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savs165
12-13-2012, 09:33
Hey guys! Im new here and have a silly question.

First off, Im mainly a beer drinker. I love craft beers and brewing my own, but Ive always had an interest in bourbon. A good friend of mine raves about his bourbon collection and Ive always wanted to buy a bottle of something to "start" with.

I was wondering if anyone can reccommend a good place to start. I know its all a matter of personal taste, but the last time I even had bourbon was 10+ years ago, so I dont even know where to begin. Id say that Id like it to be on the sweeter side and around $20-30. Also, Im on the east coast if that helps.

Any suggestions?

Thanks! :lol:

Yeti
12-13-2012, 10:01
My opinion of it has changed over the years, but I think Maker's Mark is a good place to start and meets your criteria. If you can find it, Old Weller Antique 107 is wonderful. Maybe Larceny as well?

jeffrey r
12-13-2012, 10:05
My opinion of it has changed over the years, but I think Maker's Mark is a good place to start and meets your criteria. If you can find it, Old Weller Antique 107 is wonderful. Maybe Larceny as well?

All good suggestions. $20-$30 is a great range for bourbon, also with Weller 12, Eagle Rare 10, Elmer T Lee, Four Roses Small Batch, Old Grandad 100 and 114, Evan Williams Single Barrel. All of these would be interesting to delve into, all with different flavor profiles. But for sweeter side as you request, I would say Old Weller Antique 107 is a great choice, or its "older" brother Weller 12, or its lower proof brother Weller Special Reserve.

Also, you might put your location in your profile so we can see where you are from. There are some regional bourbons that not everyone has access to, especially if you are in KY.

JB64
12-13-2012, 10:05
I second the Makers Mark recommendation. Even though it is lacking in some of the complexity the more experienced members of this board desire it would be a good starting point on your journey. Enjoy and welcome to the community.

Rockefeller
12-13-2012, 10:13
Are you accustomed to drinking whiskey/liquor neat? If not, you may want to first build your tolerance. It won't matter what you drink if you're not used to the burn.

mark fleetwood
12-13-2012, 11:38
Are you accustomed to drinking whiskey/liquor neat? If not, you may want to first build your tolerance. It won't matter what you drink if you're not used to the burn.
Right. I recall seeing a video with Fred Noe in which he suggested that if you're winching taking a sip, then the proof is simply too high. And more importantly that its no sin to just keep cutting it with water (as much as necessary) until you're not winching. Different levels for different people, but lower the proof and start enjoying..

Halifax
12-13-2012, 11:45
I would look at a decent lower proof bourbon to start with. Try it neat and/or on the rocks. Work your way up there. Old Charter 10yr @ 86 proof, Four Roses Yellow @ 80 proof, Evan William Single Barrel @ 86 proof.... All would make for a great start. Good luck and enjoy!

Rockefeller
12-13-2012, 12:13
I would look at a decent lower proof bourbon to start with. Try it neat and/or on the rocks. Work your way up there. Old Charter 10yr @ 86 proof, Four Roses Yellow @ 80 proof, Evan William Single Barrel @ 86 proof.... All would make for a great start. Good luck and enjoy!

How I "trained" to drink whiskey neat years and years ago:

Bought a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black
1st night: 2oz + 4oz water
2nd night: 2oz + 3oz water
3rd night: 2oz + 2oz water
4th night: 2oz + 1oz water
5th night: 2oz + 0.5oz water
6th night: 2oz + splash of water
7th night: 2oz neat

You now have a gradually conditioned brain/mouth that no longer overreacts to high proof liquor.

JB64
12-13-2012, 12:23
How I "trained" to drink whiskey neat years and years ago:

Bought a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black
1st night: 2oz + 4oz water
2nd night: 2oz + 3oz water
3rd night: 2oz + 2oz water
4th night: 2oz + 1oz water
5th night: 2oz + 0.5oz water
6th night: 2oz + splash of water
7th night: 2oz neat

You now have a gradually conditioned brain/mouth that no longer overreacts to high proof liquor.

When I first started drinking whiskey neat I just did it with no cutting. I made the whiskey face and did that little chicken wing move like Jack Nicholson did in Easy Rider after he took a pull from the JBW bottle.

Rutherford
12-13-2012, 12:49
Go over to your good friend's house and sample some of his favorite mid-shelf bourbons. Add ice or water as needed if it is too hot. There's no good reason to buy too many bottles on your own if you can get a good idea what your preferences are from his stock.

Flyfish
12-13-2012, 13:48
How I "trained" to drink whiskey neat years and years ago:

Bought a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black
1st night: 2oz + 4oz water
2nd night: 2oz + 3oz water
3rd night: 2oz + 2oz water
4th night: 2oz + 1oz water
5th night: 2oz + 0.5oz water
6th night: 2oz + splash of water
7th night: 2oz neat

You now have a gradually conditioned brain/mouth that no longer overreacts to high proof liquor.

Sounds remarkably similar to how I learned to drink Johnny Walker in 1970. I shared an office with a fellow from Fort Worth who set out a bottle of JW and a bowl of jalepenos. The routine was to take a bite of the pepper and then cool it down with a swig of JW. It did not take a week to get the hang of it. From there, of course, I learned that bourbon is far superior and that the jalepenos were no longer necessary.

Lazer
12-13-2012, 14:20
Larceny! Drink it neat, no ice no water. use a wine glass. have a glass of water on the side, not too cold. :cool:

Tucker
12-13-2012, 14:48
Some good advice here...

http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showthread.php?14401-How-To-Get-Started

dryeager
12-13-2012, 14:56
I started on Maker's Mark and my palate has since evolved but always recommend it as a good starting point.

Curtisc84
12-13-2012, 16:43
When I first started drinking whiskey neat I just did it with no cutting. I made the whiskey face and did that little chicken wing move like Jack Nicholson did in Easy Rider after he took a pull from the JBW bottle.

This is awesome. I have definitely been there.

I started with Maker's Mark as well. Good stuff.

squire
12-13-2012, 20:26
Hey 165, welcome aboard. Four Roses yellow label is as good a place to start as any, think of it as Baby Bear's porridge, not too sweet, not too sharp, just right.

JPBoston
12-13-2012, 20:35
I think starting with a couple different bourbons will help you begin learning the nuances.

Some of the easier, nicely priced drinks I've had are Buffalo Trace, Evan Williams Black Label, and Old Weller Antique (maybe cut it with water if you find it burns too much).

While I understand people saying start with Maker's Mark --- my last bottle or two tasted of pure alcohol burn, while the 50ml sized bottle I had a few weeks ago (just had an 'itch' to have a pour of it) was quite sweet and pleasant. So I'm not sure which experience to trust on that one. ;)

Knob Creek is one of my favs and sits right near the top of the price range you mentioned. Might not be the 'easiest' drink, but I find it quite rewarding... and the best thing is that it's readily available.

bigtoys
12-13-2012, 20:49
I'll second the Eagle Rare and 4R yellow, unless you want to splurge on one of the upper level 4R.
Rowan's Creek also comes to mind for about $35

kingcohiba
12-13-2012, 21:06
im a newbie and i really fancy w l weller special reserve, old rip van winkle 10, lot b, 15 year, blantons, knob creek (kinda spicy), makers 46, and 4 roses. IMO (and take it with a grain of salt, but im a newbie like you) start with the 4 roses. seems to be pretty smooth and it wont break the bank. the weller is good too. cant wait to try the 107 proof weller.

ChainWhip
12-13-2012, 21:35
Like others have said, once you get your palate acclimated to the higher alcohol content, you're good to jump off the deep end.

There's probably a range of bourbons (most have been mentioned here) that'll give you a good primer of landscape.

Welcome to SB!

Halifax
12-14-2012, 06:47
How I "trained" to drink whiskey neat years and years ago:

Bought a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black
1st night: 2oz + 4oz water
2nd night: 2oz + 3oz water
3rd night: 2oz + 2oz water
4th night: 2oz + 1oz water
5th night: 2oz + 0.5oz water
6th night: 2oz + splash of water
7th night: 2oz neat

You now have a gradually conditioned brain/mouth that no longer overreacts to high proof liquor.

I never "trained" myself to drink whiskey neat. I started drinking whiskey mixed with soft drinks. After a few years I moved to drinking whiskey on the rocks. One day I bought an ultra-aged bourbon, and it fell apart with ice. I sipped it neat, and was turned onto a whole different realm of flavors. Today I drink most of my bourbon neat, and now my new journey is exploring barrel proof expression that are non-chill filtered. Whiskey is great... Take your time and enjoy it. Explore it.

unclebunk
12-14-2012, 07:02
I never "trained" myself to drink whiskey neat. I started drinking whiskey mixed with soft drinks. After a few years I moved to drinking whiskey on the rocks. One day I bought an ultra-aged bourbon, and it fell apart with ice. I sipped it neat, and was turned onto a whole different realm of flavors. Today I drink most of my bourbon neat, and now my new journey is exploring barrel proof expression that are non-chill filtered. Whiskey is great... Take your time and enjoy it. Explore it.

Funny how the brain works and you adapt to stuff. There was a time when even Maker's Mark was firewater to me. Now I can drink high octane barrel strength whiskey with a straw like it's a bottle of Yoo-hoo!:grin:

savs165
12-14-2012, 11:40
Thanks for all the recommendations guys! Im going to pick something up tonight. Ill reply back and let ya'll know how it turns out!

JB64
12-17-2012, 12:57
What did you end up buying?

bigtoys
12-17-2012, 17:20
we're waiting to hear
http://i230.photobucket.com/albums/ee132/bigtoys335/etoh/redstaggsmall.jpg

ILLfarmboy
12-17-2012, 20:51
Someone mentioned maker's 46. I think if you're going to go Maker's step up a half notch and get Maker's 46. It has a bit more flavor than the standard and it shouldn't be too high a proof for a beginner.

matthewdc
12-18-2012, 06:35
I may be in the minority here but for a beginner I'd also recommend Bulleit Bourbon. Very reasonably priced. It does have a higher rye content than the typical bourbon so has a good bit of spice to it but at 90 proof not too hot. BUT it also has a nice honey and caramel taste on the palate, if you are looking for something with sweet notes to it. definitely a good bargin, I think.

squire
12-18-2012, 09:12
The OP doesn't mention if he will be mixing his drinks, if so Jack or Jim would do.