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I have recently discovered a love for bourbon so Im excited to have found this site! It's remarkable how much I have learned in the past 2 days! I am however seeking further guidence.
My bourbon experience so far is very limited as I have only really purchased Maker's Mark, Jim Beam and Woodford's Reserve. I like drinking them in numerous ways - mixed with a little water or even straight. I'm hoping to dig deeper and discover/develope my palette but need some advice before I splurg on more premium bottles. Which everyday bourbons do you recommend for a fairly new drinker that may help decide basic preferences such as wheat or rye? Oh yeah, i love MM and WR equally but so far am not a fan of the overly smokey JB taste.
Thanks in advance for the advice!
P.S. I am fairly new to Bowling Green KY, it seems brand availability is overwhelming!
I am not a wheater drinker, but I will recommend a couple on the rye side of things.
Elmer T. Lee is reasonably priced and delicious (from Buffalo Trace)
Elijah Craig 12-year old is even more reasonably priced (from Heaven Hill)
Wild Turkey Rare Breed is a bit pricier
Jim Beam Black or Knob Creek to cover the Beam offering
Try these and you'll be well on your way.
BTW, welcome to sb.com!
You're lucky to be in Bowling Green for, among other reasons, the great bourbon selection. (I like Bowling Green.)
To take full advantage of your location, what you want to do is, in your trials, make sure you get as much variety as possible. You could easily buy 10 different labels, all made by Heaven Hill (for example) and while they all might be very good, they might also all be very similar.
Maker's Mark, as you probably know, is a wheater, as are Old Fitzgerald and W. L. Weller. Just about everything else is rye recipe. There the distinction is how much rye. Old Grand-Dad and Bulleit are about 30% rye. Most rye-recipe bourbons are about 15% but some, such as Old Charter, are considerably less, as little as 8%.
Then there is straight rye whiskey, which is also worthy of your attention.
Down there, you should be able to find some well-aged (e.g., 10 years old) whiskeys at modest prices. I'm not saying older is necessarily better, but it's part of the exploration. There's nothing wrong with super-premium whiskey, but where you are you should be able to do a lot of good exploring without spending more than $20 a bottle.
You also have access to Very Old Barton, which most of us here do not. That would be high on my "must try" list. Also Four Roses. The Single Barrel is fabulous, but pricey. For your purposes the standard expression should be fine.
In Bowling Green you may see a lot of oddball labels you won't see discussed here. Don't get too enamoured of them. They're produced by the same people who make the major brands and usually the whiskey is undistinguished.
Mike -- Welcome to Straightbourbon, Glad to have to with us!
I love both ryes and wheaters. Weller 12 is a great intro wheater and one of the best values in bourbon, IMO. Also the entire Van Winkle line is fantastic. My personal favorite is the Van Winkle Special Reserve Lot B 12 Year(most often referred to around here simply as Lot B, and just so you know there is no Lot A, C, etc.)
If you haven't discovered them yet, two great stores for bourbon selection are Chucks (near Exit 22 along I-65), and Chuck Evans Liquor Outlet, west of Exit 28 on the (is it?) Duncan Hines Highway. (Anyway, it's due west of the interchange -- don't take the split to the north.)
Have you tried anything new yet?
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