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Bourbon


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#1 GooseHook

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 11:00 AM

Inspired by the beer thread, I got to thinking about my favorite bourbons.  If any of you enjoy this great elixir, share your favorites and recs!  

I got started into whiskey and bourbon in college (like everyone else) and developed a taste for affordable bourbons.  Still to this day, I think one of the best things about bourbon is that you can get a top-notch bottle for around $50, which is almost unheard of in the scotch world.  Thus, I've been able to try a variety and build a small collection at home.  Here are some of my favorites, in semi-accurate rankings:

  • Blanton's. Candy in a bottle, one of the smoothest bourbons you'll ever drink. Notes of maple, vanilla, and a little oak.  Great neat, or on the rocks for an extra smooth drink.
  • Jefferson's Reserve(small batch)- similar to Blanton's, but with a little more bite.  This is the middle of the three-tiered Jefferson's range, with the top being the very hard to find Presidential Select.
  • Booker's- fire in a bottle! This stuff is taped straight from the cask, resulting in very high proofs (my last bottle was 128.7).  Heavy on feel, long on the finish, this bourbon needs at minimum a splash of water to bring out the flavors. It's spicy, woody, and sweet all at the same time.
  • Eagle Rare (10yr)- I like to think of Eagle Rare as a chameleon.  It seems to have a variety of attributes from other bourbons, and suits well as a "daily drinker."  One of my favorite bourbons and the real one that got me hooked.  Best value of this bunch, and if you're looking for something just as good but even more of a value, go straight to Buffalo Trace.  It's no surprise then to learn that both are made by the same distillery. Classy a$$ bottle, too!!
  • Basil Hayden's- If I were to recommend a bourbon to start into the small batch stuff, this would be it.  It tastes heavily of rye, and lures you into thinking it will bite, but the burn never comes.  Great asset for a home bar, because it will mix smoothly, not break the bank, and please your bourbon lovers.
Also, for honorable mentions that I'm just getting into:

Four Roses Small Batch
Noah's Mill
Old Weller
Maker's 46

To be continued...

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#2 8orBetter

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 11:09 AM

Lots of Old Forester and a splash of 7up

#3 Big L

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 11:46 AM

Awesome thread, I'm a Beam lover who wants to get into the higher end stuff.  Downside is the teacher's salary I'm on, so the best I got so far is Knob Creek.
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#4 GooseHook

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 11:57 AM

View PostBig L, on 07 December 2011 - 11:46 AM, said:

Awesome thread, I'm a Beam lover who wants to get into the higher end stuff.  Downside is the teacher's salary I'm on, so the best I got so far is Knob Creek.

I can't believe I forgot Knob Creek! A favorite of quite a few friends, it just always burned too much for me.  Which is weird, because most of my bottles are 100+proof. Like I said though, I started this on a college budget (read: no money,)!!

Bulleit and Buffalo Trace can both be had for around $25, they are great places to start.
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#5 sefus12

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 01:43 PM

I'm a huge bourbon guy as well (along with craft beer), and here are a few of my favorites you can get for under $30/bottle:

  • Elijah Craig 12 year (not single barrel... i personally think this is better)
  • 1792 Ridgemont Reserve
  • Old Forester Signature 100 Proof

I prefer my bourbon with a touch of bite/burn/complexity and all of these fit the bill surprisingly well.  The Old Forester Signature in particular is a budget bourbon (less than $20/fifth) and has great complexity and flavor.  I don't mix my bourbon, but this is great for both mixing and sipping.  

For those of you who like heat, Bookers is the way to go.  It packs a punch, but it's WELL worth it.

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#6 FATC1TY

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 09:01 PM

I'm pretty partial to Woodford myself. Splash of Coke, and call it a drink.

Been having a cough lately, so a nice woodford hot toddy has really helped me settle down and sleep. Don't laugh!!

Got a bottle of 1792, and while it's good, it's not as good as Woodford, to me.

#7 GooseHook

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 09:23 PM

Fat, i grew up drinking Seagrams VO hot toddies. If anything, it's the root of my habit!!!
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#8 scotchblade

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 10:13 PM

I don't want to boast, but I was very fortunate this fall finding some highly coveted limited editions.

George T. Stagg (Buffalo Trace Antique Collection)
William Larue Weller (Buffalo Trace Antique Collection)
Thomas Handy Sazerac Rye (Buffalo Trace Antique Collection)
Pappy Van Winkle 15 Year

The Stagg, Weller and Handy are all over 130 proof.

Neat with small adds (by the drop) of water are the only way to go with these bruisers.  Very deep, powerful and intense.  Pure joy in a bottle!

Cheers!

Edited by scotchblade, 07 December 2011 - 10:21 PM.


#9 scotchblade

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 10:20 PM

View PostGooseHook, on 07 December 2011 - 11:00 AM, said:

Noah's Mill
I'll second that.  Made by Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, who also make Vintage 17 Year Old and Rowan's Creek.  Very good!
http://www.kentuckyb...m/noah_mill.php

Here is a good site for reviews...
http://sourmashmanifesto.com/

Then there is the always entertaining Ralfy, but he is mostly scotch.
http://www.youtube.com/user/ralfystuff

#10 1969EType

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 12:53 AM

Blanton's, hands down. Everytime I buy a bottle, the guy behind the counter always makes a kind remark. Knob Creek is a close second.


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#11 sefus12

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 09:39 AM

 scotchblade, on 07 December 2011 - 10:13 PM, said:

I don't want to boast, but I was very fortunate this fall finding some highly coveted limited editions.

George T. Stagg (Buffalo Trace Antique Collection)
William Larue Weller (Buffalo Trace Antique Collection)
Thomas Handy Sazerac Rye (Buffalo Trace Antique Collection)
Pappy Van Winkle 15 Year

The Stagg, Weller and Handy are all over 130 proof.

Neat with small adds (by the drop) of water are the only way to go with these bruisers.  Very deep, powerful and intense.  Pure joy in a bottle!

Cheers!

Awesome lineup.  I've only had the Pappy and the Thomas Handy (I love rye's as well) and both are fantastic.  As for the whole Pappy line-up, I've been lucky enough to have 15, 20, and 23-year old in a single sitting and I actually prefer the slightly increased heat and body of the 15 to the other 2.  All are fantastic though.... absolutely top-notch stuff.  



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#12 Rick

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 09:57 AM

What, no love for Buffalo Trace?

#13 Lloydbraun

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 10:13 AM

i have a bottle of Glen Garioch 1958 bourbon whiskey that my dad gave me when i finished graduate school, i am too scared to open it.  From my understanding Glen Garioch is known for scotch but released a limited number of these bourbon whisky bottles, other then that i know nothing about it.  If anyone is around the MN area when i open it id be glad to share it.

#14 FATC1TY

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 05:52 PM

Does anyone here.. uhhhhh.... 'still??

Been thinkin' about it myself. Fire up some copper and SS, and let 'er go.

#15 billybaroo

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Posted 10 December 2011 - 01:27 PM

 FATC1TY, on 08 December 2011 - 05:52 PM, said:

Does anyone here.. uhhhhh.... 'still??

Been thinkin' about it myself. Fire up some copper and SS, and let 'er go.
Would love to, alas the law is not kind to home distillers.  :)


#16 vol_in_ar

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Posted 10 December 2011 - 04:43 PM

http://oldripvanwinkle.com/



just have your cash ready..it's pricey but worth it

#17 FATC1TY

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Posted 10 December 2011 - 10:19 PM

 billybaroo, on 10 December 2011 - 01:27 PM, said:

 FATC1TY, on 08 December 2011 - 05:52 PM, said:

Does anyone here.. uhhhhh.... 'still??

Been thinkin' about it myself. Fire up some copper and SS, and let 'er go.
Would love to, alas the law is not kind to home distillers.  :)

True... but hell, the law is not kind to speeders! ;)

#18 GooseHook

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Posted 12 December 2011 - 05:52 PM

I got a hold of Eagle Rare 17 this weekend. My god, what a bourbon!!  It has a finish almost like a red wine.
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#19 Myherobobhope

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Posted 17 December 2011 - 10:17 PM

 sefus12, on 08 December 2011 - 09:39 AM, said:

 scotchblade, on 07 December 2011 - 10:13 PM, said:

I don't want to boast, but I was very fortunate this fall finding some highly coveted limited editions.

George T. Stagg (Buffalo Trace Antique Collection)
William Larue Weller (Buffalo Trace Antique Collection)
Thomas Handy Sazerac Rye (Buffalo Trace Antique Collection)
Pappy Van Winkle 15 Year

The Stagg, Weller and Handy are all over 130 proof.

Neat with small adds (by the drop) of water are the only way to go with these bruisers.  Very deep, powerful and intense.  Pure joy in a bottle!

Cheers!

Awesome lineup.  I've only had the Pappy and the Thomas Handy (I love rye's as well) and both are fantastic.  As for the whole Pappy line-up, I've been lucky enough to have 15, 20, and 23-year old in a single sitting and I actually prefer the slightly increased heat and body of the 15 to the other 2.  All are fantastic though.... absolutely top-notch stuff.  




I live in Louisville... and for the first time in a year, scored 2 bottles of Pappy... 12 and 20.

The 20 is great... about to try the 10 again. Hold that thought.

Not as smooth, not as oaky... Still excellent

My favorite bourbons:
Rip Van Winkle
Four Roses
Old Forrester Signature (best bourbon for the $, without a doubt)

Those are probably my favorite three... and I've had lots.

#20 FATC1TY

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Posted 18 December 2011 - 12:42 PM

Is Four Roses really that good?

I overlook it everytime I get an inkling to try something different. I've been eye balling Bookers, or Rowans lately, but can't pull the trigger considering my personal bar at the house is growing like my golf club collection.


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#21 teeitlow

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Posted 18 December 2011 - 06:15 PM

Well it's not really considered a bourbon, but Bushmills rules the roost here.
-D

#22 Myherobobhope

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 05:23 PM

View PostFATC1TY, on 18 December 2011 - 12:42 PM, said:

Is Four Roses really that good?

I overlook it everytime I get an inkling to try something different. I've been eye balling Bookers, or Rowans lately, but can't pull the trigger considering my personal bar at the house is growing like my golf club collection.

I think it is... it's probably one of my favorite bourbons.

The "standard" stuff is good... the single barrel and small batch are better.

Regular Four Roses is good if you like to mix drinks, especially. On the rocks, spend more money.

#23 CUTigers2011

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 10:39 PM

Great thread.

Woodford
Elijah Craig
Buffalo Trace

IMO Maker's is the most overrated bourbon made.

#24 Myherobobhope

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 05:16 PM

View Postabajoczky, on 20 December 2011 - 10:39 PM, said:

Great thread.

Woodford
Elijah Craig
Buffalo Trace

IMO Maker's is the most overrated bourbon made.

Interesting... I feel the same way about Woodford.

Love the other two, though...

That said, I haven't bought a bottle of Maker's in probably 5 years... I do drink it outside of KY or when I'm feeling lazy but want a "premium" bourbon.

Kentucky Tavern is a great "well" bourbon.

#25 LBlack14

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Posted 24 December 2011 - 01:35 PM

Not lookin' to get ripped on, but I like and drink Jim Beam's Red Stag. Don't like the bite of regular bourbons.

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#26 itw419

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Posted 24 December 2011 - 08:30 PM

Just got a bottle of Four Roses small batch for my Christmas present to myself. It's good stuff
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#27 sefus12

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Posted 24 December 2011 - 10:00 PM

View PostMyherobobhope, on 17 December 2011 - 10:17 PM, said:

View Postsefus12, on 08 December 2011 - 09:39 AM, said:

View Postscotchblade, on 07 December 2011 - 10:13 PM, said:

I don't want to boast, but I was very fortunate this fall finding some highly coveted limited editions.

George T. Stagg (Buffalo Trace Antique Collection)
William Larue Weller (Buffalo Trace Antique Collection)
Thomas Handy Sazerac Rye (Buffalo Trace Antique Collection)
Pappy Van Winkle 15 Year

The Stagg, Weller and Handy are all over 130 proof.

Neat with small adds (by the drop) of water are the only way to go with these bruisers.  Very deep, powerful and intense.  Pure joy in a bottle!

Cheers!

Awesome lineup.  I've only had the Pappy and the Thomas Handy (I love rye's as well) and both are fantastic.  As for the whole Pappy line-up, I've been lucky enough to have 15, 20, and 23-year old in a single sitting and I actually prefer the slightly increased heat and body of the 15 to the other 2.  All are fantastic though.... absolutely top-notch stuff.  




I live in Louisville... and for the first time in a year, scored 2 bottles of Pappy... 12 and 20.

The 20 is great... about to try the 10 again. Hold that thought.

Not as smooth, not as oaky... Still excellent

My favorite bourbons:
Rip Van Winkle
Four Roses
Old Forrester Signature (best bourbon for the $, without a doubt)

Those are probably my favorite three... and I've had lots.

Old Forester Signature is my go-to bourbon, whether it be neat, on the rocks or mixed, and its not even close.  Amazing bourbon well worth twice the money.

I got a bottle of Johnny Drum Private Stock tonight.   I'll see how that is tomorrow (wanted to try something new for Christmas and Drum was about as hot, proof-wise, as my family would try with me).  And I agree about Four Roses.  What is your favorite Pappy?  I still go with 15 but 20 and 23 are excellent as well.
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#28 Swoosh-Thud

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 11:05 AM

I like some of the already mentioned above; some are better than others. But Pappy Van Winkles is by far the best I drink.

The 15 y/o stuff cracks into the upper echelon of bourbon. A little more firepower than its sibblings.

The 20 y/o is some really smooth stuff. Really great stuff. Only have 1 bottle left.

Now the 23 y/o is heaven. The best bourbon I've ever tasted. Perfect neat. Smooth, no bite. Almost a shame to add ice to it. Absolutely no water!!!!!

My dad (87) spent Christmas with us and we had cocktail hour every day. Finished a 23 y/o open bottle I had. No worries, still have 3 more of the stuff- both A and B batches.

Edited by Swoosh-Thud, 02 January 2012 - 11:09 AM.

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#29 Myherobobhope

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 03:35 PM

View PostSwoosh-Thud, on 02 January 2012 - 11:05 AM, said:

I like some of the already mentioned above; some are better than others. But Pappy Van Winkles is by far the best I drink.

The 15 y/o stuff cracks into the upper echelon of bourbon. A little more firepower than its sibblings.

The 20 y/o is some really smooth stuff. Really great stuff. Only have 1 bottle left.

Now the 23 y/o is heaven. The best bourbon I've ever tasted. Perfect neat. Smooth, no bite. Almost a shame to add ice to it. Absolutely no water!!!!!

My dad (87) spent Christmas with us and we had cocktail hour every day. Finished a 23 y/o open bottle I had. No worries, still have 3 more of the stuff- both A and B batches.

You are a lucky man (or just willing to spend the money) to have that much Pappy on hand... I have a bottle of 20 and 12 in the house, and haven't bothered to open the 12.

I will buy the 15 and 23 as soon as I can find them in a store.... they are a tough find here in Louisville, but I think I have a new in.

I've had the 15 at a restaurant... it was excellent... whether or not it's better than the 20 (or 23) I couldn't tell you. My dream is to try all 4 side by side one day (12, 15, 20, 23) and see which one comes out the winner.

Red Stag tastes too much like bad grenadine to me... maybe it's better mixed, only tried it straight. Devil's Cut is super oaky and not mellow.

I haven't tried a new bourbon in awhile... I might have to buy a bottle of something I've never tried before next time I'm out shopping.

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 02:35 AM

Goosehook was right on .. Bulleit is the best bourbon for the buck in the known world. Eagle rare and others are great for celebration, but for general consumption you'd be hard pressed to top Bulleit.. $21 yesterday.

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