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loneranger84
09-10-2009, 14:26
So, I've been doing my research in looking for good bourbons to try. In particular, Sijan's (Dan's) thread has been very helpful to me!


Anyway, some of his top recommendations (and recommendations of Wine Enthusiast, Beverage Tasting Institute, and others) seem to get very low ratings on this whiskey rating site: www.practicalwhisky.net (http://www.practicalwhisky.net).

In particular, look at a brand like Wild Turkey 101. (From what I understand, this is an archetypal bourbon.)
Wine Enthusiast: 92
Beverage Tasting Institute: 89
Practical Whisky: 65

Two more for illustration:
Bourbon (WE Score) [BTI Score] {PW Score}
Old Forester (86) [88] {61}
Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage 1998 (90-95) [94] {59}

So does this guy just not know bourbon? He seems to like ERSB a lot (giving it a 90)...


Also, if you're still reading, I'm going to try my bourbons in this order. Any suggestions for changes/additions?
OFS, OGD BiB, OWA, WT101, EWSB, (ETL maybe), ERSB

OscarV
09-10-2009, 14:38
People have different and diverse tastes.
There are some bourbons that are highly praised by members here on SB.com that I don't like and vice versa.
Ratings by magazines and/or websites are just opinions by people, just because they have a website or write for a magazine does not necessarily mean they are correct or wrong.
Here are a few bourbons, by one distillery, that if you search the threads here on SB.com you will think they are absolutely great,...
Buffalo Trace
Blanton's
Rock Hill Farms
Benchmark
Eagle Rare Single Barrel
Virginia Gentelman
Elmer T Lee
Hancock's
I always pass on the above, just don't like 'em, but some here think they are the best thing on Earth.
So you Sir will have to try them all like the rest of us have done and decide for yourself.

jburlowski
09-10-2009, 14:41
All reviews are one person's opinion and like a**holes everyone's got one.

The key is to check your preferences / opinions of specific bourbons against those of the reviewer. If they are in general concurrence, his reviews of other bottlings will likely (but not always) be of some value. If wildly divergent, probably not.

Doesn't make him (or you) right or wrong.... just different.

CygnusX-1
09-10-2009, 14:42
Thats a damn fine line up and will give you a diverse bourbon portfolio. and i would get the ETL for sure its a personal fav and highly regarded (if you search this sight i dought you will find much criticism if any on it, only praise)

loneranger84
09-10-2009, 14:48
Oh, I'll be checking them out! No worry about that.

I'm a former Scotch drinker, so I want to make sure I give Bourbon a fair chance here with some good representatives.

OFS will be my first pour tonight. Cheers!

OscarV
09-10-2009, 14:49
People have different and diverse tastes.
There are some bourbons that are highly praised by members here on SB.com that I don't like and vice versa.
Ratings by magazines and/or websites are just opinions by people, just because they have a website or write for a magazine does not necessarily mean they are correct or wrong.
Here are a few bourbons, by one distillery, that if you search the threads here on SB.com you will think they are absolutely great,...
Buffalo Trace
Blanton's
Rock Hill Farms
Benchmark
Eagle Rare Single Barrel
Virginia Gentelman
Elmer T Lee
Hancock's
I always pass on the above, just don't like 'em, but some here think they are the best thing on Earth.
So you Sir will have to try them all like the rest of us have done and decide for yourself.


Thats a damn fine line up and will give you a diverse bourbon portfolio. and i would get the ETL for sure its a personal fav and highly regarded (if you search this sight i dought you will find much criticism if any on it, only praise)

So loneranger84 see what I mean, the decision is up to you and only you.

fishnbowljoe
09-10-2009, 15:34
All reviews are one person's opinion and like a**holes everyone's got one.

The key is to check your preferences / opinions of specific bourbons against those of the reviewer. If they are in general concurrence, his reviews of other bottlings will likely (but not always) be of some value. If wildly divergent, probably not.

Doesn't make him (or you) right or wrong.... just different.

Ditto. Recommendations are.... well....., just someone's opinion of taste as they see it. Everyone that has posted on this thread so far, makes valid points. John kinda hit the nail on the head though. You have to figure out what your preferences are. Speaking from experience, (trial and error :rolleyes: thank goodness I finally found this site, or it would have been a whole lot more trial and error) you have to figure out what you like. Wheated bourbons, high rye bourbons, higher/lower proof, etc.... Once you figure that out, it gets a little easier. Then you can concentrate on the type of bourbons you like, and dabble a little bit with ones that are different from what you normally prefer. If you're anything like me, you'll find that once you find your "niche", and gain some experience, your tastes will start to broaden some. A good example. I usually prefer wheated bourbons, or bourbons with a low rye mashbill. I have stated that quite often, and a lot of the regulars here know that. Lately I have actually purchased a few ryes. :skep: I think I surprised a couple of folks. It's all good. Just a part of learning and growing. Hang in there. You've actually done pretty good so far. You've got some good bourbons to start, and you've done some research. Good luck, have fun, and keep posting. Let us know how it's going. Cheers! Joe

loneranger84
09-10-2009, 15:38
Ditto. Recommendations are.... well....., just someone's opinion of taste as they see it. Everyone that has posted on this thread so far, makes valid points. John kinda hit the nail on the head though. You have to figure out what your preferences are. Speaking from experience, (trial and error :rolleyes: thank goodness I finally found this site, or it would have been a whole lot more trial and error) you have to figure out what you like. Wheated bourbons, high rye bourbons, higher/lower proof, etc.... Once you figure that out, it gets a little easier. Then you can concentrate on the type of bourbons you like, and dabble a little bit with ones that are different from what you normally prefer. If you're anything like me, you'll find that once you find your "niche", and gain some experience, your tastes will start to broaden some. A good example. I usually prefer wheated bourbons, or bourbons with a low rye mashbill. I have stated that quite often, and a lot of the regulars here know that. Lately I have actually purchased a few ryes. :skep: I think I surprised a couple of folks. It's all good. Just a part of learning and growing. Hang in there. You've actually done pretty good so far. You've got some good bourbons to start, and you've done some research. Good luck, have fun, and keep posting. Let us know how it's going. Cheers! Joe

Well, I'll provide what tasting notes I can. I'm not very good at pinpointing tastes though and putting them into words.

For example, I like to drink really nice coffee, and I can appreciate a good coffee (maybe even pinpointing some of the aromas/tastes). But I'm no taster; those guys identify smells/tastes that I still can't find after months of drinking the stuff. :grin: If that makes sense.

As a wheated bourbon fan, do you think OWA will do wheated bourbons justice? (Can't get WLW12 here.)

ErichPryde
09-11-2009, 04:50
As others have basically said: take a play out of cowdery's book (literally, and it's a very informative and great book)- disregard "scores," as they are completely subversive to what anything is actually worth. When I was new to whiskey, my mom gave me a copy of Jim Murray's Whiskey Bible 2008. It's an excellent resource, but you absolutely have to take it with a grain of salt- I soon learned that Murray seems to have a taste for ryes and ryed bourbons more than he does wheated bourbons. The most clear example of this is his rating of Pappy Van Winkle's 20 year old bourbon. He gives it a 79, yet this bourbon got something like a 99 or 100 from wine enthusiast (someone please correct me if I am wrong, I remember reading that somewhere?). In addition, the majority of people on this forum seem to love the PVW20. I've never actually had a chance to try it, so I wouldn't have any idea...

In addition, the ratings from a site named practical bourbon- what are the criteria? with a name like "Practical Bourbon," I have to wonder if this guy is factoring in other categories besides your typical Nose, taste, balance, and finish. If I were to rate a bourbon practically, I would also take into account things like availability, cost, and stability. Of course, I've never looked at the site, so I could be completely off base.


FURTHERMORE.... yes, I think the Weller Antique will do the wheaters justice. I personally can not stand the Weller 12 and would rather drink boiling tequila rose. Oak seems to be prominent in a lot of the wheated bourbons (with the exception of the William Larue Weller that I have in the cabinet), and in my opinion it dominates the W12 too thoroughly. I do like the Antique, and PVW15, among other wheaters... But that's personal preference for ya- other people love the W12 and seem to dislike things like the ERSB, which I think is a great everyday drinkin' whiskey. :cool:



FINALLY... You should definitely seriously for sure add Corner Creek reserve to your lineup. It's exceptional AND in that strange category of "break-in bourbons for scotch drinkers." Although I have to say, the last scotch drinker I converted was with Buffalo Trace, which isn't one of my favorites. however that worked.

what was your preference when it came to scotches?

sailor22
09-11-2009, 07:17
I just gave the Practical site a good look and it seems clearly tilted towards Scotch, even stinky Scotch scores higher than most Bourbon.

So if you want your Bourbon to taste like Scotch you can take the scores seriously - if not just follow some of the previous advice. Try anything you think you might like. Taste as many as you can and post some impressions. Enjoy and have fun.

loneranger84
09-11-2009, 10:11
Firstly, I tried the OFS last night. My first pour didn't really excite me. The nose had a lot of alcohol, and it burned. But as I let it sit a bit (and moved onto my second pour), I really warmed up to it. I think I could get used to this stuff! The way it first hits your mouth with that slap of sweet is orgasmic!


what was your preference when it came to scotches?

Thank you for the long reply!

I was thinking that OWA should be good. (MM is the same price around here.)

I will check out Corner Creek Reserve. It looks right in my price range. (I'm hoping to make this entire flight for around $100.)

Macallan 12 was my daily pour. Though I could get Macallan 18 at Trader Joe's for less sometimes! (Not anymore though.) I must admit that I didn't try many of the more expensive (or any of the really peaty, i.e. Laphroaig) brands.


I just gave the Practical site a good look and it seems clearly tilted towards Scotch, even stinky Scotch scores higher than most Bourbon.

This was exactly my impression and exactly the type of reply for which I was looking. (I just didn't want to coerce it out of someone.) Thanks for that!

funknik
09-11-2009, 11:04
FURTHERMORE.... yes, I think the Weller Antique will do the wheaters justice. I personally can not stand the Weller 12 and would rather drink boiling tequila rose. Oak seems to be prominent in a lot of the wheated bourbons (with the exception of the William Larue Weller that I have in the cabinet), and in my opinion it dominates the W12 too thoroughly. I do like the Antique, and PVW15, among other wheaters... But that's personal preference for ya- other people love the W12 and seem to dislike things like the ERSB, which I think is a great everyday drinkin' whiskey. :cool:


I'll weigh in here . . . first off, I think all of the Buffalo Trace wheaters (Wellers, Van Winkles) do the style justice . . . they are, in my opinion, the best wheaters out there, period (unless you can find some older Stitzel-Weller juice).

My advice? Try everything. You'll find that something you didn't like yesterday or last week or last year, you may love today. I'm a firm believer that what order you drink whiskeys in make a huge difference in how your palate receives them . . . for example I love the Weller 12 & Lot 'B' 12 year, but they taste much better to me if I start with something younger (OWA is my standard primer). You may find that some whiskeys that you would imagine to be similar are vastly different: I don't care for OGD86 or OGD BIB, but OGD114 is one of my all time favorites . . . you can't assume anything.

I'm starting to re-buy bottles that I didn't like the first time around just to see what my current opinion is . . . I think you'll find the more different bourbons you sample, the more elastic your tastes will become.

Some things are just love/hate . . . I just can't abide ERSB, but some love it . . . conversely, I love things that don't seem to impress others.

Seems like you have a good lineup, so line 'em up and start elasticizing that palate of yours! :grin:

Cheers!

ErichPryde
09-11-2009, 11:05
I just gave the Practical site a good look and it seems clearly tilted towards Scotch, even stinky Scotch scores higher than most Bourbon.

So if you want your Bourbon to taste like Scotch you can take the scores seriously - if not just follow some of the previous advice. Try anything you think you might like. Taste as many as you can and post some impressions. Enjoy and have fun.



Hmm. I wonder why he liked the Eagle Rare so much? I'm not really reminded of Scotch when I drink it. but maybe that's just me...

funknik
09-11-2009, 11:07
Hmm. I wonder why he liked the Eagle Rare so much? I'm not really reminded of Scotch when I drink it. but maybe that's just me...
Me either, but I don't like Scotch and I don't like Eagle Rare very much either . . .

coincidence? :lol:

ErichPryde
09-11-2009, 11:13
Me either, but I don't like Scotch and I don't like Eagle Rare very much either . . .

coincidence? :lol:


I think that the reason I enjoy Eagle Rare as much as I do is practicality: I can pick up a 750 for 25 dollars after tax (or a 1.75 for 48) at Jacob's Liquor Exchange here in Wichita. when I was "new" to whiskies, this was an excellent deal for one of the more premium brands, and I got used to it. I've found things I like more, but too many of those things are just too much more expensive.

I absolutely love the diversity of taste that's out there, this site just wouldn't be any fun if everyone thought that the current Old Crow mashbill was handed down by God. Or something. :grin:

sailor22
09-11-2009, 11:20
Hmm. I wonder why he liked the Eagle Rare so much? I'm not really reminded of Scotch when I drink it. but maybe that's just me...

Yeah, that didn't fit did it. Maybe it DOES taste like Scotch and I have been tasting it incorrectly somehow :grin:

loneranger84
09-11-2009, 11:23
I think that the reason I enjoy Eagle Rare as much as I do is practicality: I can pick up a 750 for 25 dollars after tax (or a 1.75 for 48) at Jacob's Liquor Exchange here in Wichita. when I was "new" to whiskies, this was an excellent deal for one of the more premium brands, and I got used to it. I've found things I like more, but too many of those things are just too much more expensive.

This is why I, for one, am really looking forward to ERSB! I can get a 1.75 of it for ~$44 here. And it seems to have won a lot of awards and gotten a lot of good reviews. (I can understand that everyone has a difference of opinion. But if everyone likes it, there's gotta be some redeeming quality about it.)

OscarV
09-11-2009, 13:17
This is why I, for one, am really looking forward to ERSB! I can get a 1.75 of it for ~$44 here. And it seems to have won a lot of awards and gotten a lot of good reviews. (I can understand that everyone has a difference of opinion. But if everyone likes it, there's gotta be some redeeming quality about it.)



Not me, it is OK for a beginner, no depth, real bland.

Josh
09-11-2009, 14:11
Not me, it is OK for a beginner, no depth, real bland.

Agreed.

Best of the BT Mashbills in current production IMO (excluding BTAC, VW's & stuff from Tom Moore):

High Corn: Old Charter 10

Higher Rye (relative to the above): Elmer T. Lee, AAA 10 y/o (tie)

Wheat: Weller 12

loneranger84
09-11-2009, 15:44
Agreed.

Best of the BT Mashbills in current production IMO (excluding BTAC, VW's & stuff from Tom Moore):

High Corn: Old Charter 10

Higher Rye (relative to the above): Elmer T. Lee, AAA 10 y/o (tie)

Wheat: Weller 12

Unfortunately, the only one of those I can get is ETL.

And OWA will have to do...

BBQ+Bourbon
09-11-2009, 16:54
Well, I'll provide what tasting notes I can. I'm not very good at pinpointing tastes though and putting them into words.

For example, I like to drink really nice coffee, and I can appreciate a good coffee (maybe even pinpointing some of the aromas/tastes). But I'm no taster; those guys identify smells/tastes that I still can't find after months of drinking the stuff. :grin: If that makes sense.

As a wheated bourbon fan, do you think OWA will do wheated bourbons justice? (Can't get WLW12 here.)
I'm a wheater fan and Scotch triggers my gag reflex- literally. It smells and tastes to me like moldy bread mixed with green Chloraseptic.

I love bourbon and have only had a couple I couldn't stand (EC 12 aka liquified dust and -not-Very Special Old Fitgerand). Wellers 107 (OWA) is my favorite overall. If I were on a desert island and could take a lifetime supply of any bourbon with me, it would be SW OWA.

So, if you like Scotch, you'll probably hate it :slappin:

sailor22
09-11-2009, 19:01
It smells and tastes to me like moldy bread mixed with green Chloraseptic.

As good a description as I have ever heard.

So the Scotch guys alwas come up with something like "It tastes like the fair Peat of Old Farkward county"
Isn't Peat a kind of combustible soil? I ask
Aye! they reply.
I marvel that they just spent $789 for a bottle of whiskey that tastes like dirt, moldy bread and green Chloraseptic, and somehow enjoy it.

wadewood
09-11-2009, 19:49
FINALLY... You should definitely seriously for sure add Corner Creek reserve to your lineup. It's exceptional AND in that strange category of "break-in bourbons for scotch drinkers."

To show how we all have different opinions, to me Corner Creek is the worst bourbon I have ever tasted. I did not want to even dump it down my kitchen sink drain for fear of it's rotten smell permeating my house!

ErichPryde
09-11-2009, 22:41
Agreed.

Best of the BT Mashbills in current production IMO (excluding BTAC, VW's & stuff from Tom Moore):

High Corn: Old Charter 10

Higher Rye (relative to the above): Elmer T. Lee, AAA 10 y/o (tie)

Wheat: Weller 12

Hmm. it is interesting to see the different tastes at work here. I honestly cannot stand the Weller 12, but am currently thoroughly enjoying a glass of Lot B, which would be my wheat pick of choice except for how relatively expensive it is! :hot:

I've actually never tried the Elmer T. Lee. I will have to give it a shot.

Josh
09-12-2009, 06:43
Hmm. it is interesting to see the different tastes at work here. I honestly cannot stand the Weller 12, but am currently thoroughly enjoying a glass of Lot B, which would be my wheat pick of choice except for how relatively expensive it is! :hot:

I've actually never tried the Elmer T. Lee. I will have to give it a shot.

Yeah, I think the lesson here for newbies is that everybody has different tastes, and that's ok. Like Chuck wrote, there is no good, better or best. There's different. And ratings are bull. :grin:

Dr. François
09-12-2009, 07:22
So does this guy just not know bourbon? He seems to like ERSB a lot (giving it a 90)...

I have noticed that scotch drinkers like ER90 quite a bit. I think that might be why I've never cared for it (never met a scotch I loved). I like the bottle, though!

ebo
09-13-2009, 15:45
I have noticed that scotch drinkers like ER90 quite a bit. I think that might be why I've never cared for it (never met a scotch I loved). I like the bottle, though!

I definately like my scotch, and I have a bottle of ER90 that I have not tried yet. I'm going to have to open that up and see whats what. :grin:

StraightBoston
09-14-2009, 07:59
To show how we all have different opinions, to me Corner Creek is the worst bourbon I have ever tasted. I did not want to even dump it down my kitchen sink drain for fear of it's rotten smell permeating my house!

Not a Corner Creek fan here, either -- my taste of it reminded my of new-mown grass (which may explain its appeal to Scotch drinkers?)

loneranger84
09-14-2009, 16:38
Thanks for the replies everyone.

Tried some Old-Fashioneds over the weekend. (One with WT101. One with MM.) Both were very sweet and pleasurable to drink; I like how bartenders all try to make their Old Fashioned some fancy way too. (e.g. Lemon Twist surrounding Marachino Cherries mashed into the bottom of the glass).

Also putting a nice dent in my bottle of OFS.
No matter how long I let this stuff air out, I find it needs a splash or an ice cube before the smell becomes tolerable.
(Once the smell is tolerable, it's quite good. It's just too alcohol-y before that point, and you can't "get around" that smell.)

From what I've read, this is normal for higher-proof bourbons?
(I just can't imagine drinking this neat myself.)

ErichPryde
09-14-2009, 17:00
Thanks for the replies everyone.
It's just too alcohol-y before that point, and you can't "get around" that smell.)

From what I've read, this is normal for higher-proof bourbons?
(I just can't imagine drinking this neat myself.)


I don't know. I have had several 80-90 proof bourbons (like Jefferson's, not the reserve or the PS) that smellled more like alcohol or acetone than some of the very high proof ones I have, like Thomas Handy Rye or William Larue Weller.

loneranger84
09-22-2009, 12:17
Moving onto the Old Weller Antique tonight. I'm excited!

I really liked the OFS and OGD BIB. The OFS is the kinder and sweeter of the two. When I first tried the OGD BIB, I finally understood what you meant by an "in your face" bourbon. It's great, but it's intense.

Over the weekend, I tried a Sazerac (with Obsello, a Spanish absinthe). I have to say that this is one of my favorite cocktails! I'm not a big fan of the black licorice taste on its own (e.g. Sambuca, Absinthe, Herbsaint).

But combined with the Old Fashioned (and the citrus from the lemon peel on the entry), this cocktail is orgasmic and highly recommended to anyone! (Technically, it should be made with Rye whiskey, but I'm sure some people will tell me that I've blasphemed either way. :smiley_acbt:)

ErichPryde
09-22-2009, 22:48
I actually rather enjoy a sazerac cocktail from time to time. lately, I've been mixing a small amount of Thomas Handy in with the sazerac rye to spice it up a bit, and it works.

so... if either one of us has blasphemed, I'm sure it was me. ;)