View Full Version : New Kid On The Block; Whiskey on the Rocks

11-20-2003, 02:22
Hello Everyone! I previously introduced myself in the SMOKES section of your fine website. I am a cigar aficionado, and http://www.StogieChat.com is my regular haunt. After a terrible whiskey experience in high school (can we say alcohol poisoning?) I went about a decade before I could even smell whiskey without gagging. About a year ago, I tried a 7&7 at a party and kinda liked it. I slowly began to mix them stronger and stronger, until one day I just poured whiskey on the rocks and grabbed a cigar. I found that the two paired up very nicely, taking the "bite" off of both. Since then, I have enjoyed a couple bottles of whiskey with my cigars.

So far, I have learned that you basically get what you pay for. Black Velvet, Scoresby's, and Canadian Mist are only good for making mixed cocktails. I have been gradually working my way up the quality ladder (Seagram's VO, Crown Royal, Chivas Regal). I tried Maker's Mark the other day, and it made me gag.

I am only just now learning about the intracacies of the Whiskey World. I'm discovering what makes an Irish Whisky differ from Single Malt Scotch, and Bourbon from everything else. But my tasting of different bottlings is very limited up to this point, and I haven't the slightest clue how to distinguish the different subtle flavor nuances.

After talking to MurphyDawg on the phone and doing a little browsing of my own, I have compiled the following Whiskey Wish List. I plan on ordering these bottles when I return from Florida in January. Here it is:

Knob Creek 9YO
George Dickel No. 12
Rock Hill Farms
A.H. Hirsch 16YO
Eagle Rare 10YO
Wild Turkey Russell Reserve 10YO
Wild Turkey Rare Breed
Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit
Black Bush
Bushmill's 10YO
Bushmill's 16YO
Bushmill's 21YO
Chivas Regal
Jack Daniel's Single Barrel
The Dalmore 12YO Highland
Balvenie 12YO Doublewood Speyside
Glenmorangie Port Wood 12YO Highland
Glenrothes 1989 11YO Speyside
Aberlour A'Bunadh Speyside

That's about all I can afford to buy right now, but I am hoping that this will give me a pretty good beginning array of whiskeys from across the spectrum.

Comments? Suggestions?

11-20-2003, 05:56
Too much sc**ch on that list, some if not all has gotta go. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif Get rid of George Dickel 12. Put in Van Winkle family reserve 13, that way you have a rye. Get rid of JD Single Barrel, too many other great sb's out there, replace it with rock hill farms or Blantons. Pm me if you reconsider getting rid of alot of that sc**th.

11-20-2003, 06:17
Good list, Dub. But, to round it out, I would suggest adding the following:


1. Van Winkle Family Reserve Straight Rye Whiskey 13YO -- IMHO, the best American whiskey available and an excellent example of a whiskey category not yet represented (i.e., rye whiskey).

2. Sazerac Straight Rye Whiskey 18YO -- Another great rye and another top whiskey, periood.

3. Old Rip Van Winkle Handmade Straight Bourbon Whiskey 15YO/107 proof -- The 10YO/107 is a cheaper alternative and a fine representative of another category not represented on your list (i.e., "wheated" bourbon), but, for me, the 15/107 is the better pour. Luscious vanilla and caramel. Yummy.

4. Weller Centennial -- Another "wheater" (i.e., a bourbon whose mashbill contains wheat as the flavoring grain, rather than rye) and another classic.


1. Redbreast Pure Pot Still Irish Whisky 12YO -- An excellent example of the Irish pot still style (i.e., whisky distilled from a combination of malted and unmalted barley).

2. Jameson Pure Pot Still Millennium 15YO -- Another pot still Irish. Expensive, but well worth trying. Tutti-frutti in a glass.

3. John Power & Sons Blended Irish Whiskey -- The number 1 selling whiskey in Ireland...and for good reason. More pot still character than any standard blend and can be had for well under $20. A best buy, as they say.


Where, oh where to begin...

1. Ardbeg TEN -- Perhaps the best standard issue Islay single malt available right now. Peat, peat and more peat. Nice fruity notes. Then more peat.

2. Lagavulin 16yo - Another great Islay malt, more balanced and sherried than the Ardbeg. Not what it once was but still a powerful taste of Scotland.

3. Highland Park 12yo - If you want to taste all the elements that makes Scotch whisky Scotch whisky, then try this one. A bit of peat, a bit of honey, a bit of heather, a little smoke, a taste of malt--all beatifully balanced. The 18yo is even better, though (naturally) a bit pricier.

4. Talisker 10yo -- Unique among single malts for several reasons. One, it's the only one produced on the island of Skye. Two, while peaty like an Islay malt, it has a peppery finish that you won't find elsewhere. The perfect dram for a cold winter's night.

Gosh, I could go on and on, and I'm sure others will chime in. So, I'll let it go at these.

Happy hunting.


11-20-2003, 06:27
Your list shows a real slant toward Wild Turkey (3 bottlings) while my list would add an Evan Williams Single Barrel (though I suggest you wait until the 1994 is available and likely your'll find it at Sam's Club). However, since you seem to like a mellow product (from your blend and Canadian experience) you might pick up their 1993 now.

My list would also be more skewed toward the Buffalo Trace distillery. You already have their Rock Hill Farms and Weller. Yet, if you did not like Makers Mark you may not like Weller -- same "recipe" or mashbill, just stronger and better stuff. But if you want to taste a range of some of the greatest American Whiskies, in my opinion, you can't go wrong with the Buffalo Trace groupings, -- Elmer T. Lee, Sazerac Rye, Old Rip Van Winkle anything.

Enjoy! And if you find you like Irish products I'd add the Tyrconnel (five star).

11-20-2003, 11:06
Keep the Dickel, Add Woodford Reserve and Blantons Single Barrel and Van Winkle 10/107. Ditch the most expensive two scotches. I bet if you do that you will have a better experience, and save money.


PS My opinion would be to pick either one of Kentucky Spirit or Russell's Reserve for now, they are fairly close in profile. I say get the RR.

11-20-2003, 11:24
B Dub, Speeeeedy and others have some good advice for you.

Drop the JD Single Barrel and head over to Buffalo Trace (http://www.greatbourbon.com/) Weller Centennial.

There are two proof versions of the Eagle Rare 10, many feel that the overproof is a better bottling than the single barrel.

as per Kitzg, choose between the RR and the KS, no need to go for both at this stage. And, there's absolutely nothing wrong with the 8yr/101.

You owe it to yourself to start now and explore the Van Winkle bourbons. 15yr/107 proof is a great place to start. If you can't get that one, try the 10 year old which is also a great choice.

The scotches you've chosen are all worthy of your selection, but your are missing out on the Islanders. The styles of those you've chosen are all fairly similar. You could loose the Aberlour (a recent entry into the singles market) or the Dalmore. Both are very fine, but you simply have to make room for Ardbeg 10 (Islay)or the Talisker (Skye), both of which will offer you a completely different experience.

By the way, I see you're a cigar fan. Did you know that Dalmore makes a "Cigar Malt". I've tried it and prefer the Dalmore 12 better, however I don't smoke so it would be interesting to see the Cigar Malt paired with.... a cigar!

And what's this talk of "on the rocks"? Try your bourbons neat, or simply with a splash of water. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif



11-20-2003, 13:12
I plan on ordering these bottles when I return from Florida in January.

How can you possibly wait THAT long? http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif

11-20-2003, 16:51
Thank you guys so much for all the great advice. I appreciate the speedy response and all of your kind attention. I will be modifying my list. I am going to order in January because I have a month-long trip coming up, and I want to be around to accept shipment and review the contents.

Right now I prefer whiskey on the rocks because I like it a little chilled and very slightly dilluted with the water-meltoff. Of course, I'll be tasting all of the selections neat as well. One can tell that I have much to learn.

11-20-2003, 20:24
I'm not a fan of Tennessee whiskey (and I live in Tennessee, just 40 or so miles from JD and Dickel!), but I'd go with JD's Gentleman Jack if I wanted to just have the experience. The JD Single Barrel is way overrated and overpriced, but the Gentleman Jack is at least drinkable.
And, I much prefer bourbon to Scotch, too -- but ignore those parochialists who'd steer you clear of the latter entirely. A good Scotch is...well, a good Scotch. And Highland Park 12yo Ornkney Islands is a good Scotch that won't break the bank account.
Hear, hear, to those who suggest the Van Winkle rye -- or Wild Turkey rye, Sazerac rye, et al. You really should try one. Many bourbons are fine whiskeys, but not all fine whiskeys are bourbons. These ryes are examples.

11-20-2003, 21:27
I would suggest ditching the Chivas and I would encourage you to pick up a Macallan...the 12 yr is just fine..especially the pairing of its sherry notes with a cigar. I love Buffalo Trace and K Spirit. For price..Elijah Craig 12 is worth a look. Good luck...however....it would be nice to try some of these before buying...I guarantee you will not enjoy all of them equally...go to a good whiskey bar repeatedly and start buying glasses and take notes..like/dislike etc.

11-20-2003, 23:48
I agree with what some of the others have said:

1. You need a great rye whiskey or two. I recommend the Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye and the Sazerac rye. Rye tastes very different from any other type of whiskey, and is NOT to be missed...one of my favorite drinks in the world!

2. You also need a Van Winkle bourbon. Everything they make is deliciously superb, but you may want to start with the 15yo/107 or the "Special Reserve Lot B". Trust me, these bourbons are fantastic.

I have to disagree with those who don't like the Jack Daniels Single Barrel. I've always found it pretty tasty, and I definitely prefer it to Gentleman Jack. But to each his (her) own, I guess.

11-21-2003, 00:17
Jack Daniels Single Barrel, in my experience, can vary in that some bottlings are rich and concentrated while others seem younger and more astringent. My last one reminded me quite a bit of Gentleman Jack even though the JD Single Barrel isn't charcoal filtered after dumping (as far as I know). I think in general the JD Single Barrel would benefit from longer aging.


11-21-2003, 00:41
I haven't been into a large liquor store in a while. Do most liquor stores carry smaller, more affordable bottles of fine whiskey selections? Maybe getting as many samplers as I can first will give me a better chance to sample a wider variety of initial selections. Then if I don't like something, at least I'm not stuck with a whole bottle of it? What do you guys think?

Thanks for all the input! It is being registered, and I am learning on the fly. Keep it coming.

11-21-2003, 01:00
With some of the bottlings I love now, I definately BENEFITTED from having a whole fifth that I neede to go through. There are several bottlings (Elijah Craig 12, for example) that I dislike for the first SEVERAL glasses but learned to love by the end of a bottle. So I suggest buying big bottles if you can. . . you can alway make bourbon balls if you dont like it.


11-21-2003, 01:02
OMG, what the hell are bourbon balls?

11-21-2003, 01:02
One can tell that I have much to learn.

As do we all, I can say for one man, thaa the learning curve is one of the things I love about bourbon, every time I pick up a glass I find something new!


11-21-2003, 01:06
The bourbon balls Jessica Makes consist of powdered sugar, butter, walnuts and bourbon, rolled into balls and dipped in chocolate. There are many variations, check here, (http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/showthreaded.php?Cat=&Number=1921&page=1&view=coll apsed&sb=5&o=&fpart=1) for a thread dealing with many of them.

BTW Gawd are they good!


11-21-2003, 01:08
I am gonna have to clue Mrs. Dub onto these things.

They sound delicious! And addicting!

11-21-2003, 01:10
Just about everyone I know has asked for some already this year. . .


11-21-2003, 01:20
Mrs. Dub is an experienced Baker from another life. I have printed the recipe and submitted the request. Thanks!

11-22-2003, 20:15
If you check out the haul from my shopping expedition today (on the Bourbon Board), you'll see that almost every one of you contributed to my buying decisions. Thanks again for the help.

Now I'll just have to get busy a-drankin' and learn how to taste this bourbon stuff.

11-22-2003, 20:36
Welcome....great advice given already but I would like to concur that Buffalo Trace Distillery is THE way to go in bourbons. As noted,go to greatbourbons.com,to see them all........Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare 17, Sazerac, Van Winkle anything,Blanton's,Ancient Ancient Age 10 YEAR, Elmer T.Lee and the Weller's are simply the best. there are many other good ones out there in "bourbon land" ....but this is the place to start...

11-23-2003, 00:06
I just made a quick read of this but did not see Elijah Craig 12 or 18. The 12 is near perfect and a good value. Give them a try when you have the time and $$$. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

11-23-2003, 00:22
You have a great point, we would be remiss if we didnt suggest Elijah Craig 12, which is an ongoing lightning rod for bourbon discussion here (it has SO much going on). And as Jeff and I can attest, Elijah Craig 18 is a great accompanyment to a fine cigar. . .


11-23-2003, 07:00
Elijah Craig 18 is a great accompanyment to a fine cigar. . .

Tom--at the risk of sounding like a newbie, would you feel it's safe to say if you like the 12yo you'll love the 18yo? The reason I ask is, I've been afraid to buy the 18yo due largely to all the negative comments. Even some of the seasoned veterans around here seem to disagree. Has it spent too much time in the barrel? Do you NEED that cigar to make it good?

11-23-2003, 07:41
I just opened a bottle of the ec18 last week. I like it better than the ec12. Actually I am one of the weird ones who does not care much for the ec12. I only enjoy it with a bit of ice believe it or not. The ec18 is a wonderful pour straight, the only odd thing is it has alot more alcohol burn in the nose for a 90 proof bourbon. Even in the palate there is a bit more burn than I thought I would detect. But even with that, it is still a very decent pour and I will definately be buying another bottle.

11-23-2003, 14:23
... would you feel it's safe to say if you like the 12yo you'll love the 18yo?

I know you asked Tom, but may I offer my opinion, as well?

I love EC12. During the last two years, even with my buying everything I can get my hands on just to try it, I've consumed two 750s, one 1.75, and I'm about to crack a new 750 that I bought last week.

I finally finished my lone bottle of EC18 by making Manhattans with it. The bottom line for me is that there's just too much wood taste -- and scorched wood, at that. I'll probably buy another bottle in a year or two, but only to see if my taste has changed.

No, liking EC12 is not a reliable predictor that one will like EC18.

One man's opinion, but true in my own case.

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

11-23-2003, 14:32
I just made a quick read of this but did not see Elijah Craig 12 or 18. The 12 is near perfect and a good value. Give them a try when you have the time and $$$. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

I have seen you guys talking about the Elijah Craig. I will get some of the 12yo on my next phase of aquisition. Thanks!

11-23-2003, 20:24
You dont need the cigar, and yes I think the bourbon is quite good, but the catch here is I think it tastes very little like EC 12. At the risk of sounding trite, it is like no other bourbon you have ever tried, in a good way.

It is a tad on the woody side, though, and the cigar helps smooth that out.


11-23-2003, 23:52
I have had two bottles of the EC 18yo, and both were distinctly different from one another (the curse of the single barrel). They both had a bold woody flavor (which I like), but one was rather harsh while the other was noticably smokey and more complex than the other. I loved the smokey-tasting bottle but the other one was not as pleasing to my taste. So it was a split decision for me. Guess I'll just have to get another bottle as a tie-breaker!

12-06-2003, 23:07
I completely concur with Dave and SpeedyJohn! I was intending to write almost the exact same things till I got down to their posts! So just a few more comments:

I would certainly delete the Bushmill's 10yo. You don't need much young Irish single malt.

I would seriously consider adding:
Springbank 175th anniverary--this is a classic SMS distillery.
Longrow 10yo (either '92 or '93) very peated malt from Springbank.
Campbeltown Loch 25. Very old Springbank is currently almost impossible to find except in this great blend.
Century Reserve 13yo Single Cask Canadian. If you like the other Canadians you've tried you owe yourself this one.
Jameson 12yo would be the classic Irish blend. Great to compare with the Powers.
George T. Stagg barrel proof, you need this ASAP before it is gone!

12-07-2003, 11:23
Wow. I've only heard of two of those. Thanks for the rare suggestions.