View Full Version : Semi-newbie - recommendations?

09-14-2004, 08:58
Greetings, all! I'm somewhat new to the world of whisk(e)y in general, and to bourbon in particular. I've been lurking on the boards for a week or two trying to absorb some knowledge, and now I'm looking for some suggestions on what additional bourbons I should try.

Here is what I have in my stash or have had at some time:
<ul type="square">
Knob Creek - My first "premium" bourbon, I like the vanilla nose and the smoothness.
Maker's Mark - Eh. It's ok. I have friends that love it. I've still got a 375 mL bottle that I haven't finished, simply because I don't drink that often.
Basil Hayden's - Cool bottle, but I'm not a big fan of the contents. Wish I'd read the boards here before purchasing, as it seems others feel the same way.
Elijah Craig 12yo - This is probably my favorite to date. And it's cheap enough to drink as an "everyday" bourbon. Only downside is that the state determines availability for all liquor in Vermont, so I have to special order this through their website.
Evan Williams Single Barrel (I believe 1993, not 100% sure) - I've seen raves of EWSB on these boards, but for me, the taste of charcoal dominates everything else - I have yet to find any other flavor in this bottle. Was a gift from the in-laws.
Jim Beam Black - Good, I (gasp) use this to mix with (whiskey sours, manhattan, and bourbon &amp; coke). Seems a good value for the price, but I prefer the EC12 for drinking neat.
Jim Beam White - Staple. Used for mixing when guests are over. I also have some friends who PREFER the JB White either on the rocks or *shudder* for shots.

After reading the boards here, I compiled a list of "must try" bourbons. Here are the items that are available in-state:
<ul type="square"> Harper Gold Medal 15yo - $28
Ancient Ancient Age - $12
Booker's - $48
Elijah Craig 18yo (single barrel) - $33
Rock Hill Farms - $38
Wild Turkey Rare Breed - $31
Eagle Rare Single Barrel - $20 (Eagle Rare is $16)

In addition to these, there are several bourbons listed on the state page that I have heard no mention of here, and they look interesting:
<ul type="square"> Very Very Old Fitzgerald - $27
Old Charter Proprietor's Reserve - $28

Very few of these items are "in stock" at the state liquor stores, and must be special ordered. I know packaging is not important (think "Basil Hayden's), but I like to be able to look at a bottle before I buy it. So, I'm doing the next best thing - asking a bunch of folks who have hopefully seen (and even better, tasted) these bourbons, and can point me in the right direction!

Thanks all!


09-14-2004, 10:59
wrbriggs: I'm relatively new to this forum but certainly not new to bourbon. I've tried almost all of the bourbons you list in your post, and your "must try" list looks great to me. I would add as a great lower-cost bourbon the Wild Turkey Russell's Reserve. Also, I'm a big fan of the Van Winkle products - try the Old Rip Van Winkle 15yo 107 or the Van Winke Family Reserve 20yo if you want to go that high in price, and the Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye. There are others, but with the above and your list, you should be in butter for a while.

09-14-2004, 11:10
Thanks for the response! I would have added the Van Winkle bourbons to my list, but unfortunately, none are available in Vermont...

If anyone is interested, here are a list of the bourbon's that are readily available to me:
Vermont DLC Straight Bourbon Listing (http://www.state.vt.us/dlc/retail/priceguide/whiskey.html#straight)

There are certainly bourbons I'd love to try that aren't on my list, such as Stagg or Hirsch, but they are not available to me, and are not available in New Hampshire either... I am not as familiar with NY liquor laws, but it might be worth looking into. I've just discovered that I cannot have liquor shipped to Vermont either, so I will have to travel to get anything "special"; and unfortunately, while I do have some spare cash to spend on bourbon, I have very little for travelling...

09-14-2004, 11:23
I like all that you have listed that you could get (cept' for the Fitzgerald and I will talk about that in a bit) but here are 4 I would get in particular in order of my preference. Again, this is just my opinion:

Rock Hill Farms - $38 Beautiful bourbon, nicely balanced
Eagle Rare Single Barrel - $20 Same, balanced nicely, just enough rye. If you can get the Eagle Rare 17yo, you'd have a REAL winner!
Elijah Craig 18yo (single barrel) - $33 (I love this one for its great 'barrel notes' http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/yum.gif) It's a love it or hate it though...
Wild Turkey Rare Breed - $31 A very good example expression from WT. Priced a bit higher than I have seen it, but still different from the rest so I would say give it a go.

Now about the Fitzgerald you speak of. Its not the Very Very old fitzgerald but rather very special old fitzgerald. Very Very old fitz has not been made in some time... I wish it were still made though, one hell of a bourbon. Anyways, I had one bottle of the VSOF and about gagged. It was one of the few bourbons I can say I hated and wouldn't want to try again.

09-14-2004, 12:01
Make sure you get the AAA 10YO - I think its much better than the other AA's.

* Buffalo Trace *



09-14-2004, 12:49
This probably doesn't belong in this thread, but I just finished an email exchange with my favorite liquor retailer in the area (the selection and prices are set by the state, but the stores are independently owned and operated). It turns out that there is a loophole in the VT state law that allows me to order liquor from out-of-state if I fill out the proper paperwork http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif (I assume there is some limit to the amount I can bring in). Also, it seems that the laws are more relaxed for retailers than for individuals, and she may be able to special order any liquor I want, if she can find a distributor that carries it, even if it isn't distributed by the state.

So, with that all said - I may have more leeway than I thought. Ignore my list - other than what's already been mentioned, what should I be looking for? http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/yum.gif

Thanks all!


Hedmans Brorsa
09-14-2004, 12:57

From your list I would choose :

- Wild Turkey rare breed ( a must have in any bourbon collection)
- Rock Hill Farms (perhaps the most hedonistic bourbon out there)
- Ancient Ancient Age (best value for money)

To be quite honest, my latest bottle of Booker´s took me by surprise, in a positive sense. Not that I ever have looked down upon it but it was so much better than my last bottling. I´m a bit wary about recommending it, though, partly because of the price but also, due to the fact that it seems to vary in style from bottling to bottling.

As for the I.W. Harper 15 yo : well, wow! Wish I could lay my hands on that bugger (I have never, ever seen one).

09-14-2004, 19:38
Evening wrbriggs,

A couple not on your list but you may like are the 100 proof expressions of Very Old Barton and Old Forester. These and EC 12yr have been my daily and entertainment pours for several decades.

Your distributor should be able to get the VOB and OF in the 1.75 ltr at a cost far less than one of the limited bottlings.


09-14-2004, 20:28
I see the Weller Centennial on the list and highly recommend it myself.

09-14-2004, 22:15
I have to agree with two points here:

1. Rock Hill Farms is a wonderful bourbon, and definitely worth the price. One of my top five all-time favorites.

2. I had a very similar experience with VSOF. I thought it was horrible. It's the only bourbon I ever bought where I actually ended up throwing away part of the bottle because I couldn't stand the taste.

09-14-2004, 22:17
I see the Weller Centennial on the list and highly recommend it myself.

Oh yeah! Weller Centennial is a winner!

09-15-2004, 01:19
To be quite honest, my latest bottle of Booker´s took me by surprise, in a positive sense. Not that I ever have looked down upon it but it was so much better than my last bottling. I´m a bit wary about recommending it, though, partly because of the price but also, due to the fact that it seems to vary in style from bottling to bottling.

What strength / batch have you got - wonder if its the same as mine (63.2 %)

Cheers, B.

09-15-2004, 06:06
I just want to say thank you for all the great responses I've received so far. I am going to go ahead and special order a bottle of the AAA 10yr and the Rock Hill Farms (going for one "everday" and one "premium").

I will be sure to keep everyone informed on my results with these two.

On another happy note, just this morning I gave a friend a bottle of EC12 to get him started with bourbon, as he had expressed an interest... hopefully he becomes as addicted as I am! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif

Thanks again all!


Hedmans Brorsa
09-15-2004, 09:13
What strength / batch have you got - wonder if its the same as mine (63.2 %)

Mine is 7 yrs 9 mo, Batch No B95-C-31, 63,35 % (126,7 proof).

I´ve always enjoyed Booker´s but this bottling is actually nothing short of stupendous. Creamy and fruity in a way that I don´t remember from earlier experiences with B. It was around two years ago since my last bottle but I remember that one to be more heavy on the liquorice.

The older bottlings got a "very good" rating from me but the current one is great whiskey. As simple as that.


09-15-2004, 13:15
a bottle of the AAA 10yr and the Rock Hill Farms

RHF is a top five fave of mine. Recently I finally got around to opening a bottle of AAA 10 yr. that I had ordered from Chicago months before.

The difference in level of complexity was very apparent, and yet so was the family resemblance. I invite you to share your impressions along those lines in a new thread after you've tried them both.

For more information in this regard, see the following "golden oldie" (http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/showthreaded.php?Cat=&amp;Board=General&amp;Number=6068&amp;Fo rum=All_Forums&amp;Words=Linn%20Ancient%20Rock%20Reser ve&amp;Match=And&amp;Searchpage=0&amp;Limit=25&amp;Old=allposts&amp;Ma in=6061&amp;Search=true#Post6068), and scroll down to item number 3.

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

09-15-2004, 13:19
Your distributor should be able to get the VOB ...

From what I've read in this discussion group, I doubt that VOB is obtainable in wrbriggs' home state of Vermont. I'm given to understand that those darned Kentuckians hog it all for themselves. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

09-16-2004, 01:38
doh - that's not the one I've got, but it is very good all the same.