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View Full Version : Thought I'd mention my favorite bourbons - see if anyone wants to comment



DreamTheater
09-21-2012, 12:58
I am not being narcissistic here guys in thinking anyone cares what I drink. At the same time, I thought I would throw this thread out there to see if I can entice anyone to try any of these or maybe to get some good leads for myself.

I have over 250 whiskeis (about 60% scotch, 40% bourbon) and I have found my absolute favorites to be: Old Weller 107; Rip Van Winkle 10 year 107 proof (I believe this is the exact same whisky as O.W. 107 but just a higher quality); Knob Creek; and then my two favorites would have to be Bookers and Old Weller Antique Collection...oh and George Stagg Antique Collection.

Arguably these all taste about the same but with just increasing quality.

Anyways, the ultimate impetus for me starting this thread is I bought some Bookers a couple years ago and, b/c of its price, I didnt drink it for a while just b/c I didnt want to blast through it. Well, I cracked it back open the other night and what a mistake. That is some of the finest spirit out there in my opinion.

I'd love to hear of whiskies that you guys like - especially if you find that you share my same favorites and then what else you drink beyond that.

MauiSon
09-21-2012, 13:22
We care. It's just that it would be easier to respond if you didn't make quixotic statements like, "I believe this is the exact same whisky as O.W. 107 but just a higher quality," or, "Arguably these all taste about the same but with just increasing quality." I'm not sure those sentiments convey information.

How about telling us your top-shelf, mid-shelf, bottom-shelf sets or top individual rankings?

Again, we care, but it's hard to make much sense out of what you're trying to communicate here, other than 'I've got a large collection and I really like OWA, RVW10/107 and Knob Creek, but I just tried Booker's and it's swell!'

White Dog
09-21-2012, 14:40
I've gotta say, Booker's, Larue, and Stagg are all vastly different to me. And OWA is about half the age of Old Rip.

AaronWF
09-21-2012, 15:05
Arguably these all taste about the same but with just increasing quality.

I'd like to try to get to the bottom of this statement. Increasing quality implies to me that they aren't, in fact, the same, but that those at the higher end of the quality spectrum taste somehow better. So, what do you mean by increasing quality?

Sounds like you like your bourbons over-proofed. Ever try any single-barrel cask-strength Four Roses?

Brisko
09-21-2012, 21:37
I'd like to try to get to the bottom of this statement. Increasing quality implies to me that they aren't, in fact, the same, but that those at the higher end of the quality spectrum taste somehow better. So, what do you mean by increasing quality?

Sounds like you like your bourbons over-proofed. Ever try any single-barrel cask-strength Four Roses?

LOL. His into to the forum was airing how much he hated his FRSB 2011 LE.

darylld911
09-22-2012, 06:56
I like those you called out, although I honestly think I prefer the Old Rip 90 over the Old Rip 107 (although it has been a while since I did a side by side of the two). I like Bookers, Stagg, and WLW - and while I enjoy Knob Creek I don't own it (as it is one of the few decent bourbons available at the bar near work, so I get my fix then).

It sounds like you prefer drams which are very forward with their flavors - like a Bookers. Some don't care for it due to its almost syrupy sweetness, but I kinda like that about it.

I also really like Handy and CEHT Barrel Proof, which IMHO have a lot of flavor up front. I think that is why I'm not a huge Scotch fan, as I've been to tastings where they pour 5 things and I can't tell the difference while the experts are expounding over the "slight nuance". I guess I'm lazy in that I don't want to work so hard to detect the flavors in my whiskey :lol:

ILLfarmboy
09-22-2012, 08:04
I love both OWA and ORVW 10 107. They are the same whiskey at different ages; approx 7 years for the Weller and 10 years for the Old Rip. I wouldn't say the quality is vastly different. Though, Julian does pick specific barrels for ORVW and he may very well be pickier than those selecting barrels for WSR/OWA.

I like Booker's well enough. But I find it a bit hot for its proof. I'd rather have BT at the same proof. I guess what I'm saying is I don't find Beam whiskeys as flavorful. That said, I won't be paying 70 dollars for the seven year old EH Taylor JR. Well, not as a regular purchase, anyhow. I'll have to be blown away by it to justify it as a regular pour.

Love GTS. But I haven't bought any for several years. I still have several bottles bunkered. It just became such a pain in the ass to track down and the price kept going up. Same deal with Handy, except I kept buying it a year or two longer, albeit in less quantities than I use to. The fact that its a damn tasty barrel proof rye set it apart and made it more dear to me that GTS.

I never found WLW worth all the work to get it. Not when acquiring things like ORVW 10 107 and lot B are so much easier and scratch very similar itches. Personally, I have always found Larue to be "closed". If it takes water to open it up, why run all over hell's half acre or pay exorbitant shipping fees to chase down a barrel proof wheater when I can just go to the cabinet and pull out a bottle of ORVW 10 107?

DreamTheater
09-23-2012, 11:38
Well, I will try to be a bit more clear on what I mean by "increasing quality" but as i'm trying to reason it out...it is proving a difficult concept to put down into words.

When I reach for bourbon I find myself wanting that viscous, brown sugar, coat your mouth flavor/feel. I get that experience in all the whiskies I mentioned in my original post that I love. I feel I get more quality out of the different whiskies I mentioned based on how well that particular brand marries the mouth feel, the hotness, and the clarity of the flavors I'm describing. I know this is not particularly clear but it's what I've got. Tonight or tomorrow I will taste all of them next to each other (which I've never done ALL of them like this) and see if I can gain any additional insight.

Contrasting these whiskies to something that comes quickly to mind: Four Roses bourbons. All very good yes, with the exception of the 2011 SBLE (I will maintain to my dying day that there was something wrong with my bottle or the cask it came from). But they all have very low viscosity, more effervescent than viscous mouth feel, and more subtle flavoring (also less sweet). I like 'em all, but will rarely reach for them over one of my listed favorites.

Bmac
09-23-2012, 12:28
Me personally, I tired Booker's at a restruant and I enjoyed it, just not at it's price point. OWA for me is difficult to enjoy because str8 out of the bottle it's overly hot. The burn numbs any flavor I can detect. It.takes a good 3 or more months before it opens up and I can finally detect great flavors.

I do agree that i enjoy non-chill filtered high-proof whiskies. They just have more flavor.

Right now I'd have to give props to GTS. It never disapoints.

ILLfarmboy
09-23-2012, 17:34
This thread prompted me to pour some Booker's last night. I know I have liked this in the past, but last night, perhaps because of some of the negative statements regarding this I have recently read, all I got was cola nut/sweetness and a bit of oak and it was all overshadowed by the alcohol. This afternoon I has some GTS (141.2) while watching a couple movies with the wife. Don't know if it was the mood, the movies, or the Stagg but I kept adding a bit more to my glass every time I was just about out. By the time we had gotten through some flick with Will Farell and Robert Douvall, Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas and The hang over II, I was more than ready for my Sunday afternoon nap. :drinking: Now I'm up again...... and I forgot to take anything out for supper before laying down,( like I told the wife I would)......I blame the good folks at BT.

DreamTheater
09-24-2012, 06:32
That's another thing that I love about most of the bourbons I mentioned though - a few people have mentioned them being too hot - that is EXACTLY what makes them worth the money they cost. You can and likely should cut most all of the bourbons I mentioned. But if you are in a mood not to do so - dont! Sadly, I find my palate becoming more comfortable with really hot whiskies which sucks because "cask strength" or high proof always costs more and now I'm not enjoying diluting them like I used to.

Sometime soon this week I am going to break into all of these and do a side by side by side, etc. It will be interesting to see where I put them all.

White Dog
09-24-2012, 08:12
That's another thing that I love about most of the bourbons I mentioned though - a few people have mentioned them being too hot - that is EXACTLY what makes them worth the money they cost. You can and likely should cut most all of the bourbons I mentioned. But if you are in a mood not to do so - dont! Sadly, I find my palate becoming more comfortable with really hot whiskies which sucks because "cask strength" or high proof always costs more and now I'm not enjoying diluting them like I used to.

Sometime soon this week I am going to break into all of these and do a side by side by side, etc. It will be interesting to see where I put them all.

I don't consider something to be "hot" just because it's barrel proof. Stagg has lots of alcohol, but also lots of flavor. Same with various PHC releases. I don't consider them "hot." Booker's, IMHO, is HOT, in that the flavors aren't there to balance out the alcohol. Booker's is simply hot, and unbalanced, and as you cut it, it becomes thin, at least to my palate. Not all barrel proof whiskeys are equal, and not all are worth the money. Many are worth it, but not all.

p_elliott
09-24-2012, 08:44
LOL. His into to the forum was airing how much he hated his FRSB 2011 LE.

I wasn't too fond of this whiskey either but others sure liked it as I took it to the gazebo and it didn't come home with me.

ILLfarmboy
09-24-2012, 11:20
I don't consider something to be "hot" just because it's barrel proof. Stagg has lots of alcohol, but also lots of flavor. Same with various PHC releases. I don't consider them "hot." Booker's, IMHO, is HOT, in that the flavors aren't there to balance out the alcohol. Booker's is simply hot, and unbalanced, and as you cut it, it becomes thin, at least to my palate. Not all barrel proof whiskeys are equal, and not all are worth the money. Many are worth it, but not all.

Exactly!.........

DreamTheater
09-25-2012, 13:03
My definition of "hot" runs just a little bit different from White Dog's. I dont think it is an exactly defined term and, while I find your definition to be very well thought out I modestly proffer my own definition.

To me, "hot" is entirely dependent upon mouth feel/process of taking the liquor into your mouth and swallowing it. I have never met a cask strength whisky from a reputable distillery that was not also hot. When a person has to take the tiniest of sips b/c any more would be overwhelming, that signifies "hot" to me. When a whisky should probably be cut to really release its subtlties, it is probably hot. And if it is over 107 proof, probably "hot".

I realize that this is really nitpicky stuff - I'm just trying to lay out my definition for whatever it is worth.

Normally, I do not like drinking something that can quickly be characterized as boring or overly sweet or whatever. It appears a lot of people here are not too keen on Bookers (and I certainly think the price sucks) but damned if I dont find it to be utterly and completely delicious. Would I rather drink my WLW Antique? Uh...yeah. But at an additional $38/bottle above what the Bookers costs...I just cant drink it with the frequency I would like.

Here's a wild card for you all - has anyone had McCarthy's Single Malt Whiskey (out of Oregon)? It is modeled after Islay scotches and is AMAZINGLY only three years old. I think that this is some of the finest spirit available when you consider all known factors.

ILLfarmboy
09-25-2012, 16:26
Dream,

You sound like you come from a scotch back-round.

My opinion is by no means authoritative, but I'd imagine White Dog and many others here would probably agree.

The flavor profile of any bourbon can and should stand up to bottling at higher proofs than most scotches, since it comes off the still at at a relatively low proof and has lots, relatively speaking, of flavor that comes from the barrel. When evaluating any bourbon, I fault it for having to be diluted to be appreciated. Having said that, there's noting wrong with adding water to barrel proof whiskeys and when picking out barrels for a dump or a private label, the bourbon is, and should be diluted significantly, say even down to 30% or a bit less, for the best evaluation. But if the alcohol obtrudes and it can't be enjoyed at 50% or somewhat higher for those that are bottled higher, there's something wrong, in my opinion. Well, maybe "wrong" is too strong a word. But it certainly should be faulted for this.

WSR and Weller Antique are the same whiskey, the very same barrels, even, with SR being taken down to 90 proof and Antique down to 107. You'll find a lot of love here for Antique, not near so much for SR. Why? It's not that we are all trying to prove how manly we all are, but we genuinely like the extra flavor and we appreciate those bourbons that can stand up to higher bottling proofs and not have the alcohol dominate. This is why Booker's doesn't get the love that Stagg gets.