View Full Version : How old were you when you first starting loving good bourbon?
As you all can tell, I am new to the boards, and am eager to learn all I can from your collective experience(s). I'll go ahead and answer first:
I'm 24 now and have only within the past 6 or 8 months developed a taste for this wonderful beverage. I'm curious as to how old you all were when you were first turned onto bourbon, and began taking an active interest in expanding your knowledge/taste of it.
For me it was after I got out of the Air Force and moved back to NYC early 1999. I started really getting into it and collecting by 2000, so I was around 23-24...
Yes, be afraid... Be very afraid, you too could be a bourbon addict in just a few years! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif
My drink is a Rusty Nail. I don't drink a lot of beer. I have had bourbon in a few types of drinks, mainly Manhattans, Old Fashions and Bourbon and Coke.
However, a friend of mine, who loves bourbon, got me started drinking premium bourbons neat or on the rocks, about two years ago. I was 50, then. I really like a good bourbon!
I guess you CAN teach an old dog new tricks! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif
I am afraid, actually. I've started spending way too much money on the stuff, and my income is pretty meager so this is serious business.
I suppose I should have included this with my original post, but it just occurred to me: who or what fostered your appreciation of it? I, for instance, was introduced to the higher-end stuff by a co-worker (an ardent appreciator himself, to be sure.) Through his encouragement I passed quickly from the "How can you drink this without wincing?" stage to "Hmm, this actually isn't so bad" to "Wow, this tastes really good and I'd like to sample other varieties" and finally to the "I can discern different flavors within each bottling and I can't believe I used to only drink Jim Beam and cokes before" level.
I started getting curious when I took a part-time job in a liquor store almost 2 years ago (so, I was 45) -- I already was pretty conversant with the wine side of the store, but wanted to be able to help bourbon customers knowledgably, too. I started bringing home a couple of half-pints every couple of weeks or so, and discovered how different they could be. Then I started reading about the distilling process and visited a couple of distilleries (Maker's Mark, Labrot & Graham, Buffalo Trace). Now I'm hooked on the (All-American) combination of the drink, the process and the history.
I've been drinking bourbon (not necessarily GOOD bourbon) since college (mid 1980's). My breakout into premiums didn't come until the late 90's when my (then) future in-laws let me taste Maker's Mark.
My first premium purchase was done on a trip to Bowling Green, KY...I wanted to bring back a superb bourbon as a souvenir. It was a 750ml of Blanton's. The fellow behind the counter asked where we were from, and I asked him how he could tell we weren't locals. I'll never forget his answer: "well, you see, the folks around here don't buy the good stuff." You could have knocked me over with a feather! The bourbon capitol of the world, and they drink rot-gut!!
Anyway, that was 1999, so I was 32.
I was 42 when I had my first premium. In college back a few years, when I could afford it, I'd buy David Nicholson's 1843 as that was the premium in my area at the time. Boy did I feel sophisticated. But it wasn't until 2001 that I was invited to share Beam's Small Batch Sampler with my good friend and silent SB.commer Rick. My first bottle was Booker's and it's been no looking back from there.
You owe no one any excuses regarding the Nicholson's 1843. It is a premium wheater prized by all bourbonians in the know. A back-up for my bunker arrives by FedEx from a Missouri dealer tomorrow!
I think I made it though teething without any, but a bad illness around 4 or 5 brought on some hot toddies made of Jim Beam no less. I got better right away and was developing a taste for them about the time I got well. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif
There have been a few dry spells from then till now. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif
Well, lets see, the farmers I went to college with tried to get me to like their moonshine. That didn't quite work out, so I went with bourbon, Markers to be exact, about 1991. Been fun and more expensive ever since!
Please don't misconstrue my meaning as belittling 1843. All I was saying is that in my market there weren't any Old Rip Van Winkles, Blantons, or Elijah Craigs such as I truly enjoy these days. For bourbon, we did have Beam and Wild Turkey but I never cared for White Label Beam even back then and Wild Turkey had a mystique of making people do funny things like dancing naked around the court square (did I really do that or were they making it up?) 1843 was to me at that time what a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle 20 is to me today. That was the point I so clumsily tried to make. And just when I was getting that Nike taste out of my mouth too.
Well, I was one of those good girls who didn't drink at all until the legal age of 21. And I was even in a sorority in college! I learned how to bartend as a second job at 21 and it all went from there. Loved learning about all kinds of booze and wine, but was fascinated by our very own American spirit. I also learned you could gain some respect by ordering Booker's instead of a Cosmo when out with "the boys," not to mention the money you save sipping on that one drink for a while. At 30, I was introduced to Pappy. No turning back.
A long, long time ago when I was about 16 or 17 I was given some Wild Turkey 8 year old at a party. I had tasted several very cheap bourbons before that, but the WT was yummy. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/yum.gif
Then, in college, I still tended to buy the cheap stuff when a new friend from Kentucky had me try his Stitzel Weller bourbon (I can't remember if it was Old Fitzgerald or Weller Special Reserve). Another wonderful eye opener.
But, I kept buying the cheaper brands (Old Forester, Henry McKenna, etc). Around 1988, another friend gave me a taste of the (then) new Blanton's. Wow! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/bowdown.gif But, I was still too cheap to buy it for myself. For about ten years there, I pretty much stuck to George Dickel No. 12.
But, in about 2001, a bug bit me to try every different bourbon I could get my hands on. Then I found sb.com and now, somehow or other, I have become a "virtuoso". http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/bs.gif Its a lot of fun.
To put all this into perspective, I am now 52 years old.
I guess I must have been bitten by that same bug. My income is meager, to say the least, but I just can't seem to help sinking just about every spare cent I have into buying another bottle of the stuff. I can only wonder how this bodes for the future...
I envy you Aaron! I remember not so long ago when all of bourbonia was new to me. Every trip to the liquor store was an adventure. There was a certain mystique to trying a new bourbon. I do believe I am happier now now with more experience, but the early days were sure lots of fun! You have come to the right place. Welcome to straightbourbon.com! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif
Enjoy where you're at right now, Aaron -- I'm reaching the end of that stage, and it's been fun; and, with the help and guidance of so many experienced palates here at SB.com, educational. But, now, after only maybe 16-18 months, I'm starting to know enough to have to make some decisions -- like, do I really like this well enough to pay that price?, or, is Hirsch getting too rare to drink?, or maybe, shouldn't I finished the six bottles I have opened before I buy that $40 'Noah's Mill', or should I grab it now because I might never see it again? There's something to be said for just popping the cork or twisting the top and pouring.
Have never been much of a drinker , at an early age I found that even small amounts of alcohol be it beer , wine or hard stuff left me with a mind spliting headache.... On my 21st birthday Dad poured me a glass of Bellows Club Bourbon I found that it was not bad at all baring the headaches after such indulgent. I tryed a few other low priced bourbons but never really cared one way or the other if I drank .
A friend who did drink and had formed the opinion of what was a "Good" bourbon as to what a cheap bottom shelf ,Rat/dog p*ss, etc etc etc bourbon was got me to try a few different bourbons , I then found out what a Good Bourbon and a Headache in a glass was..... Due to the fact I drink very little and have been known to nurse an open bottle / 5th for over a year price was not much of a draw back as to finding a selection (early 80's -90's ). It's good to see a greater selection of bourbons these days more common . As to love of a good bourbon I guess people and time make up a part of this that even a low qaulity bourbon can be great in the company of good people and the right monment ...
Well, it has only been about 2 to 3 years. I am now almost 57(wow, where did the years go) and I love drinking and collecting all of these fine bourbons.
When I was younger, gin was my drink; martini, g & t
were my favorites. I still enjoy a good martini before
But I am truly fascinated with bourbon as many of you are.
I find enjoyment from every bottle and brand that I open.
Unfortanely http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gifI have way too many to ever drink by myself.
Soooo, please let me know when you are traveling through Maryland . My hospitality awaits you.
Why, as a matter of fact, I am headed that way in just a few minutes. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif
When I was in my late 20s I played golf with an older gentleman who was from England and he turned me on to bourbon. He told me that we Americans didn't know what a good thing we had in our own backyard. I found it odd that this man was not a Scotch drinker. He said that he did like his Scotch but bourbon had so much more character and bravado. He has since passed away but I always remember sharing his flask contents on cool fall afternoons. I am in my late 40s and consider myself a bourbon novice and hope to learn and enjoy this forum.
In my early twenties I tried the occasional Beam and Coke, and found it quite unpleasant. I attributed this to a dislike of bourbon. For the next 5 or 6 years I avoided bourbon and turned to beer and tequilla as my drinks of choice. Then, on a Saturday afternoon, several years ago, Leslie and I took a trip to Loretto and visited the Maker's Mark Distillery. Well that was enough to make me go right out and buy myself a bottle, of Maker's of course. It was much better than I remembered, though I had never drank it straight before. I stayed pretty close to MM for a while, occasionally venturing out with Woodford Reserve and Wild Turkey. Now I would guess that I have tasted about 75-80% of everything on the market today, and really enjoy most of it. About 6 months ago I thought I would try a bourbon and coke for old time's sake. I found it just as displeasing as I did years ago. Turns out, I just don't like bourbon and coke. I sure could have saved myself a lot of time If I had just tried it straight to begin with http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif
Bourbon and Coke is really awful, isn't it? http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/puke.gif I wonder who came up with such a goofy idea?
I don't remember exactly how old I was 15 or 16 I think, when I got into my Dad's fridge where he kept all his beer and was going to have a cool one and lo and behold there was a bottle of whisky, can't even remember the name, but the thing I do remember was that I liked it. I could taste all those wonderful things but I couldn't describe them back then. And have been drinking it ever since, which is a good many years as I am now almost 60, and doing very well.
Whiskey in the fridge, eh? http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif I remember stowing bottles (and bottles and bottles...) of Beam white label in the freezer a few years ago, only to pull them out and dump the contents into a big cup of Diet Coke (it's diet, I know, but for some reason I just can't stand the taste of sodas with bonafide sugar in them.)
I feel like I've come so far already from those (dark) days, and even now I realize that I'm really only standing in the doorway to a whole other world. I've got a long, long way to go, and I look forward to seeing what awaits me along the way. I appreciate all the kind words of welcome and encouragement...I'm already starting to feel at home and among friends.
Cheers to all! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif
This brings back some memories for me.Bourbon was never a
popular beverage in Baltimore(where I grew up),as the
whiskeys of choice were Calvert Extra,Seagrams 7,Four
Roses and the raunchy rye,Pikesville.You needed Seven-Up,
Coke, or ginger ale for obvious reasons. Nobody would
venture to drink them without a mixer or chaser.I do
remember having a handsome decanter of Old Fitzgerald in my
home when I was a teenager. It had a sailing ship embosssed on it. But I can't say that I enjoyed the taste.
We drank beer in B,more and lots of it. National Boh
and Arrow 77,three quarts for 95 cents.Yuengling, which is
a premium beer now, cost 80 cents for a six pack.
Oh well, young, old, our taste changes.
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