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Just signed on as a member. I enjoy all the usefull bourbon info at this site. I have been trying to learn and taste as much as possible about bourbon for the last couple of years. Married a woman from the South and since the wedding I have slowly been learning to appreciate more than just Jim Beam and Coke. Have built up a small collection so far of the Beam small batch collection, Blantons, Kentucky Spirit, and Hirsch 20 yr.
I Just bought the Hirsch 20 year today and am wondering now if it's something I should save or open. I tend to drink Knob Creek if I want something decent but don't want to cut into my pricier bottles. 2 questions. Should the Hirsch be opened or saved, since it seems there may be limited availabilty? What recommendations as far as creating a well rounded collection of Bourbons.
Welcome aboard MSAP. Please tell us your name so we know what to call you next time. If you love bourbon, congratulate yourself -- you have come to the world's finest bourbon forum.
To build a collection, start by reading our Top 5 poll. Read the tasting notes, Linn's colorful reviews and check MashBill and Lipman's homepages for what may arguably be the two best individual collections of bourbon anywhere in the planet.
If your desire for bourbon knowledge becomes all consuming, then come to the bourbon festival in Bardstown, Kentucky in mid September. Bring that Hirsch bottle along -- you will make many instant friends, even if we don't know your name!
The 20 Hirsch is a great bourbon to collect, but the 16 in my opinion is better to drink.
Thanks for the reply Omar. My name is Mike. Actually a buddy and I are considering the trip in September.
I believe the prevailing philosophy here (I know it's mine) is that whiskey is for drinking. While the supply of true Hirsch (i.e., Michter's) must inevitably run out, there still seems to be plenty of it around. Try it. That's the only way you'll know if it deserves its big reputation (not to mention its price). Everyone's taste is different and what you like is all that matters.
One suggestion I would have for a well-rounded collection is to try and sample products from each distillery. The Beam Small Batch collection is fine, but they are all the product of one company and their two distilleries and three of the four (all but Basil Hayden) are essentially the same whiskey at different ages and proofs. The products of some distilleries, such as Four Roses and Barton, can be a little difficult to obtain. It is also possible, with the Hirsch and others, to obtain products made at distilleries that are no longer producing. Tasting the products of different distilleries and distillers is where you get the real variety. Happy hunting.
--Chuck Cowdery (http://cowdery.home.netcom.com)
I'm also new to both the board and bourbon. Chas is my name and got interested when stopping at Bardstown last Feb.. Am also int in the bourbon fest and have made reservations. But while in Bardstown and at Talbott's was intro'd to Woodford Reserve which I considered one of the better things I have tasted and apologized for all the scotch I've drunk thru the years. Then after buying same
at home base was told that it is Old Forester. I'm not familiar with OF but assume it could be lowere in price, and wonder if tjis is true ..or what is the story. Thanks
It's great having newcomers to the forum! Yes Chas Woodford Reserve is bottled from specially selected barrels of the Old Forester recipe. It's one great bourbon. Old Forester is one of my favorites. It is inexpensive compared to many of the small batch bourbons such as Knob Creek; Russell's Reserve, or Buffalo Trace. Stay tuned as I'm about to post a tasting on Old Forester just as soon as I can get in touch with Lincoln Henderson. He's the Master Distiller for Brown-Forman, and he is responsible for Woodford Reserve; Old Forester, and Early Times.
Have Shotglass. /wwwthreads/images/smile.gif Will Travel.
Mike & Chas,
Welcome to the forum! Don't just read the current posts. Go back and do searches on the older posts as well. There is a wealth of information there.
Also, take Chuck Cowdery's advice and sample some products from other distilleries. Below are my moderate cost suggestions for various distilleries:
1. Buffalo Trace: Try their Eagle Rare 101 10 year old. It's less than $20 and is a best buy. Also try Buffalo Trace if you can find it. If you want to try a wheated bourbon (most use rye for the "small" grain) then try any of the Weller bottlings.
2. Wild Turkey: Try anything they make. My favorites are Russell's Reserve, Rare Breed and the regular 101 proof.
3. Heaven Hill: Get a bottle of Evan Williams Single Barrel 1990 or Elijah Craig 13 year old. You can't go wrong with either of these. For their wheated bourbon, try any of the Old Fitzgerald bottlings.
Old Forester: Try the 101 proof bottling, it's definitely a best buy. And yes, the Woodford Reserve is Old Forester, at least at this time. We all can't wait to taste the pot-stilled product that is actually distilled at L&G.
4. Bernheim (now Heaven Hill): Try any of the Old Charter products. They don't get much mention here, but I really like them. If you can find the 13 year old Proprietor's Reserve, it is a world class bourbon.
5. Jack Daniels: In my opinion their single barrel product is the only thing worth drinking with their name on it, and it is very good.
6. George Dickel: Any of their products are better than the average Jack Daniels bottlings for a Tennessee whiskey, but their 10 year old Special Reserve is one of my favorites.
Now regarding the 20 year Old Hirsch.... to paraphrase Linn... DRINK IT MAN, DRINK IT! Bourbon does not increase in value like wines, so open those bottles and enjoy them! I too have bottles that have not been opened, but I am saving them for a special occassion. I fully intend to open them all.
Again, welcome to the forum! I think you'll find that we bourbon drinkers are a great group of guys and gals. Not at all like the "snooty" wine and scotch drinkers you may be familiar with.
Welcome Chas (and MSAP, too).
The Labrot & Graham distillery, near Versailles, Kentucky, is one of the most historic distilleries in all of Kentucky, and was rebuilt from ruins in 1996 by the Brown-Forman company, makers of Old Forester and Early Times. That was a bold and very expensive move on their part, and the bourbon they have been making there is every bit as bold and experimental. It's also not available to the public yet, since it must be aged and the first distillation is just now starting its sixth year. Rumor has it that something should be releasable soon, but in the meantime Lincoln Henderson, the master distiller for Brown-Forman, selected some of his very best Old Forester barrels and sent them over to Labrot & Graham to be bottled as Woodford Reserve Distiller's Select, so they could have something to sell while the new whiskey ages. I don't think they expected it to win all kinds of acclaim (and competitive awards as well), but it has.
Lincoln is an occasional contributor to this forum. Since we are getting very close to the time when Labrot & Graham's reputation really gets to take off, on it's own merits, maybe this would be a good time for him to give us all a bit of a preview of what to expect. This year, Buffalo Trace appears to hold the distillery spotlight ("Malt Advocate"'s Distillery of the Year award, etc.) and deservedly so. Next year, or the year after, when L&G begins releasing their pot-distilled bourbons (note the plural -- they have more than one kind in the works), that attention will be all theirs.
For some of us, Lincoln's Old Forester always was a worthy, first-class bourbon which just wasn't marketed (or priced) that way. Woodford Reserve is very good, the Best of Old Forester. It costs more, but is still not extravagant as top quality bourbons go. A good challenge (think of it as a Straightbourbon Forum project for you) would be to obtain a bottle of Old Forester, adjust the proof with a splash of water (if you get Old Forester 100, add the water to it to make it equal to 90.4 proof Woodford Reserve; if you get the 86 proof Old Forester, add the splash to the Woodford) and let us all know what you think of the two of them.
To say that "Woodford Reserve is Old Forester" is a little too simplistic. No whiskey is a particular brand until the maker selects barrels and bottles the whiskey.
The Woodford Reserve on sale now is whiskey that was distilled at the Early Times Distillery in Shivley, but aged in whole or in part at the Labrot and Graham Distillery outside Versailles. Old Forester and Early Times are also made at the Shivley distillery.
The mashbills for ET and OF are slightly different, and Woodford Reserve is OF mashbill whiskey. The OF mashbill uses more rye and, consequently, less corn.
In addition to being aged at a different location, the Woodford Reserve is undoubtedly older. Most of all, it is whiskey that tastes the way they want Woodford Reserve to taste, which is different from the way they want Old Forester to taste. If you carefully taste them side by side there will (or should) be a family resemblance, but they are not the same whiskey.
--Chuck Cowdery (http://cowdery.home.netcom.com)
Exactly so Chuck! I just got of the phone with Lincoln Henderson and got a lot interesting intel. What a great guy. He took a lot of time explaining to me just how Old Forester was made. I'll do my best to pass everything on when I post my tasting on Old Forester sometime this coming weekend. I've got a great angle, and it should be quite exciting!
Have Shotglass. /wwwthreads/images/smile.gif Will Travel.
Quit teasing! Take off your pants, get out that whiskey bowl, and get to typing man!
Thanks for the advice and the shopping list. I do plan to open and drink the 20 yr. Hirsch. I think I'll wait till a special occasion presents itself or until I've had enough of one of the other Bourbons that I just decide to start drinking the Hirsch instead.
I took your advice and have put off the temptation to but additional products from Wild Turkey or Blantons (Kentucky Spirit and Blanton's Single Barrel are two of my favorites so far) and have bought two from Distilleries I didn't have. I purchased the Evan Williams 1990 Single Barrel and the Eagle Rare 10 Year 101 proof. Although I enjoyed both and would drink both again, I enjoyed the Evan far more. Actually I am enjoying it right now. I drank them both on 1 ice cube, so I guess I didn't cut the Eagle Rare to be of an equal proof to the Evan but I feel certain that I like the Evan better. I didn't think that I would find a $20 Bourbon that I liked as much as or more (for the price) than the Knob Creek I've been drinking the last year or so.
I have this forum to thank for this discovery since I read countless positive reviews of the Evan Williams which drove me to purchase it. I'm not sure what I'll purchase next, maybe some Woodford Reserve and/or Weller Centennial this weekend.
High Desert Whiskey Fan
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