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cowdery
01-09-2009, 17:34
I'm putting this thread here because I think it might be particularly useful for beginners.

There are a lot of bourbon brands on the market considering how few distilleries there are. The object here is to pick the best whiskey (preferably something in general distribution) that each distillery makes, not necessarily their most representative product, but the product that shows the distillery's output in the best light, the exemplars.

I'll go ahead and begin. Big caveat is that this is highly subjective. There are no right or wrong answers. On second thought, if for Beam you were to say "Old Crow," that would be a wrong answer.

I'm not picking an exemplar for each recipe the distillery makes but if I did, for example, I might pick Weller 12 as the exemplar of BT wheated bourbon. If you want to break it down that way, be my guest.

Another way of looking at it is if you set out to try one whiskey from each distillery, what should you try?

Here's mine.

Beam Clermont/Boston -- Baker's Bourbon
Beam Maker's Mark -- Maker's Mark
BF Shively -- Any Old Forester Birthday Bourbon, but especially the 2006 or 2007.
BF Woodford -- Standard WR Distiller's Select, but WR Master's Collection Sweet Mash, if available.
Buffalo Trace -- Blanton's
Heaven Hill -- Any Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage, but especially the 1994.
Wild Turkey -- WT Kentucky Spirit
Four Roses -- 4R Single Barrel
Jack Daniel's -- JD Single Barrel
George Dickel -- GD No. 12
Tom Moore -- Ridgemont Reserve 1792

hjminard
01-09-2009, 18:06
Nice idea ... nice list!

Being a newbie, I haven't tried something from all of them (yet), but of the ones I've sampled:

Beam Clermont/Boston: Knob Creek (haven't had Baker's or Booker's)
Beam Maker's: Maker's Mark
Buffalo Trace: Buffalo Trace
Heaven Hill: Elijah Craig 18
Wild Turkey: WT Rare Breed
Jack Daniel's: JD Single Barrel
Dickel: GD 12

Dramiel McHinson
01-09-2009, 18:59
I'm putting this thread here because I think it might be particularly useful for beginners.

There are a lot of bourbon brands on the market considering how few distilleries there are. The object here is to pick the best whiskey (preferably something in general distribution) that each distillery makes, not necessarily their most representative product, but the product that shows the distillery's output in the best light, the exemplars.



This should be the starting point for everyone that wants to venture beyond their one tried and true brand. There is plenty out there to put your decision making process in meltdown. Thanx Mr. Chuck! Your list is great guidance for some and validation for others.

OscarV
01-09-2009, 19:05
I would suggest most of what Chuck posted.
These are the ones I would change.

BF Shively--OF Signature, the Birthday just didn't hit me.
Buffalo Trace--Rock Hill Farms and/or any WLWeller
George Dickel--Barrel Select

kickert
01-09-2009, 19:16
Chuck... I love the idea. I do have a question though. Why Blanton's for BT? There is so much good stuff coming out of that distillery, for me Blanton's has always been over priced and lacking character.

Of course everyone is going to have their opinion... I am geniuninely interested in why you picked Blanton's.

Also, I am curious of you notion "Beam Maker's Mark." Is MM owned by Beam?

trx450
01-09-2009, 19:50
Also, I am curious of you notion "Beam Maker's Mark." Is MM owned by Beam?
[/quote]
Yep,Maker's Mark is owned by Fortune Brands....Jim Beams parent company.

There is still a bunch that i haven't tried,but from the one that i have.Here are my fav's.

Beam:Knob Creek....OGD 114 a close 2nd.
Buffalo Trace:W.L. Weller 12 YO
Van Winkles: Pappy Van Winkle 23 YO.This is bottled at Buffalo Trace,but i believe it is distilled at another location.
Four Roses:Four Roses Single Barrel....only tried this one and the yellow label.
Heaven Hill:Elijah Craig 12 YO

cowdery
01-09-2009, 21:18
Maker's isn't just owned by Fortune, it is part of Fortune's Beam Global Spirits and Wine division.

There are much better values to be had in the BT portfolio, which is why I rarely buy Blanton's, but there is no consistently finer whiskey made there.

But as the wise man wrote, your mileage may vary.

craigthom
01-10-2009, 12:11
Any Van Winkle that is being distilled now is at Buffalo Trace, I believe. There may be some old bottles distilled elsewhere that are being used. If so, those distilleries are either gone or one of the one of the others on the list.

Beam Clermont/Boston -- OGD BIB or 114
BF Shively -- Does the Rittenhouse BIB count?
Buffalo Trace -- ETL

Tom Moore -- Ridgemont Reserve 1792

sku
01-10-2009, 12:29
Great game. (I added some ryes).

Beam Clermont/Boston -- Old Grand-Dad 114
Beam Maker's Mark -- Ah, isn't MM the only thing they make?
BF Shively -- I'd go with the OF Birthday Bourbon as well.
BF Woodford -- Only thing I've had is standard WF.
Buffalo Trace -- Pappy 20/Eagle Rare (For Rye, Handy Rye or Saz 18)
Heaven Hill -- Elijah Craig 18SB/Rittenhouse Rye BIB
Wild Turkey -- WT 101 Rye
Four Roses -- 4R Single Barrel
Jack Daniel's -- Nothing, sorry, I'm not a Jack fan.
George Dickel -- GD No. 12.
Tom Moore -- Is this Barton? If so, I'd say VOB 100 Proof.

spun_cookie
01-10-2009, 13:14
Nice thread Chuck:

Beam Clermont/Boston -- Knobb
Beam Maker's Mark -- Maker's Mark 101 (if you can find it - top notch) or any MM from the 80s or 90s. MM use to be a great bourbon
BF Shively -- Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2005 or 2007
BF Woodford -- Standard WR Distiller's Select
Buffalo Trace -- Old Weller Antique
Heaven Hill -- Parker Heritage Barrel Proof. Nothing else out there like it to me
Wild Turkey -- A pre 1994 Wild Turkey 8 yr of Old # 8. That is what WT is to me.
Four Roses -- Any of the FR 40th that were less than 102 proof.
Jack Daniel's -- Standard Black (save your money for a bourbon - you will learn if you like this one from their standard product)
George Dickel -- Standard 8 (save your money for a bourbon - you will learn if you like this one from their standard product)
Tom Moore -- Very Old Barton

Rughi
01-10-2009, 15:02
Emerald,
Okay, I'm intrigued now...

I noticed this interesting line

Four Roses -- Any of the FR 40th that were less than 102 proof.

I poked around earlier posts you made where you said they were all good, but hadn't elaborated on in great detail between the bottlings. What did you find to be the differences of higher and lower proofers?

Roger

spun_cookie
01-10-2009, 16:12
Roger,
First, I made a mistake. That should have been 104 proof and below, but iIndeed I have found diffrences. They are all good, but the lower proof one that I have had, I find to be more pleasant.

I have tasted 6 of the 9 barrels (52.5, 52.3, 51.9, 50.7, 50.2 and 50.8) I have found that of these great bourbons, I like the 52.5 and 52.3 the least (its like finding your least favorite $100 bill by the way).

What I have found is I get a richer/deeper more complex taste from the 51.9% and below. The 51.9 was my favorite of the 6 I have had closely followed by the other 3.

I have been keeping 50 ml of each of the 5 I have opened (the 6ths [50.8%/101.6 proof] was at another’s house, but I do have a bottle of it).

I am desperately searching to find a bottle (or 50ml in trade) of the 171 A (1004 proof / 52%) and the 171 B (99.4 proof / 49.7 %).

I would really like to do a taste off of all 9 of the barrels and rate them 1 through 9.

Now, my disclaimers are that these are all great bourbons. None of them are bad and I would buy any of the 9 if I found them on a shelf.

And my pseudo position on the 120th is a little confusing as i understand the 120th. As I understand it, the bourbon is the same as the 40th, just from what was left behind during the 120th tastings. I have had only 2 of the 120ths, and I did not like them near as much as the 40ths. They were almost exactly like the single barrels that I have had.

The list of the 40ths are as follows. Red indicates the 2 I am looking to acquire via trade, purchase or 50 ml swapping (shameless plug – sorry :D)
151A 105 proof = 52.5 - mini
151B 100.4 proof = 50.2 - mini
151C 104.6 proof = 52.3 – in back

171A 104.0 proof = 52
171B 99.4 proof = 49.7
171C 102.8 proof = 51.9 - mini
171D 102.2 proof = 51.1 in back
171F 101.4 proof – 50.7 - mini
171G 101.6 proof = 50.8 in back

Virus_Of_Life
01-10-2009, 17:58
Tom Moore (Barton?) -- Ridgemont Reserve 1792

I know I've said this in another thread, but personally I'd never suggest someone new to bourbon go near the RR1792. I know taste is subjective and all but there is just something about that one that could really turn a person off to the entire genre of whiskey. Otherwise I'd say the rest of my picks would be the same as yours; although Knob Creek was what did it for me some 10+ years ago and I still enjoy it on the rocks from time to time.

kickert
01-10-2009, 18:01
If I were trying to keep it under $30 here is what I would suggest:

Buffalo Trace: Elmer T Lee
Heaven Hill: Elijah Craig 12
Barton: Very Old Barton Bottled in Bond
Brown Foreman: Woodford Reserve
Maker's Mark: Maker's Mark
Beam: Knob Creek
Wild Turkey: Wild Turkey 101