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View Full Version : What not to buy.



bgast1
06-14-2011, 10:56
Since I am still a beginner and still trying to develop my palate, I am looking for the more experience here to help me steer a course. My budget is extremely limited but with taking my time a saving my money I could see spending $40.00 for a bottle of bourbon or asking my family to go in together say for a birthday present or something.

Generally I drink Evan Willams Black as an everyday bottle. I have had Maker's Mark, Old Crow Reserve, and now a bottle of Old Weller Antique.

What I would like to see is a list of bourbons NOT to buy. Either for quality reasons or there are just better values out there. I just don't want to waste my time and money with rot gut.

White Dog
06-14-2011, 11:00
This is very subjective, but I would avoid Bookers, Bakers, and Basil.

DeanSheen
06-14-2011, 11:04
Don't buy anything you don't like to drink.

Jonny.Applebury
06-14-2011, 11:05
I feel like every product that has been around for more than just one season has its place in the market. Otherwise, I'd assume that production would shut down. Now, where that product fits, and how that area compares with your own tastes is a very good question; a question with as many answers as whisk(e)y drinkers. One person's never-buy is another persons reliable buy.

That said, since you approached the question the way you did, you're probably very open to trying a wide variety of whiskies. I suggest picking up a new sub-$20 bottle each time you're out to buy. When you go through that entire range, start doing the saving for those sub-$40 bottles.

I've found myself realizing that you don't need to always spend a lot to get a product you enjoy. Unfortunately, it often takes spending the extra money on more expensive bottles that you end up disliking to realize some of those lower priced bottles are great whiskies.

bgast1
06-14-2011, 11:10
This is very subjective, but I would avoid Bookers, Bakers, and Basil.

Agreed on the subjective nature of the question. For instance, I have strayed from the Jim Beam White Label because of negative reviews, but will try the Black Label.

I have actually had my eye on the Bookers, Bakers, and Basil but the price scared me away.

I have also pretty much stayed away from Jack Daniels too because it isn't a bourbon.

jcg9779
06-14-2011, 11:28
I have also pretty much stayed away from Jack Daniels too because it isn't a bourbon.

I like Jack Daniels Single Barrel very much, but now you're in the $45 to $50ish price range. A lot of people really like the export-only JD Silver Select as well, which can also be found in Duty Free sections at the airport.

StraightNoChaser
06-14-2011, 12:36
This is very subjective, but I would avoid Bookers, Bakers, and Basil.I'll second this one for sure.

bourbonNOOG
06-14-2011, 13:05
I quite enjoy Bookers, although I do think it's overpriced. Never had bakers, but definitely stay away from Basil Hayden's. I personally would steer clear of the Redemption stuff. I was sold by the look and I won't be fooled twice.

cigarnv
06-14-2011, 14:58
Very personal decision based on your palate and wallet. Every bourbon mentioned above has a following so they are all enjoyed by a fair number of folks. Taste them all and make your own call...JMHO

mrviognier
06-14-2011, 15:08
Heartily second CigarNV's post. You're essentially asking us what we like to drink to establish what you should drink. If you like Jim Beam White, more power to you. Don't worry what folks here say, it's your palate after all.

This is all very similar to wine. People sometimes lament the fact that they didn't enjoy a wine that was highly-rated by a wine writer. Well, their palate is different to yours...and the only way to truly know what YOU like is to taste. It takes a bit more time (and money), but the payoff in truly personal satisfaction is huge.

If everyone liked the same Bourbon, we'd have very few choices on the shelves. Thank Gawd we're all different, and there's plenty of variety out there! :grin:

sutton
06-14-2011, 15:26
I have also pretty much stayed away from Jack Daniels too because it isn't a bourbon.

I would agree with you about the regular JD, but not because it is not a bourbon. Don't shy away from a George Dickel No. 12 - it can be had for $17-$20 a 750ml, and I find it to be a very nice, everyday sipping whisky neat with a spot of water. Dickel is a Tennessee whisky. I think there is some older whisky in the blend, and I think this is one of the better values in this price range.

trumpstylz
06-14-2011, 18:01
Yes, I agree. Dickel 12 is definitely worth a try. Although people look at me funny whenever I try to convince them that it's not a novelty and is actually quite good.

mosugoji64
06-14-2011, 21:28
Something that has worked for a fellow enthusiast and me has been to work our way up from the bottom shelf. As someone stated previously, there are some great values to be had on the lower shelves, and you'll miss them if you try to latch on to whatever everyone is raving about at the moment. That, and those bottom shelvers will help to determine what you like and what you don't.
Having said that, I would heartily recommend staying away from anything in a big plastic bottle. :grin:

harshest
06-15-2011, 05:42
Very personal decision based on your palate and wallet....Taste them all and make your own call...JMHO


... If you like Jim Beam White, more power to you. Don't worry what folks here say, it's your palate after all.


Something that has worked for a fellow enthusiast and me has been to work our way up from the bottom shelf. As someone stated previously, there are some great values to be had on the lower shelves, and you'll miss them if you try to latch on to whatever everyone is raving about at the moment. That, and those bottom shelvers will help to determine what you like and what you don't.
Having said that, I would heartily recommend staying away from anything in a big plastic bottle. :grin:

These are all excellent suggestions. I whole heartedly support the notion of starting at the bottom and working your way up. Being on a budget and spending $12 on a bottle you don't like compared to a $60 dollar bottle you don't like is much easier to handle.

Also don't shy away from JBW and JD just because the have a bad rap around here. You might actually like them.

bgast1
06-15-2011, 10:20
Something that has worked for a fellow enthusiast and me has been to work our way up from the bottom shelf. As someone stated previously, there are some great values to be had on the lower shelves, and you'll miss them if you try to latch on to whatever everyone is raving about at the moment. That, and those bottom shelvers will help to determine what you like and what you don't.
Having said that, I would heartily recommend staying away from anything in a big plastic bottle. :grin:

I suppose that would exclude Early Times or Ten High. My late father in law would drink Ten High everyday and Wild Turkey 101 as a special treat. I noted in BOTM section that Ten High actually received a few decent reviews a couple of years ago. Also just read that Early Times is not bourbon.

mosugoji64
06-15-2011, 10:51
I suppose that would exclude Early Times or Ten High. My late father in law would drink Ten High everyday and Wild Turkey 101 as a special treat. I noted in BOTM section that Ten High actually received a few decent reviews a couple of years ago. Also just read that Early Times is not bourbon.

I haven't had Ten High, but would say give it a try. Just don't buy the big plastic bottle version because you'll be stuck with a ton of it if you don't like it.
I've had Early Times and didn't care for it. Not that it was bad, just bland and uninteresting. But, I gave it a try. Used the rest of the bottle for cooking.

bgageus
06-15-2011, 13:20
I suppose that would exclude Early Times or Ten High. My late father in law would drink Ten High everyday and Wild Turkey 101 as a special treat. I noted in BOTM section that Ten High actually received a few decent reviews a couple of years ago. Also just read that Early Times is not bourbon.

Early Times now has a bourbon. Its very sweet on the nose and gets you excited then lets you down once it hits your lips. It is on my mix it with coke shelf now, but at $11 it wasnt that big of a loss.
I had a friend bring a plastic jug of Old Crow and I thought it was smooth, with a short finish, very light flavor and easy to drink. I think I also had low expectations and I was pleasantly surprised.

sailor22
06-15-2011, 15:33
I would heartily recommend staying away from anything in a big plastic bottle.

I used to feel the same way until I found a clutch of ER101 in 1.75 plastic. It was/is as good as any glass handle of the same juice.

BourbonKiller
06-15-2011, 15:37
I have found that the best way for me to figure out what not to buy is to purchase a 750ml bottle of it and try it.

If I don't like it I don't buy anymore.

What one person thinks is the best whiskey another will think is terrible and undrinkable. I figure anything under $50 is worth a try at some point or another. But I agree starting by drinking everything under $20 is not a bad idea either and work your way up.

flintlock
06-15-2011, 16:14
Take a fool's advice and don't buy any bottles that you haven't sampled first until you get your feet good and wet. Go to a good bar - taste what they've got. Buy airline bottles (miniatures). Drink your friends' bourbon. (Always the best option.) :cool:

I'm SO glad I tried (for instance) Old Potrero's 18th Century Whiskey before I dropped $75 on a bottle. Ditto WT 101, JB White, and so on, and so on.

Rotgut
06-22-2011, 13:35
I started at the (almost) bottom shelf and familiarized myself with those labels before I plunked down bigger bucks. As part of my studies I read a lot of opinions here and elsewhere and made note of a the higher-priced stuff that either got universally raved about or panned. As part of that odyssey I found a wide variety in prices from store to store, so keeping some of that info in mind helped as far as knowing where to get the best bang for the buck when I wanted some of the pricer stuff as well as recognizing a great price and scooping it up when I saw it.

You'll be able to better appreciate the higher-priced stuff if you have a broad background of the midrange products, too.

In the end, like a lot have already mentioned, there are fine bourbons in the $20 range, and you're playing the laws of diminishing returns as you spend more money. OGD (BIB, 86, & 114), FC, OFitz, WT, George Dickel are some good-but-inexpensive ones that come to mind.

Good luck, enjoy the search, and let us know what you end up with.

Mike

StraightNoChaser
06-23-2011, 08:15
Take a fool's advice and don't buy any bottles that you haven't sampled first until you get your feet good and wet. Go to a good bar - taste what they've got. Buy airline bottles (miniatures). Drink your friends' bourbon. (Always the best option.) :cool:

I'm SO glad I tried (for instance) Old Potrero's 18th Century Whiskey before I dropped $75 on a bottle. Ditto WT 101, JB White, and so on, and so on.
I'm sad I didn't taste WTAS before I bought a bottle. Woe is me.

sailor22
06-23-2011, 10:34
Good advice on trying first. Try and find a well stocked bar that can serve tasting flights. If not just buy drinks neat and eventually you will have sampled enough to get a sense of what to buy.



I'm sad I didn't taste WTAS before I bought a bottle. Woe is me.

And just to prove there are no absolutes I am really glad I bought my bottles of WTAS and wish I had another one or two.