View Full Version : Best tasting inexpensive bourbon?

06-20-2004, 06:19
What is the best tasting inexpensive bourbon you have ever had? I would say inexpensive is around $15.00 to $18.00 for 750 ml. My hands down choice would be old Fitzgeralds 1849, I believe it was an 8 year 90 proof. I just happened to grab the bottle in the liquor store and bought it because it was only $15.00 but boy was I surprised when I tasted it. Real thick rich maple flavor. Its probably my second favorite pour next to Van Winkle. Anybody else have a favorite cheap one?

06-20-2004, 06:32
Any of the Barton varieties; it's just too bad they're not easily available to us Virginians. I've tried ordering a case of the BIB version. Five weeks later, I'm still waiting on big government (VA ABC) to deliver.

06-20-2004, 07:10
mmm...I live in upstate NY....I have never seen Barton around here yet...

06-20-2004, 07:34
I'm continually fond of Rebel Yell (80 proof), originally a Stitzel-Weller wheater now marketed by David Sherman Corp. (don't know who distills the bourbon) reputedly using the same mash bill.
It's $10-$12 per liter, the same range as the VO Bartons.

06-20-2004, 07:37
My two favorite "cheap" bourbons are Weller 12yo at $14.99, and Ancient Ancient Age 10yo at $12.99. If I had no other bourbons the rest of my life, I would die a happy man http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif

06-20-2004, 12:42
I agree, I love the Weller 12 year and Rebel Yell is very good as well. I haven't had ancient age yet.

06-20-2004, 12:44
Anybody ever had Kentucky Gentleman? I tried it once and it was good, very inexpensive too.

06-20-2004, 13:13
The Ancient Ancient Age 10yo -- not to be confused with the 10-Star, which is just 6 years old -- currently is only marketed in Kentucky and Virginia. I always buy a bottle anytime I pass through KY which, fortunately, is right next door. I've read (perhaps on these forums) that it is Buffalo Trace master distiller Gary Gayheart's favorite, so likely will continue to be produced in its somewhat limited quanities.

06-20-2004, 14:39
Cast my vote for Buffalo Trace. Catch a sale and it's $12.99/750ml in Maryland. Honorable mentions need to go out to Ancient Ancient Age 10yo ($9.90/750ml) and VOB BIB (not available in VA, but was $9.99/750ml in KY).

IMO, all three of these are superb and very affordable! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

06-20-2004, 14:59
That's a very good sale price for a great bourbon Gary! I agree, BT is a good choice as is AAA 10yo. I also like Weller 12yo for the price, it is http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/yum.gif for the price.

06-20-2004, 17:05
I like Old Ezra 7 year 101 in that price range. It's got the intensity from the higher proof and a little more age on it to round it out a bit.

06-20-2004, 18:39
In Australia, where everything's expensive and the lack of choice is enormous, I found that my favourite is the Evan Williams Single Barrel. Below that, ordinary Wild Turkey is the go. I haven't tried the Evan Williams 7 yet, but it surely must be better than JD Black label.
If we actually had any Elijah Craig in the country at the moment I'd probably confirm how good that was too.

06-20-2004, 18:41
Prices have apparently gone up here in AL. At the new prices:

1) Old Forester 100-proof, $17
2) Elijah Craig 12-yr old, $17
3) Old Grand Dad 86-proof, $15, but occasionally on sale for $11


06-20-2004, 18:53
In Australia, where everything's expensive and the lack of choice is enormous, I found that my favourite is the Evan Williams Single Barrel. Below that, ordinary Wild Turkey is the go. I haven't tried the Evan Williams 7 yet, but it surely must be better than JD Black label.

7 year Evan Williams is underrated. It is a very good bourbon, especially for the price.
If we actually had any Elijah Craig in the country at the moment I'd probably confirm how good that was too.

06-20-2004, 20:11
Guess I'm just lucky living in a market where I can get Old Rip Van Winkle 10/90 for $16 and make it my 'well bourbon'. I still can't figure out how they sell it so cheap compared to everyone else. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif

06-20-2004, 20:46
I vote for Weller 12 yo as well. Absolutely delicious, and only about $15/bottle. You have to look hard for it out here in California, though.

06-20-2004, 21:16
Jim Beam White at 26.99 and Cougar at 24.99 are probably the best cheap buys for me.
(In comparison, Evan Williams Single Barrel is $45 and Elijah Craig 12yo is $40 - both are definately worth the extra money)

06-20-2004, 23:53
Jim Beam Black & EC 12 YR would be two of my favourite cheapies, but for ultimate value for money could not go past Buffalo Trace.

06-21-2004, 01:51
but for ultimate value for money could not go past Buffalo Trace

I didn't think it was available in Australia? http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif

06-21-2004, 06:45
It's not but even after air freight & tax it's still a bargain.

06-21-2004, 09:13
This week I have been enjoying Elijah Craig 12-year-old ($16.99) and Ancient Ancient Age 10-year-old ($14.99), both great values.

Must say I am jealous of people who are paying $12.99 for Buffalo Trace. In Chicago, it has been staying around $20.

06-21-2004, 09:15
The Ancient Ancient Age 10yo -- not to be confused with the 10-Star, which is just 6 years old -- currently is only marketed in Kentucky and Virginia.

And yet I bought it last week at Binny's on Clark Street in Chicago.

06-21-2004, 09:18
Kentucky Gentleman is a Barton brand. It appears in wells here in Chicago. I tried a taste not long ago. Not good.

06-21-2004, 10:36
Well, there's nothing better than good, cheap bourbon,and believe it or not, there is such a thing. For me, the hands down winner is W.L. Weller Special Reserve. It's a 7 year old wheated bourbon that can be picked up for UNDER 10 bucks here in the bluegrass. I used to work in a liquor store as the bourbon buyer, and I would often conduct blind taste tests with friends and co-workers. Put up against Maker's Mark, the Old Weller would win 8 out of 10 times.Not bad for a bottle that was less than half the price of the MM.

My other favorite is Old Fo'. Even with last year's slight price increase I can still find it for 10 to 12 dollars. This is a great bourbon that has stood the test of time and the onslaught of boutique brands.

Old Grandad is also an old fav.


06-21-2004, 12:39
Two notes re AAA 10yo:
1)I, too, have purchased it in TN within the past year, but always old stock; and
2)I think Binny's is a big enough retailer to be able to get whatever it wants.

06-21-2004, 14:45
I think Binny's is a big enough retailer to be able to get whatever it wants.

That's exactly what it is. Along those lines, Buffalo Trace is not in Illinois yet, but Sam's and Binny's have it.

06-21-2004, 14:46
Yep, all of the above to which, in Kentucky, I would add Very Old Barton.

06-21-2004, 17:56
I will state flat out that Very Old Barton is amongst the top 5 bourbons in America, at any price. That it is - so far - offered at a near bottom shelf price is an anomaly and rare boon for consumers.


06-21-2004, 19:03
Okay, this is the biggest surprise I've had since logging on to this site. The seemingly wide-spread appreciation for VOB. My first reaction is ...WHAT? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I've always considered VOB nearly intolorable. But I will admit that my opinion is based in large part on a few very bad college drinking experiences! I seem to remember something about half-pints of VOB chased with Big Red! HA! HA!

Seriously, this does make me want to give it another try. After all college has been more than a few years ago.


06-21-2004, 19:57
Try the Bottled-in-bond. You won't be disappointed. I would compare it favorably to Old Forester.

06-21-2004, 19:59
I'm in neither camp regarding VOB. I didn't care for it my first try, which was early on in my bourbon adventures. After reading the recent raves here, I figured I'd give it another think and purchased a liter of VOB BIB. I can drink it without hating it, but it doesn't send me into paroxysms of glee, either.
I'll continue to spend a little more for stuff I like better.

06-21-2004, 20:22
Also the other biggie online, Randalls (internetwine.com) has both and is located just east of St Louis in Illinois. As I say often though, they are VERY proud of most of their selections and you pay for it.

06-22-2004, 02:12
Must say I am jealous of people who are paying $12.99 for Buffalo Trace.


I believe Gary is once again touting the Montgomery County sale prices. This week you can get EVSB for $14.99 and WTRB for $22.95. That could qualify them for "best tasting bargain bourbons".

Otherwise I vote for Old Forester 100 and W.L. Weller 12.

06-22-2004, 11:41
you can get EVSB

That's Ewan Villiams Single Barrel. Oops, Evan Williams

Single Barrel for $14.99 .

06-22-2004, 12:01
And did you mean WTRB (Rare Breed) or WTRR (Russell's Reserve)?

06-22-2004, 12:39
The Montgomery County Webpage (http://montgomerycountymd.gov/Apps/DLC/Retail/spirits_specials.cfm) says Rare Breed. Man, I wish my local store ran sales like this!

06-22-2004, 14:59
Good sale.

06-22-2004, 16:04

Thanks for the help. Actually it's not my local store but most of our Maryland, D.C. and Virginia SB.com members seem to find their way to one of the outlets.

06-24-2004, 14:34
A bourbon that doesn't get much mention here but has gotten some acclaim elsewhere is the Evan Williams 1783 10yo. It was recently introduced here in Texas at about $10 per 750ml. That makes it about $2 more than EW 7yo, but well worth the extra $2. It has the HH "mentholyptus" going but in a smooth, rounded profile at 86 proof.


06-24-2004, 16:45
We'll second that one. In VA, the 1.75L is a great deal when it's on sale - usually about $22.

06-24-2004, 20:45
The Montgomery County Webpage (http://montgomerycountymd.gov/Apps/DLC/Retail/spirits_specials.cfm) says Rare Breed. Man, I wish my local store ran sales like this!

I especially like this website for placing the Bourbons at the top of the list, where they belong, and the S*****es just above the Lemoncello and Lemon Cream at the bottom, right where they belong, too!

07-04-2004, 14:13
Here in Las Vegas, even in the largest liquor stores (which otherwise have a decent selection of bourbon and other whiskey) I've only seen one BIB bourbon!. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/mad.gif I think it might have been Barton's. I recently picked up Old Forester 100 proof because it's bin was still labeled BIB, only to find (at home) the label no longer states this. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif

07-05-2004, 17:54
Brown-Forman took the BIB designation off the 100 proof Old Forester because they felt no one understood the term, i.e., it was irrelevant to consumers. They assure me, however, that it still meets all of the requirements.

07-06-2004, 19:13
I'm in the middle of this process. To me, cheap bourbon is $15 or less. I have yet to try Weller 12yo, Ancient Ancient Age 10, Buffalo Trace. Hope to come across them soon. But I don't think you can beat Rebel Yell for the money.

07-06-2004, 19:29
You're absolutely right. I have Hirsch 16yo, Weller 12yo, JB Black, Black Maple Hill 16yo, AAA 10yo and Stagg '03 among bottles open right now on my shelf -- right alongside my liter of Rebel Yell. The quality of bourbon today, like wine generally, is such that you can price shop without worry -- you're still going to get something drinkable. Rebel Yell's a good example. It's good enough that the dirt-cheap price make you feel like you're getting away with something.

07-10-2004, 12:46
The best deal I have found yet, $8.99 for a bottle of Old Forester 86 while I was traveling in LA last week. Tasty stuff. My previous lowball favorite was Old Weller, but this eclipsed that handily.

07-20-2004, 16:42
I think this a great thread to study as a cash-strapped novice. Buffalo Trace and Old Weller 107 Antique have been the two bourbons that essentially served as my introduction to the beverage, only just within the last year. I'm glad to see that both have been mentioned here frequently.

07-20-2004, 19:13
Weller 107 is VERY GOOD!

07-20-2004, 19:42
We agree with you - the Old Weller Antique 107 is a very nice bourbon, especially for the price! The 12 yo is very popular here (deservedly so), but we like the Antique just as much if not more.

07-21-2004, 09:14
I too vote for Old Weller Antique; it's how I end most work days. Has anyone noticed what i think is an error on the front label?

07-21-2004, 15:31

07-21-2004, 16:00
Well, there's nothing better than good, cheap bourbon,and believe it or not, there is such a thing.

That's practically sig material! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

07-27-2004, 19:35
Well, I studied the label and all I could come up with is "Old Line" sounds a little funny. Is it supposed to say "Old TIME?"

07-29-2004, 10:43
You got it! I think that the graphics folks misread the copyrighters "old time" for "old line"; old line would be an unusual phrase, IMHO.

07-29-2004, 15:42
Any plausible/possible connection with Maryland, which is nicknamed "The Old Line State"? Found this with Google:

According to some historians, Gen. George Washington bestowed the name "Old Line State" and thereby associated Maryland with its regular line troops, the Maryland Line, who served courageously in many Revolutionary War battles.
source: http://www.mdarchives.state.md.us/msa/mdmanual/01glance/html/nickname.html

Cheers, Ed V.

Editted: pesky quotation marks!

08-03-2004, 09:17
Interesting about Maryland, but wouldn't there need to be a link between Old Weller and Maryland?

08-03-2004, 18:32
I agree. It's probably just a mistake of "Old Line" for "Old Time", as stated, but it's curious that "Old Line" actually has a meaning. Ed V.

08-04-2004, 06:05
Maryland is still referred as "The Old Line State" with the meaning as previously mentioned. But is the label erroneous? For those who have in their possesion Sally Van Winkle Campbell's book "But Always Fine Bourbon", a glance at the back cover will reveal a bottle of Old Weller from years past with the same "Old Line Sour Mash" phrase. The inside back cover is full of old labels of which one refers to "W.L. Weller and Sons' "Potomac" Whiskey. So it is quite possible that the whiskey formula is based on an old Maryland recipe or mashing process.

08-04-2004, 07:29
The Weller family came to Kentucky from Maryland so there is a Weller connection to the state.

Old Line probably refers to a whiskey made and bottled like they did before prohibition as in "Line of Goods". I will have to go to the U.D. Archive and look at some of the old label books to see what they have on the original labels.
Mike Veach

08-04-2004, 08:01
Dave that is interesting since the "Maryland process" or "Potomac style" (see e.g., the Heaven Hill explanation on its web site) referred as far as I know to rye whiskey, possibly (this per a suggestion Chuck made) blended rye whiskeys. Whereas Weller is famous precisely for not containing any rye!


08-04-2004, 08:04
This makes sense to me, that Old Line was a nod to traditional methods of manufacture and possibly the home State of the Weller family, but not as intending any specific reference to rye whiskey since the very mashbill would preclude such idea (unless wheated bourbon was known in one or more parts of old Maryland, which is possible, I guess).


08-04-2004, 11:37
I'm no label authority, but I don't think there's anything mysterious going on here.

I've always understood "old line" to speak of tradition. Webster defines old-line as "1. having a reputation or authority based on seniority" and "2. adhering to traditional policies or practices."

08-04-2004, 11:49
I held the (rated job)...label machine operator. I did this job for nearly 7 years. My job was to make sure that the product and the label were correct. The labels are fine tuned before they ever get to the bottle. It amazed me that, in all of those years, I found "one mistake". A typing error. It was on T.W. Samuels, BIB...the small print said 90 proof... http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif Major mistake...As most of ya know, BIB is 100 proof. None got out the door.

http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif Bettye Jo http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

08-04-2004, 13:03
Remember that the W. L. Weller company was a wholesaler and rectifier prior to Prohibition, and not a distiller. As such, if there ever was a Weller formula it probably was a blending formula, not a straight whiskey mash bill. Also, as Mike knows because he told me, the Wellers came to Kentucky very early. Although they may have kept ties to Maryland, they were in Kentucky when the whiskey we now know as bourbon evolved into its present form.

It's possible, even likely, that both the Fitzgerald and Weller brands were rye-based prior to Prohibition. The 'whisper of wheat' was a Pappy Van Winkle thing and Sally states that the recipe came from the Stitzel family. Stitzel made whiskey for Weller prior to Prohibition, so Weller may have been selling some wheat recipe whiskey then, but we don't know for sure. Post Prohibition, during the Stitzel-Weller era, Weller and Fitzgerald were the same whiskey, at least so far as mash bill is concerned.

Speaking of whiskey recipes, Sam Cecil reports that the H. E. Pogue Distillery in Maysville made in the late 19th century "Royal Club," a rye and wheat whiskey.

08-04-2004, 13:45
You are right. I should have made clearer that there is a Weller connection to Maryland, in that they came from Maryland (where the family owned the first match making business in the state according to a family genealogist) in 1796. The family then branched again with another branch going to Ohio and entering the pottery business. I doubt this connection was important to Pappy Van Winkle when he created "Weller Original Barrel Proof 107" in the 1950's. This is the brand that later became Weller Antique. I think the term "Old Line" has more to do with getting barrel proof whiskey before prohibition as in their "Old Line of Products".

I think the Van Winkle/Farnsley/Stitzel version of the wheat recipe was developed in the early 30's as a whiskey that would age faster or at least taste better at an early age. It is interersting that the same Beam who was the master distiller at that Story Avenue Plant at this time, also was the first master distiller at Maker's Mark.
Mike Veach

08-04-2004, 13:53
Thanks, most interesting data and speculations.

This is not the thread for it but at some point I would like to initiate a discussion about whether wheated bourbon is "true" bourbon. I put true in quotes because clearly it has a lineage going back generations if not longer and of course it meets the legal definition. Still, having tasted many wheaters and many rye-recipe whiskeys, I am starting to believe that wheated bourbon isn't truly traditional bourbon, that it was probably developed to appeal to the (undoubtedly large) range of consumers who could not develop the taste for the tang of rye recipe bourbon. Since straight rye came first, it is in the pantheon for me, ditto rye recipe bourbon. But wheated bourbon, even the best I have had, lacks something, it tastes "unfinished" to me. I am not sure if it is in the pantheon albeit (as for other spirits which are, or are related to, whiskey) it has a certain history and many devotees.


08-04-2004, 14:01
Mike, did Sam Cecil have anything to do possibly with developing the wheated recipe?


08-04-2004, 14:05
Just to develop my own thoughts further, I find Mike Veach's comment about wheated bourbon having possibly been developed to age faster and taste better at younger ages very thought-provoking.


08-04-2004, 14:19
In the "whiskey debate" in the current issue of WHISKY, Ken Weber of Buffalo Trace makes some similar comments, at least about wheat recipe bourbons becoming palatable earlier in the aging cycle. Remember too that although no one makes it today, "wheat whiskey" (as in a mash of at least 51 percent wheat) is recognized in the federal regulations. The suggestion in the Cecil note about Pogue's "rye and wheat whiskey," is that either those were the only grains used or were primary. I believe that at least at one time in recent memory, a distillery in Wales was making a wheat whiskey. I know of no other. This is, of course, different from a wheated bourbon.

It should be noted that in the federal regulations defining bourbon, no mention is made of any grain being required other than corn, although there is a general requirement that (I'm paraphrasing) a bourbon has to be what people expect a bourbon to be. Conceivably, at least as far as the federal regs for bourbon are concerned, you could call a 100 percent corn whiskey "bourbon," or one flavored with oats, unmalted barley, rice (imagine!) or some heirloom grain such as kamut, so long as corn was the primary grain. What makes bourbon bourbon is the corn. Rye became the primary flavor grain but I believe others were always used, either based on the preferences of the distiller or availability.

08-04-2004, 14:45
Since rye whiskey came first, the other types are subsets, this is true from a taste standpoint as well since corn is less flavorful than rye. You can reduce the rye and increase the corn (or wheat, presumably) but the taste diminishes - this can be seen from wheated bourbon which (good as it is) seems one-dimensional in relation to rye whiskey or rye recipe bourbon. Rye gives it the top notes, in other words. Even distilled at bourbon proof (under 160 proof) corn alone seems gentle in taste. Wheated bourbon is an honorable member of the bourbon family, but to me is a slightly eccentric relation.. True, using a majority of other grains produces legal categories of straight whiskey but that isn't bourbon.. I believe the wheat whiskeys died out due to a relative lack of flavor. Corn whiskey has almost died as a category..


08-04-2004, 18:15
Spoken like a Canadian. When you think about it that way (and a valid way it is) bourbon and Canadian aren't that different. Both use corn spirit as a base and flavor it with rye. Wheated bourbons are candy-like. Rye bourbons are the more complex and, ultimately, the more interesting of the two. So why not straight rye? Maybe too much of a good thing.

08-04-2004, 18:32
Well put, Chuck!


08-05-2004, 06:38
Not that I am aware of.
Mike Veach

08-05-2004, 06:45
Evidently you missed my post in the History section with an additional quote from Kentucky Fowler. Recipe, before prohibition, is not what made whiskey "bourbon", but aging the whiskey made it "bourbon". According to what they are saying the advertisement a 100% rye whiskey or barley malt whiskey could be called "bourbon" if it was aged in charred oak barrels.

My studies show that it was the Taft decision that put recipe into the definition of "bourbon".

Mike Veach

08-05-2004, 07:27

developing the wheated recipe?

This is a question of interest to me. I have long wondered, who was the first distiller to use wheat, and the story of why.
My information takes me to W.L. Weller and stops.
Was Weller the first? Chuck, Mike, anyone?

08-05-2004, 09:57
Mike, thanks for your previous note by the way re Sam. I did see your post about grain bills and aging as viewed in the early 1900's. I didn't however mean my comment in a technical sense but simply that in terms of how the majority view bourbon, today and for a long time, the wheated recipe and other variants from a mashbill incorporating some rye are not typical, don't deliver the "expected" taste. In Sam's book, when a distillery (that he is aware of) used an unusual mashbill, he says so, e.g., Pogue as mentioned recently by Chuck, or Poindexter (unmalted barley in the small grains). I infer that almost all bourbon discussed in the book, save where specified to be rye whiskey, was a combo of mostly corn and rye grists and that formula has certainly survived as the main taste preference today (especially if we include JD). I accept your point, which is very interesting, that "bourbon" for a long time likely meant any (low-proof) cereal whiskey aged in new charred oak. I am talking about taste and consumer expectation, e.g., in Canada you can find canned root beer and it is certainly a soft drink but I would say, far from a typical one. Typical ones are cola and lemon-lime sodas, orange soda and other mainstream tastes. I meant my comments in that sense.


08-05-2004, 10:20
I think it's one of those "mists of time" questions, Brenda. It probably goes back to the time when whiskey was made from any grain that was available. Certainly wheat would have tended to be available in most areas due to its popularity as the primary bread grain. This may also be why it, and barley, were less commonly used in whiskey than corn and rye, because they had other popular uses (bread and beer), whereas corn was primarily used as animal feed and I'm not sure what rye was used for, other than rye bread.

08-05-2004, 11:25
After all this talk about Old Weller Antique 107, I decided to pick up a bottle from my local establishment and give it a try. They were out. So after playing a round of golf, I stopped by a little liquor store I had visited once to see if they had any. I got a bonus. They had a bottle with a burgundy colored cloth bag with gold "Weller Antique" embroidered on it. I just live for the simple little things don't I?

08-05-2004, 11:38
I agree, rye was most likely grown for the purpose. And, wheat would have been a more valuable commodity just based on the fact that it could be used for several other things.
I guess what I would like to know is, was any other documented mashbill wheat before W.L. Weller?
I don't have a copy of any of the older historical distilling manuals, so I don't know if they mention wheat or not.
So, I guess Bill Sr. got his recipe from Pappy, and Pappy most likely started with W.L. Weller's recipe...and that's the last of the trail?

08-05-2004, 11:58
Pappy probably started with the wheat recipe in the late 20's early 30's when Stitzel Distillery was experimenting with recipes that would age quicker or taste better at an early age. The wheat recipe probably did not come from W. L. Weller. In fact a contract from before prohibition between W. L. Weller and sons and Stitzel Distilling Co. calls for Stitzel to make bourbon for W. L. Weller and sons with rye, not wheat. When you get right down to it, the wheat recipe is probably more of a Beam creation than anybody else because Elmo Beam was the Master Distiller for Stitzel at that time and I am sure it was his knowledge as much as anybody else's knowledge, that perfected the recipe. From him it passed on to Will McGill, who was also related to the Beams.
Mike Veach

08-05-2004, 12:30
I don't know for sure if it was created when my family of distillers worked for Pappy...Actually, Pop Beam and Elmo worked there at the same time in the early days. I have a picture of them standing in front of the distillery. Hell, all of the "7 sons" worked for the VanWinkle family http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

I have a letter from Pappy sent to my Uncle Wilmer (Master Distiller, Yellowstone 1956). That letter was sent in regard to Pop Beams death. Pappy states in that letter that they made wonderful bourbon, with exception on the first day... http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif That clue (in my opinion) told me that they were probably "inventing something" for Pappy http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif He also went on to say that he was the Dean Distiller of his Age... http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

I guess it's something we will never know for sure.

Will McGill was my great Uncle. He was brother to my great-grandmother Katie McGill Beam http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif Bettye Jo http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

08-05-2004, 12:50
Bettye Jo,
I was basing the Elmo Beam information on a photo album that Julian Van Winkle owns and let us copy for the U D Archive. In that album it lists Elmo Beam as Master Distiller but there are several other Beams identified.
I think you may be right about the "clue" in your letter - it certainly matches the time frame for the experimentation period I am talking about.

We (myself included) often forget when we refer to distillery owners as "distillers" (people such as Pappy Van Winkle, E. H. Taylor, James E. Pepper, etc...) that the fact is they probably had a Beam, a Dant, a Wathen or a Medley working for them as the "Master Distiller". These are the people that often made the true discoveries and improvements, but never received the credit they deserved.
Mike Veach

08-07-2004, 08:15
Mike & Bettye Jo,
Since I tend to prefer the wheaters, I'm impressed to know (after all this time) that it probably was a Beam! I have been interested in who actually pioneered the wheat mashbill, since MM started bragging about doing it in their advertising... http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/rolleyes.gif

the fact is they probably had a Beam, a Dant, a Wathen or a Medley working for them as the "Master Distiller". These are the people that often made the true discoveries and improvements, but never received the credit they deserved.

I absolutely agree 100%! I remember telling Elmer T. Lee how honored I was to meet him. I told him I was a Master Distiller Groupie, and he laughed. He thought I was kidding.
I wasn't... http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif

08-13-2004, 19:05
EC 12YO best in the range

WT and OF are good choices

EW BIB is a nice 100 proof for about $12

I take AA over Ezra unless I can get Old Ezra in that price.

09-30-2004, 12:51
My two favorite inexpensive bourbons have to be Old Grand Dad 86 and Elija Craig 12.

10-01-2004, 08:10
For my tastes, AAA is the best inexpensive bourbon. Its about $15 a bottle and good to the last drop. I always have a least a couple bottles on hand.


10-01-2004, 13:24
I can only get AAA 10 star, not AAA 10-year old... from what I've heard, this is the case everywhere outside of Kentucky. I've been told that the 10 star is probably not worth buying, but I might pick some up anyway (except I have to special order it).

10-01-2004, 13:43
I can get the 10-year-old here in Chicago. I have a bottle now.

The 10-star is 90 proof and six years old, so it's probably not too bad, it's just not 10 years old. I haven't had it, at least not recently. I suspect that at some point they went to this younger (hence cheaper) product in some markets, while still keeping the AAA name and a numeral "10" on the label. This is what Wild Turkey did a few years ago, when they removed the age statement, which was 8 years, but replaced it with a meaningless "No. 8 Brand" so no one would notice.

The six-year-old age claim for AAA 10 Star comes from the website. I don't know if it's on the label or not.

The standard AA is 80 proof and the last time I had it, it was three years old, and wasn't very good.

10-01-2004, 14:28
Being somewhat curious about the use of wheat, I stuck "wheat whiskey" into
Google, and turned up a Canadian (!) distillery making "Cheltenham Wheat
Whiskey" in 1848, and a picture of a barrel, circa 1860, from a Waterloo
(Canada again!) distillery, marked "EXTRA RECTIFIED RYE AND WHEAT WHISKEY.
HESPELER AND RANDALL". (Randall & Co would later become Seagrams).

My guess is that the Canadians used wheat because it was produced nearby.

I also turned up a "design patent" (early form of copyright?) for
"Simon Crow's Pure White Wheat Whiskey" (1864). Also turned up
an "Essence of Old Virginia Wheat Whiskey" advert (no date).

So there's evidence of wheat being used in whiskey in the 1840s-1860s.

I'd certainly like to hear form others who know more about early bourbon
formulations in the early larger, commercial distilleries, and how
their recipes developed and evolved.

Tim Dellinger