PDA

View Full Version : Premium Bourbons with relatively high QPR



soonami
07-03-2012, 11:06
There are a couple threads that detail the good value pours either less than $20 or from $30-40. However, I want to hear suggestions for good bourbons (or rye) that even at $60-80 that you still think are excellent purchases for the price and also bourbons to stay away from.

I'm a newcomer to the game, but have started acquiring both everyday bourbons (OWA, OGD114, EWSB, EC12, ER10) and also some pricier special stuff (PVW20, FRSmBLE, Handy, JPS17, VB17). I wanted to know what are good buys in this range. It's easy to buy every single BTAC, VW, PHC, and FR LE release, but what's actually a good buy? If you had to pick from them which ones do you regret buying and which are great buys, what are they?

I haven't opened all the higher end stuff I've opened, so I'm not sure if I made a mistake or the right decision in buying everything I own. But the Spring 2012 PVW20 was definitely a hit and 2011 VB17 a miss for me.

sutton
07-03-2012, 11:20
I'd say the Four Roses Limited Ed. SB bottlings - for me it is all there, proof, age, complexity, availability, and price. I've had 2009, 2010, and 2011 and haven't been disappointed yet. When BTACs are on lottery/allocation and you can find this on the shelf, it is excellent value for the $$.

dridge11
07-03-2012, 12:12
Even less expensive than the $60-80 range, the 4R Private Barrel Selections. Usually $50-$60 and cask strength, super good.

MrAtomic
07-03-2012, 12:24
I haven't opened all the higher end stuff I've opened, so I'm not sure if I made a mistake or the right decision in buying everything I own.

Soonami, why not start by opening the bottles you've already purchased? There's no better way to figure out which are worth your $60-80 and what characteristics you enjoy.

But the issue with honing your tastes on limited release, high-end whiskies is that you may have a tough time finding lower-priced pours with similar characteristics. As an example, you've tried and liked PVW20 and disliked V17. So, you've confirmed that you enjoy a very hard-to-find, old wheated bourbon from a shuttered distillery that will taste different in the future (S-W whiskey is a finite resource) and that you don't like a fairly hard-to-find, old, soon-to-be-discontinued wheated bourbon from an undisclosed distillery. It's hard to apply this knowledge to more readily available bottlings.

I'd suggest you open what you've already bought, and see what styles and brands you like. If you dig the limited edition 4R, try some of the standard single barrel and small batch, or work your way through the 10 unique styles of 4R available from stores like Binny's, K&L, or The Party Source. Those run about $50. After trying some, you'll be able to decide for yourself whether a limited edition 4R is worth $20-30 more than the standard or retailer-picked versions. And those bottles you don't like may change over time, or grow more appealing as your tastes change. If they still don't ring your bell, you've learned something useful -- and can trade them for samples of whiskies you've not yet tried.

I don't buy the annual 4R limited editions. The retailer-picked bottlings (especially OBSK, OBSQ, OESQ and OBSV) keep me plenty happy, and at around $50 are the best deal in bourbon-dom. The 6-7 year old Thomas Handy ryes are great, but not worth my $75-85 when I can find uncut, unfiltered 5 year old Willett rye for $35. If I'm spending a lot of money on rye, I'll wait until I find some VWFRR. But you may disagree, as I'm sure many members will. I think Elijah Craig 18 is worth every penny of its price, even though I don't dig every bottle I've tried. From the BTAC, I think Saz 18, William Larue Weller, and Stagg are worth what they cost. I believe Pappy 15 is fairly priced (before the silly mark-ups), but have no energy to fight the herds for a stray bottle.

Young Blacksmith
07-03-2012, 12:36
I'm a fan of Heaven Hill, so both PHC and EWSB's are consumed here, along with one I consider slightly higher end, EC18. Just had a taste of a bottling barreled in '91, and it was great. I've heard the '90 barrels are not so good though.

4R is another one I will not pass up. Distillery bottles, LE's, mariages, etc. Not a huge fan of the standard small batch, but the LE is another beast.

I flirt with the BATC's, and while I'm sure they are good, have only picked up a Stagg and have tasted a Handy. I'd buy another Handy if the price was lower. The CEHT's are another hit and miss for me. The first sour mash was amazing, but the second was nothing special, which meant I didn't do the third or now the fourth.

I consider Old Forester BB to be a premium, even though the price is low. If they're staring me in the face and I have the cash I'll get one, but I won't hunt them out like 4R.

soonami
07-03-2012, 12:49
Soonami, why not start by opening the bottles you've already purchased? There's no better way to figure out which are worth your $60-80 and what characteristics you enjoy.

But the issue with honing your tastes on limited release, high-end whiskies is that you may have a tough time finding lower-priced pours with similar characteristics. As an example, you've tried and liked PVW20 and disliked V17. So, you've confirmed that you enjoy a very hard-to-find, old wheated bourbon from a shuttered distillery that will taste different in the future (S-W whiskey is a finite resource) and that you don't like a fairly hard-to-find, old, soon-to-be-discontinued wheated bourbon from an undisclosed distillery. It's hard to apply this knowledge to more readily available bottlings.

I'd suggest you open what you've already bought, and see what styles and brands you like. If you dig the limited edition 4R, try some of the standard single barrel and small batch, or work your way through the 10 unique styles of 4R available from stores like Binny's, K&L, or The Party Source. Those run about $50. After trying some, you'll be able to decide for yourself whether a limited edition 4R is worth $20-30 more than the standard or retailer-picked versions. And those bottles you don't like may change over time, or grow more appealing as your tastes change. If they still don't ring your bell, you've learned something useful -- and can trade them for samples of whiskies you've not yet tried.

I don't buy the annual 4R limited editions. The retailer-picked bottlings (especially OBSK, OBSQ, OESQ and OBSV) keep me plenty happy, and at around $50 are the best deal in bourbon-dom. The 6-7 year old Thomas Handy ryes are great, but not worth my $75-85 when I can find uncut, unfiltered 5 year old Willett rye for $35. If I'm spending a lot of money on rye, I'll wait until I find some VWFRR. But you may disagree, as I'm sure many members will. I think Elijah Craig 18 is worth every penny of its price, even though I don't dig every bottle I've tried. From the BTAC, I think Saz 18, William Larue Weller, and Stagg are worth what they cost. I believe Pappy 15 is fairly priced (before the silly mark-ups), but have no energy to fight the herds for a stray bottle.
Thanks for the long, well thought out reply. I guess I have this collector mentality that I want to scoop up all the rare bottles so that I find and drink them in time.

I have only had a couple samples of bourbons made with SW juice and I have liked the few I've tried. I didn't like V17 not because it wasn't SW, but I thought it was too woody. It was an example that just because a bourbon is limited and cost $70 doesn't mean I'll like it all that much. That's basically where I started with the idea for this thread. I'd rather spend that $70 the one V17 cost on 3 OWA or put it towards and another bottle of PVW20 that I enjoyed more than twice as much as the V17.

Your last paragraph is exactly what I was looking for. Specific bourbons and comparable products that you feel are in better quality and price. I ran into a some 6yo Willet Rye yesterday for $30 and picked up one. It'll be good to compare that to the Thomas Handy because they are ostensibly the same type of product--uncut, barrel proof Ryes. And then I'll know for the future if the Handy is really worth 2x the price.

It is a good recommendation to open more of the bottles I already have. I picked up some 2012 4RSmB LE yesterday for a steal (~$35, I think they rang up as regular SmB), so I'll be opening that up soon. However, I don't want to have 40 bottles open and only drink from a few. I'd like to keep the number of open bottles around 10 or 15, which allows me to give some bottles a little time but then also have options to choose from. Everyone's tastes are different and it's important to find out what you like, but I guess I want to know what everyone doesn't like so that I can stay away from those at least. I saw a Hirsch 20 year American Whiskey the other day. I think it was barreled in 1987 from a Missouri distillery and was recently bottled. It was around $60, but I passed on it because I hadn't read about it on here or a couple blogs I follow so I figure it probably wasn't a great buy.

dridge11
07-03-2012, 13:09
I picked up some 2012 4RSmB LE yesterday for a steal (~$35, I think they rang up as regular SmB), so I'll be opening that up soon.

Are you sure that's what it is? I thought the 2012 SmB LE didn't come out for another few months.

soonami
07-03-2012, 14:01
Are you sure that's what it is? I thought the 2012 SmB LE didn't come out for another few months.
Maybe it was the 2011 then. It was definitely the SmB bottle and said "Limited Edition" and didn't have the paper label of the regular SmB. I think it was bottle 23xx of 37xx. I'll post a pic if I get a chance later today

Trey Manthey
07-03-2012, 14:56
Here's a good read that might give you some perspective:
http://spiritsjournal.klwines.com/klwinescom-spirits-blog/2012/7/2/historys-pantheon-and-the-importance-of-the-past.html

MrAtomic
07-03-2012, 19:24
Thanks for the long, well thought out reply. I guess I have this collector mentality that I want to scoop up all the rare bottles so that I find and drink them in time.

Soonami, I definitely understand the urge to snag rare bottles while you can. The sense of scarcity and history surrounding hard-to-find bourbons is very appealing.

I hope you enjoy the bottle of Willett rye you picked up. It'll make for an interesting comparison with the Handy, when you choose to open it. I suspect I'm in the minority in thinking that Handy is delicious but overpriced, so it'll be great to hear your opinion.

Oh, and Young Blacksmith makes a great point about the Old Forester Birthday Bourbons, which are definitely reasonably-priced premium whiskies. Birthday Bourbon is different every year, but at $35-40, it's always fun to give it a try.

Clavius
07-03-2012, 19:27
IMHO, PVW 15 is pretty incredible for its normal retail price of about $50. That is, if you can find it...

MyOldKyDram
07-03-2012, 19:31
If you can find it for that price then heck yes it's a good value!

Lazer
07-03-2012, 19:50
The 4R private selection bottles for $55 - $60 is some of the best QPR out there. :cool:

redbear
07-03-2012, 19:53
Might have been the 2012 single barrel.


Are you sure that's what it is? I thought the 2012 SmB LE didn't come out for another few months.

BillP
07-03-2012, 20:17
I agree with the 4R1B as one of the best.

tommyboy38
07-03-2012, 20:34
I agree with Clavius. The PVW15 is a value indeed even though it's $60 a bottle.