View Full Version : Best of the BT Line?
Following on from the WT post above, I was curious about the Buffalo Trace range. It is also something that is unavailable in Oz, so I'm taking advantage of the folks bringing some back. Problem is I can only get 1 (customs etc.)
I'm really looking at the higher-end stuff, cause I can order the BT and ER10 later on. If tossing up:
Eagle Rare 17yo
Rock Hill Farms
W.L Weller Centennial
What would be your pick (as a foil to my other request of Elijah Craig 18yo)
Are all of these readily available in most stores in Calif or SF? (with the exception of the Stagg)
I love Blanton's, but I believe I would choose the Rock Hill Farms. It is the most luxurious bourbon I have ever tasted.
I'll take a stab at this one because most of our truly knowledgeable folks are now at the Bourbon Festival, where they are undoubtedly widening the knowledge gap between us at this very moment. I can see a couple of perspectives from which to try to answer your question.
One is based on pure enjoyment. The other takes into account the relative rarity of each bottling. For example, someone might rank Stagg number two in terms of pure enjoyment, but it is so rare that the same person might choose to buy it when available, not knowing whether the opportunity will be repeated.
Of your five candidates, Eagle Rare 17 y/o is the only one I have not tried. (I'm saving a bottle to open for some special occasion, perhaps the 2004 atumnal equinox. <g>) If I were to substitute the 10 y/o, I would insert it at number 3 on both lists, below. I can hardly imagine that the 17 y/o would rank lower than the 10 y/o.
Of the other four, here are my rankings, first based on pure enjoyment (your mileage may vary), second based on need to acquire at any opportunity.
1. Rock Hill Farms
2. Stagg (most SB'ers would rank this one ahead of RHF)
3. Blanton's (a large gap between this and no. 2 on my list; however, if you value subtlety over oomph, you might rank this one no. 1)
4. Weller Centennial (an even larger gap between this and no. 3; not even the best wheat-recipe bourbon from BT, IMO)
1. Stagg (all but unavailable within a few weeks after each year's release)
2. Rock Hill Farms (available from numerous sources most of the time in the USA)
3. Blanton's (widely available)
4. Weller Centennial (fairly widely available)
When I still lived in SoCal, I found nos. 2, 3 & 4 on the shelf at Hi-Time in Costa Mesa most of the time. I seldom made the trek to Wine and Liquor Depot in Van Nuys, so I don't recall what they normally stocked. I think I bought Blanton's there one time. (And my son bought me Hirsch 20 y/o there a couple of Christmases ago.) I know of no other outlets in the area that rival these two for selection. However, the many locations of the Beverages and More chain may be worth a look. Beverage Warehouse in Culver City is also worth a look, if it's not too far out of the way. (With a definite list in hand, it's probably better to phone first in each case.)
I hope you enjoy whatever choice you make.
That's a good list. I'm sure you would be pleased with any of them. I have tasted them all and currently have a bottle of each in my cabinet.
Since you asked for just the one I recommend Rock Hill Farms. Not only is it the equal of the others but its one that you won't encounter very often as it is easily the most overlooked and underrated of the lot.
Thanks for the feedback folks. I was wondering why there was a dropoff of posts in the last day or so.
To be honest The RHF was what I was looking at primarily. It seems to get a great rap on the forums. (with the exception of one post of Marvin's off memory), the flavour profile described sounds like it'd be up my alley, and a good spice/fruit alternative to the oak/wood flavour of the EC18.
The fact that it's not often focussed upon is what I'm after, as I'd like something you wouldn't get, even if I ordered them from Binny's. ER10 Weller12 and BT seem to be the value bourbons out there.
Do i take it that RHF would be freely available, even to bourbon novices in a strange land like my parents?
Our selection in Vermont is pretty terrible, but even we can get Rock Hill Farms via special order through our Department of Liquor Control. In fact, I am going to be ordering a bottle today to give it a go.
Trust me. ANYWHERE on the continental United States in miles better than over here. Jim Beam White is considered a delicacy here by many people...
I'd also like to know, for future international Binny's purchases, how the 3 'cheap' Buffalo Trace bottlings differ in taste, and what is generally preferred:
Eagle Rare 101
Eagle Rare SB
I can say that I want a bottle of Buffalo Trace just by virtue of the bottle. I don't think I've seen a more schmick design before. (maybe Kentucky Spirit...)
Let me know how the RHF's goes. Seems to be well regarded here.
I've not tried the Eagle Rare 10yo 101, but there's nothing 'cheap' about either the BT or ERSB 10yo, making them great values for the money.
The Buffalo Trace has more of a manly rye quality, yet has pleasant sweetness that balances it nicely. The ERSB is almost Scotch-like (in a good sense -- though some here would call that an oxymoron) -- lighter-bodied and almost delicate at entry, then the rye spiciness and other flavors (honey, florals) just burst on the mid-palate. Neither is 'woody' in the sense of over-oaked. There's more ripeness, less dryness.
Your post inspired me to open the 1.75 l. of ER 101 that I picked up in Houston recently. (What's with that plastic insert in the neck, anyway? It makes the bourbon frothy as it first hits the glass.)
I suspect that if I were offered BT, ERSB and ER101 in a blind tasting, I would have no idea which is which. (I just might pick out the ERSB based on its silky, grape-like mouthfeel.)
That said, the ER 101 seems to have the same sophistication (I think of it as "brandy-like" not "scotch-like") as the ERSB, but with a more muscular presentation, more reminiscent of molasses than grapes. At the same time, it is richer and smoother than I recall the BT.
The funny thing is, every time I drink any one of these three, I find myself thinking that I would be happy to drink only that bottling for the rest of my life, if need be.
In short, I wouldn't worry too much about which one you end up with. If you have no choice but to select one at a time, I'd go in the following order:
2. ER 101
[SNIP]What would be your pick
Of stuff generally available, I'd go with the Rock Hill Farms.
Of stuff generally available, I'd go with the Rock Hill Farms.
So it's really that good, eh?
At $42/bottle, I've been having trouble convincing myself to give it a try, but with Tim's description ("It is the most luxurious bourbon I have ever tasted."), I'm seriously tempted to go for it anyway.
I'll just have to schedule a trip to the store to coincide with my next moment of weakness!
[SNIP] So it's really that good, eh?[SNIP]
It has a balance, complexity and "fineness" to it that I find simply outstanding.
Well, I picked up a bottle on Tuesday, and was able to sample it yesterday evening.
I'm guessing the fact that I can still taste it in my mind right now (in a good way), and the fact that its flavor keeps popping back into my conciousness over an over again says something about the impression it made on me. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif
My two cents:
1) Rock Hills Farm
2) George T. Stagg 2004
3) Eagle Rare 17 yo
Don't like Blanton's at all. (Sorry!)
I'm with you on the Blanton's. I have never quite understood the appeal, but then I don't care for Rock Hill Farms either, so it's different strokes I guess. Anyway, I would pick the following: (Assuming taking the Staggs as a whole and not including any Van Winkles)
1. George T. Stagg
2. Weller 12yo
3. Old Charter Proprietor's Reserve
Two of my first bourbons were Weller 12 yo and Old Charter Proprietor's Reserve (along with Old Rip Van Winkle 10yo).
I liked them both (the first two listed, above) until I started buying other premium bourbons. Now, I avoid them both. I consider them "well" bourbons, which makes them good for mixing, but not (for me) as sippin' whiskeys.
ORVW 15yo took the place of the 10yo, above, even at the premium price difference.
Two of my first bourbons were Weller 12 yo and Old Charter Proprietor's Reserve
Now, I avoid them both. I consider them "well" bourbons, which makes them good for mixing, but not (for me) as sippin' whiskeys.
That is the craziest thing I have ever heard, you should see a doctor. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/stickpoke.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif
I won't disagree with you. However, I have found that everyone's bourbon tastes are different. A good friend of mine, who drinks bourbon with me, has 180 degree preference to the bourbons I like. He likes the woody, hot bourbons and I like very little oak taste, with a little sweet sensation in my bourbons. We both want, however, a good bourbon flavor! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif
I didn't mean to offend. That's just what makes horse races! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif
That's right. Tonight I took small sips of the bourbons/Tennessee's in my bar of the moment. Here is how I rank them:
i) Batch 125 Woodford Reserve
(ii) Elmer T. Lee
(iii) my 50/50 vatting of Jack Daniel and Jack Daniel Single Barrel
(iv) Wild Turkey 101
(v) ORVW Lot B
(vi) VOB 86 and 100 proof mingled 50/50
All these bourbons are tops but on the basis of a small sip each, this is how they ranked tonight.
This Woodford is starting in particular to strike me as ultra good. It has a subtle flavour of wildflowers, possibly violets, that I don't get in any of the others. This may derive from the pot still element.
Are you smokin' the Woodford or drinkin' it?
The last things I smoked, Ed, were Vantage cigarettes, almost 15 years ago. And Kents when travelling in the U.S. Sometimes when tasting bourbon the smell of U.S. tobacco comes into my mind, a Proustian-type moment - that's as close as smoking materials come these days. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
Seriously violets, or (almost same thing), Turkish delight. Try it, you'll see. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
That is the craziest thing I have ever heard, you should see a doctor. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif
No offense taken, just kidding around. Sometimes I am amazed at how different one bourbon must taste to different people. I mean, if George Dickel tasted the same to everyone else as it does to me, they would have been out of business long ago. Likewise, I don't understand why so many people don't like Maker's Mark, it tastes just fine to me. I guess it all goes back to that individual chemistry from which we're all made.
Violets? No. Chrysanthemums? Yes. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif
Well, ahem -- back to the BT topic -- I'd order them:
[list] Stagg -- wish you could all try some of Bobby's. I don't have enough to sharehttp://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif
Weller Centennial (especially the Louisville bottlings)
The eponymous Buffalo Trace -- a great value
Now, I also like the Weller 12 (in fact, all the Wellers), the Old Charters (including the BIB -- pace Chuck!), the Eagle Rare SB, and virtually everything they make. The only one I might leave for last on a Gazebo table, for instance, is the Hancock's Reserve -- I'd drink it if offered, but find it ordinary.
Good food for thought from everyone. I've just gotten hold of an early WR bottling from batch #04, and really find it refreshing and different. It tastes like Wild Turkey 8y/o, but with less sweetness and more of a lingering fruit taste at the end. I'm impressed so far, but prefer the WT8yo by a bit.
Lamentably, my parents omitted to bring back any BT bottles when they were over in CA and SF, and I was thinking of ordering some from Binny's for an international shipment. What's the difference between the Eagle Rare 101 and the Eagle Rare SB? Apart from proof. What's the general preference and how does each taste?
I have followed this thread with some interest and did not want to jump in too early, but I now offer the following observations (for whatever they are worth!).
When I am asked what is my favorite Buffalo Trace whiskey, I respond with Buffalo Trace Bourbon. When someone asks what is our best whiskey, well, then I face a dilemma. We make 3 totally different whiskies; rye, wheated bourbon, and rye bourbon. Comparing them is like comparing apples to oranges. I like apples and I like oranges, but which is better? Honestly, I don't know.
I will offer this. Next to Buffalo Trace, I am very fond of Elmer T. Lee (the man and his bourbon) and Eagle Rare 10 year old Single Barrel. Do any of these stack up to Stagg - No.
Interesting observations. I am often asked what my favorite bourbon is and I have to tell people that it depends upon when you ask me. Different situation and even different weather conditions control what I think is the best bourbon. I always considered the Weller Centennial as my favorite on a cold winter day when the snow is blowing outside and I want something to drink. The first time I drank this bourbon was on just such a day at the offices at Stitzel-Weller. Other times call for other bourbons. The nice thing about bourbon is that there so many varieties in flavor that something will match your mood as your favorite of the day.
Mike, nice to hear from you! To me, bourbon evokes memories of sitting around a fire, or watching a football game with college friends, or having a drink with special friends. Some bourbons just lend themselves better to some ocassions. I was in Paris about 3 - 4 weeks ago and shared a Wild Turkey with Jimmy Russell. The next time I am in Paris, I know I will order up a WT and toast Jimmy, wherever he may be.
Exactly my point! Different occasions call for different bourbons (or ryes). I could never say that I have a "favorite" bourbon. I have one that I consider the best I ever drank - 15 yo VVO Fitzgerald Bottled in Bond 1967-1982. Is this my favorite - not really because I can not get this whiskey again, which could be another whole thread, but If I were to drink from another bottle under different conditions the experience might not be the same.
So far my fave is the Weller Antique 107. I have had Buffalo Trace, ER Single Barrel, Weller Special Reserve, Old Charter 12 YO, and Weller 107 wins.
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