View Full Version : New to bourbon... some questions
I have been doing quite a bit of reading on this board and on the site this weekend, and it's a great spot. I had my 21st birthday a few weeks back, and someone bought me a bottle of Maker's Mark for my birthday. The only thing I had heard about bourbon was from a PBS special about the resurrection of small batch bourbons. But, I was a bit leery of it, as it was my 21st birthday. But, I tried it anyway.
Well, much to my surprise, I really enjoyed it. This stuff has a really great flavor, and it has better than a hundred years of American tradition behind it. But, I am pretty inexperienced in the "bourbon world" so I thought I'd ask the experts for advice.
First, what bourbons do you all reccommend for someone new to bourbon?
Second, does the glass you drink it from make any difference?
Third, any thing else you want to add would be very much appreciated.
I look forward to discussing this amazing drink with you all more!
First of all, Welcome to Bourbonia, Jason.
Maker's is a good place to start.
Rule # 1
Only drink good Bourbon http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif
It's all good, if it's Bourbon http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif
Now some are better than others , and some are better values than others.............
You registered a user name at SB.com
Enjoy the ride! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif
Welcome to the wonderful world of bourbon drinking.
Maker's is a wheat bourbon (I'm a Maker's fan) which is different from most other bourbons. Try a few others (a list can be made up with a little searching of other messages on this board) and see what YOU like. You may even get a bourbon tasting together with some friends. organize it so everyone ends up bringing a differnt brand, have a blind taste testing and have everyone rate their choices. (instructions for how to prepare the bourbon for tasting can also be found).
As for glasses, yes there are special glasses, but you know, I think if you can get the liquid from the glass down your throat, that's what counts.
What ever you do enjoy and drink responsibly. As a guy who spent many a year in Austin, I know how those DPS and Texas Rangers can be.
(instructions for how to prepare the bourbon for tasting can also be found).
Our inimitable Chuck Cowdery (http://home.netcom.com/~cowdery/articles/suites.html)
Has this to say about interesting ways to pursue a <font color="red"> Bourbon Tasting </font>
Feel free to use the search feature, there is a wealth of info to be mined there. Don't hesitate to ask, even if it has been covered, I'll speak for myself now, I don't mind pointing the way.( There are lots of others that will do the same here as well)
Don't forget what I call the other side of this site. Click on the big StraightBourbon.com logo and there are links,and also info on maker's of Bourbon etc.
Maker's isn't a bad place to start. The best thing is that someone cares about you enough to start you on bourbon. Stay with whiskey and you'll never experience the embarassment of catching a glimpse of yourself in a bar mirror with some big, pink drink in your hand.
Don't be too impressed by Maker's heritage. It's pretty much typical of the bourbon category, all of which has a lot of history behind it.
For glassware, get yourself a cheap brandy snifter. A glass like that concentrates the aroma of the spirit. The most important part of tasting is smelling and something like a snifter helps with that.
From here you might want to try a good rye-recipe bourbon, since Maker's Mark uses wheat. (All bourbons are mostly corn but use either wheat or rye for flavor.) Some of this depends on how much you can spend but if you're like most 21-year-olds, the answer is not very much so here are a couple of inexpensive suggestions.
Very Old Barton
Wild Turkey 101
Chuck suggests some good rye-flavored bourbons above -- and he is, as always, right -- but if you like "wheater" Maker's Mark, you might also try W.L. Weller Special Reserve 7yo(which I understand is very popular in Texas). It, too, is a wheater, cheaper than MM and, to me, at least, a better drink.
You'll find your way around (both here and in a liquor store) soon enough. Take it from a one-time "newbie" whose learned much here: You've come to the right place!
For glassware, get yourself a cheap brandy snifter.
First of all, welcome aboard!
Brandy snifters come in all sizes. I use a six oz size, which holds one or two "shots" of bourbon and leaves enough air space to breath. You want to be able to "nose" the bourbon before tasting and just after appreciating the bourbon's color. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/yum.gif
You could go to a larger size glass, but you have to find space for a lot of them, assuming you want to do bourbon taste tests with some of your friends. I have four dozen of the small snifters, of which 24 fit on a 48 inch shelf, next to my bourbon shelf.
Anyway, just enjoy the many good bourbons that are available. Your tastes will be different from everyone else's, so find the bourbons you like, drink them often and then experiment with all the others. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif
Thanks for all the great replies!
Well, I am considering my next bourbon purchase, and I thought I'd run a few by you all.
And I have some extra money this month, so price is no real object (a nice rarity).
I have heard good things about Blanton's Special Reserve, Old Rip Van Winkle Handmade Bourbon, and W. L Weller 7 or 12 Year Old.
Also, here are some other, more easy to find bourbons I think I'd like to try: Knob Creek and Woodford Reserve.
Which out of those two lists would you all reccommend? Any in addition? Once again, thanks so much for all your help!
This is only my opinion, but your first 3 choices are good ones, you really cannot go wrong with any of the 3. For me, I'd go with Old Rip Van Winkle 15 year 107 Proof 1st, then Blantons and 3rd WL Weller. BUT it HAS to be the 12 year old... Not the 7.
Your 2nd list is tougher since I do not care for either Knob Creek or Woodford Reserve. Of the 2, I'd go with Knob Creek but I didn't say I would enjoy it http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif In the price range of them, I would say to try Eagle Rare single barrel if you could find it, maybe even Eagle Rare 101 proof 10 year. Another to try could be Wild Turkey Russell's Reserve. Whatever you decide, enjoy! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif
Given what' you've said that price is not a huge issue, and if you're on an exploration of different styles, I'd like to suggest:
A. Old Rip Van Winkle 15 year, 107 proof
B. Knob Creek
This will offer you two very reasonably priced selections with different taste profiles (both at the extreme of the scale for the bottlers). While there is nothing wrong with any of your other choices, both the Blanton's and the Woodford are less distinctive.
Well, a quick look at these helpful replies, and a little thought sent me to my local H&H beverage. I picked up two bourbons:
Old Rip Van Winkle
Ill attach a pic of my bourbon collection. Ya'll think I am off to a good start?
No Duds there. 3 solid choices! Well Done! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif
Ill attach a pic of my bourbon collection. Ya'll think I am off to a good start?
Quite a good start! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif As your collection begins to grow (as we ALL know it will; look at MANY of us! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif) you may want to consider posting pics of it here. (http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/showthreaded.php?Cat=&Number=11999&page=1&view=col lapsed&sb=5&o=365&fpart=1)
Brain-lock admission: While I enjoy the W.L. Weller 7yo and think it's a great bargain, I agree that the Weller 12 is a 'don't miss' purchase. In fact, it's the only Weller product I have in the house right now, and I've worked through about two-thirds of a half-gallon since Christmas.
I've got to agree with Mark on this one...when you asked whether to go with Knob Creek or Woodford Reserve, my first thought was "neither." Actually, if forced to choose, I'd probably go with WR.
If you're looking for some overall recommendations, you might puruse the thread I made this post (http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/showthreaded.php?Cat=&Board=General&Number=26052&F orum=All_Forums&Words=honor%20student&Match=And&Se archpage=0&Limit=25&Old=1year&Main=25574&Search=tr ue#Post26052) in, it contains several people's lists of favorites.
Actually, if forced to choose, I'd probably go with WR.
It was a tough call there Gary! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif The only reason KC won was because it makes one of the better Manhattan's I have had. (I like that post you linked to that you made Gary, very good quick reviews of many popular pours. You are right, VWFRR also makes VERY good Manhattan's, but I hate spoiling its purity for Manhattan's. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif) If we're going by straight criteria only, I may have to give WR the 'win' as well.
While I think the Blanton's is by far the best choice on his list!
You are right, VWFRR also makes VERY good Manhattan's, but I hate spoiling its purity for Manhattan's. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif)
Since we're taking a trip down memory lane with old posts, you seem to be echoing a dilemma (http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/showthreaded.php?Cat=&Number=19912&page=&view=&sb= 5&o=&vc=1) I had a while back.
http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif
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