View Full Version : Younger bourbon fan club?
I realize that it is folley to compare whisk(e)y by age. My 5 years of being a serious SMS drinker has taught me that some of the best Islays are either very young, or very old, for example. However, in my new bourbon adventures, I am finding that the 7-12 year old whiskeys might be more to my liking. For instance, of the four Van Winkles I have tried, I prefer the 10. I also much prefer the EC 12 to the 18. The good news is that this makes me a cheap date. The bad news, I know that my palate may be missing something, and indeed, over time, my tastes my shift and change. At first, I had a hard time with the woodiness of nearly all Bourdon's- they tasted like 45 year old Speysides that have lost the battle to oak. In time, I developed an appreciation for the intensity that fresh oak can impart.
So, nothing too deep here, but wanted to share my thoughts.
Well my father drank scotch and he drank the cheaper scotches. I asked him about the ages of scotch and smoothness. He said people have it all wrong. Because the older scotches are aged, they have more taste, and not necessarily smooother.
I found in Bourbon it can be the same. For example, Evan Williams White Label Bottled in Bond is four years old and very easy to drink. Evan Williams Black Label is aged maybe some of it 7 years, and it is more complex, it has more in it to offend someone. I have grown to appreciate it, but it can be more offensive if you don't like the character. So, you can buy some inexpensive whiskey and it can be quite smooth but may not have all of the character from the barrel. I am drinking Four Roses Single Barrel right now for the first time, and to me it is like robitussin. I will have to learn to apprciate the sherry taste in it I think. It is learning. Whats great is you can have a lot of fun being an expert on the cheaper stuff too. I seem to like the lesser expensive bourbons myself. at least so far... I don't see why I should becoem a bourbon snob until I really do like the more expensive stuff better.
The 'best' bourbon to you is what you like the best. Just because it is older/more expensive doesn’t inherently make it better. Some old/expensive Bourbons are quite excellent, but some taste like lumber (to me) or just plain suck. On the other hand there are some very good inexpensive/young bourbons. I personally think that Heaven Hill's best work is their 4-10yo bottled in bonds. I really don't care for most of their older/fancier offerings. Likewise, I also really like a young rye, like WT (101 version) or Sazerac 6yo. Can't beat that liveliness!
Making a great older whiskey (bourbon or scotch) is tricky. It has to pick up extra flavors, balance, etc. from the age/wood, but also not become too dull or soft.
I would agree that your 7-12 years old is a sweet spot. Younger/older than that can be great, but has much higher risk of not being so.
Rich, in your honor, I will go have a pour of a wonderful 4yo HH right out of the barrel, courtesy of Dougdog.
Saz Jr and OGD 114 are two younger whiskies that I really adore.
I enjoy whiskies of all ages (and types).
Usually, the best whiskey for me is the one in my glass.
I enjoy Saz Jr. and WT Rye 101 and on the bourbon side of things I very much enjoy Weller Antique; although at seven years its getting up there on the old side of young. I think it retains enough of that youngish whiskey taste to still be included.
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