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ironmics
08-03-2006, 14:05
Well I've become pretty interested in bourbon after continued drinking of Canadian whisky, from the recomendations I've seen around here I've narrowed my choices for my first bourbon that can be found in my area for around 20 bucks. So I was wondering what would be best for a first time bourbon drinker.

Elijah Craig 12yr $19.95
Evan Williams Single Barrel $24.95
Ezra Brooks 12yr $21.95
Old Forester 86 $17.95
Wild Turkey 101 $21.95
Wild Turkey Russel's Reserve $25.95
Corner Creek Reserve $24.95
Wellers Special Reserve $15.95

Might be able to get these but they're listed as special order from OLCC so it might be tough to track down.

Old Forester 100 $21.95
Old Weller 107 $19.95

Or should I go for a better Canadian first in Forty Creek Barrel Select for $20 and work my way up to bourbon? By the way the Canadian I'm used to is Pendleton, since it's super easy to get in Oregon.

These are pretty much my only choices since I'm a poor college student, and the selection is pretty limited here. These are just off the current OLCC price list, so I don't know if there's any old stock in stores of anything else.

nor02lei
08-03-2006, 14:27
Well I've become pretty interested in bourbon after continued drinking of Canadian whisky, from the recomendations I've seen around here I've narrowed my choices for my first bourbon that can be found in my area for around 20 bucks. So I was wondering what would be best for a first time bourbon drinker.

Elijah Craig 12yr $19.95
Evan Williams Single Barrel $24.95
Ezra Brooks 12yr $21.95
Old Forester 86 $17.95
Wild Turkey 101 $21.95
Wild Turkey Russel's Reserve $25.95
Corner Creek Reserve $24.95
Wellers Special Reserve $15.95

Might be able to get these but they're listed as special order from OLCC so it might be tough to track down.

Old Forester 100 $21.95
Old Weller 107 $19.95

Or should I go for a better Canadian first in Forty Creek Barrel Select for $20 and work my way up to bourbon? By the way the Canadian I'm used to is Pendleton, since it's super easy to get in Oregon.

These are pretty much my only choices since I'm a poor college student, and the selection is pretty limited here. These are just off the current OLCC price list, so I don't know if there's any old stock in stores of anything else.

Wild Turkey 101

Leif

barturtle
08-03-2006, 15:02
Hmm, checking the OLCC list there were a few decent pours in the price range that you left off:

Old Grand Dad BIB
Jim Beam Black
Buffalo Trace

Of these I think I'd either go with the Buffalo Trace or the WT Russels Reserve. However there is another product I quite like on the list, not a bourbon but a rye whiskey, Wild Turkey Rye.

Ubertaster
08-03-2006, 15:12
The first two on your list are just fine. EC 12 yo and EWSB have been the ones I reach for most of the time.

bj

ratcheer
08-03-2006, 15:41
Of the ones you listed, I would say either the Evan Williams Single Barrel, if you want a softer taste, or the Wild Turkey 101, if you want a full-bore bourbon experience.

Tim

jsgorman
08-03-2006, 15:51
I would go for the Wild Turkey Russels Reserve 90, without hesitation. I'd also suggest Buffalo Trace and the Evan Willams Single Barrell. Many folks just starting out like Makers Mark (its very mild) -- so I'd add that as well. I'd be reluctant to start with the higher proof bourbons - including WT101.

NeoTexan
08-03-2006, 16:06
Where are you located? Perhaps there is someone here close to you.
Most the folks here either know a good bourbon bar near them or perhaps may even share a little of their private stock. Some even have planned tastings.

ironmics
08-03-2006, 16:13
I live in Eugene, Oregon. I completely forgot to put Buffalo Trace on there. I had been planning on going for the WT101, but I was scared of the high proof, since I'm used to 80 proof Canadian or rum. So, clearly I usually drink very sweet liquors. Sounds like the best choice would be the Evan so far though or the BT. I'll be picking it up Saturday probably, since I'm way to busy to enjoy anything until then. I think I'll grab a back up fifth of MacNaughton just in case the bourbon experience is too much for me ;) Ohhh or should I just grab some Evan 86 as the back up, since it's cheap and should mix well if I end up hating it.

OscarV
08-03-2006, 16:48
One you did not have listed, but I highly recommend, and it is well under $20.
Old Charter 10 year old.
And the one I like a lot that was on your list, Elijah craig 12 year old
Can't go wrong with either.
And then like Tim said, Wild Turkey 101. It is a, (IMHO), in your face, a great whiskey.

Don't waste your money on Corner Creek, it has a muddy flavor. Speculation on this board has it, that they combined a "wheated" bourbon with a "rye" bourbon to get the so-called 4 grain thing going on.

ironmics
08-03-2006, 16:56
No old charter in Oregon. So far the finallists are WT101, BT, and EWSB. Also from a review of someone else from Oregon. I'm thinking about Rebel Yell maybe. He said he like softer, sweeter ones so his list is probably pretty good to go off of.

http://bluekitchen.net/bestbourbonlist.html

Nebraska
08-03-2006, 20:40
Old Weller Antique 107 if you can get it. I tasted this one early on and was very impressed. Now that I have a much broader experience with bourbons, I'm still very happy when I go to reach for this pour.

Buffalo Trace would be a fun choice, for me not a starter, but a fun choice.

EWSB, if you can find a 1995, 1996 will do in a pinch.

You didn't list WT rye, but if it's available in your area it's worth trying.

Have fun!

wskybnt
08-04-2006, 06:06
Another vote for the WT 101...

You cant go wrong with any of them but the RR or the BT would be my second choices.

hollywood
08-04-2006, 06:29
The EWSB is a great bourbon..priced right for what your getting as well. The WT101 is a great pour, but I'm not sure it wouldn't be a little to strong @101 to start for you?! The EC12 and OF86 seem to have a love/hate view (depending who you ask) here....so those I recommend maybe you try a glass while you're out to form your own opinion. Good Luck, and have fun. Hollywood

cowdery
08-04-2006, 11:30
If you have not yet done so, look at the recent thread Blue Collar Whiskey. (http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5703) Although the title may suggest something else, what it became was a discussion of the best cheap whiskey. As a poor college student, you want the most bang for your buck. I don't know what the prices or availability are in your area, but you should be able to find several very servicable American whiskeys for right around $10 a bottle.

If you can find Rittenhouse Rye, either the 80 proof or 100 proof, that would be a definite recommendation and it is priced very attractively. Also good and cheap, if you can find it, is Evan Williams 1783. At ten years, it's actually older than the single barrel vintage and here in Chicago, it's $10.99.

contrarian
08-04-2006, 18:48
I like the flavor (and the value) of Elijah 12. I prefer it to the latest EWSB. I like Corner Creek and I don't find it muddy at all, but i wouldn't recommend it as a beginner bourbon. The Russell's Reserve is on sale and IMO overpriced at $26. You will probably like it, but it will be $29 regularly.

If you are really tight on funds, I second Chuck's recommendation to read the blue collar thread, realizing that many of those options are more expensive or not readily available here. Drinking cheap whiskey when you are poor builds character.... EW Black ($11)and Beam Rye ($15.50) are easy to find and good choices that won't break the bank.

The Rittenhouse Rye BIB and EW 1783 Chuck suggested are special order (you may have to wait 6 weeks), but they are both well worth it. OLCC policy says local stores will require that you buy a case if you want to special order, but that hasn't been my experience. My local in Beaverton (#1237) has a few Rittenhouse for $14 left from an order I requested.

Jeff

TNbourbon
08-04-2006, 18:53
Jim Beam Black label is pretty universal and pretty good, as well as priced right. I like a lot of bourbons better. I don't like all that many bourbons better for the money.

NorCalBoozer
08-04-2006, 20:28
Jim Beam Black label is pretty universal and pretty good, as well as priced right. I like a lot of bourbons better. I don't like all that many bourbons better for the money.

ahhh good 'ol JB Black, I need to pick up a bottle or two of this. Why don't have this in my bunker??? :shocked: :shocked: I'm slippin'.

Bamber
08-05-2006, 09:10
Buffalo Trace
WT 101

TimmyBoston
08-05-2006, 21:54
If I were buying a bottle I'd go with the Buffalo Trace, it's available in my area for around $16.

But if you've never had bourbon, I'd go to one of your local bars with a few friends and try a few. You will probably have to try a higher end bar, in order to have a wider selection, because many bars don't have any bourbons beyond Jim Beam and Wild Turkey. IMO, going to a good bar is the easiest way to get acquinted with a variety of tastes and ease your way in. Then after that you can buy a bottle you like and take some of the recommendations here on some more obscure bottles in the $20 range. Best of luck, I really think you'll like bourbon, it's a wonderful spirit.

ironmics
08-07-2006, 17:42
Well I grabbed my first bottle:) I went to the liquor store and they were out of WT101, and the clerk suggested the Ezra Brooks SB so I picked up the lovely bottle and went home. First glass I tried neat and it went down reasonably well. Loved the taste but I don't think I'm ready for a 99 proof yet. Next glass I cut with one ice cube so it's probably 30% water, and it's great! Can't pick out all the notes yet, but I'm enjoying it a lot. Can't wait to try others.

luv2hunt
08-07-2006, 19:25
Sorry to be a nagging woman, but honey, you asked for suggestions, and came home with one that NO ONE reccommended?! And worse, you listened to the advise of the store clerk? What's up with that?!?!

I've decided that you suffer from Dyslexia and/or extreme bourbon label confusion. Evan Williams SB......Ezra Brooks SB......It's the only possible explanation....... Personally, I would have gone with the Old Weller Antique!

Dawn

ironmics
08-07-2006, 21:34
Sorry forgot to mention that he only had the Elijah, Old Forester 86, and Corner Creek in stock in other than that. Since they all seemed like love or hate ones and the reviews of the Ezra seemed to be good I figured I'd go with it. Oh and there was JB Black, but I've had some terrible experiences with white label so I didn't want to go there.

bluesbassdad
08-07-2006, 22:41
I'm with your regarding JB white label (http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/showthread.php?t=3547&highlight=jim+beam+white), but I find the black label enjoyable in an undemanding sort of way. You may, too.

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

TimmyBoston
08-07-2006, 22:59
Sorry to be a nagging woman, but honey, you asked for suggestions, and came home with one that NO ONE reccommended?! And worse, you listened to the advise of the store clerk? What's up with that?!?!



Dawn, you're brilliant!!!!!!!!!

-------------------------------------------------------------

You should have tried the JB Black. The white is terrible, but the Black is pretty good.

TnSquire
08-10-2006, 08:32
You did ok for a newbie although I would have followed the recommendations of others on the board. Look at it this way...they gave you the beginnings of a list to try. JMHO but I would stay away from the turkey until you have tried a few other things. I think it has a character that can be lost on new bourbon drinkers. At least it was that way for me. YOur mileage may vary.

ErikL
08-24-2006, 21:28
All-

I watched this thread a bit, as I'm also a bourbon noob as of one month ago. I have procured the following:

Jim Beam Black Label
Elijah Craig 12 Year
Knob Creek
Buffalo Trace
Evan Williams Single Barrel (1996)
Pappy Van Winkle 15 Year (okay I read about this one elsewhere and figured I'd save it for the holidays)

Of these, the JB, EC, and KC have been opened so far (the others are a bit dear here in Washington state, but I tried the BT and EWSB at bars).

You know, the JB is pretty decent in a drinkable no-frills kind of way. I am undecided on the EC as I only had a very small pour. KC seems quite nice, and I'm sipping a bit now.

All of the above have been cut with a tiny splash of distilled water.

Sijan
08-25-2006, 00:05
I'd go with Jim Beam Black.

If you want a bit higher proof, Wild Turkey 101 or Old Grand-dad Bottled-in-Bond.

If you want to taste some upscale stuff, a good starter bourbon that's affordable (under $30) is Old Rip Van Winkle 10 year old, 90 proof. Alternatively, Eagle Rare Single Barrel is also very good and in the same price range.

RedVette
08-25-2006, 15:16
I have over one hundred OPEN bottles in my collection, and tonight I am sitting here thoroughly enjoying a Jim Beam Black on the rocks. In my opinion Beam White is only suitable for wallpaper removal, they are not the same.

If you want a high quality $20 bourbon, Beam Black fits the bill.

cowdery
08-26-2006, 14:23
Jim Beam Black Label
Elijah Craig 12 Year
Knob Creek
Buffalo Trace
Evan Williams Single Barrel (1996)
Pappy Van Winkle 15 Year (okay I read about this one elsewhere and figured I'd save it for the holidays).

It's a good list, but as a self-proclaimed noob you want to experience as much variety as possible. Knob Creek and Jim Beam Black Label are from the same distillery and same recipe, as are the Elijah Craig and Evan Williams. To sample the products of some other distilleries, you should try Maker's Mark, Wild Turkey, Bulleit, Woodford Reserve, Old Forester, Jack Daniel's and George Dickel.

pabourbongal
08-27-2006, 13:04
...maybe you guys can help me add another branch to my bourbon tasting tree.

So far, I've tried:

Eagle Rare
Elmer T. Lee
Buffalo Trace
Nob Creek
Maker's Mark
Basil Hayden's
Wild Turkey Rare Breed

I was not a big fan of the Basil Hayden's or Maker's Mark. Loved all the products by Buffalo Trace (ER, BT and ETL), but my favorite pour so far has been WT RB.

I'm thinking Evan Williams SB, Old Granddad BIB and one of the Van Winkle's next? What say the expert tasters?

BTW....for our friend in Eugene, it sounds like the selection at your OLCC store is pretty limited. Try taking a road trip to Portland if you have a chance...better selection up there.
From a former Portlander, now in PA, where it feels like prohibition is alive and well!:grin:

Sijan
08-27-2006, 13:27
If you like WT RB, you should really try out the other bourbons in the Wild Turkey line - WT101 and WT RR, plus WT Kentucky Spirit if you're willing to spend $40-50 for a bottle of bourbon.

Old Grand-dad BIB is also a good choice. Although my understanding is that it's the same mashbill as Basil Hayden, they are world's different in taste.

Trying out a Van Winkle is always a good idea. And f you like Buffalo Trace, there are pleny more bourbons from them to try out.

You probably should try Evan Williams SB or Elijah Craig 12 years old to taste some Heaven Hill bourbon.

barturtle
08-27-2006, 13:32
Checking the PA bourbon list, I see Old Grand Dad 114, great pour.

You should probably also try Woodford, 1792, and Weller 107. Your choices of EWSB and VW are also good places to visit. I didn't see it, but if Old Forester 100 proof is in your area that'll be a good one to put on your list, as well.

Sijan
08-27-2006, 13:53
I second the vote for Old Forester 100 proof, or Old Forester Birthday Bourbon, the latest version of which is soon to be released in September.

pabourbongal
08-27-2006, 15:01
It looks like nearly all of these are sold in PA. Luckily, there is a premium collection store about 15 minutes from my house.
Cheers,

cowdery
08-27-2006, 22:59
With the idea of trying whiskeys that are substantially different from what you have already tried, i.e., different distilleries or different recipes, I agree with EWSB (a Heaven Hill product), OGD BIB (Jim Beam-made, but a different mash bill) as well as:

Old Forester 100 proof "signature"
Woodford Reserve
Bulleit
Bernheim Original (straight wheat)
Rittenhouse BIB (straight rye)
Old Fitzgerald (Heaven Hill's wheater)
Weller 12 (Buffalo Trace's wheater)
Wild Turkey Russell's Reserve or Kentucky Spirit
Ridgemont Reserve 1792

Virus_Of_Life
08-27-2006, 23:26
...as well as:

.............
Wild Turkey Russell's Reserve or Kentucky Spirit

Personally, I'd never suggest RR to anyone, I do not like it at all and am not the only one; however KS seems to strike the right chord with pretty much everyone. There is just something about the RR, of course I am talking 101, that was a big turn off when Mike (Scratchline) and I did a WT tasting. So I'd say avoid it until you've had many other, if not all, WT products and my personal opinion is the best bang for the buck is the older 8 year bottles that can still be found sitting dusty shelves - far superior IMO to the current 101.