View Full Version : New Here, and New to Bourbon

Nick Danger
02-26-2013, 00:10
Hello, all!

I'm Nick from Chicago, and I'm new to bourbon. I've been a scotch drinker for a while and recently decided to expand my horizons.

I have exactly two bottles on my shelf right now:

Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel
Elijah Craig 12yr.

I love the Elmer T. Lee. I'm less crazy about the Elijah Craig. I find the Elijah Craig to be a bit too heavy on the oak flavor and, to my uneducated palate, less complex than the Elmer T. Lee. I don't hate it, I just find it a lot less enjoyable than the Elmer T. Lee. Please forgive me if I've spoken ill of your favorite whiskey - I'm still learning and my tastes are not very sophisticated yet.

I drink my bourbon neat - no ice or mixer.

Based on this tiny bit of information, can you recommend other bourbons in that $25-40ish range that I might like as much as the Elmer T. Lee?

I'm not quite ready to spend the money on a bottle of Blanton's, but I'm told that I'll probably like it very much.

Is it even worth mentioning that the best bourbon I've tried at a bar was the Pappy Van Winkle 20yr? Or does pretty much everyone love that one? I'm definitely not ready to spend that kind of money, not that I could even find a bottle in the store.

Thank you for your recommendations. I plan to do a lot of reading on this forum, and I also plan to visit a good bourbon bar in Chicago for a few tastings before I buy any more full bottles. The Elijah Craig was a slight disappointment given how much praise it got from the guy at the liquor store (the same one who had previously recommended the Elmer T. Lee.)


02-26-2013, 01:43
Welcome Nick.

No harm, no foul on the EC12 - it sure is a polarising whiskey around here.

Have you tried Old Grandad 114 or Old Weller Antique yet? They might be cheaper than your $25 mark depending on your location or unavailable but they are widely thought of as "good value".

Hope to see you around the board or in the chat.

Cheers :)

Special Reserve
02-26-2013, 02:28
Welcome from MI, Nick!

Pieface gave you a couple of great recommendations for a new bourbon drinker to ry.

This is a great place to learn about bourbon.

What did you enjoy on the dark side?


Nick Danger
02-26-2013, 08:51
Have you tried Old Grandad 114 or Old Weller Antique yet?

I haven't tried either yet. In general, I've not been a huge fan of whiskey over 100 proof, because I always seem to add too much or too little water, but appreciation for higher proof whiskey may come with more experience. I'll definitely add these to my "to-sample" list.

What did you enjoy on the dark side?

Well, I wasn't sure I was encouraged to discuss "the dark side" so I left my scotch preferences out of my initial post.

Here's what I have currently on the shelf:

Highland Park 15
Macallan 12
Cragganmore 12
Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban
Glenmorangie Nectar D'Or

I like the balance of peat and smoke in the Highland Park, the sweetness of the Macallan and the totally unique flavor of the Quinta Ruban, which has been finished with two years of extra aging in port casks.

Not sure if my taste in scotch translates to what I'll like in bourbon. I do my best not to compare them.


02-26-2013, 09:17
Good Day Nick and welcome from another Michigan guy.

Not sure about things similar to Elmer T. Lee as I have not tried it but now need to go get a bottle.

I do know that one of my favorites is the Four Roses Small Batch which is about $30 here in Michigan.

Best regards, Tony

02-26-2013, 09:20
Welcome Nick from the PacNW!

02-26-2013, 09:27
Hey Nick, welcome aboard. I think you'll find the major Bourbon producers, like the major Scotch houses, have their 'house styles' and make very consistent ranges of whiskys within those styles. If you like Elmer Lee you will probably also like Blantons and Rock Hill Farms (overly expensive, those two, due to the fancy bottle) or the rye recipe Bourbons from other makers, though ETL is a good touchstone against which to compare other Bourbons. Like Highland Park, it's a good all rounder.

Heaven Hill bottles a number of brands with less wood influence than Elijah Craig, their flagship brand Evan Williams Black label is a good place to start.

Let me invite you to drop by the chatroom some evening and introduce yourself, the icon is on the lower left corner of your screen.

02-26-2013, 16:26
Hi Nick,

Welcome from another Chicagoan.

ETL is one of my favorites. In that price range I'd also recommend Bowman Brothers, Old Weller Antique, Weller 12, OGD 114, and Four Roses 1B. All of them are easily available in the area. When you're ready to move up to the $45-50 range I'd suggest Rock Hill Farms.

If you're looking for good bourbon bars check out Delilahs, Big Star, Longman & Eagle, Sable, and Big Jones.

02-26-2013, 17:02
Where in Chicago are you from? I'm in the western burbs Naperville area and would be happy to let you sample your way through my stash...:)

02-26-2013, 18:28
Welcome Nick and I to started in the world of the "Darkside" you will be simple amazed with what is out there for the money in the bourbon world,I know I was.I wish you well and asks lots of questions you will not find a more well versed group than right here on SB,enjoy and let the bunker building begin!

Nick Danger
02-26-2013, 19:51
Where in Chicago are you from? I'm in the western burbs Naperville area and would be happy to let you sample your way through my stash...:)

I live near downtown, in the Old Town neighborhood. I appreciate the offer, but I'm concerned about the long drive home after sampling your stash. :lol:

In the next few days, I'm going to walk over to Stanley's in Lincoln Park. They have a great bourbon selection. I've been taking notes of all the bourbons suggested here, and I'm going to sample at least a couple of them. I also plan to visit Chicago's bourbon mecca: Delilah's. They are supposed to have the best selection in town.