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Gillman
08-28-2006, 19:08
Buffalo Trace: Clean, rich, fine-flavored whiskeys, a "city" distillery in this sense: signature whiskey: Elmer T. Lee

Heaven Hill: Exhuberant, feisty, full-flavored whiskeys: a "country" distillery in the best sense - signature whiskey, McKenna 10 year old SB, Rittenhouse BIB or EWSB.

Beam Brands - mass production house achieving good but not great flavors. Signature: Beam Black or Knob Creek in the premium end.

Four Roses: elegant, balanced whiskies with the fruitiness that characterised most bourbon way back when. Signature: FRSB.

Barton Brands: a solid performer whose whiskies are not elegant or fine-flavored but full of taste and traditional character. Also, a house that offers fine value. Signature: VOB (any proof over 80).

Wild Turkey: also not an elegant style but tending towards big jousting flavors of wood, char, corn and rye. Even the premium end shows these qualities, in a richer interpretation. Signature: WT 101 and some would say Rare Breed.

Maker's Mark: a maker of wheated bourbon whiskey which pleases many due to its gentleness. A good introductory whiskey or for those who like its mildness, and a standby in restaurants when choice is restricted. Signature: there is only one.

Brown-Forman: whiskeys which accent the floral element. Signature: OF 100 proof.

Comments?

Gary

Black85L98
08-28-2006, 19:12
By signature you mean best representation of the brand or the brands best bourbon?

Great idea by the way.


Many will disagree, and perhaps it is because I approach with caution, but I find Old Granddad 114 smoother than Makers. I think Makers needs a little longer in the barrel. I’m sure I am the exception.

Gillman
08-28-2006, 19:15
Both senses are valid: what is both typical of the distillery and its best product? This would exclude for HH, say, EC 18 year old which is admired by many (not all) but surely is not typical of the range.

Gary

Black85L98
08-28-2006, 19:18
Or for me HH would be EC12YO while many hate it. Best in keeping with brand is EWSB.

Oh and for BT I would go with ETL SB or Blantons.

wku88
08-28-2006, 19:31
As much as I like MM, I agree with Black that it could stand a little more barrel time.
For HH, I think Very Rare Old HH 10 YO BIB is a better whiskey than EWSB. I can understand the oversight, as it is only available in KY, I believe.

And the folks in Clermont's best whiskey is the Black Label.

Black85L98
08-28-2006, 19:35
Regular EW BIB is good stuff, I bet 10YO HH is very nice.

ratcheer
08-28-2006, 19:48
By signature you mean best representation of the brand or the brands best bourbon?

Great idea by the way.


Many will disagree, and perhaps it is because I approach with caution, but I find Old Granddad 114 smoother than Makers. I think Makers needs a little longer in the barrel. I’m sure I am the exception.

You're not the only one. I don't understand it, but to me, Makers is harsh (and I've said it before).

Tim

Black85L98
08-28-2006, 19:53
I like Makers and it was my first step up from JB Black if you consider it better than WT 101, I guess I don't.

Makers would be a real good $13 whiskey.

pabourbongal
08-28-2006, 20:44
Black,
You are the second person today to inspire me to try OGD 114.

Maker's Mark was one of the first bourbon's I tried, and I really didn't care for it. This surprised the heck out of my husband, who thought its mildness would be a good "chic bourbon".

SBOmarc
08-28-2006, 20:46
I like Makers and it was my first step up from JB Black if you consider it better than WT 101, I guess I don't.

Makers would be a real good $13 whiskey.

I drink all 3 of those and to me it doesn't need to a case of better or worse, just different.

Not sure Bill Samuels would agree with the price point.

cowdery
08-28-2006, 20:52
Keep going, Gary. I think it's fair to include Woodford as a separate distillery. Although there is BF whiskey in WR, there is no Woodford whiskey in Old Forester.

Also, Daniel's, Dickel and Virginia Gentleman.

OneCubeOnly
08-28-2006, 20:55
Gary--I'd say your summaries are dead-on, with the exception of BT. I don't believe ETL would be their signature whiskey. If you're going for their high-end offering that is most representative of the distillery, I believe Blanton's better represents their lineup.

But their namesake Buffalo Trace standard bottling is probably the most taste-centric of all, and I'd even argue it's a premium in midshelf's clothing.

Black85L98
08-28-2006, 21:14
Black,
You are the second person today to inspire me to try OGD 114.

Maker's Mark was one of the first bourbon's I tried, and I really didn't care for it. This surprised the heck out of my husband, who thought its mildness would be a good "chic bourbon".

OGD 114 is warm, but smooth. I think it;s all about what you like.

TNbourbon
08-28-2006, 22:09
I'll take a shot:


Buffalo Trace -- fruit over spice, 'wry' over rye? Eponymous Buffalo Trace would be their quintessential pour if more widely available. Could it be, in practice, Ancient Age, or AAA?
Heaven Hill -- Motto: Millions are enough! Thank God for family. Stockholders would ruin this company's value-priced lineup. Evan Williams Black Label sells like the Dickens in our store.
Beam Brands -- Do we make good money, or do we make good whiskey? The anti-HH. Okay, I understand it. JB Black shows they could be like Heaven Hill if that was their profile.
Four Roses -- the best whiskey you've never had. Any era, any style, a Four Roses label will stoke your curiosity. The Single Barrel is today's tease.
Barton Brands -- The corporate version of Heaven Hill. Remember that Ridgemont barrel sample, folks? These guys make superb whiskey! Then they dilute it in lesser labels in order to improve them. And sell a lot of it. The 1792 is they best they bottle, not the best they make, alas.
Wild Turkey -- Wild card! I suspect this label will wilt when Jimmy retires. I hope it is not so. But the 'in-your-face' attitude of WT products is the antithesis of what the 'suits' are looking for these days. Without Jimmy's authority behind production, the suits will win (they always do!). The bourbon will lose. Russell's Reserve 90 may be the most meaningful.
Maker's Mark -- Do you know that MM raises its prices every time Jack Daniel's does? They want to be in the same 'premium' niche -- overpriced young whiskey that people can't get enough of. Jeesh! Great work if you can find it. Looks like life-time bachelor Jack Daniel finally got caught by the Redhead.
Brown-Forman -- Who are these guys? They can sell mediocre product gussied up as JD or Woodford Reserve (we won't even mention Early Times!), but have to celebrate a Birthday or create a Signature to get folks to notice the star of their lineup. Then they double the price. Seek out the old labels, folks -- save some money AND a fine whiskey tradition.

Gillman
08-29-2006, 04:58
Hard to beat Tim's poetry!

I agree with Gary that ETL might be slightly off-center for BT, Blanton, which is an elegant and balanced whiskey, may be the best representative and to me is a premier "city" whiskey - ETL may be its surburban cousin (stockbroker belt!). BT (the brand) is good but needs more time to establish itself I would say.

Chuck is right of course, there are others I did not include. I intentionally excluded WR because it does not seem to me a signature of B-F (not in the sense I meant of both quality and house style). However different whiskeys have emerged from Versailles so I'll include it below.

I excluded JD and Dickel because they are not bourbon, but will include them following Chuck's suggestion (see below).

In truth I forgot about Virginia Gentleman, however since it is essentially a product now of a Kentucky distillery (Buffalo Trace) with some processing in Virginia, I think I can omit that one because while a BT emanation it is not a signature of BT.

Here are the additions:

Woodford Reserve Distillery: Different styles have emerged: all B-F Louisville production aged at Versailles, a 4-grain all-pot still that was, um, interesting, and the current WR which marries all-pot still and some Louisville-distilled whiskey. Signature is the current WR with its coppery and flowery notes.

Jack Daniels: Charcoal filtering before barreling is its distinguishing feature. Of the different iterations, the Old No. 7 is the classic: out there with its anise and frank distillery notes. A classic for mixing with cola where it comes into its own.

Goerge Dickel: Good lighter-styled whiskey with an interesting "vitamins"-like taste. The Old No. 12 is the signature with its dry, smooth interpretation.

Gary

cas
08-29-2006, 11:26
Goerge Dickel: Good lighter-styled whiskey with an interesting "vitamins"-like taste. The Old No. 12 is the signature with its dry, smooth interpretation.

Gary
The "vitamins"-like certainly captures my impression very accurately. A very peculiar after-taste that hampers my enjoyment of this whiskey.
Craig

OscarV
08-29-2006, 14:47
Tim,

Yeah you are right about Maker's and J Daniels, great line.http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/icons/icon14.gif

And I hope and pray you are wrong about the future of Wild Turkey.

Oscar

ratcheer
08-29-2006, 18:17
Gary--I'd say your summaries are dead-on, with the exception of BT. I don't believe ETL would be their signature whiskey. If you're going for their high-end offering that is most representative of the distillery, I believe Blanton's better represents their lineup.

But their namesake Buffalo Trace standard bottling is probably the most taste-centric of all, and I'd even argue it's a premium in midshelf's clothing.

Well, I would say you would have to choose one from each mash bill they use. Buffalo Trace and Blanton's would serve, nicely.

Tim

CrispyCritter
08-29-2006, 19:53
Van Winkle: superbly crafted whiskeys that show (a) wheaters can be a lot more interesting than they're given credit for, and (b) well-aged and cared-for rye is awesome.

jburlowski
08-31-2006, 15:41
[quote=CrispyCritter]Van Winkle: superbly crafted whiskeys....quote]

... from people who love to drink well crafted whiskey."

I may be giving Julian (and associates) more credit than they desrve but I don't think so. The Van Winkle pours are uniformly very good to great. I like / love some better than others but have never been disappointed or feel that I didn't get (more than) my money's worth from any of their offerings. Always an outstanding value!

This is high praise in today's over-hyped, promise a lot and deliver less, world.

FlashPuppy
09-01-2006, 06:40
I think that Tim pretty much summed it up. Couldn't agree more.

Jeremy

Bamber
09-01-2006, 07:31
Buffalo Trace: Ultra clean and fruity. Classy.

Heaven Hill: Big with borderline organics. Great value.

Beam Brands - Not my thing. Vegetables / feinty, Liqorice

Four Roses: Refined fruity but a little thin

Barton Brands: Don't know.

Wild Turkey: Massive. Honey. I love their current line up. My parents often buy me a bottle of the 8yo as a gift. Their are days when nothing else will do.

Maker's Mark: Nice. Easy. Light. Clean and well made.

Brown-Forman: Don't know.

Gillman
09-01-2006, 08:23
Good summary Bamber! I view WT differently but understand its appeal to many.

Gary

Bamber
09-04-2006, 08:19
Thanks Gary - nice thread idea by the way.

Gillman
09-04-2006, 08:25
Thanks and I should add, of the WT range, I like Rare Breed the most and some bottles are really good. The blending of different ages seems to bring out the best in the house taste.

Gary

Bamber
09-05-2006, 02:34
I'm never sure what's my favourite WT. For a single shot, the RB is hard to beat, but if I'm having more than one, I might even go for the 8yo 101. The 12yo is great but the wood seems to build up on the palate and the RB is just so full on, I fear I'd damage myself with too much :)

cowdery
09-07-2006, 10:12
Here is a different way of going after this.

Each year at the Kentucky Bourbon Festival, members of the press receive a "goodie bag." Actually, it's mostly brochures and other paper. The only real "goodies" are the mini-bottles of bourbon, one from each company.

It may be informative to note what they choose to include. What follows is a list of the companies, followed by their offerings (in 2005).

Buffalo Trace / Buffalo Trace

Brown-Forman / Woodford Reserve

Maker's Mark / Maker's Mark

Four Roses / Four Roses Yellow Label

Diageo / Bulleit

Wild Turkey / Wild Turkey 101

Heaven Hill / Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage

Jim Beam / Knob Creek

Barton / Ten High

Hedmans Brorsa
09-07-2006, 11:01
Arriving somewhat late to this thread (I totally misinterpreted the headline), I am bit puzzled at how mercilessly slaughtered Beam was.

Not capable of creating great flavours? Soo, what about Bakerīs? Apart from that, the best bottle of Bookerīs that Iīve tried is easily on a par with Stagg.

:skep:

DrinkyBanjo
09-07-2006, 14:29
I'm a huge fan of Baker's and I enjoy Booker's but not quite as much. I also like Knob Creek and would buy it if I could get it for a fair price around here. So basically..I'm with you!

Gillman
09-07-2006, 15:12
No one (not I anyway) is saying Baker's is not good and Booker's is not good. But there is a difference between great bourbon and good bourbon. I don't think they reach the heights of a Stagg, for example, or FRSB, or even Buffalo Trace. Proof alone can't confer greatness. They are good solid whiskey to be sure. Knob Creek comes closest in the range to the others mentioned.

Gary

DrinkyBanjo
09-07-2006, 19:50
Not to argue but I think Bakers is awesome. It's no Stagg but what is? I think it holds up well to most all others. I enjoy FRSB and BT but I'd happily have a Bakers instead anytime.

Gillman
09-08-2006, 05:48
Hey I'm a Baker's fan too: I'm bringing a bottle to Bettye Jo's party!

I will reassess it then. I certainly liked the first one (before the label change), it had a fine flavor, Tim gave me a taste at Sampler. The current one on past samplings has appealed less, that anise/rye flavor is quite pronounced with the big proof.

Actually, I've had success vatting the Beam profile. I combined Booker's and Beam Black and then "built around it" with Trace, McKenna SB, some 80's OT, some JD Single, some Lot 40, a little Hostalings, some WR and some Maker's. No sugars or other flavorings added. The Beam is the "center" but gains complexity from the other additions. I may bring some of that to Gazebo, it is a fine rich blend of whiskey. I will probably bring, in addition to the rum and Lot 40 I've mentioned earlier, small amounts of one rum blend and this bourbon blend.

Gary

DrinkyBanjo
09-08-2006, 06:34
I'm a big fan of vanilla on the nose and Bakers delivers!