View Full Version : Hi folks! Buying my first bottle...
Well, I've decided to take the plunge into bourbon. I love using Canadian blended whiskey in cocktails and I have a few bottles of scotch that I adore sipping neat after dinner, but to be honest with you I haven't had a taste of bourbon outside of maybe some Wild Turkey when I was at college a couple years ago.
I'm looking for something moderately priced; a bourbon that can be sipped on its own but will also make for a great mint julep, manhattan or old fashioned. I noticed my favorite liquor store was having a sale on some Knob Creek, but I wanted to do some research before I spent my money in perhaps the wrong place. From what I've gathered, they have all of the JB small-batch bourbons and a few other bottles like Woodford Reserve and some Eagle.
So, give me your suggestions! Thanks!
Knob Creek was not the first bourbon I thought of, but it's not a bad place to start. I'd call it the best buy of the JB small-batch line, for sure. I have had mixed feelings about it during the few years I've been a bourbon-drinker. For me it came into its own one night when I was listening to my son jamming with the house blues band at a joint inappropriately named "Martini Blues". It now has a reserved spot on my modest shelf.
The bourbon I would suggest you look for is Old Grand-Dad BIB (bottled in bond). Not only do I enjoy sipping it, I find that it shines through in mixed drinks, as well.
Of course you could do a lot worse than revisit Wild Turkey 101. Wild Turkey fans, of which I am one, tend to be devoted to the entire range (except for the WT 86 proof). However, it has a flavor element that some liken to leather; quite a few members here find that flavor objectionable.
I'm reminded of a quote that I never get quite right. "It's the sort of thing you'll like, if you like that sort of thing."
Oh, and if the Eagle Rare is the 101 proof bottling, grab some; it's not being bottled any more, and it's widely regarded as the best value of the line.
If you liked Wild Turkey 101 and it is in your price range WT Rare Breed is a nice step up. Its also good in a Manhattan (my favorite).
Buffalo Trace is a very good mid-priced pour and Weller Antique is cheap but very good. It is 5 dollars cheaper and ten dollars better then Makers Mark. Both use wheat instead of rye in the mash.
You might check out this paean to mid-shelf and lower bottlings:
Knob Creek is a good place to start indeed, and the other suggestions in this thread are also excellent choices.
It would also be worth looking into Elmer T. Lee, and Weller 12yo. Also, even if the old 101-proof Eagle Rare is unavailable, the newer 90-proof single barrel version is Good Stuff. Old Fitzgerald Bottled-in-Bond is also a good pour, and it's a steal.
Don't hesitate to explore rye as well - especially in Manhattans and similar drinks. If you can find Sazerac 6yo (the old-fashioned-looking faceted bottle), grab it! Wild Turkey Rye is plenty good as well, and Rittenhouse Bonded is a fantastic value.
Thanks for all the suggestions, guys. I just checked their website and they have still have some bottles of Eagle 101. I'll probably pick that one up within the next day or two.
Give Bulleit and/or Evan Williams Single Barrel a whirl. These are actually my two favorites, and both under $25 in my neck of the woods.
Hey folks, just wanted to check in with y'all.
One of the liquor stores I frequent was actually having a sale on Baker's! I picked up a fifth for $34 and am sipping on it as I type.
It's delicious! Vanilla and caramel are all over my nose and it has this lovely peppery bite on the tongue. The proof is perfect as well, no need to add water to this one.
Maybe I'm just crazy, but this tastes a bit like scotch to my tongue!
...Maybe I'm just crazy, but this tastes a bit like scotch to my tongue!
Not to worry -- the overt disdain for Scotch here is (mostly) tongue-in-cheek. Most of us have a favorite one or two ourselves.
That said, I'm surprised you find Baker's like Scotch, although I suppose a 7yo bourbon may resemble a much-longer-aged single malt in barrel notes. Its spice-cake palate and floral nose speak rye to me -- which, of course, doesn't exist in Scotch.
Still, finding a 'peg', or taste comparison, is part of the fun of exporing new whiskey, and if that's what you found, well, that's what you found. Good for you!:toast:
In any case, I agree that Baker's is a welcome pour, though I wish it were a bit cheaper.
My recommendation for a first bottle would be Maker's Mark or Elmer T. Lee. Both are very nice bourbons that are good intros to the premium bourbon world but won't nuke your wallet.
I think Eagle Rare is better than the Wild Turkey..definitely it out...
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