awful performance.
Erik Lamela (Community — 1.5): If you’re going to put Erik Lamela in there, I’d expect at least a little violence if he’s not going to contribute anything going forward. We got neither.
Harry Winks (Community — 1.5): I mean, we’re used to Harry Winks being bad, but this was Harry Winks being bad for Harry Winks. An atrocious half of football.
Jose Mourinho (Community — 1.5): You can make an argument that his starting XI was ok, as Spurs did look like they were going to compete, especially in the first half. But his substitutions — Winks and Lamela for Aurier and Kane — did nothing to get Spurs back into it and we discovered later that his decision to yell at Aurier instead of prepare his team for the 2nd half may have contributed to Liverpool scoring so early. God. I hate all of this, every bit.
1 star: Kentucky Gentleman
This is, I guess, a “Kentucky bourbon whiskey” (it says so on the label) but only if you think that things like words don’t actually matter. it’s actually a mix of cheap bourbon and neutral grain spirits that has been artificially colored to make it browner. The nose is something similar to band-aids but not in a good, Laphroig way. The palate settles somewhere around the realm of “burning.” I might use this to clean engine parts, except that it’s only 80 proof and hence pretty useless in that regard too. Don’t buy this. This Kentucky gentleman is all hat, no cattle.
No Tottenham players were as bad as Kentucky Gentleman bourbon.
Tom Carroll Memorial Non Rating
Harry Kane (Community — 2.5): How do you rate your star striker who had no shot attempts in the game but also injured both of his ankles and was subbed off at halftime? I’m giving him an incomplete.