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View Full Version : Newbee needs a recommendation...



unfamiliarground
03-07-2009, 08:53
I am having a dinner party, and found out my guest prefers burbon over wine. I know my wines, but have no clue about burbon. What should I serve? Its a small party, and this is the "guest of honor"...

barturtle
03-07-2009, 08:57
Not knowing where you are located, as many bourbons aren't available everywhere, I'd have to go with Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit. Widely available and fairly universally liked, if a bit on the pricey side.

unfamiliarground
03-07-2009, 08:59
Thanks! I assume that is way different than the Crown Royal I have, right?

unfamiliarground
03-07-2009, 09:01
Oh, and I am in St. Louis, Missouri

sotnsipper
03-07-2009, 09:05
Thanks! I assume that is way different than the Crown Royal I have, right?

Yes, way different. CR is not a bourbon but a Canadian Whisky. Like Timothy said, with such a wide variety of bourbons, it is hard to narrow it down unless you can give us a list of what is available in your area. Also if you can give us a price range you are wanting to be in that would help also. Being the guest of honor, I am assuming price is not really an issue though. Just let us know and we are always glad to help.

unfamiliarground
03-07-2009, 09:09
Your right, I don't mind spending on a premium bottle, but I'm not looking for a collector's bottle either. I would guess the prices vary as much as my wine does...I would like to stay under $50. Thanks for your help

sotnsipper
03-07-2009, 09:19
Well, without knowing the line up in your area, I would suggest looking for any of the WT line up, except for the WT80. Four Roses small batch or single barrel are also good ones. Knob Creek, good proof and flavor. Weller Antique is an outstanding bourbon. It is a wheatier bourbon and pretty smooth at 107 proof. Eagle Rare gets high marks. Do you know what they like in a bourbon? High rye or wheat bourbons? Maybe a straight Rye? There are so many choices.....

kickert
03-07-2009, 09:29
I would go with Van Winkle lot B. It is one many people new to bourbon will not have heard of, but someone who enjoys bourbon will have a lot of respect for.

Lot B is highly regarded, and very few people dislike it. It is usually around $40.

To me, it does a good job of being noteworthy without having a profile that some may love and others may hate.

I think Four Roses Single Barrel is another good option.

fishnbowljoe
03-07-2009, 09:36
Like Kickert said, Van Winkle Family Reserve 12 year old "Lot B" would be a great choice if it's available near you. I believe there is a Friar Tuck's in St. Louis. I know the Friar Tuck's in Illinois have a very good selection of bourbons. Maybe give Friar Tuck's and a few others a call. Good Luck. Joe

PS. Let us know what you decided, and how it all turns out.

unfamiliarground
03-07-2009, 09:38
WOW. Now I get this website. My question is like someone asking me what bottle of wine to buy without saying red or white, sweet or dry. I'll look for one of the suggested ones...I really appreciate your insight. What can you tell me about Members Mark, Eagle Rare, Bookers, or Noah's Mill? (I think they are written in price order.)

unfamiliarground
03-07-2009, 09:48
They did just open a Friar Tuck in St. Louis, but they are out of lot B. They only had the 23 year and at $219, I have to pass!

kickert
03-07-2009, 09:51
What can you tell me about Members Mark, Eagle Rare, Bookers, or Noah's Mill? (I think they are written in price order.)

I assume you mean maker's mark. It is a popular mid to upper shelf pour (although many on this board think it is pretty one dimensional). It is made with wheat so it tends to be smoother. I would pour this for someone that likes bourbon, but doesn't know much about it.

Eagle Rare - As long as you are talking about current releases, there is a 10 year old and a 17 year old. One is about $30 and the other is about $70. The 10 year old is a well balanced pour. I like it, some here do not. Overall, you could get more bang for your buck on something else. The 17 year old is part of an the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection. Of those I have tried, it is the least unique. It has more wood (tannins) than the 10.

Bookers - This is the top end of the Jim Beam small batch collection. It is barrel proof and higher ryes, so it is a very in your face bourbon. People that like that, will love it. It may overwhelm others.

Noah's Mill - I don't know much about this one and will defer to others.




In the under $50 or under, I would suggest in this order: Lot B, Rock Hill Farms, Blantons, Elmer T. Lee

I am a big Buffalo Trace fan and that is evident in my suggestions.

For people who like bourbon, but aren't really "into it" like those on this board, Blanton's, Woodford Reserve and Makers Mark are good bets (in that order). If you want to go more exotic, I would go with the Lot B or Rock Hill Farms.

bluesbassdad
03-07-2009, 10:41
I am having a dinner party, and found out my guest prefers burbon over wine. I know my wines, but have no clue about burbon. What should I serve? Its a small party, and this is the "guest of honor"...

Welcome aboard! You will find more opinions here than you know what to do with. :grin: None of them are necessarily wrong.

A bit of background might be helpful, both as to your selection and as a conversation starter with your guest. By law bourbon must be made from a mash consisting of at least 51% corn. However, the choice of other grains to round out the mash greatly influences flavor. The second most prevalent ingredient is usually rye. However, some distillers use wheat, instead.

In addition bourbon must be aged in a new, charred, white oak barrel barrel for at least two years. If the aging is less than four years, then the age must be stated on the label. When the age is stated, it is the age of the youngest bourbon in that bottling. Only bonded bourbon must be all the same age. (I usually get something wrong on this topic. Someone will surely correct me, if needed.) The topic of aging is very important because it has a great influence on flavor, more so, I suspect, than with any other alcoholic beverage.

Bourbons with rye tend to be more complex, zesty and intense compared to those with wheat. Wheat recipe bourbons are often characterized as sweeter and smoother -- less likely to offend a neophyte but often less interesting. The differences between the two tend to narrow somewhat with longer barrel-aging, the rye recipe becoming smoother and the wheat recipe becoming more complex.

Wheat recipe bourbons are less prevalent. Van Winkle, Makers Mark, Weller... I think I'm forgetting one or two. I'm a big fan of every Van Winkle bottling I've tried. (However, IMO those aged more than 15 years are strictly an acquired taste. At some point the barrel influence becomes too strong for my taste.) I think the best bang for the buck comes from the Old Rip Van Winkle 10 year-old, whether in 90 proof or, even better, in 107 proof.

I'm not accustomed to drinking bourbon along with a meal. On the rare occasions when I've done so, I've found that my preferred bottlings for sipping don't necessarily work well with food, and vice versa. My most startling experience was the discovery that, to my palate, Evan Williams Single Barrel (I forget which vintage) was delicious with pulled pork barbecue. EWSB has never been one of my favorites for sipping because of a hint of a grassy, minty flavor.

Now that we know you live in St. Louis, I think we can assume that you will have a large selection to choose from (though not as great as in the state of Kentucky, I'm told). Maybe before you go shopping, Dane will weigh in. He lived in St. Louis until recently.

Nevertheless, I will make a suggestion that will be easy to find: Wild Turkey Rare Breed. It's higher proof than most, but many bourbon drinkers enjoy adding a splash of high-quality drinking water to bring down the intensity and, some say, bring out flavors. I find that it is at once honey-like and spicy, which I suspect would make it a good choice with food.

In mild contrast Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit, which I also like, probably spends more time in the barrel, which subdues some of the high points of the taste profile and replaces them with caramel from the barrel. It costs a few dollars more than Rare Breed. It may be worth the difference for contemplative sipping, but I doubt that's the case when it's served with food.

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

unfamiliarground
03-07-2009, 10:42
Well, all stores I have called are out of Lot B, and they say our local distributer is out of it. (Though they hope to get more and now I will keep my eyes open for it!) I have to go set the table, so I am handing this over to my husband who will go with your suggestions in hand. Thank you all...

fishnbowljoe
03-07-2009, 11:12
Well, if no Lot B, my next choices would be Eagle Rare Single Barrel, or one of the Weller bourbon's. Weller Antique 107 proof, or Weller 12 year old are both good. Pappy Van Winkle 15 year old would be good as well. I can't remember the price of the 15 yr though. $50+ I think. Joe

kickert
03-07-2009, 11:19
Well, if no Lot B, my next choices would be Eagle Rare Single Barrel, or one of the Weller bourbon's. Weller Antique 107 proof, or Weller 12 year old are both good. Pappy Van Winkle 15 year old would be good as well. I can't remember the price of the 15 yr though. $50+ I think. Joe

Eagle Rare Single Barrel does have the advantage of having a very nice looking bottle.

G-Rat
03-07-2009, 13:41
unfamiliar Ground -

I live in St. Louis. The place to buy is from the Wine and Cheese place on Fosyth road in Clayton, Friar Tuck's is a close second, followed lastly by Randall's in South City on Jefferson.

The premium selection in the under $50 range goes as follows:
Wild Turkey Rare Breed (36-40ish)
Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit @ Friar Tuck's (40-50ish)
Henry McKenna 10yr Bottled in Bond (29ish...I like this one a lot)
Elijah Craig 18yr (48ish)
Elijah Craig 12 yr (18-20ish i like this one a lot too)
Blanton's (45ish)
Eagle Rare 10yr (25-30ish)
A.H. Hirsch small batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon (40-55ish)
Michter's US-1 & Kentucky Straight Bourbon (45-55ish)
Ezra B 12 KSBW (38-45ish...I think)

Not Bourbon but still good Whiskey:
George Dickel Barrel Select (40-50ish)

My advice to you would be to say that you won't need to break the bank to get some good Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. If I had my choice from the above list I would go with either the Henry McKenna 10yr or the Elijah Craig 12yr and spend half of my budget and still get a GREAT product. THe Eagle Rare is also not a bad choice at all and is only a little over half of your budget. I have also heard that th EZRA B is quite nice but I haven't tried it.

If you are going to spend $50ish though go for the Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit...probably one of the best on that list.

Stu
03-07-2009, 18:00
Since Four Roses isn't available in MO, and you can't find lot B, I'd go with The Wild Turkey selections mentioned and add Russell's Reserve.

unfamiliarground
03-08-2009, 20:54
I posted my last reply just as the reply came in from Dave...Thanks for the info and next we will try the Wild Turkey Rare Breed you recommend. My husband ended up with the Eagle Rare Single Barrell, and I agree it has a great looking bottle! Those who had it enjoyed it and were entertained by my research. By the way, we served Wild Horse Cabernet Sauvingon with the beef tenderloin (yummy), and the burbon was sipped on before and after the actual dinner. And THANKS for the "where to" info G-Rat!

fishnbowljoe
03-08-2009, 21:26
Glad it worked out for you. The ERSB is one of my favorites. Definitely in my top five. Joe