View Full Version : Guaranteed you like vs. something new?
I really envy the new folks: everything is out there, waiting to be discovered. And SB.com provides a wealth of helpful information (thanks, Jim!). I wish I could re-live that. But no. Instead, now when I enter a bottle shop/liquor store, the essential tension is between getting a bottle, or bottles, I know I love, from past experience(s), vs. taking a risky chance on something new, possibly something that has gotten rave reviews here at SB.com. With lots of money, there would be no problem, obviously, but money is always a factor for most of us, so it is a real quandry: stick with something that is CERTAIN to please vs. risking finding a bourbon that, surprise surprise, is EVEN BETTER. Does anyone else feel this way? Is this just part of the human condition, the "grass is always greener" thing, or are other folks just more logical about this than I am? For you old hands (e.g., Jeff and Bobby C.), do you still get a thrill out of finding something new on the shelves or do you weigh its possibilities against known favorites? Reading the threads, it seems the former rules (Jeff's Russell's Reserve 90 proof a case in point), but does anyone gainsay this? Curious minds want to know!
I do find a thrill to find something new. There is always the hope of finding a new flavor out there, a new star. Sometimes there is disappointment but just as often one finds a good new taste, this was my experience with Bulleit, for example (which I only tasted for the first time last year). I never get jaded with whiskey, never get tired of it. I can see the possibility of new ideas (blending; cocktails) but ... whiskey forever. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
I've had the same thing happen to me when shopping for a bottle. Since one of my favorite Scotches (Ardbeg 10yo) is already bunkered six deep, and I have quite a selection of others, I decided to get adventurous and start checking out Bourbons. Now I realize there's a lot more variety on the Bourbon side of the aisle than I first imagined... and I'm back to that old quandary as well: old favorite or new adventure? http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/drink.gif
For you old hands (e.g., Jeff and Bobby C.), do you still get a thrill out of finding something new on the shelves or do you weigh its possibilities against known favorites?
I still get a thrill from a new one now and again, even a known quantity to some extent like Stagg and Birthday Bourbon are like trying a new one, except the bar is pretty high and one could say in the case of Stagg I've never been disappointed and with the last OFBB I was. I tend to, if I find them, to buy without much reservation any older bottlings that I can find. Witness Green Envy at the exploits of Doug and Dawn of late. The thrill of the hunt is never diminished, but I felt a little sting once working my way thru some dogs and cats, that I gave that up entirely, and changed the way I go about building the bunker. Before it was a goal to have a drinker and a saver, now there are some that having only one of is enough.
Believe me and many others here can say it as well, the 25 bucks that the sampler costs is a big bang for your buck and I realise for some, it was a greater cost than just the ticket. You can taste many things without buying the bottle and form a shopping list. The downside being that soon, with the noteable exception of the VanWinkle offerings, it is ground most of us have been over. I mentioned to a lady working for Barton that they should bring a Ten High or Tom Moore next year. I got a puzzled look, we don't have to shoot at the top always. It was good to see that Beam brought a White Label 4 year this time, but I would have loved to see Old Granddad 114.
Follow all that with a gazebo gathering as we just had and that's literally a lot to digest.Hope in your heart that Tim is there with some of the rare and beautiful Bourbons he had this go around!
In the event you do get a stinker, I would urge you to follow some of Gary Gillman's posting about vatting and such, you may find yourself in new, unexplored territory. A bourbon that is so-so could become stellar when added to something with qualities that balance, augment,and compliment the offending bottling.
Speaking of cocktails, I might, as a variation on what has become the standard Gazebo practice, offer a jug of cocktails next time. This is one thing that hasn't been done there, as yet. I have a good hand with the Manhattan, Sazerac and Old-Fashioned if I may say. My recent purchase of orange bitters at Liquor Barn will assist in this plan. Orange bitters is one of the historic bitters types but largely disappeared from the cocktail bar as the 20th century wore on. It was used (circa 1910) notably in the Dry Martini and also some of the whiskey cocktails. When used in the latter it is often combined with Angostura or Peycheaud's bitters. I found orange bitters at Liquor Barn by accident. It is not in the regular bitters section (in the center of the store) but in the front in a section devoted to professional cocktail needs, i.e., Collins mixes, powdered sugar, bar equipment and such like. In fact Collins makes the brand of orange bitters I bought, sold in an industrial-looking small white tube clearly designed for professional use. I told a clerk I was looking for bitters and she said they are in two sections of the store, and that is how I found both the Peychaud's I was seeking, and Collins Orange Bitters the availability of which was a real bonus. Collins Orange Bitters in color and taste resemble Cointreau except with a marked bitterness and indeed does give a nice additional tang to a Sazerac cocktail or a Manhattan, but I advise to use them with regular bitters for maximium effect (although in such matters variation is endless and indeed mandatory). I have found repeatedly that a complex, well-flavored and balanced blend of whiskeys makes the best Sazerac or Manhattan. Sometimes adding Canadian or American blended whiskey to the jug helps to give a softness to the palate and "roundness". But, for best effect, the great majority (at least 80%) of the jug should be straight whiskeys. Such drinks are good as the first or indeed last drink of the evening, when something a little fuller than straight whiskey might be desired. So come September, I may have my cocktail jug out instead of diverse bottles of spirits. I am thinking of doing the Sazerac which originally was based on cognac brandy, later on rye whiskey and now is sometimes made with bourbon. I make mine with my personal blends of bourbon and rye whiskeys and they come out (if I may say again) to perfection. There is a period when repeated tastings from the jug are necessary to ascertain that the perfect taste is achieved. I will solicit such help from the Gazebo table in the earlier stage of the evening so that in the middle and later stages the drink will be available in perfect condition for all who wish to sample. But I can see questioning minds murmuring ... 'his drink will suffer from dilution, the jug will only be good for 15 minutes or so'. Wrong! The Sazerac traditionally is drunk un-iced. I've thought of everything. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
I always tell myself that I should bunker up on stuff like Hirsch but somehow it never happens. There´s always of plethora of untried whiskies crying for attention.
Of course, I buy both bourbon, rye, single malt Scotch, blended Scotch, Irish and the odd Canadian or Japanese so there´s never any risk of reaching the end of the road. But that´s part of the thrill of being a whiskey aficionado - like, if you own all the stamps in the world, what do you do, then?
like, if you own all the stamps in the world, what do you do, then?
Wait for the next postage-rate increase http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif
I tend to replace my standards on a regular basis (i.e. AAA, Weller 12, BT), but otherwise, before I pick up that additional bottle ER17 or Kentuck Spirit, I'll try something new. There is getting to be less and less new stuff to try, other than some of the countless cats and dogs on the bottom shelf, but the Samplers and Festivals have poved to me that there is an almost infinite number of interesting and rare whiskies out there, you just have to find them. And that's half the fun http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif
Bitter Explorations (http://www.straightbourbon.comhttp://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showthreaded.php/Cat/0/Number/17018/an//page//vc/1)
I found orange bitters at Liquor Barn by accident.
They are indeed worth the effort to find them! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif
Bitter Shopping Experience (http://www.straightbourbon.comhttp://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showthreaded.php/Cat/0/Number/12998/an//page//vc/1)
We just started producing a new orange bitters called Regan's Orange Bitters. Gary Regan approached Mark Brown about producing an orange bitters because he either could not find them, or if he did, he did not like them. They should be available in Liquor Barn (in KY) or you can contact our gift shop (www.buffalotrace.com) or call 502-696-5826 and order some.
That's good to hear. The Collins make a nice change, but are hard to find, and more variation will just add to the experience.
Thanks Bobby, I didn't recall that although maybe it was in my unconscious memory!
Very cool, thanks, sorry I did not know that when in Louisville recently. It is possible this brand was on the shelf where I found the Collins brand although I do not recall seeing any others. I have heard of an orange bitters made in Rochester, New York, the Fee Brothers brand I think it is. Anyway orange bitters is a good thing to add to any whiskey cocktail, no question.
For me, the big exploration phase is pretty much over. At this point, I have a fairly diverse set of bourbons that will scratch most any itch, so any departure from my regular pours (outside of trips to Kentucky) is a pretty poor gamble. I've been re-exploring bourbons which I originally gave poor reviews, but they've been largely delegated to drowning in ginger ale.
When everything was new and exciting it was definitely a lot more fun.
I posted pictures of my “Ten High” and “Tom Moore” finds in the "Collectables" under “Dusty Corners” XX-XX-05 after reading your recent post.
You mentioned Ten High and Tom Moore and I would like to know more about those. What I found is currently unknown to me. Admittedly, I haven’t taken the time to “search” the forum yet, but I will, Any insight you have to these would be appreciated. In your post you mentioned you spoke to a lady.... “I mentioned to a lady working for Barton that they should bring a Ten High or Tom Moore next year. I got a puzzled look, we don't have to shoot at the top always” ...
Are these premium Bourbons?
Both have been this years finds, recent, in the fact that I have been cruzin’ liquor stores for the past 3-4 years for SMSW and only for the past several months for Bourbon.
Thanks for you post , your mention of me and the kind words...
Best regards, doug
“I mentioned to a lady working for Barton that they should bring a Ten High or Tom Moore next year. I got a puzzled look, we don't have to shoot at the top always” ...
Are these premium Bourbons?
Not really, not now at least. Ten High is a 6 dollar a 750mil here in Ky that is a good solid value but you have to realise what one gets for 6 bucks in todays world. I will look at what you found, Ten High came from Hiram Walker and now it comes from Barton , I don't know the details whether HW is out of it completely or not. I saw packaging at the Getz Museum that made me think that at one time it was an upscale brand.Then again Old Crow was at one time also. It obviously isn't the greatest bourbon, but sometimes something with 1 dimension can be a nice change. I think Tom Moore is also a lower shelf offering, that was a very good Bourbon, I need to check the current one soon to see where it presently is.
Off topic (apologies): Ardbeg 10 is one of my favorites as well, and I've got it bunkered deep (how long can they keep selling old stock, after all?), along with Lagavulin 16 (not as smokey/peaty as the old "White Horse" bottlings, but still great) and Laphroaig 10 cask strength (Green Stripe; older 57.3%). It seems every time I go into a shop, there is a battle between getting a bottle I know I love vs. getting one that might just be the one that blows me away. And this applies to bourbon, rye and scotch, all equally. I guess this is gambling behavior, but I have never been a gambler: I always lose 50:50 bets, so why take worse odds?
Back on topic, I have already bunkered Hirsch 16 and love it, even the gold foil bottling. And, of course, any Staggs I've been able to get. But Stagg is a singular ulcer producer: whenever a new Stagg release is even HINTED at, I get all wired up. Then weeks go by and finally Stagg gets released! And Jeff always gets the first bottle in KY. ON THE WAY HOME FROM WORK! Or Bobby C! ARRGGHH! This makes me massively envious, I'm ashamed to admit, and then, MONTHS later, IF raw luck AND good friends at SB.com conspire (thanks again, Bill and Will!), then Stagg arrives at my humble dwelling. This period is when I'm most likely to post some intemperate ("inartful" aka stupid) comment here (sorry, all). So, I praise Buffalo Trace to the heavens for Stagg (and Buffalo Trace, Blanton's, etc.), but their Stagg release dates are seriously messing with my peace of mind! Fortunately, the actual drinking of Stagg seems to cure the problem. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif Ed V.
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