View Full Version : Aloha Kakou!

01-16-2009, 19:53
Aloha Straightbourbon folks...I've been a lurker for about 3 months here, and I finally decided sign up. I'm 35 years old and I was born and raised here in Hawaii. My handle, Waiahi (Wy-aw-hee), is the literal Hawaiian translation for "Firewater." :cool:

I became a whisky fanatic almost ten years ago when I bought a bottle of Glenlivet 12yo on a whim -- because it was on sale and actually cheaper than the Jack Daniels I was intending to purchase -- and proceeded to mix it with coke and get hammered. When I awoke the following morning, I realized that that was the first time I had ever gotten drunk on hard liquor without experiencing any kind of hangover the next day.

Thus began my fascination with single malt Scotch, which culminated in my wife and I making a pilgramage to Scotland in the fall of 2007 where we visited several distilleries. I came back with almost $500 of scotch - about 8 bottles. One year later, all of that scotch is almost gone (along with a lot of scotch bottles I bought here in Hawaii), and I'm looking at my collection and realized that I just can't afford to drink like that anymore...So it was time to find a cheaper alternative.

So the next time I was at a bar here in Honolulu, they had Maker's Mark on special, I ordered a double on the rocks....and I was pleasantly surprised.

See, prior to that moment, I had a "single malt" snobbish attitude. After getting seriously addicted to scotch, I simply wouldn't drink any other kind of distilled spirit for years. I didn't even want to touch cheap scotch. Glenlivet and Glenfiddich became my "cheap" pours, and I considered Jack Daniels and Jim Beam "rubbish." Those were the whiskey's my buddies and eye used to mix with coke and drink at high school parties when we simply wanted to get wasted as dumb kids.

But that moment, I realized that I had been entirely too close-minded when it came to whisky... :grin:

So I went to Costco and saw that they had the 1.75 liter bottle of MM for $34.00 - whereas the standard 750ml bottle usually sells for $28-$30 in most grocery and liquor stores here in the islands.

So I became an almost exclusive MM drinker for several months, as I found it the perfect "substitute" for my very expensive scotch tastes.

But, just as it was with Scotch, I became curious in seeing if all bourbon was as good as MM.

So the next time I was at a bar, I ordered a Wild Turkey 80 proof on the rocks.... :skep: :smiley_acbt:

Realizing that there was a DRAMATIC difference in taste and quality between WT80 and MM, I googled "bourbon" and found this here website...and I must say, I'm glad I did.

At that point, I had written off Wild Turkey as garbage...until I read the BOTM thread on WT101. It seemed like this entire board agreed that WT101 is THE standard when it comes to KSBW. Seeing it was on sale at my local grocery store, I bought a bottle....I can't believe the difference between WT80 and 101! It's like night and day! Up to that point, MM was the be all end all of bourbon as far as I was concerned.

Needless to say, I'm now finding myself going through the same thing I went through when I first discovered single malt scotch with KSBW -- my wife and I are already talking about a trip to Kentucky next year :slappin:--

Thanks to reading all the threads on this here forum, and learning about the differences in mashbill ratios, Ryes, Wheat, barrell proofing etc., I'm finding myself having an important dilemma when I stand before my whisky bar at my house...Bourbon or Scotch? :bigeyes: This is a good problem to have!

It's been fun for the past three months or so.

My biggest problem now though is that I've discovered that most of the Bourbon you all discuss and recommend and rant and rave about is unavailable here!:hot:

I can get just about any type of Scotch here, even a few limited distiller's editions and single-cask bottles from some of the more obscure Scotch distilleries at several different stores around the island...but Bourbon?

We have MM, JBwhite, JBblack, JBRye, Early Times, Evan Williams, Wild Turkey, MM and Knob Creek in most liquor and grocery stores. A few places also have Woodford's Reserve and Bulleit, but that's about it. (I love Bulleit - but am really dissapointed in WR.)

I've found one specialty liquor store this past New Years Eve that had Basil Haydn's, WTRB and WT Single Barrel...but because I well versed in the price ranges of Single Malt Scotch I'm fairly certain that because the single malts at that store were highly overpriced, I was sure the Bourbon was also. The WTRB was $75 and the WTSB was $85. I did end up getting a bottle of EWSB - '98 vintage for $39, and I was not dissapointed at all.

I've since learned to set aside my preconcieved notions and ill-founded biases and open my mind and my palate and not be a whisky/whiskey snob. I've also actually discovered that premium pricing is not really a good indicator of quality. I'd rather have an $11 bottle of JBwhite or EWblack than the $38 Woodford Reserve...or $18 WT101 than the $35 Knob Creek.

That said, I do look forward to exploring the world of KSBW...next time I'm in Vegas to visit the in-laws, I'm going to Lee's Discount where I do know they have a large Bourbon section. I go to Vegas at least once a year, and up til now have always used that occasion to pickup a Scotch. Next time, I'm going for the Bourbon! I wanna try some of the stuff you guys all rave about that I can't find anywhere here!

That being said, I want to thank ya'all for all of the enlightening and entertaining posts on this forum. I've learned a lot. :bowdown:

I think I'll be sticking around....:grin:

A hui hou!

01-16-2009, 20:41
Welcome Waiahi. You have a great handle.... Which Island are you on? There are a few spots on Maui I can tell you to go to get a couple dusties...

If you are not on Maui, then you need to go hunting for dusties... you great King was really big on Spirits in his time and had some gerat bourbons there. You will find WT 8 yrs and Old #8s from the 80s and 90s and that is crazy great juice... blows that MM out of the water.

You will also find old Benchmank, Four Roses, Old Fitzgerals (BIB and Prime), Old Taylor, and a few more. Look for the Old Hawaiian made whiskey as well. Gerat stuff...

I look forward to your posts and next time I make it over, I will bring some juice for us to share.

01-16-2009, 20:53
Mahalo Spun! I'm on O'ahu. I've definitely started keeping an eye out wherever I go now for the Bourbon's I read about here but never see in the typical grocery and liquor stores around the island.

01-16-2009, 22:15
my wife just told me I am a clown. We went to Maui for a day. We were in O'ahu... I will PM you the spot that had dusties over there....

I did not look in Maui at all...

01-16-2009, 22:22
Welcome! I spend a few weeks every summer on Oahu. Where do you buy your whiskey? I've seen a pretty decent selection at Tamura's on Waialae.

01-16-2009, 23:12

Aloha, and welcome to the board! I live on the Big Island (Hilo side) and share your distress at the lack of selection of bourbons. I have developed a liking for Buffalo Trace distillery's products/bottlings, and the only BT whiskey here is Blanton's. So I pick up a bottle or two of BT juice whenever I'm on the Mainland.

Look me up next time you come over to watch the lava flow into the sea. I will certainly have something from Van Winkel, Weller, or Stagg on hand to share.


01-17-2009, 01:16
I went online to see if internet sites would ship to Hawaii one said no the other was veg and said it was up to you to know your own laws. So I don't know if ordering off the internet is an option for you or not. It helps me me get some of upper mid shelf and top shelf stuff or just just not widely distributed brands that I would other wise never find here in Iowa.

01-17-2009, 23:12
Welcome Waiahi, Wish I could be of more help to you. Looks like Marco and Spun may have given you some info to help you on your bourbon quest. Keep up the posts and let us know how it's going. This is a great place to learn something and have some fun too. Hope you enjoy it. Joe

01-19-2009, 13:01
Aloha Waiahi,

Moanalua Grad here! GO MENEHUNES!!
Sisters graduated from Kailua.

I have a contact over there (my dad) works for Matson on the ships. If there are any bourbons you want here in California, I can send them back with him.

PM me for more info always looking to help a fellow whiskey lover out.

Malama Pono,

01-19-2009, 13:31
Welcome Waiahi,
I have visited your fair island once about four years ago....I have to admit that while I was there I enjoyed many frozen "tourist drinks" for $10 (plus all of the free Coors I could swallow at the Pro Bowl) and not any bourbon!:grin:
That aside, I can appreciate your woes trying to find quality stuff, I have the same problem. Glad to have you aboard -- hope you'll get fixed up real soon with some quality whiskey.


01-21-2009, 15:57
Thanks guys for the warm welcome and all the advice!