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View Full Version : I still find myself not knowing what bourbon to buy.



bgast1
11-02-2012, 14:17
Today I bought Old Grand Dad 114 and W. L. Weller 12 year Binny's single barrel. I usually buy Evan Williams Black. Are there any bourbons out there that are just plain bad and should be avoided? I'd rather have a list of what to avoid than what is good. I wanted to buy another bottle of Larceny today but it was sold out. I really do like that stuff.

HighInTheMtns
11-02-2012, 14:37
I think you'll be happy with the two selections you made.

You won't find a list like that but you can find a lot of info here about most any bottle if you search around a bit.

JB64
11-02-2012, 14:47
Everybody has different tastes. Some people on here have had bottles so bad they have poured them down the drain. Personally I have never bought a bottle so bad that I couldn't use it as a mixer. I say give erverything a chance, luckily most of the bourbons that people have claimed were "bad" don't cost very much.

ILLfarmboy
11-02-2012, 15:02
Safest bet is to avoid, for the time being, anything that has a reputation for being variable. EC12 comes to mind. Only because I don't like it.

Ejmharris
11-02-2012, 16:20
To start, as already mentioned, you picked some good quality value bourbons. As a matter of fact these are two of my favorites no matter the price. I was recently introduced to the OGD114 and wish I have given it a shot a long time ago. As for what not to buy that is a hard one. There is a thread on here that has been pretty active recently which talks about people worst bourbon. Just remember no two taste buds are alike. What one person calls trash other love.

Flyfish
11-02-2012, 16:55
You might consider reading through the comments under Straight Bourbon of the Month on SB or try consulting a blog like Sour Mash Manifesto or Sipology for reviews. EW Black is a good solid place to begin your exploration of bourbon and there are lots of interesting places to go from there. If you like WLW and Larceny, OWA is another highly regarded wheater you will probably enjoy.

bgast1
11-02-2012, 17:03
I know that I already like OWA. I am thinking that I might just stick with Evan Williams Black for my least expensive bourbon. I have been doing that for a while. I don't always get out to Binny's so I was just wondering on some of the other inexpensive bourbons. Example would be Early Times, Old Crow Reserve (I think I read some where on here to avoid the regular Old Crow). I think now that Ten High is a blend that would also be one to stay away from. But honestly I don't know about any others.

I am also a fan of Wild Turkey 101. If I recall from some samples I received last year, just about anything Wild Turkey was mighty good.

Thank you all for the replies.

HighInTheMtns
11-02-2012, 17:51
IMO Evan Black is a better choice than Old Crow Reserve or Early Times (which is not a bourbon due to the use of some reused casks but does come from a bourbon mashbill.)

White Dog
11-02-2012, 18:29
Don't be afraid of bad Bourbon. If you don't know bad Bourbon, then how will you know what is good? When I started, my goal was to try all of the standard releases from every distillery, and that's what I did. If you never do that, and only rely on what others say, you'll always be guessing as to what you will or won't like.

Young Blacksmith
11-02-2012, 18:30
What to avoid? Champion, Kessler, any blended whiskey products, and that's about all I can think of off the top of my head. Most others are serviceable. You'll get to the point one day where you walk into a store and think why would I pick up any of this stuff? I've tried it all, and either don't care to again, or have multiples at home!

WAINWRIGHT
11-02-2012, 18:39
I have to agree with White Dog about trying as much as you see fit,find your suited flavor profile by way of mashbill,age and distiller and go from there.

HighInTheMtns
11-02-2012, 18:43
I have to agree with White Dog about trying as much as you see fit,find your suited flavor profile by way of mashbill,age and distiller and go from there.
This really highlights something that is key for me to find things I want to try. Learn about mashbills, learn which distillers make which products, and when faced with a decision about whether to buy something you'll be able to make an informed choice. Look at the whiskey tree thread, it's a great place to start.

spinningrecords
11-02-2012, 19:03
When I started, my goal was to try all of the standard releases from every distillery, and that's what I did.

I wish I had done this sooner. I worked the top shelf too long at first and now I'm going back and hitting the mid-shelf standards. Most nights I drink the mid-shelf products and let the high end stuff sit for another night. I'll work back to the top shelf more later after my education is more complete.

Here are my recommendations for a good starting pointing to get the lay of the land. All are reasonable good labels and none of them will break the bank.

Baker's Small Batch
Blanton's Single Barrel
Buffalo Trace
Elijah Craig
Four Roses Single Barrel
Four Roses Small Batch
Jack Daniel's Single Barrel
Knob Creek
Maker's Mark or even Maker's 46
Old Weller Antique
Wild Turkey Rare Breed or Kentucky Spirit

PaulO
11-03-2012, 07:10
Concerning Early Times and Old Crow, I like Early Times 354. There are two versions of Early times, and 354 is bourbon. There are also two Old Crows. I think the black label is aged a bit longer, and 6 more proof. These along with Beam white label are ones I avoid. If you like Evan Williams, there are many other Heaven Hill brands to try. The same for Weller, and Buffalo Trace and their brands. :cool:

AaronWF
11-03-2012, 09:25
Today I bought Old Grand Dad 114 and W. L. Weller 12 year Binny's single barrel.

Look at that Weller bottle again. What do you see that makes you think it's a Binny's single barrel? It's been years since Binny's did a Weller 12yo barrel. At which location did you buy it?

LongBeachScott
11-07-2012, 22:48
As far as what to avoid goes, price always enters into it.

I don't bother avoiding anything bottom shelf. Like others, the best cheap bourbon I have found to my taste is EWB and I usually have a bottle around, but I never avoid buying anything cheap just to try it out. I am never disappointed because I don't expect a lot and frequently these bottles, while not always great, are better than I expect. Similarly, I find the $20-$30 range to be easy to pick from. People have mentioned a lot of bourbons already that are great values. To me, $35-$50 is more likely to create disappointment. There are some excellent bourbons in that range, but this is also where I have most often had my expectations dashed. Probably because price creates expectation. Also, some of the microdistilleries try to sit in this range and I just haven't found one I thought matched up.

I remember buying Breaking and Entering (a St George's distillery blend of a bunch of sourced bourbons) for about $36 because I kind of liked their single malt whiskey. I hated it at first sip. It wasn't a "bad" bourbon. It just didn't fit into the price point. If it were under $20, I think I would have been ok with it. So, for me, I need to hear good things about these micros several times from people I trust before I will buy one.

sailor22
11-10-2012, 09:44
Are there any bourbons out there that are just plain bad and should be avoided?

Taste is a matter of personal preference. Label popularity contests that show up on the forum are fun but you should never let them trump your personal choices. It's always your own palate that will be the deciding factor.

I'm not aware of any Bourbon on the shelf that is so outside the norm that it is universally regarded as bad.

Flyfish
11-10-2012, 12:38
Taste is a matter of personal preference. Label popularity contests that show up on the forum are fun but you should never let them trump your personal choices. It's always your own palate that will be the deciding factor.

I'm not aware of any Bourbon on the shelf that is so outside the norm that it is universally regarded as bad.
I don't know about that. Is there anybody out there who likes Old Crow? Once upon a time it was a respectable bourbon. I haven't had in years but my recollection is that it was pretty horrid stuff.

JPBoston
11-10-2012, 22:21
Like others have said... it's tough to find a bourbon so bad you can't at least use it in an Old Fashioned or at the very least a whiskey and coke, so don't be too timid to try different brands out.

I tend to avoid Maker's Mark (even though I love that damned bottle and am always drawn to it) because I feel it's too 'plain' for its usual price point.

My biggest disappointment was Jim Beam Black, despite its fairly low price. I love KC 100, and was in the mood to give JBB a shot, and it just didn't cut it for me... it had a really bitter taste, and not much else.

Old Forrester 86 was odd... I found it pretty enjoyable if I was in the right mood for it, but it seemed to be the wildest deviation from 'normal bourbon' to my palate (must be the pot still? Woodford Reserve seems to mellow that odd flavor out more).


Lastly... I too am on the EWB 'value brand' bandwagon. I always have a handle of it kicking around.

HighInTheMtns
11-11-2012, 00:02
Old Forrester 86 was odd... I found it pretty enjoyable if I was in the right mood for it, but it seemed to be the wildest deviation from 'normal bourbon' to my palate (must be the pot still? Woodford Reserve seems to mellow that odd flavor out more).
Old Forester is made on a column still.

JPBoston
11-11-2012, 01:40
Old Forester is made on a column still.


Whoops --- coulda sworn I read it was in copper stills like WR. My bad. :)

HighInTheMtns
11-11-2012, 07:16
Whoops --- coulda sworn I read it was in copper stills like WR. My bad. :)
FWIW, I think Old Forester Signature is worth a shot, I haven't had the 86 proofer so I can't compare them, but I find the 100 proof Signature to be a great value.

unclebunk
11-11-2012, 08:29
FWIW, I think Old Forester Signature is worth a shot, I haven't had the 86 proofer so I can't compare them, but I find the 100 proof Signature to be a great value.

Agreed. It is a favorite "session" bourbon with me and many of my friends and won't break the bank. I'd go for it over the 86 proof every time, though the 86p ain't too shabby either.

JPBoston
11-11-2012, 19:19
OF Signature seems to not be available in my state... I asked my Total Wine to order me a bottle (back when I first tried OF 86), and the manager said it shouldn't be a problem... but it never showed up, and I gave up trying. :(


No VOB either... another value brand that gets good marks whenever it's mentioned. Oh well, at least I get a great deal on EWB (under $15 for 1.75L).