View Full Version : First-time Bourbon recommendations?

02-03-2005, 14:41
Hey to all,
I guess you have to start somewhere. I'm a 44 yr old male and haven't developed a taste for bourbon, really for any whisky.
Anyone care to recommend one that will not chase me off or one that is an "acquired taste"?
All thoughts, suggestions appreciated!

Good Health!

'Over the Mountains
Of the Moon,
Down the Valley of the Shadow,
Ride, boldly ride,'
The shade replied,
'If you seek for Eldorado!'

02-03-2005, 14:52
Welcome Bill http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif

I, as with many here, weened myself on Maker's Mark. It is a pleasant, relatively mild and easy to drink bourbon. Woodford Reserve is another good bourbon with which to start. Depending on where you are located, you may have a dificult time finding some of the specialty bottles mentioned on this forum, but a trip to KY in September can change your whole bourbon universe http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/yum.gif

02-03-2005, 16:48
You could also try Basil Haydens, Wild Turkey 101, Buffalo Trace. I think those match your stated criteria. I'm sure folks will chime in with many other good suggestions.

02-03-2005, 16:54
Eagle Rare Single Barrel


02-03-2005, 18:33
<ul type="square"> Evan Williams Single Barrel (1994 vintage is my favorite)
Eagle Rare Single Barrel
Maker's Mark
Blanton's (pricey, but worth it, and very approachable for a beginner)
Woodford Reserve
Jim Beam Black Label
If any bars near you carry a good selection of bourbons, it might be advisable to go there and try several of these before jumping into a whole bottle. You can also try to find minis or pints, but that can be more difficult.

"Gaily bedight,
A gallant knight,
In sunshine and in shadow,
Had journeyed long,
Singing a song,
In search of Eldorado".

It's unfortunate that most people only know Poe for "The Raven", which is not one of my favorites. Nice sig!

02-03-2005, 19:46
I would recommend that you try Woodford Reserve, which has a very pleasant and accessible sweetness (although, as with any straight spirit, it contains no sugar).


02-03-2005, 20:30
It is not just which Bourbon to try, but how to drink it is important as well. We have a lot of neat drinkers on this board, but I find that I cannot handle Bourbon straight up, on the rocks however there are none too strong for my tastes. Some like to dilute a the higher proof stuff with a little water to open up the flavor, and some (aaack) like to mix their Bourbon with mixers like Coke or others.

02-04-2005, 08:31

I picked up drinking bourbon right before the holidays so I guess that would classify me as a newbie. Since then I have gone through a bottle of Knob Creek, Makers, Elijah Craig 12 (1/3 left) and now Wild Turkey 101. Out of the bunch I would recommend Makers or 101 to start with. The 101 is my absolute favorite of the four. So much in fact that I know my next purchase is going to be from the same distiller. I'm thinking maybe a bottle of Russell's Reserve would do the trick. The 101 starts out smooth then hits you with a little heat (not as much as the Knob Creek) then has a long flavorful finish to it. I could sip on this one all night long.

The Elijah Craig 12 was not a good one for me. I know it's well liked here but I believe it's one of those that you must acquire a taste for. I don't know what it is but I just can't get through a pour of this stuff. Tried it with both ice and water but there's still something in there that doesn't set well on the old taste buds.

Woodford Reserve has been on my to get list but every time I go to the liquor store I end up with something else. I'll get it one of these days.


02-04-2005, 09:57
I'd go with Jim Beam Black. Spicy and fruity, lower on the proof scale than some of the other favorites, very approachable, and inexpensive.

02-04-2005, 14:19

I often have friends over to my house for bourbon tastings and whenever there is someone who hasn't yet acquired a taste for bourbon, I give them Hancock's President's Reserve. It is prettylow proof at just under 90 and has a really nice sweetness that people seem to enjoy.

02-04-2005, 14:51
All of the advice already given is good, but especially the advice about cutting the whiskey with a little water. I suggest room temperature water, not ice and certainly not Coke or other mixers. I would start with one measure of whiskey and one-half measure of water. If it's still too strong, don't be afraid to add more water. You can get most of the taste of a whiskey even at 1:1 dilution, and even with more than that it can still be enjoyable.