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ElasticalGomez
02-19-2009, 10:49
So...I'm a n00b, right? And I'm surfing and lurking at this board trying to figure out what to get next, what's worth the time, what I might enjoy and how to develop my palate via comparing bourbons.

And I have yet to really get through a thread without somebody saying the word "Disappointment". Now...either some of you are crotchety old bastards or there seems to be too much inherent truth in the phrase "no accounting for tastes." I just want to call B.S. on that B.S. though. There's got to be SOME bourbons that the majority agree are unquestionably NOT a disappointment either for it's price or overall quality.

Any of you bourbon vets wanna enlighten me?

funknik
02-19-2009, 11:01
Any of you bourbon vets wanna enlighten me?
I'm not a vet, but there's a lot of praise for WL Weller Special Reserve & Van Winkle Lot 'B' on the board, I haven't really heard the word disappointment surrounding those two very much. Still, getting everyone to agree on any one thing is next to impossible, somebody's not going to like it. I've been disappointed by things that others love and there are things I love that I'm sure others dislike....Universal Truth is a fickle mistress. The thing that's worked for me is to find out what I like, and then use that information and what I can glean from others when making a purchase of something I haven't had before.

Also, if you have something against crotchety old bastards, you may be in the wrong place. :slappin:

ElasticalGomez
02-19-2009, 11:04
The thing that's worked for me is to find out what I like, and then use that information and what I can glean from others when making a purchase of something I haven't had before.

Exactly what I've been doing. I just assumed however there have to be a few "untouchables" out there.


Also, if you have something against crotchety old bastards, you may be in the wrong place. :slappin:

don't worry, i'm working on becoming one myself! :lol:

LarryG
02-19-2009, 11:21
I'm also a relative noob, but FWIW ...

Andy is right; tastes differ, so I doubt you'll ever find a bourbon that everyone agrees on. That said, I have have observed very few detractors here for Wild Turkey 101 and WT Rare Breed on the rye side of the aisle, and the various Wellers, especially the 12YO and the Antique 107, from the wheaters.

All these are reasonably priced, and I think that's key: the more one pays, the more one expects, and the more likely one is to feel let down if the pour doesn't quite live up to its premium price.

Larry

reggie
02-19-2009, 11:28
what I might enjoy and how to develop my palate via comparing bourbons.


I could use a little help in this area too. I know what I like, what I think is good, but I'm not at the level of being able to single out certain flavors or aromas. If someone could point out a few bourbons that exhibit specific characteristics to their most extreme it might help me to identify it when it shows up more subtly.

I'm quite sure I can do it if I know what I'm looking for. In college I worked on a panel that was identifying certain chemicals in water by smell. With practice I got quite good at identifying the couple of chemicals that our professor was specifically targeting. The nose is quite a powerful analytical device, we were working well below the threshold of standard analytical tools like gas chromatography.

OscarV
02-19-2009, 12:17
Hmmm,....I have never thought about it before, but I guess that Van Winkle Lot B is the one that would get a majority vote here on the mighty, mighty SB.com.
I disagree with the majority of most democracies, but I would go along with Lot B.

kickert
02-19-2009, 12:42
I think Weller SR is the safest recommendation for anyone. The lower proof won't overwhelm anyone and it has good wheat qualities that both amatuers and newbies can enjoy. At the end of the day, at $14, it is hard to be disappointed.

OscarV
02-19-2009, 12:51
Yep kickert, I gotta agree.

smokinjoe
02-19-2009, 12:57
Pappy 15. Not cheap, but universally revered for it's taste.

ElasticalGomez
02-19-2009, 13:00
dammit. i'd LOVE to check out Pappy but unfortunately NC's *amazing* ABC laws prevent me from doing so.

:rolleyes:

OscarV
02-19-2009, 13:02
dammit. i'd LOVE to check out Pappy but unfortunately NC's *amazing* ABC laws prevent me from doing so.

:rolleyes:

There are plenty of people here on the SB.com train that will help you out.
Just ask.

ElasticalGomez
02-19-2009, 13:08
orly? :bigeyes:

I've been really wanting to try any of the Pappy bourbons since I started exploring. Well, hell. Consider this me asking then!

ILLfarmboy
02-19-2009, 13:48
Not all crotchety bastards are old. Some of us are just on the lower side of middle age.

Safe bets for near universal appeal are Weller Antique, Van-Winkle bottlings; Lot 'B', Old Rip Van-Winkle 10 and 15 year bottlings. I've yet to have the pleasure of the 15 year but the 10 year 107 proof is a favorite of mine.

On the ryed side of things, WTRB is a prety good bet. Four Roses Single barrel has, I think, the most followers of those who are Four Roses fans. I just tried that one myself not long ago. Damn good, I thought.

For rye whiskey, Sazerac Rye (baby Saz) seems to have a large following. I like it, a lot. But be forewarned, many of the BT bottlings have garnered criticism from some folks for being 'musty". I don't see it myself. But some BT bottling are lightning rods for that particular criticism, especially Buffalo Trace.

T47
02-19-2009, 13:54
I think Elmer T Lee gets pretty good support. I find it to be an excellent pour at a reasonable price.

:toast:

fishnbowljoe
02-19-2009, 14:09
Seems like we're getting most of the bases covered here. My two cents is pretty much what's already been addressed. I can shorten it just a bit by saying that, as far as current bottlings go, pretty much anything with Weller or Van Winkle on the bottle will be pretty darned good stuff. Also for what it's worth, I prefer the Lot B over the Van Winkle 15. :skep: Joe

sotnsipper
02-19-2009, 14:13
There's got to be SOME bourbons that the majority agree are unquestionably NOT a disappointment either for it's price or overall quality.



I think Weller SR is the safest recommendation for anyone. The lower proof won't overwhelm anyone and it has good wheat qualities that both amatuers and newbies can enjoy. At the end of the day, at $14, it is hard to be disappointed.


I agree on this one also. I think too, for a higher proof one that is not overwhelming and highly revered by bourbon lovers is WT101. I have had many, many,...well you get the point...bottles and have never been disappointed.

As far as being a "nOOb" you should not be disappointed in anything, rather excited to figure out what You like or don't like, not what anyone else likes or dislikes. As far as being disappointed, later on as your palate matures, you will be more disappointed per se in certain bottles that you may have really liked when your palate was young and you did not really know what you were tasting. I always find it interesting to try something that is highly recommended on here and making my own conclusion. I would not say so much that I have been disappointed in anything, just figuring out what I like and what I do not like.

ILLfarmboy
02-19-2009, 14:17
. Also for what it's worth, I prefer the Lot B over the Van Winkle 15. :skep: Joe

I feel better already, Joe........

So long as that isn't fleetwood Mac singing Little Lies in the backround.................

Klepackage
02-19-2009, 14:46
To echo everyone before me, Van Winkle Lot B and the 15 year Pappy.

On top of that, I would add Elmer T Lee. It's another Buffalo Trace bourbon that has become my default pour.

I don't recall anyone being disappointed in George T Stagg, but the proof is a bit high (~140 proof).

Blitz
02-19-2009, 14:51
Agree on the Weller. Buffalo Trace is another that just doesn't seem to ever get negative remarks. It might not be a lot of peoples favorite, but I have yet to hear anyone say they were 'dissapointed' with BT.

OscarV
02-19-2009, 14:54
Agree on the Weller. Buffalo Trace is another that just doesn't seem to ever get negative remarks. It might not be a lot of peoples favorite, but I have yet to hear anyone say they were 'dissapointed' with BT.

A lot of people here have stated that Buffalo Trace is "grassy".
I don't care for it.

ElasticalGomez
02-19-2009, 15:36
Not all crotchety bastards are old. Some of us are just on the lower side of middle age.

Oh I know! I meant it as an endearing term! Heheh. I'm 31 and as crotchety as they come! Thank you too, for the recommendations.


I think Elmer T Lee gets pretty good support. I find it to be an excellent pour at a reasonable price. :toast:

This is, right now, my favorite every day pour along with ERSB. Cheers to you!


pretty much anything with Weller or Van Winkle on the bottle will be pretty darned good stuff.

Interesting. The only Weller I've been seeing here in NC is the Antique. Worth a shot? (pun intended? :skep:)


I agree on this one also. I think too, for a higher proof one that is not overwhelming and highly revered by bourbon lovers is WT101. I have had many, many,...well you get the point...bottles and have never been disappointed.

So strange. I guess I'll give it a shot...though WT always seemed like a...errr....not good brand. This must be my naivete. I tried the Rye and didn't care for it but I shall certainly give it another go (or at least try the regular 101).


As far as being a "nOOb" you should not be disappointed in anything, rather excited to figure out what You like or don't like, not what anyone else likes or dislikes. As far as being disappointed, later on as your palate matures, you will be more disappointed per se in certain bottles that you may have really liked when your palate was young and you did not really know what you were tasting. I always find it interesting to try something that is highly recommended on here and making my own conclusion. I would not say so much that I have been disappointed in anything, just figuring out what I like and what I do not like.

Sage advice and it will be well-heeded. It's something I've been trying as well...but, as a yearning pupil I'm eagerly seeking those bourbons which the learned may agree on more often than not as a good starting point.

I appreciate all of you and certainly am excited with this new...hobby? Hehe. My only REAL problem lies in the state of NC and it's ABC bullshite. Anybody know any ways of getting anything else in my hands without having to travel...I'd be more than willing to listen.

Waiahi
02-19-2009, 18:52
This must be my naivete

That was mine too when I first started drinking bourbon. My first taste of WT was the 80 proof. I thought it was utter garbage.

But thanks to the overwhelmingly positive reviews I read on the BOTM thread for WT101, I went and bought a bottle and found out just how naive I was! :grin:

IMNO (In my naive opinion) for the price, WT101 is one of the best deals for KSB out there amongst the major mass market brands.

p_elliott
02-20-2009, 07:38
I'm also a relative noob, but FWIW ...

Andy is right; tastes differ, so I doubt you'll ever find a bourbon that everyone agrees on. That said, I have have observed very few detractors here for Wild Turkey 101 and WT Rare Breed on the rye side of the aisle, and the various Wellers, especially the 12YO and the Antique 107, from the wheaters.

All these are reasonably priced, and I think that's key: the more one pays, the more one expects, and the more likely one is to feel let down if the pour doesn't quite live up to its premium price.

Larry

I think this is true and well put both about WT and Wellers and about the premmium price.

Josh
02-20-2009, 07:47
Just to be crotchety, let me say that I didn't like the last bottle of WT 101 I had. I don't care for ORVW 10 either.

But the rest, yeah pretty well-loved all around. Another one would be Old Whiskey River. Nobody's posted anything negative about it for at least two weeks.

sotnsipper
02-20-2009, 08:11
1.)
Interesting. The only Weller I've been seeing here in NC is the Antique. Worth a shot? (pun intended? :skep:)

2.)
So strange. I guess I'll give it a shot...though WT always seemed like a...errr....not good brand. This must be my naivete. I tried the Rye and didn't care for it but I shall certainly give it another go (or at least try the regular 101).

3.)
Sage advice and it will be well-heeded. It's something I've been trying as well...but, as a yearning pupil I'm eagerly seeking those bourbons which the learned may agree on more often than not as a good starting point.

4.)
My only REAL problem lies in the state of NC and it's ABC bullshite. Anybody know any ways of getting anything else in my hands without having to travel...I'd be more than willing to listen.


1.) Yes, very much worth it!! This is my favorite in the Weller line. Very full flavor bourbon, good proof, and a great price. You will not be disappointed.

2.) It is a very good brand. WT101 is a regular pour for many here. It may have lost it's age statement but you really cannot go wrong with the 101. I prefer the OF Sig over it but still pick up a bottle from time to time. WT Rye comes in a close second to Ritt for me. Being that Ritt price keeps creeping up, WT may creep up to #1.

3.) You have the right idea about learning what others like over what they do not. However, do not spend too much time on trying to like something that others like but you do not. Saying that, if you do find something you do not like, move on. Give it a couple months and as your taste changes, go back and revisit, you could be surprised.

4.) There are good folks here that are willing to help you get your hands on certain bottles, just ask. Another is to find a listing of stores in your area (an area within reasonable driving distance) and call around to see if they have the bottling you are looking for. I have been shocked to find out stores an hour away carry stuff not carried in my immediate area. You can always plan a road trip for a distillery tour or two.

ElasticalGomez
02-20-2009, 08:18
4.) There are good folks here that are willing to help you get your hands on certain bottles, just ask. Another is to find a listing of stores in your area (an area within reasonable driving distance) and call around to see if they have the bottling you are looking for. I have been shocked to find out stores an hour away carry stuff not carried in my immediate area. You can always plan a road trip for a distillery tour or two.

Unfortunately here in NC we have this ABC thing. I don't quite understand it as I moved here from NYC and grew up/spent my younger years in WI & MA. My time here has been longer than intended but I've been spending my time with the assumption that none of the state's laws or idiosyncrasies need concern me since I won't be here too long. Anyway, what I DO know is that all the stores basically get or cannot get the same things. I've been to every ABC store in Chapel Hill and it's always the same.

Well, I don't know who to ask or how else to ask it but if anybody could help me get my hands on a couple bottles of PVW15 or LotB I'd be a damn happy bastard. :cool:

cas
02-21-2009, 09:35
dammit. i'd LOVE to check out Pappy but unfortunately NC's *amazing* ABC laws prevent me from doing so.

:rolleyes:

You can actually work a deal with the NC ABC board - or at least you could when I lived there. If I remember correctly it means buying a certain minimum amount, which is something you could swing with a local restaurant (Crooks Corner, maybe?). Alternatively, you can drive down to Columbia or Myrtle Beach or a larger town in SC and come up with a bottle of Pappys.
Craig

ElasticalGomez
02-21-2009, 14:16
You can actually work a deal with the NC ABC board - or at least you could when I lived there. If I remember correctly it means buying a certain minimum amount, which is something you could swing with a local restaurant (Crooks Corner, maybe?).
Craig

Good idea! I'll have to look into this.

ggilbertva
02-22-2009, 09:08
Scott,

I'll second the advise to travel to SC. I've done some shopping in MB and the stores there generally have a good selection including most of the Van Winkle lines. I too live in an ABC state so I travel to DC or MD to find the stuff the state stores do not carry. In fact, I can't tell you the last time I purchased anything from a VA ABC. VA has some of the highest prices on liquor so it's actually more economical to travel out of state to do my purchasing.

Now, you stated in your original post on how to develop your palate. The down and dirty is to just try numerous brands of bourbon and see what jumps out at you. What I would suggest is that your collection contain selections from each distillery as each one has it's own "profile" that you will begin to pick up as you drink. For instance, Oscar mentioned "grassy" and Brad mentioned "musty" when describing some BT products. Heaven Hill has a mint or menthol quality to it. As part of your collection make sure you have a wheated bourbon (e.g. Weller Antique, Lot b), a rye bourbon (Four Roses, Old Forester) and a rye whiskey (Baby Saz, Thomas H. Handy). If you really want to get serious, try smelling different items that folks state they are picking up in bourbon or whiskey. For instance, wet wood, chocolate, cinammon, apple, orange, vanilla, maple syrup, licorice, etc. Most of these things you should have around the house. Give them a whiff to freshen your memory on these smells. Another thing you may want to do is purchase a package of mixed dried fruit.

Have fun and report back what you find. It's a fun experience.

TNbourbon
02-22-2009, 17:08
Crotchety Old Bastard here:

Tastes change. My tastes have changed since my original acquaintance with bourbon, yours will change, we all change.
Some things don't change. Cowdery knows more about American whiskey than any of us. Bourbon comes in two standards, good and better. The first batch of Woodford Reserve Four Grain is the exception that proves the last rule.
Bourbon enjoyment is a study in evanescence. What we like today may be different tomorrow, but we'll always seek to relive today. The past is gone, except when we can get ahold of a bottle of Very Old Fitzgerald BIB 8yo that no longer exists and relive our fathers' and grandfathers' nightcaps. Today is bourbon's Golden Age -- unless we can get our hands on a dusty old bottle!

My experience is probably different, but not much varied, from that of many here. My first 'favorite' was W.L. Weller Special Reserve 7yo/90 proof, and I still like it. And, I tend to favor wheaters over rye-recipe. But, my favorite Pappy 23 was a rye-recipe, pre-Stitzel-Weller from a green bottle filled in Lawrenceburg, and I love almost all straight ryes, though I generally don't gravitate toward high-rye bourbons.
I think Jack Daniel's is okay mixer, but I don't buy it because it's way more expensive than it ought to be for what it is. Dickel is a better buy, but only until you can't find 'pre-hiatus' anymore (then, stick with Kentucky!). Same with Maker's Mark, though on a higher plane (and the bit about Kentucky).
Older is better when judging examples of a constant label over many years. However, when comparing new labels with no-longer-existing ones from many years ago, the reverse is often true. You just have to taste to find out, though.
Old Grand-Dad benefits from time in the bottle after opening.
Basil Hayden's would be a premium brand at $25. At $40 and 80 proof, it's a wanna-be-premium shelf queen.
Rittenhouse BIB rye is worth searching (and waiting) for.
Whatever anyone says, Rare Breed is a waste of good, 12yo Wild Turkey!

LarryG
02-23-2009, 10:56
Old Grand-Dad benefits from time in the bottle after opening.How much time? I really like OGD BIB, but I'm not adverse to making it better.


Whatever anyone says, Rare Breed is a waste of good, 12yo Wild Turkey!Would you mind elaborating on that? Bottle it a lower proof, maybe, so it'll stretch a little farther?

Thanks,
Larry

ElasticalGomez
02-23-2009, 15:58
Just an fyi...but I'm trying WT101 right now and damn if I wasn't surprised! (well, not completely after all the words here). It's got a bit more of a kick to it than I'd prefer, but it's got many of the same flavor profiles as I've come to enjoy from Blanton's. Is that weird? I notice similar darker, maple flavors. Darker can't be the right word. I wonder what it is I'm trying to say there?

*sigh*

It is a pain being such a goddamn n00b.

ILLfarmboy
02-23-2009, 16:09
Rare Breed in a mixture of 6, 8 and some 12 year old stock that's blended (with no water added 'post dump') to achieve a specific flavor profile.

Please, let's not encourage bottling at lower proofs.

kickert
02-23-2009, 16:26
It is a pain being such a goddamn n00b.

It took me about 3-6 months perusing this site and about 30 bourbons under my belt to have a feel for what I was talking about. I am still a newbie on most subjects.

Stu
02-23-2009, 22:24
It took me about 3-6 months perusing this site and about 30 bourbons under my belt to have a feel for what I was talking about. I am still a newbie on most subjects.

Over the past three years I've probably tried at least 100 different bourbons and I'm still not sure I know what I'm talking about!

ILLfarmboy
02-23-2009, 23:44
I would in fact give up Rare Breed if I was assured that the 12 years old stocks that go into it wouldn't just be shipped overseas and that younger stocks destined to be part of Rare Breed would continue to reach 12 years of age and be bottled for the domestic market.

Buffalo Bill
02-24-2009, 06:30
A lot of people here have stated that Buffalo Trace is "grassy".
I don't care for it.

Buffalo Trace is usually grassy and piney, but I've had others that were quite feminine, almost perfumed.

To answer the question: Anything Van Winkle or from BT is always tops in my book. BB

LarryG
02-24-2009, 10:47
I would in fact give up Rare Breed if I was assured that the 12 years old stocks that go into it wouldn't just be shipped overseas and that younger stocks destined to be part of Rare Breed would continue to reach 12 years of age and be bottled for the domestic market.That's essentially what I meant, although I grant you I didn't express the thought well at all. Bottle at least some of the 12yo at WT's traditional 101 proof, rather than barrel proof as in RB, and make it available in more markets.

Is the 8yo also export-only? I know that I've never seen any, but that's more a reflection of limited opportunity than anything else.

Larry

ggilbertva
02-24-2009, 11:16
That's essentially what I meant, although I grant you I didn't express the thought well at all. Bottle at least some of the 12yo at WT's traditional 101 proof, rather than barrel proof as in RB, and make it available in more markets.

Is the 8yo also export-only? I know that I've never seen any, but that's more a reflection of limited opportunity than anything else.

Larry

Larry,

The 8 year and 12 year are export only. I have a bottle of each and they are pretty good.....significantly better than the domestic 101 offering. I can still find the 8 year old expression here in my area but of course they are dusty bottles. I would love it if WT offered an age stated 101 again......in the meantime, I have to be happy with the occasional dusty bottle I pick up.

barturtle
02-24-2009, 11:26
..That StraightBourbon.com is the largest, oldest and best American Whiskey forum on the web.

dean_martin
02-24-2009, 13:45
my apologies in advance for the length:
from one newb living in an ABC state to another, you gotta eventually cross state lines. I have the AL ABC price list saved to my computer in pdf from the ABC website. I studied the list then found out what others here were/are saying about the stuff available at ABC stores. Not all ABC stores stock everything on the list so I took a couple of trips out of town. That process didn't take too long.

Fortunately, I live on the AL/FL line. I've found almost everything people are talking about here, but it took searching 7 stores in the P'cola, FL area. I've met some nice folks along the way. One store owner in particular took me on a "tour" of his bourbon aisle and ordered Sazerac Rye so I want have to drive 20 minutes farther south to get it from another store. (After asking permission, I brought in the bottle I had just bought from another store so he could see it. To my surprise he was very appreciative. Apparently, distributors have a lot of influence on what store owners decide to stock.) Another store owner took my name and number and promised she'd call me when she had more George T. Stagg on the way.

BTW, Lot B is my bourbon reference so far. My goal now is to find a $30-or-less bourbon that I enjoy as much. Based on regional price differences, I may be looking at $35. I've already found Sazerac Rye for under $30 and its a fave too. I started an inventory list. So far I have 7 open bourbons, 1 open rye, 13 unopened bourbons (hoping for a real gem or two among them) and 2 unopened ryes. Between the open and unopen, 3 are duplicates. I found my first discontinued bottle over the weekend - Frankfort OCPR 13yo. So far, I find "the search" exhilirating and I haven't turned up nary "bad" whiskey. Managing the budget is the only stressor.

StraightBoston
02-24-2009, 13:51
BTW, Lot B is my bourbon reference so far. My goal now is to find a $30-or-less bourbon that I enjoy as much. Based on regional price differences, I may be looking at $35.

Keep an eye out for Old Weller Antique 7/107. (More kick than Lot B at a much lower price.) Weller SR is a smoother alternative.

dean_martin
02-24-2009, 14:12
Keep an eye out for Old Weller Antique 7/107. (More kick than Lot B at a much lower price.) Weller SR is a smoother alternative.

Have'em both. They get so much good press here that the Weller SR was one of my first pickups. I had to find the Antique at a different store. I'm waiting 'til I get to the last few pours of the SR, then I'm opening the Antique. I usually end with a pour of SR when going through my open bottles. Not sure how that came about, but it has definitely found a place in my cabinet. It's quite a bargain too!

kickert
02-24-2009, 16:47
Have'em both. They get so much good press here that the Weller SR was one of my first pickups. I had to find the Antique at a different store. I'm waiting 'til I get to the last few pours of the SR, then I'm opening the Antique. I usually end with a pour of SR when going through my open bottles. Not sure how that came about, but it has definitely found a place in my cabinet. It's quite a bargain too!

Weller 12 matches the age and proof (and obviously the distillery and mashbill). I actually prefer it by a hair.