Recently I was contacted by a company called Original Balls of Steel. They make steel balls with an “Arctic Core” that you can use to chill your bourbon. My editor and I shared several punny exchanges over this email. Ultimately, I told her I’d “give them a shot” and she responded, “Ball’s in your court!” The puns alone made this story worth pursuing.
As I read more about this company, I found this product actually uses those awkward puns for a good cause- testicular cancer research. Fifteen percent of each sale is donated to the Testicular Cancer Society and the MD Anderson Cancer Center for research and advancement of testicular cancer treatment. Plus, it’s a cheeky and fun way to get guys talking about early detection when you already have their attention (check your balls, dudes).
I called my sister, a scientist with a strong background in physics, to get her take on the product. She immediately pointed out that the steel material would cool a liquid faster than a stone because of something called “electron valence transfer.” Basically, according to my sister, the valence electrons in metals are better able to become delocalized, whereas the valence electrons in a stone are harder to delocalize and require a higher temperature differential to do so. Having just tried whiskey stones the week before, I knew I would be interested to see whether the science held up. (Click here for more about thermal conductivity.)
Interestingly enough, I was able to tell a difference in the immediate temperature of my bourbon with the BOS. It also seemed to stay cool longer than with the stones.
I tried Balls of Steel first with my Booker’s 25th Anniversary 130.8 proof. Since I usually drink higher proof bourbon, I prefer it on the rocks both to chill it and to water it down a bit. So the balls of steel were great at cooling it, but the proof was too high for me to enjoy.
I tried it next with a Michter’s Small Batch 91.4 proof bourbon and it was perfect. There’s no need to water down anything under a hundred proof unless you just want to open up the bouquet, and it was chilled nicely.
I was skeptical when they first contacted me, but I’m glad I gave them a try. They even make an 18k gold “Executive Set” that retails for $499, $400 of which goes to MD Anderson and can be written off as a charitable contribution. Original Balls of Steel makes a great product with a great cause and has the @LouGirl502 seal of approval. (Click here for products.)
Photos Courtesy of Original BOS and Maggie Kimberl