View Full Version : Need some advice from those "in the know"
Well guys, I've finally registered here and have thought long and hard about a good first question. Well, maybe not that hard. Anyway, I consider myself more of a "beer man" as I enjoy taking in the flavors and aromas of a delicious brew, especially from our local brewery down here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Lazy Magnolia. On to the question part; I have a buddy who swears by Bulleit and Woodford Reserve, in fact, I don't think I've ever seen him without a flask of the stuff or just carrying around a fifth of it. He's convinced me to get into Bourbon, but I'm not exactly sure where to start. I had a pour of Bulleit and Woodford Reserve, as well as a bit of Buffalo Trace, all neat. I have to say I wasn't extremely pleased with the Bulleit, but I have a feeling that's just my inexperienced palette. The question is, where should a relative newcomer start out? I've had various experience with Bourbons, but I need to know what a good first time purchase would be, preferably one that isn't much more than 30-40 bucks. I appreciate the help and I look forward to discussing my findings.
The Bulleit and Woodford have their partisans here but many don't care for them. I think some actively dislike one or the other.
The Bulleit is a high rye bourbon and that might be what you don't like. So, you might want to try a bourbon that uses wheat as its small grain. Maker's Mark is widely available and I think most here find it drinkable, though many damn it with faint praise. There are plenty here found their way to bourbon through Maker's Mark and many who still find a place for it on their shelves a few on their top shelf.
There are other wheaters that are more nearly universally admired. Any of the Van Winkle bottlings, the Old Rip Van Winkle 10 year old is very good, either the 90 proof or the 107. If it is on the shelf skip the Maker's.
Please don't take this to mean I think you should avoid rye bourbons, far from it. I love rye heavy bourbons and straight rye. And I may be wrong about it being the rye that you didn't like.
Welcome to the board Russ and happy hunting with your venture into tasting new bourbons. I would like to recommend Elmer T. Lee or WL Weller 12yr as a start to your quest. Evan Williams Single Barrel is another good one. Read the past threads and you will get many recommendations. It all ends up with what you like and what is available in your area.
You know, I've been out hunting for ETL and I'll be damned if I can't find a single store that carries it in my parts. Perhaps I'm just not looking in the right places. I've seen a few Wellers and I know I've seen many that carry the Van Winkle. I had a college roommate from Kentucky who always had some Maker's Mark with him so I think I'll pick up both ORVW 10 90 and the Weller and give them a try since I'm totally unfamiliar with both. Thanks for the help gentlemen.
A lot of people really like Bulleit. Personally, I can't stand the stuff.
I would recommend starting with Wild Turkey 101-proof or Elmer T. Lee single barrel. Both of these are, to me, very bourbon tasting bourbons. Both are moderately priced. ETL may be a bit difficult to find.
I think either of those will give you a good baseline from which to start exploring. Try every bourbon you see that appeals to you. Keep reading here and you will find what people seem to like the most.
But, it the final analysis, like what you like, not something just because someone else said it is good.
If you want to know whether it is the rye in Bulleit you don't like or the brand, arrange a head to head to head with Bulleit, WT 101 and OGD BIB.
After I wrote that I can't stop thinking about the scene in No Time For Sergeants where some city boys are trying to get Andy Griffith drunk. OK remember what that tastes like now taste this one etc. etc. etc.:slappin:
I think Maker's Mark is the perfect place to start. It's a good baseline, it's a quality pour, and it's a great introduction to bourbon. You will, over time, find other bourbons you like better, but you won't regret buying a bottle.
My favorites are Elijah Craig 18yo, Blantons, and Bookers, but I still keep Maker's Mark in my cabinet... I think the flavor profiles of those three bourbons would overwhelm you right now.
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