Dallas

Dallas is one of the best places to find whiskey, because sheer size makes Dallas the best place to find anything. It's so ridiculously big that statistics alone guarantee that the Holy Grail, the Fountain of Youth and the Philosopher's Stone are in there somewhere, and you don't even need them because whiskey has the same effects. You feel younger and stronger and smarter and everything else good that ends with "-er", which fits perfectly, because Dallas is a very "-er," kind of place.

For one thing, it's far bigger than everything but the Death Star. The official name is the "Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex." Anything with a hyphen in its name has more history than the royal family, and when even government forms refer to it as something called a "Metroplex," it's science-fictionally big. Metroplex isn't a place, it's a giant Transformer, but Dallas-Fort Worth is even bigger and much better armed. It's also far richer, and walking around all those shining towers made of solid oil in building form gives a man a powerful thirst and makes a man feel like he can buy anything. It's the embodiment of everything from the cowboyin' days: making your fortune, having an iron and drinking whiskey. That last is the only one you can safely share with friends, and the city is studded with spectacularly stocked whiskey bars.

Find one, any one, and even an ounce of art in your soul will be paralyzed by the amber rainbow behind the bar: bourbon, blended, the smoke of Islay and the sheer art gallery of the other single malts. It's mass-produced nectar and small batch beauty in a bottle. There's a better collection of whiskeys than at the average Scottish castle -- including the ones now being used as distilleries, because they only stock one brand.

Once you're set up in such a bar, you can tour the world without ever leaving your seat, and it's a far better, older and finer way of doing so than the Internet. More "-er"s, you see. Trying a new whiskey is invigorating. Before you even drink it, the smell force-reboots your brain with sheer sensory input. Your sense of smell is wired directly into your mind, and it's not funneled through a single nerve cable the way little things like "your eyes" and "entire body" are. There's a whole mesh of nerves feeding from your nasal cavity directly into the front of your brain; in fact, a whole chunk of that brain is dedicated just to sharing those smells. That's why touching something only tells you it's there, but a smell can carry you back into memory or away into fields of barley and vast copper tuns you've never seen.

Drinking it is even better.

The tongue can short circuit your entire body, with three trunk nerves feeding straight into the brain stem. When you taste something, your tongue has a direct line to tell you all about it. They don't even go through your spine, so you might think you've had intense experiences through your genitals, but you have to understand that those are secondhand, passed along by a spinal column and across half a body. Taste and smell are poured straight into your mind.

And contrary to what the naysayers might tell you, it makes you much wiser. Intelligence and study might make you smarter, but wisdom is all about experience. The more you've experienced, the wiser a person you become, and whiskey is one of the most intense experiences you can pour into those sensory hotlines. You get wiser by doing things and making mistakes, and depending on quantity whiskey can give you either of those. Just smelling the stuff is instant alertness, and drinking it puts you in the right frame of mind to do something with it. In a well-stocked bar, you get that again and again with every new whiskey. You can even try enough to find out the real difference between whiskey and whisky, but after that many we can't guarantee you'll care.

What you will do is enjoy it, and in a decent Dallas bar you can do that any way you prefer. If you sit in a booth they tend to respect privacy, because concealed-carry laws will do that to a state, while parking yourself at the bar invites all kinds of conversation. And everyone else there will be an expert on whiskey and why you're in the greatest state in the States, and on pretty much anything else you want to talk about. Or at least claim they are.

Which, in a city literally built on liquid claims, boosted by bravado and stunning in sheer scope, is just as good.

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