View Full Version : 5 To Start With

07-07-2003, 16:52
OK, silly chaps, there is a rule that you should never let a traveling salesman into your house, because if you do, he will mark your curb and all the other traveling salesmen will come a knockin'.

Since you were so responsive to my last post about tasting, here is another.

I have not tried very many bourbons that you guys talk about here. As I mentioned in my last post Makers Mark Red and Wild Turkey 101 are what I have at my house.

What I want is a list of 5 (do not name thee 4, neither name thee 6, 7 is right out. And the number 5, the fifth number being bereached...) bourbon / ryes to try.

Here is the deal though. I will buy these whiskeys in 375ml at a liquor store. I have to ease Mrs. TexasPride into understanding the benefit of having a lot of whiskey around the house.

but hon, whiskey does not go bad. I will buy this much and it will be around until I drink it all... I love you...

Keeping that in mind, help me out with 5 to start with. And don't go all Pappy 23 on me either. I am living on somewhat of a budget...

Thanks folks.

07-07-2003, 17:21
I could name so many more, but being limited to 375ml size... Hmmm, ok here's what I can come up with:

Knob Creek 375ml - about $15
Ezra Brooks 101 375ml- about $8
Makers Mark 375ml - about $12
Old Forester 375 - about $9
Wild Turkey Rare Breed 375ml - about $14

It's hard to get into some Rye's and so many bourbons because you cannot get them in 375ml's... BUT you can get a few 750ml bottles for a very good price and they are fantastic bourbons so if you should want to sub something from above keep these in mind... Ezra Brooks Single Barrel at about $24 for a 750ml and Old Commonwealth for $20 a 750ml. They are both available here (http://www.samswine.com/spirits/search_spirit_results.asp?price=&country=&type=Bou rbon+Whiskey&gospir.x=135&gospir.y=17) at Sams in Chicago.

Just my input, I am certain many others will give you great selections as well! Enjoy! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/drink.gif

07-07-2003, 17:37
1. Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye 13 years old (Don't give me any crapola about it not being available in 375 ml. bottles. You must try this one ASAP. If you don't, you'll hate yourself later for putting it off. Gee, it really feels good to let my true, opinionated nature have its way now and then. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif Humility gets tiring after a while.)

(Come to think of it, I have no idea as to which bottlings are available in 375 ml. I almost never see that size bottle, certainly not for the whiskies that I prize most highly.)

2. Old Rip Van Winkle 10/107.

3. Wathens Single Barrel

4. Eagle Rare Single Barrel 10 year old

5. Virginia Gentleman 90 proof/6 year old

All are in the $20-30 range at my retailers, and well worth the price. IMO, the only reason to spend more is to satisfy one's curiousity. (I should talk. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif ) I was tempted to cheat and sneak in a sixth bourbon, but your warning frightened me to a faretheewell. BTW, are you a history buff, perchance? Do you know that Abraham Lincoln once lived in Kentucky, near (ahem!) Knob Creek? http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

I'm tempted to do another reply under a nom de bourbon to address the bottlings available for less than $20.

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

07-07-2003, 17:45
I had forgotten about the Old Commonwealth bottling, which we have been told is the same bourbon as the ORVW 10/107 from my list, but at a lower price -- while it lasts.

Regarding the Ezra Brooks Single Barrel, is that bourbon also referred to as "Ezra B 15 year-old"?

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

07-07-2003, 17:52
Especially since you have placed the 375 ml limitation, the basic answer is try anything and everything you can find in that size. Everything you taste will be instructive, especially if you haven't tried it before. But lest I run afoul of the numerical proscription, here are five you should be able to find. I'm deliberately excluding the two, MM and WT, you already have, although those are good choices too.

1. Jack Daniel's
2. Jim Beam (if, perchance, the black label is available, get that)
3. Old Grand-Dad (if, perchance, the bonded is available, get that)
4. Very Old Barton (are you in Texas? If so, it should be available. Get the 100 proof if you can)
5. Evan Williams

If you see and wish to try any other than these, look for the words "Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey" or "Tennessee Whiskey" on the label. In other words, I wouldn't mess with Early Times ("Kentucky Whisky") or any of the American Blends.

07-07-2003, 17:53
Regarding the Ezra Brooks Single Barrel, is that bourbon also referred to as "Ezra B 15 year-old"?


07-07-2003, 18:07
Very good list Dave, I agree buy the Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye no matter what, you will not regret it.

By limiting yourself to 375ml bottles you're not really getting to try some of the better bottlings... Honestly, buy fewer bottles, say 2-3 but get 750ml's, you will be able to try such a better range of fine bourbons. With the 375's you're limited to things like Chuck mentioned like Jack Black, Beam White etc. Now there is nothing wrong with them, but I say get less bottles and try comparing finer bourbon. Hell, even Wild Turkey Russell's Reserve for about $23 is a great bourbon. (though even that will be debated by some haha) I'm sure whatever you choose though TxPride, you'll still enjoy every minute of sampling them!

07-07-2003, 18:42
Lucky for you Blantons Single Barrel and Woodford Reserve are available in the 350 ml size. Blantons is a little steep at around 25 bucks. Woodford is about 15 or so . One or the other and any other 4 from any of the previous suggestions will make my 5. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif

07-07-2003, 19:18
Those available to me in 375mls here in Lexington are:

Knob Creek
Maker's Mark
WT 101
WT 80
WT Rare Breed http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/yum.gif
Old Fitz BIB
Jim Beam Black
Jim Beam White
Woodford Reserve
Ancient Ancient Age 10yo
Old Forester 86 proof
Kentucky Tavern
Blanton's http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/yum.gif

I know that's more than five, but that gives you an idea of what's out there. There are some good bottlings on that list, but keep in mind you will pay much more per ml in this size compared to 750ml bottles. Good luck http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/drink.gif

07-07-2003, 19:50
You guys are awesome.

I only mentioned 375ml because I need more common stuff.

I was in Paradise liquors in some little town north of Ft Worth, Tx yesterday, and noticed they carried 5 ryes, including VWF.

That will be my next buy along with a couple small bottles of bourbons you mentioned.

I will be sure to tell you guys what I think.

Hey- Give me your opinion on this if you don't mind.

I ordered some WT101 neat tonight with dinner. I am 99% sure it was watered down in some fashion. Same flavor, but not 101 proof. I saw the bottle, and it was 101 not 80. How would you guys address something like that?

07-07-2003, 20:21
Well, I was gonna name a few but looks like they're already listed. I had to post though....if only in reply to this:

I have to ease Mrs. TexasPride into understanding the benefit of having a lot of whiskey around the house.

http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif

Good luck!

07-07-2003, 21:02
I doubt a respectable establishment would water down WT 101. I often have suspected that I got Jim Beam and not Makers when ordering at a bar but have never complained.

As far as the 375ML question goes I must say 750 is a better buy and should offer a good selection at a fair price.

Elijah Craig $13.00
WT 80 proof $13.50
Ezra Brooks $9.00
Old Forrester$14.00
Evan Williams Bottled in Bond $12.00

For about $60 you will have a nice start. Take a few weeks to build it up and you will not feel the pinch at all.

07-07-2003, 21:06
Okay, I'll post 5 'must tries' for you, but I simply HAVE to change your criteria, because most of the bourbons you HAVE to try don't come in 375ml bottles. I could easily cut my collection/bunker to 5 'desert island' bottles:

1. Everyday pour---you need to try Buffalo Trace. It's a 'double duty' bourbon good enough to drink straight, but cheap enough you won't cringe when your neighbor pours it in Diet Coke.
2. Premium pour---Pappy 20. (yeah, I know, this is pricey, but it's worth it, and it's simply a MUST TRY if you're a bourbon lover!)
3. Single Barrel/Small Batch---Blanton's. I have yet to taste anything better in the price range, period.
4. Rye---Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye 13yo. Absolutely spectacular, and it's a bargain!!
5. High Octane--Booker's. But only because I can't get George T. Stagg without a long journey, and I can't recommend it if I haven't tried it.

Try these, even at full price and in 750ml bottles. You won't be disappointed.


07-07-2003, 23:40
even Wild Turkey Russell's Reserve for about $23 is a great bourbon. (though even that will be debated by some haha)

only the crazed would debate that!
http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/yum.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/yum.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/yum.gif


07-08-2003, 04:32
Call me crazy then, but RR is the red-headed stepchild of the Wild Turkey line. It would be a nice pour at $15, but I would still probably prefer WT101 at that price. And at only $6 more is Rare Breed, which is a far superior bourbon. Although, you really shouldn't bother with anything less than Kentucky Spirit anyway, because once you've tried the "Big Bird" all others are just chicks and hens http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/drink.gif

07-08-2003, 05:39
I guess I'm crazy, too, because there are several bourbons sold at RR's price point that I would rate as superior to RR. I agree with Jeff's opinion on the RR.

Jeff: Have you tried WT 12yo? It's definitely NOT a chick, nor a hen. In fact, it may just rule the roost. The 12yo, Rare Breed and Kentucky Spirit are all superior bourbons. To choose one as the best WT is difficult, to say the least. The big strike against the 12yo is that it's nearly impossible to find in stores (but, thankfully, easy to find at my house). I find the quality of RB to be ever-so-slightly more consistent from bottle to bottle than KS. RB never fails to amaze and delight me. But, when you get a top-notch bottlng of KS, nothing beats it. Again, I agree with you on the Russell's Reserve: it's good, but not equal to the best WT has to offer.

My Wild Turkey pecking order:

1. Wild Turkey 12yo
1a. Rare Breed
1b. Kentucky Spirit
4. Russell's Reserve (and a distant fourth, at that)
5. WT 101 (nipping at RR's heel)


07-08-2003, 07:44
Jeff: Have you tried WT 12yo

Here is a tasting I did on WT 12yo a while back. (http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/showthreaded.php?Cat=&Board=Tasting&Number=11718&p age=2&view=collapsed&sb=5&o=&fpart=1)

I really enjoy WT12 a lot http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/yum.gif. I did not mention it because of the limited availability. I am hard-pressed to pick a favorite between it and KS, but KS probably gets the edge due to the price difference and availability. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif

07-08-2003, 09:02
Haha, how did I know it would be you Jeff to chime in about RR. Rare Breed, as good as it is, is still $12 more here than RR... I love the whole WT line, but RR is still a good pour for the price. Hey, opinions opinions, they're like http://www.click-smilies.de/sammlung/sauer/angry-smiley-025.gifholes, right? http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif

07-08-2003, 09:18
Here in Lexington, RR goes for about $24 and RB for about $29, so that's really only a $5 difference. $12 is a bit of a bigger jump, but still worth it to me. How 'bout I give you $24 not to make me drink RR http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif

07-08-2003, 09:26
Wow, that's weird. The place around from where I live has RR for only $21 right now but RB is $33-$34 I forget... RB and KS are way overpriced here in NY, but I am still shocked that this store is selling RR for that price. Hey, send that $24 on over, it'll buy me another bottle of RR http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif! But I'm not arguin' with ya', for the price difference you pay in KY between the 2, I'd probably sway towards Rare Breed as well.

07-08-2003, 10:54
A pox upon me for my forgetfulness. Sorry, Jeff. True, WT12 is no longer available. But, when it was available, it was cheaper than KS here in PA.


07-08-2003, 11:08
Last time I saw it in Lexington it was going for $55, compared to $39 for Kentucky Spirit. I haven't seen any in a while so I'll have to make my 1/2 a bottle last a bit http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif. It has turned into sort of a celebratory bourbon for me, pouring only on the best of occasions.

07-08-2003, 13:16
http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gifOkay, your Crazy! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif

you really shouldn't bother with anything less than Kentucky Spirit anyway

3 Reasons:

1) I think that Kentucky Spirit and Russell's Reserve taste very much alike (with KS getting the slight edge).

2) Kentucky Spirit cost me $45, Russells Reserve cost me $23.

3) Russells Reserve is available in OH, while KS involves a road trip.


07-08-2003, 13:20
1. Kentucky Spirit
2. Russells Reserve
3. WT 101
4. Rare Breed (not a knock on Rare Breed as much as I can get a 1.75L jug of 101 for the same price).

I havent had the 12 year yet but some people said they may be able to hook me up come festival time.


07-08-2003, 13:41
I think that Kentucky Spirit and Russell's Reserve taste very much alike

See that's what's so facinating about all of this. To me RR tastes WAY different than KS. There is no snobbery or anything going on in my assesment. If (to me) RR DID taste like KS I would have 1 bottle of KS and 4 of RR. I have long been a champion of the value-class bourbons. Hell, last night I had an AAA 10yo and loved every minute of it for $11.99. Many of my favorites cost less than RR, but in this case KS (and Rare Breed) is worth the extra investment. Of course I seem to be in the minority here, so what do I know http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif

07-08-2003, 13:50
Hey man, its all good.

Tom (if we all liked the same thing, there would only be http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gifONE http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif bourbon bottling. . .) C

07-08-2003, 13:55

07-08-2003, 16:07
I ordered some WT101 neat tonight with dinner. I am 99% sure it was watered down in some fashion. Same flavor, but not 101 proof. I saw the bottle, and it was 101 not 80. How would you guys address something like that?

There is no excuse for watering down or mislabeling bourbons. In most municipalities, such conduct is illegal.

This is how I would respond: Send the manager/owner a http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/hot.gif letter and if you don't get an adequate apology and invitation to a dinner for two on the house, never dine there again.

Actually, two nights ago I dined with a client at a very nice seafood place in Newport Beach, CA, and we had to finish our meal talking over the loud and obnoxious rantings of a bar patron who had had three or four too many. Instead of ushering the ass outside (our waiter informed us that the offender was a "friend of the owner"), he was allowed to remain and continue to offend for the remainder of our otherwise tasty meal. I will be sending a letter to the owner.

07-08-2003, 17:18
Consider yourself debated. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif I just don't get it with WT. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif

I don't mind WT; I just don't love it. I do drink 101 when I am out on the town cuz it's usually the best I can get in most bars. In fact, I had a few WT 101 when I went out last night. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

07-08-2003, 17:41
Even more offensive than a watered down drink is something else put in the bottle. I remember being in a bar a few years ago and ordering a large Jim Beam straight up. I watched the guy pour the drink out of the Jim Beam bottle and ended up with a large SCOTCH!!
Hard to believe but true.
I demanded the attention of the pub Landlord and he was most apologetic, and basically shi**ing bricks. After making me take a blind taste test of Scotch vs Bourbon, the guy knew he was on a hiding to nothing and gave me several free drinks. Now I think about it I should have "dropped the dime" on his scam - the scumbag!

Don't trust, don't fear, don't beg!

07-08-2003, 17:41
Here are my five, keeping in mind a moderate budget:

Wild Turkey Rare Breed
Woodford Reserve
Elijah Craig 12-year old
Old Grand Dad 114

Each of those is from a different distilling company and each is distinctly different from the others. There were some close calls, but you said five and only five, so I won't mention the ones I had a hard time leaving out.


07-08-2003, 17:46
I think it will be difficult to stick to bourbons available in 375 ml, so I'll just list five suggested bourbons. But, I will stay in the spirit of the 375 ml rule and mention relatively inexpensive bourbons. (It seems though that many others ignored your request to keep in mind that you were on a budget.)

Since you appear to be wanting to learn about bourbon (and not just trying to taste the five best bourbons), I will select representatives of several styles.

In no particular order...

W.L. Weller 12 yo
ORVW 107 10 yo
ORVW FR Rye 13 yo
Elijiah Craig 12 yo
Buffalo Trace

All of these are under $20 except the ORVW FRR, which should be under $30.

07-08-2003, 17:52
I agree with that, Tom. I have said several times that, to me, KS and RR taste very similar. I also agree that KS is a little better. My prices are about $46 and $26. However, I can get both at my ABC stores.


07-08-2003, 17:54
And, after my reply agreeing with Tom about KS and RR, I will also agree with you - I much prefer RB to both of them.


07-08-2003, 17:58
Well, then, stock up on RR before they figure it out. And their RB is way overpriced - it is only $31 in Alabama, "the home of high liquor prices".


07-08-2003, 18:54
There is an article in the current, U.K.-based, Whisky Magazine (excellent magazine, scotch whisky-oriented but covering bourbon too, see www.whiskymag.com (http://www.whiskymag.com)) on this very problem and how inspectors try to cope. No doubt the problem is widespread, because compliance is so hard to verify. I reported recently being served "Crown Royal" in a Toronto bar that was nothing of the sort, it tasted like the cheapest whiskey blend seasoned with women's perfume, just awful. The only way is for people who know what things taste like to complain. Malefactors will naturally feel guilty and are more likely to reform if complaints are made.

07-08-2003, 19:16
Same flavor, but not 101 proof. I saw the bottle, and it was 101 not 80. How would you guys address something like that?

Ask them to open and pour from a new bottle. If they care about your business they will do it. If that bottle had been tampered with they will make well drinks out if it or save it for the unsophisticated drinker.

07-09-2003, 08:36
I agree that you have to complain immediately. Proprietors who substitute do so because they believe no one will notice. If you do notice, and make a fuss, they'll be more motivated to change their ways.

07-09-2003, 13:13

I guess I'm in the minority as well. I definitely prefer KS to RR, and I agree that their flavor profiles are quite different. I like Rare Breed quite a bit also, but it falls in between KS and RR IMHO. I also agree that there are lots of good bourbons that are relatively inexpensive that I enjoy. Amazingly enough, I don't always want the expensive stuff, like KS or Stagg. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif There seems to be a time and place for all ranges of the Bourbon spectrum. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/drink.gif


07-09-2003, 22:19
I don't always want the expensive stuff, like KS or Stagg.

I agree with that, I love bottlings like RR (23) AAA 10 (15) And Old Ezra 7/107 ($11), and probably have them twice as often as the so-called good stuff.