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camduncan
05-04-2004, 23:31
Can anyone offer advise on any of the small batch bourbons -I really like Bookers, have a bottle of Knob Creek on the way, but have never tried Bakers or Basil Hayden.
Can anyone offer some advice / opinions on which is the better one to try?

cowdery
05-04-2004, 23:46
Use the forum's search function and you'll find lots of opinions about those products. I would recommend trying other things before working though all four of the small batchers. Bookers, Bakers and Knob Creek are the basic Beam bourbon, just at different ages and proofs, so they're pretty similar. Basil Hayden is the Old Grand-Dad formula, but at 80 proof I find it a little blah.

OneCubeOnly
05-05-2004, 03:56
Between those two choices, I believe most people would recommend Baker's over Basil Hayden. Chuck has already hinted at this, but so far you've totally concentrated on Beam products...my suggestion: try some of the nicer bourbons from other distilleries.

angelshare
05-05-2004, 04:32
I think Baker's is better, but Basil Hayden will give you a striking contrast in taste to the ones you list, so I might cast a minority vote for BH. I have a friend who argues that it is the best of the four, so you never know. Since (I'm guessing) you've not tried many bourbons, it will be very hard to predict what you'll like. The only way to know is experiment. If money is no object, of course, buy them both!

Having said that, I'm still surprised by my own palate regularly. For example, even though I tend to like woody bourbons, I genuinely like a few young ones. I was a sucker for IW Harper (no longer available here in VA), and, honestly, if I go to a function where the only bourbon is Jim Beam white, I will drink and enjoy it.

Your post made me a bit nostalgic for those early bourbon discovery days, as it was through the JB small batch collection that Tina and I realized that bourbon could have such a wide and wonderful variation in flavors. Don't get me wrong, we are still "wowed" by trying something new and different very frequently, but you can only have the initial bourbon "epiphany" one time. Enjoy it!

http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif

Paradox
05-05-2004, 13:01
Yeah, I agree. While Bakers is hands down better than Basil Haydens, try some other better bourbons from other distilleries. My suggestion, try something.. Hell anything from Buffalo Trace. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif

Gillman
05-05-2004, 13:29
Until recently I did not like Basil Hayden but my opinion has changed. It used to have a dry, cereal flavour that tasted of rye without much else happening. I find a current sample much better: richer, with good middle and length. I would give it a bit more charred character but it is good as it is. This proves I think that bourbons really do change from time to time. Recently I had the unusual experience of tasting from 3 bottles of Elijah Craig 18 year old. They were all similar yet noticeably different. And these were bought from the same shelf. This makes bourbon interesting, it rarely "stands still".

Gary

Paradox
05-05-2004, 13:45
It must be really new bottles of BH. I had made the mistake of buying a bottle 3 years ago and made the same mistake 6 months or so ago. It was just as plain, unflavored, and unfulfilling as the first time. I guess for a first time or beginner drinker it is ok, but for what they charge for it, there are tons more better buys out there. Just MHO.

TNbourbon
05-05-2004, 17:12
Early on in my tasting experience, I liked Basil Hayden's best of all the Small Batch bourbons. My tastes, I think and hope, have matured a bit, and I've come to appreciate Knob Creek a lot. I'm lukewarm about either Baker's or Booker's (though I am a big fan of Jim Beam Black, which essentially is Booker's at lower proof).
Anyway, you see by the difference of opinion here why there are so many bourbons. So, just try what you can and, by all means, feel free to decide for yourself what you like. We all do!
However, the suggestion you try something from a variety of distillers is sound -- there are definite difference between 'em, and family resemblances among 'em. It'll hone your tasting skills.

Ambernecter
05-05-2004, 17:18
Bakers GOOD - Basil Hayden's/(Haydes) BAD!

The weakest of the small batch bunch in every way - alcohol/proof wise and flavour. Not worth the effort in my opinion.
In the words of (Sir?) Gerry Springer - don't even go there!
(Love Bakers and Bookers by the way!)

gr8erdane
05-05-2004, 18:36
I know what you mean, I didn't care at all for BH the first time I tried it but when Bobby and I were at Beam's before the sampler, it was far better than I remembered. Of course location and company might have influenced my taste buds abit. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif

camduncan
05-05-2004, 20:42
Your post made me a bit nostalgic for those early bourbon discovery days, as it was through the JB small batch collection that Tina and I realized that bourbon could have such a wide and wonderful variation in flavors. Don't get me wrong, we are still "wowed" by trying something new and different very frequently, but you can only have the initial bourbon "epiphany" one time. Enjoy it!




For about 16 years, or until the last 12 months or so, I drank mostly Jim Beam White, Wild Turkey, Cougar or Jack Daniels with Coke. It was only through a few recent overseas trips and duty free shopping that my eyes got opened to other bourbons, and also to the taste of better bourbons without the coke.
My experience so far consists of Makers Mark, Woodford Reserve, Jim Beam Bonded, Jim Beam Rye, Wild Turkey Liquor, Bookers (and Southern Comfort 100 proof, but that's for a different story)
The problem I face is that there aren't that many Bourbons imported into Australia. The small bach ones are hard to find, and most retailers haven't even heard of the better brands mentioned on this site.
I did find a bottle of Bulleit this week, as well as a Barrell Proof Wild Turkey so either may be my next purchase.
To all who replied, thanks for your thoughts and opinions. They where appreciated. I will definately skipping the small batch range in favour of other brands http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif

camduncan
05-06-2004, 15:45
Out of interest, what does a bottle of Van Winkle 20yo Family Reserve sell for in the US?
I was able to price a bottle from the Australian retailer listed on the Old Van Winkle web site - it was AU$400 a bottle (or approx US$288) plus shipping.
It seemed a bit expensive, but if it's worth it I'd happily buy myself an early Christmas present http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif

Paradox
05-06-2004, 15:52
Out of interest, what does a bottle of Van Winkle 20yo Family Reserve sell for in the US?




Pappy Van Winkle 20 year sells for about $85 give or take... Pappy Van Winkle 23 year (The new release) sells for about $199.

dhooch
05-08-2004, 21:35
I agree with you! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif

By adding Knob Creek to the mix, my rankings are:

Bookers and Bakers - a tie, except that Bakers is cheaper, even though Bookers is a higher proof bourbon.

Knob Creek is a distance third. Too oaky for my taste.

Basil Hayden isn't even in the ballpark for me. There are much better bourbons out there!

ratcheer
05-09-2004, 08:01
I am in the minority, but Knob Creek is still one of my favorites. I like Booker's a lot, but not at $50 per bottle. And something about the taste of Baker's bothers me, I just don't really care for it even though I know it is a quality bourbon.

I have never tried Basil Hayden's, so I won't comment on it.

Tim

dhooch
05-09-2004, 20:01
The $50 per bottle for Booker's bothers me, too. That's what dropped it down a notch for me, about equal to Baker's.

I know others who like Knob Creek a lot, also. I just don't seem to enjoy it that much.

I believe I remember you liking WT Rare Breed. That's one of my favorites! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif

If I am wrong about you and Rare Breed. Sorry about that. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif

BSS
05-09-2004, 21:39
Where are people paying $50 for Bookers?

cowdery
05-10-2004, 11:23
Because they can.

wadewood
05-10-2004, 14:50
If the question is where, WA state liqour control list it at $52.95 per bottle.

angelshare
05-10-2004, 15:02
In VA, it is currently listed at $53.95, although a sale will sometimes bring it down to the $45-50 range. Plus sales tax of course.

dhooch
05-10-2004, 18:30
My first bottle was $52. My second was $46. Both were purchased in KY, albeit in two different locations and about six months apart.

ratcheer
05-10-2004, 19:24
You remembered correctly. Rare Breed is in my top three of bottlings I can easily obtain.

Tim

camduncan
05-11-2004, 15:20
If the question is where, WA state liqour control list it at $52.95 per bottle



We pay anywhere between AU$80-$100 a bottle for Bookers in Australia (I think my bottle cost around the AU$45 mark duty free)

jbutler
05-12-2004, 06:53
For the curious amongst you, that translates roughly to a range of 56-70 US Dollars (on 5/11/04.)