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Dr. François
02-27-2008, 14:52
In the concerned parent world, gateway substances are those "that supposedly lead to abuse of other substances" (link (http://www.thirteen.org/closetohome/science/html/gateway.html)). While I do not mean to make light of drug abuse, I had an interesting thought.

What was your gateway bourbon?

What was the bourbon that really grabbed you for the first time? What was that bottle that let you know that you really, really wanted more of this substance? Please note: this is not just the first bourbon you tried or purchased consistently, but the first bourbon you loved.

Bonus points: is this still a favorite pour or yours, or have you outgrown it?

MrAtomic
02-27-2008, 15:14
Well,

My gateway bourbon was Maker's Mark. Although this bottling takes some flak on the board for being a bit too middle of the road for some, for me it was a revelation. A friend always kept a bottle in the house, and offered me a pour -- I can't remember if it was neat or over ice. I liked it from the outset, which was a very pleasant surprise as the only liquor (as opposed to beer) that I knew at the time was Dewar's, which my parents always kept in the house. While I've since learned to love single malt and blended Scotches, at the time I found Dewar's to be an unpleasant combination of burnt, mossy flavors and alcoholic heat. I'm sometimes amazed at the changes in my palate since finding this online community and experimenting with news whisk(e)ys.

Have I outgrown Maker's Mark? I don't think so, although I no longer buy it by the bottle. For me, it's fallen into a category of bourbons that I can always find at a bar, which eliminates the need to keep it in the apartment. I'd put Knob Creek and Wild Turkey 101 in this category, as well -- they're all great bourbons and the Wild Turkey, in particular, is always enjoyable, but I only buy them if I'm away from home.

Incidentally, I was introduced to Maker's Mark in 2000, and was a very satisfied customer for years. When a Maker's bottle reached empty, I reflexively purchased another. Really, the only reason I branched out and started buying other bourbons and scotches was because of the comments of people on this website.

ratcheer
02-27-2008, 15:47
Well, I suppose I have had two gateway bourbons. When I was young (many years ago), I was given a taste of Wild Turkey 101-proof. It was much better than anything I had tasted up to that point. Alas, it was too expensive for a penniless student to afford on a regular basis. Yes, it is still a favored bourbon, today.

After I got very ill with too much bourbon once in college, I stayed away from it for a long time. Then, around '87 or '88, a friend served me a glass of Blanton's single-barrel. It was absolutely delicious and it awoke me to the possibilities I had been missing for so long. Blanton's is still one of my very top favorites.

Tim

jburlowski
02-27-2008, 15:52
Mine was Basil Hayden (pause here for boos and hisses). It was the first "serious" bourbon that I tried. Before that it was the occasional JD & water or perhaps JBW. It opened my eyes to the vast possibilities.


I realize that BH is looked on with scorn by some here, but hey, you never forget your first love.

And it still brings back great memories...

NickAtMartinis
02-27-2008, 15:57
My gateway bourbon was PVW 20.


And, it's no longer something I love to drink. It's good, but one dimensional and much too expensive.

PVW 15 destroys PVW 20.

TBoner
02-27-2008, 15:57
Knob Creek.

It was my good fortune the first time I went to a liquor store to buy myself a bottle of bourbon (I'd bought some blended whiskeys for mixing with Coke, but never a straight bourbon) to find Knob Creek on sale. At its regular price in that high-end store, I'd never have bought it. I never drank anything but beer at bars, so I'd never really sampled any bourbon. I fell in love immediately, to the extent that I didn't try any other bourbons for some time. When I did, it was Old Ezra 7/101. It was so different from Knob Creek - deep corn influence, dried fruits, with a younger, distinct char influence - that I had the urge to try other bourbons and see what other flavors were out there. Grain Brain opened some Stagg, I tried a bottle of BT....and it's been a long downhill slide ever since.:grin: So I suppose Knob Creek was my gateway, but Ezra 101 was a secondary gate, opening my eyes to the very large differences among bourbons.

gothbat
02-27-2008, 16:12
Mine was Maker's Mark too, a 375ml bottle, which I drank in shots. Advertising goes a long way because it was almost purely the packaging that made me decide on that one when I was in the liquor store looking for something different, I liked the dripping wax seal. From then on anything in the bourbon section was fair game and I forgot all about the vodka and rum.
Bookers was another gateway bourbon for me as well. This was the first "really expensive" (or so I considered it at the time...) bottle I ever bought. At the time I felt embarrassed spending almost $55 with tax on a bottle of whiskey but I decided it was worth it a few days later. I label this one as a gateway bottle too because before this one I primarily drank shots and mixed it into beer. I figured I should try and make the most of the bottle so I bought a snifter at Linens and Things thinking "If they can sip straight brandy out of this glass then I can sip straight bourbon out of this glass!" after a few sips and once the whiskey got a little warm from my palm I realized that the snifter was the way to go and from then on sipped my bourbon instead of shooting or mixing it.
I learned that I liked bourbon from MM and how to get more enjoyment out of it from Bookers.

bigtoys
02-27-2008, 17:00
My gateway American whiskey was good old JD #7 back in college. Even became a TN Squire. It was my father-in-law's pour of choice, too. Probably got me some points with him. I still have my plot of land in Lynchburg.After drinking mostly single malt scotch for years, my switch back to bourbon was probably Woodford Reserve. I think I liked the look of the bottle. I took it to the next level with Pappy 20 based on the recommendation of the spirits guy at Binny's. It remains my favorite to this day.

OscarV
02-27-2008, 17:09
When I was 16 I got indroduced to a fifth of Old Grand Dad and a 6 pack of Stroh's Beer.
I was sick for 3 days.

But the one that opened the gates was Maker's Mark, not that long ago, maybe about 6 years ago. Not the taste, it was the nose. I drank it on the rocks and I kept getting this smell that I was not looking for, but it kept haunting me. It was far superior than the taste and I decided this bourbon stuff was something I better look into.

skeebs0615
02-27-2008, 17:23
Mine was Wild Turkey 101 & I haven't tried another but JB Black..

ThomasH
02-27-2008, 17:26
My first bourbon was Beam white label while my gateway bourbon was the Beam black 90 proof. It is still one of my favorites!

Thomas

Brennan77
02-27-2008, 17:38
Maker's Mark was one of the first that really caught my attention. What got me hooked though was Russell's Reserve 101 and Elmer T. Lee.

shyster512
02-27-2008, 17:45
My gateway bourbon was 10 Year Old Charter. I drank this cheerfully for 25 years. I then was introduced to Blantons, which has led me to a whole new world including the ones I drink now. I very seldom drink Charter anymore. In fact, I find myself drinking less Blantons.

HipFlask
02-27-2008, 18:11
Well while I had had MM, JD(did not know the diff between Bourbon and TN whisky) and WT 101. I would have to say the gateway bourbon would have to be Russels Reserve 101. I was looking for WT 101 and ran into the RR101. I Saw that it was also made by Austin Nichcols. Rare breed, WT KS were also near by, but much more expensive than anything I had purchased so far. I decided to spend the extra 2 bucks and try this strange new bottle of spirit. After that I was off to the races and I almost always look for something new and exciting to try. I think RB was next then Blantons. This tradition continues, just today I picked up a of Binny's select WLW 12 yr. Cross another one off the list.

For 1/2 the bonus points I would still be drinking it if I could find any.

closetbourbonlvr
02-27-2008, 18:17
WT 101. Very good stuff.

birdman1099
02-27-2008, 18:38
For years I enjoyed Makers Mark and Knob Creek but it was Woodford Reserve that caught my attention and started the love affair.

T47
02-27-2008, 18:41
Makers for me, then the flood gates were opened.

TomH
02-27-2008, 19:24
As a long time scotch drinker, I kept Makers and Woodford on the shelf for friends but seldom touched them myself. It wasn't until I read an article in Whiskynotes about a bourbon by the name of George T. Stagg that I decided I needed to find a bottle (easier said than done). Once I tried it, my bunker composition began its change from all scotch to over 66% bourbon.

Tom

ACDetroit
02-27-2008, 19:29
Well I was a JBW and beer kid (late HS) and the store I bought at offered me a free pint of MM one night! I was young and a free pint was just enough to get me to try something new!

Maker's it was for the longest time, I tried the Small Batch Collection shortly after that and now it's just ugly!!

Great Thread Jeremy!

Cheers!
Tony

BourbonJoe
02-27-2008, 19:34
I guess mine was Old Grandad BiB back in the 60's and 70's. It was good stuff back then.
Joe :usflag:

Blaise314
02-27-2008, 19:39
Mine was Maker's Mark too. After a bad bourbon experience early on (high school?), I hadn't had a sip until I tried MM last year (at age 33). The smooth sweetness and aroma got me and it's been a go-to since. While I haven't outgrown it, when buying I'll generally spend the extra buck or two for Eagle Rare or buy something I haven't yet tried.

squire
02-27-2008, 20:48
7 yr 90 proof Yellowstone ca 1970.

Regards,
Squire

SBOmarc
02-27-2008, 21:37
OGD 86 to WT 101, to Makers Mark.

Then I found this site.

There are Gateways indeed.

BkBlue
02-27-2008, 22:29
I guess mine would be Blanton's, towards the end of college. Bourbon was probably my favorite liquor even then, but up until then it had been mostly Jim Beam, Makers, and Woodford Reserve a couple of times.

I still like Blanton's but I can't say that I drink it much these days. The last bottle I purchased has been in the cabinet unopened for a bout a year and a half now. Just too many other more exciting pours and always something new to grab my attention.

whiskeyhatch
02-27-2008, 23:45
As an adult, it started with Old Grand Dad. In Brooklyn, NY. With 'Sons of the Pioneers,' 'The Flatlanders' and 'Willie Nelson' on the stereo. (WTF?!!) Then Knob Creek on poker nights... in a Lower East-side, eighth floor walk-up overlooking the World Trade Center. And finally... Makers' Mark... on quieter nights in DFW. But, then again, there was whatever the hell my grandad bought 20 years ago when he finally thought that it was appropriate to get his No. 1 grandson hammered. Ah hell it was Makers' Mark, dammit! That was when I really began to love bourbon. And by then I at least knew the difference between Jim Beam and Glenfiddich!

gr8erdane
02-28-2008, 03:58
I drank WT101 occasionally but seldom tasted it on it's quick trip down the gullet. We thought 101 proof was rocket fuel! In college though we did the Seagrams 7/JBW/Jack whatever was on sale thing until I was steered to David Nicholson 1843 which in 1979 was still SW whiskey. What kick started my current obsession though was Bookers. My first bottle in my bunker and I still revere every drop left in it. But seldom go to it. I'll have to rectify that situation.... But then after Bookers the next bottle I bought was Jefferson's Reserve 15 YO. Not the current bottling but the 15 YO which I found delightful. And from then on my foot held the throttle to the floor.

HighTower
02-28-2008, 04:16
I started drinking JBW in about 1997 after deciding I don't like beer. I was on it for a while and then started working in retail liquor, where I stumbled across Maker's Mark. Was definitely my gateway bourbon, which led me to the Small Batch Collection, Knob Creek and Booker's jumping out at me.

As we don't have a large selection down here in Australia, it wasn't until I discovered SB.com in 2006 that I started getting into the great stuff that I enjoy today.
In saying that, I still enjoy Maker's Mark, but haven't touched JBW for many years, and don't intend on it.

Thanks to all the great people here, you have opened my eyes.
And Jim, thanks again for this great playground :bowdown:

Scott

StraightBoston
02-28-2008, 07:34
Fascinating thread!

My gateway to bourbon in general (after the usual JD/JBW in college) was Rebel Yell at every family gathering with my brother-in-law.

My first "call" bourbon at bars and restaurants was Maker's Mark, which led to me discovering Blanton's at a "shot bar" in Japan. That was the first bottle in my collection (though I didn't replace it once emptied...)

The gateway to seeking out different top-shelf bourbons was Woodford Reserve -- it was good (though pricey) stuff in the early days! I then tried Stagg and Black Maple Hill 21yo at a friend's tasting years ago and discovered this site trying to learn if they were easier to obtain in Japan (the answer: nope!)

Vange
02-28-2008, 07:46
Jefferson's Reserve Very Old for me. It was the first time I sipped bourbon from what I remember and thoroughly enjoyed it.

scopenut
02-28-2008, 07:46
My first bourbon was JBW, along with JD. My gateway bourbon was Knob Creek, when I first discovered the Beam Small Batch collection. I was also drinking everything on the rocks, including KC. My first bourbon neat was Hirsch 16, and everything's been neat ever since. Don't drink KC as much anymore, as I tend to prefer wheaters.

-Kevin

spun_cookie
02-28-2008, 08:06
Mine was MM... then quickly into Weller...

felthove
02-28-2008, 08:16
Maker's was the first that made me appreciate "good" bourbon but I didn't get the bug to fill up my cupboard -- so it wasn't really my gateway.

PVW 15 was my gateway. After my first bottle I became a bit obsessed with buying and reading about Bourbon.

Whiskey Willie
02-28-2008, 08:32
After college years of JD and Yukon Jack:puke: , the slick marketing of MM caught my attention and my cash. From there it was on to Beam black, then WT101, then WT Rye, ORVW, . . .

nickynick
02-28-2008, 08:56
ETL Single Barrel. I wanted much more bourbon after that one.

Ryan
02-28-2008, 11:39
I would have to add another tally for Maker's. After a short affair with single malt scotch a few years back and a ongoing affair with wine, I decided try the spirits again. I picked up a bottle of Maker's and decided bourbon seemed like a good candidate. I finished the Maker's and am currently working on liter of WR, and waiting for next months BOTM to try another bourbon.

-R

jwrussell
02-28-2008, 11:46
Wow...That's a tough one. The first two bourbons I really enjoyed were Makers Mark and Knob Creek. Knob Creek grew on me to the point that I decided I REALLY liked bourbon. But then...last year I was at a gathering with fellow cigar smokers and someone pulled out a bottle of George T. Stagg. I've been ruined ever since. I went on an absolute rampage trying to track the stuff down and have already gone through 2 bottles. I have to ration my supplies or it would be gone before I knew it and if I had to choose a single bourbon for the rest of my life the choice would be easy. So yeah, I guess I still like the stuff. ;)

Gillman
02-28-2008, 11:59
I can't recall now which were the entry bourbons I started drinking since I began sampling bourbon in the 1970's. But probably they were Old Fitzgerald Supreme, the Weller marques and Maker's Mark. Like most, the taste for rye-recipe bourbon came a little later. I recall though buying in that decade and the early 80's numerous rye-recipe bourbons such as Old Gran-dad, Ezra Brooks and Evan Williams. I had sampled quite a range even before reading Michael Jackson's (1987) World Guide To Whiskey. I would try anything and I recall e.g., Old Charter, Heaven Hill, I.W. Harper, Old Forester of course, Early Times and many others. They were all good.

I got the taste for bourbon quite early on (and straight rye) but it took many years until I could accustom to the taste of malt whisky much less blended whisky. I recall for example being able (just) to drink Glenmorangie, which is a pretty mild malt, but not being able to get down anything with peat in it. I was well into my thirties before I started to get the taste for scotch and it came quite slowly - but now I completely " get it" and enjoy it.

Gary

Gillman
02-28-2008, 12:10
However I do recall two bourbons which I did not like. One was Bellows (this is late 70's early 80's) which I found raw and very grainy, I wonder if I would have the same reaction today, possibly not since I may not have been used to an assertive rye palate in a young whiskey. The other was Virginia Gentleman which I found to have an overpowering green pepper-like taste. Yet today, I enjoy VG very much. Either the bourbon has changed or I have, I suspect the latter.

I recall buying Dickel and thinking it was okay, but probably again I didn't have the palate to appreciate it (since the Dickel of 30 years ago as I know from recent tastings was excellent).

I wish I could remember the ones I bought apart from the names already mentioned.

Oh yes Old Yellowstone, I think that was my favourite in those years. It had a strawberry-like flavor and smoothness that was very appealing. This would have been the regular one, not Mellow Mash although I must have tried that one too.

In those years, if there was a go-to, it was Old Yellowstone.

Gary

Everman75
02-28-2008, 13:45
Nothing new here...mine, also, was Makers.

I've since moved on. I don't consider it bad by any means, I've just discovered there's a lot more out there.

gblick
02-28-2008, 14:25
I had some experience with WT101, but I was mostly a tequila drinker....until I tried Van Winkle Lot B, which converted me over to bourbon. I still like the Lot B, but I tend to prefer the PVW15, ORVW10/107 for more my more expensive pours, and Weller Antique when I'm watching my budget (which I have to do quite a bit). Of course there are others that I like too, but those are three of my favorites that are still in production.

NickAtMartinis
02-28-2008, 14:31
I had some experience with WT101, but I was mostly a tequila drinker....until I tried Van Winkle Lot B, which converted me over to bourbon. I still like the Lot B, but I tend to prefer the PVW15, ORVW10/107 for more my more expensive pours, and Weller Antique when I'm watching my budget (which I have to do quite a bit). Of course there are others that I like too, but those are three of my favorites that are still in production.


In my opinion, you can't go wrong with ORVW 10, PVW 15 or Weller Antique.

fogfrog
02-28-2008, 14:38
Mine was Jim Beam White Label 7YO. I put it on the rocks and loved it. Now you know I think I am going to try some more of it. Its only about a buck more than the four year old, but its a lot better I think. Maybe its like Basil Hayden? LOL

fogfrog
02-28-2008, 14:39
In my opinion, you can't go wrong with ORVW 10, PVW 15 or Weller Antique.

Ohyes, I had a half bottle of Weller's the other night and wen't very wrong!... just kidding!

NickAtMartinis
02-28-2008, 15:54
Ohyes, I had a half bottle of Weller's the other night and wen't very wrong!... just kidding!


:lol::lol::lol::lol:

Old Lamplighter
02-28-2008, 16:03
For me, it was Old Charter 8 followed very closely by MM and WT101. Alternating between those 3 and adding Charter 10 a bit later, it was a blur for about the next 25 years......then, I began discovering the BT 'family'.

PAspirit1
02-28-2008, 16:43
My gateway bourbon was definitely Old Grandad 100. I had a Scotch and an Irish open and the flavours of OGD just jumped out at me. I very much looked forward to the next drink. I bought a 200ml bottle recently and I still enjoy it alot.

Gillman
02-28-2008, 16:44
Just curious (Lamplighter), when you rotated amongst those three, did you notice differences in the drinks made from them? So that when say it was the turn of WT 101, or Charter 10, you would say, right, that's the taste I associate with that one? Even though you kept amongst a small group of 3 or 4, still they are not really the same in flavor (even I would think when mixed with cola or other soda) and I'm just wondering if this is something you remarked on at the time.

Gary

reg
02-28-2008, 20:30
Jim Beam White label (with Coke) and Ezra Brooks 90 proof white label (with Buffalo Rock Ginger Ale).They still taste good but to many carbs. The first sips as a child came in hot toddy with Old Forester to knock that cough out.

TNbourbon
02-28-2008, 21:05
...What was your gateway bourbon?..

Simply put, there wasn't one. I assayed bourbon after forays with Scotch and Canadian, and found that -- unlike those whiskeys -- there weren't any I really disliked.
W.L. Weller Special Reserve (Louisville/Stitzel-Weller -- I finally bought my first Frankfort bottle earlier this month) was an early favorite, but I also found a wax-sealed Hirsch 16 early, and Ezra B 15yo, Evan Williams Black, Jim Beam Black 90-proof/7yo, and National Distillers' Old Taylor in my neck of the woods. It was an embarrassment of riches, truly, for a neophyte. Still, there was no single bourbon that resulted in an epiphany -- it was a melange of desireable bottlings.

Edward_call_me_Ed
02-28-2008, 22:12
My Gateway bourbon was Jim Beam White label in the 80s. Because of the whiskey glut it was a very different animal to what it is today. In the early 90s, here in Japan, I notice a distinct difference between the Beam that was labeled for the American market and the stuff that was labeled in Japanese. The American label must have been some of the last whiskey glut Beam White. The Japanese stuff was markedly lower in quality.

Also in the 80s and 90s I occasionally spent a few dollars more to buy WT 101. That was my holiday bourbon.

In the late 90s early '00s bourbon kind of fell off the radar. I still drank WT 101, but was drinking more beer and Glenlivit plus other spirits.

Then I read a SF novel (Island Out of Time) in which one of the characters drank Makers. I bought a bottle and liked it. Bought another. Then I got Jim Murray's Whiskey Bible and the floodgates were opened. Makers fell out of favor and was replaced by several dozen favorites.

Ed

Barrel_Proof
03-01-2008, 11:48
What was the bourbon that really grabbed you for the first time? What was that bottle that let you know that you really, really wanted more of this substance? Please note: this is not just the first bourbon you tried or purchased consistently, but the first bourbon you loved.

Bonus points: is this still a favorite pour or yours, or have you outgrown it?

I learned that bourbon was my spirit of choice drinking Old Charter as a college student in the early 70s.

Jump ahead two decades: There were essentially no bottles of any spirit in any apartment, cabin, or house in which I lived until the summer of 1996. That summer I purchased a bottle of Elijah Craig 12yo, found a used copy of the Regans' Book of Bourbon, and learned of the developing market for connoisseur bourbons. I credit that tasty bottle of EC12 for reawakening my appreciation of bourbon. It is still a bourbon I very much enjoy.

Mamba
03-02-2008, 02:11
JBW was the first thing I ever got drunk off of, at the age of 17. I remember sorta liking it, although not as much as I liked the buzz itself.

Then I got sick a few times after that and stayed very, very far away from straight spirits of any kind.

Fast forward to when I turned 21. I'd heard so much about scotch that I had to try one, and my first taste was Lagavulin 16. I can still remember what a terrific impact it had. I didn't really like it, but I did think it was intensely interesting. I never imagined that whiskey could be smoky (I was quickly corrected with "peat"). This got me started down the whiskey road.

I taste of both PVW 15 and PVW 20 at a local bar showed me how "fine" bourbon could be. I could tell it was miles ahead of the JBW, but still didn't find myself enjoying it. I was still into exploring scotch.

I kept exploring scotch and slowly bourbon, but the bottle that really kick started it all was Sazerac 18 (2005 bottling). Not bourbon but a revelation to me, and I started buying a lot more bourbon and rye after that.

It's still one of my favorites, although subsequent bottlings aren't quite as good. I write this drinking Saz Jr, which is another one of my favorites. I'm really into rye I guess, and I have this website to thank for showing me the way to so many wonderful bottles.

Although I started with scotch, my collection is now 80% bourbon/rye. I love the flavors, and I love that I can explore a lot without spending too much. But deep down, I don't have strong loyalties. I just love any good whisk(e)y, period. :grin:

jbaker
03-02-2008, 09:35
Like many others here, mine was Makers Mark. That silky smooth sweetness dragged me right in and lead me to rapidly try other bourbons. Knob Creek resonated with me too and those were my bar pours for a long while until I discovered the BT world of things (ER, BSB, RHF, etc.) I kept trying to find other ones that were as tasty as the MM, but seemed to always be coming up a little short. Just a little. Then I discovered that there was a difference in recipes, wheat vs. rye, and that made everything fall into place. I still prefer the wheaters, but some very special rye-flavored bottles have caught my love too.

doubleblank
03-03-2008, 20:42
I actually have two.....many years apart. My father had a case of Old Fitz BIB to serve for the rehearsal dinner/wedding party for my first marriage in 1980. I remember enjoying that Old Fitz very well........after using Kessler Blended in my cokes in college. There is one bottle left awaiting a special occasion. Fast forward thru a period of mostly beer and margaritas. I remember walking into my local retailer and spying a bottle of Weller Centenial in 1996. I purchased it and it reminded me a bit of the Old Fitz. After doing a little research on my own, I learned why the two had similar tastes. Both from SW. That began my exploration into whiskeys of all types. I didn't find this site until 2003.

Randy

macon
03-04-2008, 04:49
I guess for me it was ETL. I had tried Bookers, Knob Creek and Bakers and liked them, but what really caught my long term attention was my first bottle of ETL. Since them I have turned into a real BT fan.

Sijan
03-04-2008, 18:31
The first bourbon I tried was Ancient Age, on a trip visiting a friend in KY. It was pretty raw straight but good when mixed with Coke. Jim Beam Black was the first bourbon I enjoyed drinking straight on a regular basis. But my first gateway bourbon as you describe it would have been Van Winkle Lot B - bought it for a friend and he shared some with me and I thought it was just fantastic. Picked up my own bottle as soon as I could find another. And yes, it is still one of my absolute favorites.

But the real turning point for me - my gateway moment, if you will - was walking into a rickhouse at the Labrot & Graham distillery and inhaling one of the most gorgeous and divine scents I've ever experienced. Angel's share indeed! That was about four years ago.

fredthecat
03-05-2008, 15:53
i had jim beam once, but jack daniels was the second bourbon i had and the first i really enjoyed

blux
03-06-2008, 10:17
Earlier, Reg mentioned hot toddy's. I too remember getting those from my Grandmother when I had a cold or congestion. It is a miracle that I drink any hard liquor at all after having been exposed to a drink that probably should have been mixed wearing a haz-mat suit. I don't know what kind of whisky she used but, to a small kid, it was like drinking Janitor-in-a-Drum (remember that product?)

On with the story. Maker's Mark turned my head with the sweet cherry nose but, Blanton's was the gateway bourbon that totally sucked me in. My first encounter with MM was in a bar here in Rochester. I wanted an alternative to beer because beer filled me up and left me feeling bloated after one and a half glasses. The bartender suggested MM and I liked it. It was also the strongest liquor in terms of proof and flavor that I had tasted to this point, but I knew then that there was no turning back.

I still like MM and Blanton's but, have not yet replaced them in my cabinet. There are too many bottles to try before I start repeating any of them.

I'd also like to extend my thanks to the members and especially to the care-takers of this board. This is a great place to learn about our favorite drink and, occasionally, about other things non-bourbon.

snakster
03-07-2008, 19:27
For me it was Buffalo Trace. It really opened a window for me and it is still one of my favorites, especially for an everyday pour. The one bar near me that has poker games actually stocks it now because of me.

JamesW
03-10-2008, 17:42
I, like some others here, was a scotch drinker but tried some Makers, Woodford, and Rare Breed and was converted. It didn't take long to discover the Van Winkle products and I was hooked from there on in.

RM High
03-20-2008, 22:05
Ummm, Maker's Mark I guess. JD #7 was one of my drinks of choice in college, but I quickly focused on mirco brews (I was living in Seattle at the time). I didn't get back into bourbon until a year ago.

texascarl
03-20-2008, 23:45
Good old Weller's. I drank Bushmills or Wellers for years and years. I've expanded the menagerie now and I'm a better man for it.

Eggman
03-22-2008, 13:29
Howdy,

For me it was JBW. Now I prefer JBB. Pretty low class stuff, but I am an LSU grad! :lol:

Eggman

chilidawg7
03-24-2008, 19:52
Mine was Maker's Mark. I had tried a few prior to that, but the wheat is what got me hooked, I suppose. I still prefer the wheated bourbons to this day.

While MM is not my favorite pour, it is still a nice throwback when I'm in the mood to reminisce. :)

Megawatt
03-27-2008, 15:51
Knob Creek for me.

ggilbertva
03-27-2008, 18:50
My step mom introduced me to Wild Turkey....12 year 101. It was great.

JasonFalls
03-27-2008, 20:41
Loved reading some of these responses.

My gateway bourbon was Elijah Craig 12 year. The only real reason was that it's what my dad drinks. I was vacationing at the family farm in Virginia one summer (maybe 10 years ago now?) and had been thinking of exploring finer spirits than my normal Killian's Irish Red (still my favorite beer). Dad poured a drink and asked if I wanted one. I responded with, "Sure, but don't kill me," implying I needed mine mixed a little lighter than his (we both prefer a little soda in ours). Immediately, I knew I'd found my drink. Craig is sweet and smooth, particularly mixed with soda the way I like it.

But that bourbon quickly led me to explore others. It wasn't too long before Maker's was my preference, Craig when Dad was in town and then I'd try new ones when out for drinks. Now, I just enjoy exploring them ... straight or on the rocks, sometimes with water to cut it enough to savor.

But when I'm at home or just want to enjoy, it's still with diet soda ... what can I say? I'm a gulper not a sipper.

DoubleT
03-27-2008, 21:01
Ezra Brooks Green Label. I was an a-typical beer drinker (Harp, Bass, Negra Modelo, Asahi Dry) while my friends were drinking Bud & Miller Lite. But I was the typical bourbon drinking 20 something some 20+ years ago; Whisky Sour with JBW. Then, about 12 years ago my grandmother died.

She suffered from cancer for some time before it caught her. Her doctor, having a warped since of humor and never being one to beat around the bush told her than in the final weeks there would be pain. She wasn't one for morphine so, knowing she seldom drank and then only wine, he bought her a bottle of the EB Green Label. He told her this would take care of her pain. She never even broke the seal...strong woman.

After her funeral my dad read a letter she had left regarding that bottle. It contained the story and a request that we (my dad, brother, and myself) open it and drink one in her honor. We did, straight up. That was actually, though in my early 30's, was my first bourbon neat; and I really like the flavor. In fact, I liked everything about this bourbon. I found it smooth with a nice nose and wonderful finish. After our toast my dad asked what we would do with the whisky...he didn't realy drink anymore except wine from time to time with a meal, and my brother drinks 7, although I'm trying to fix that. So I immediately volunteered.

Since then I have enjoyed several bourbons and hope to one day say I have tried them all. But from time to time I return to my roots, when I can find it. Seems everyone around here carries EB Black but seldom have the Green. When I find it I buy it. I still enjoy the flavor and it takes me back.

ggilbertva
03-28-2008, 06:24
Nice story Tom, thanks for sharing. I think it's nice that you can tie your first bourbon experience with someone or something that had an impact on your life.

fishnbowljoe
03-30-2008, 12:27
Had run ins with Rebel Yell and Yellowstone in my younger "almost of legal drinking age" days. That was when I didn't really know or much care what I was drinking, as long as it was hard stuff. My real start was Maker's Mark back in 1992. I kept some around, along with CC and Crown Royal for a long time. Then I was reintroduced to it again last year in another light. I have tried to branch out and broaden my horizons by buying and trying other bourbons. But.... I always have a bottle of MM on hand and it is my fall back-go to bourbon. Joe

mgilbertva
03-30-2008, 13:46
For me it was two bourbons, one following the other.

At the time I was drinking single malts and micro-brews. A friend of mine introduced me to Booker's, and it blew me away. After that bottle was finished and I went to the local ABC to purchase a replacement, I saw GT Stagg on the shelf. I thought I would give another barrel proof bourbon a try, and that pushed me over the edge.

It was like a spiritual awakening, opening up a whole new world that I had no idea existed.

I'm still a huge fan of GTS, and although I haven't purchased Booker's in some time, I won't turn it down if it's offered. :drink:

CorvallisCracker
03-30-2008, 15:27
Can't say that there was a GW bourbon for me. I was drinking WT 8/101 before I finished college (1975), and over the next few years tried many others, but nothing really stood out as significantly better, until the first seasonally-available WT 12/101 appeared in the late 1980s. Didn't encounter anything better than that until Hirsch 16yo in late 1994.

Since then have been trying to find bourbon of comparable quality, and only succeeded recently, having tried PVW 15, VW Lot B and GTS all in the last few months.

randytulsa2
03-30-2008, 18:32
Maker's, about 15years ago.

A bottle of Rock Hill Farms really sealed the deal.

From there it was no looking back.

Jane
03-31-2008, 09:51
Growing up in the dry part of Kentucky we drank whatever the bootlegger had, which was usually wild turkey (or moonshine). I've always been a bourbon drinker, but didn't come to appreciate it until my 3rd day of work at Maker's. My boss took me to Old Town Liquor in the highlands of Louisville and filled a cart full of different bottles of bourbon while educating me on each. He then said, "Your job this week is to go home and drink." I sipped on about 20 different bourbons that first week of work. Actually tasting the subtle differences was incredible. From that day on I've been infatuated with all that bourbon has to offer.

Rock
03-31-2008, 13:17
First, I have to say what many others are thinking, Jane, you have a great job, lol.

Mine was a bourbon at a Gourmet Magazine Party in NYC. It was something purchased for me that was called "Blue Smoke House Bourbon". The bartender would not tell me who made it only that it was a barrel just for the bar.

3 years later, and quite a few more vists, I was able to learn it was a Pappy 21 yr.

If I knew who it was that bought the first one for me I would say Thanks, lol.

camduncan
03-31-2008, 15:14
I'd have to say mine was Jim Beam and coke.

I was about 19, living on the Gold Coast (work, surf, party lifestyle), and had had one to many big nights drinking (Australian Bundaberg) Rum and Coke. I'd gotten to the point where even the smell of rum was making me sick. I couldn't stand the taste of beer (and still can't), so a friend gave me a bourbon and coke to try.
Twenty years later, my bourbon tastes have evolved considerably, but a part from the occasional Southern Comfort night, I don't drink anything else except Bourbon.

Jane
03-31-2008, 15:17
I'd have to say mine was Jim Beam and coke.

I was about 19, living on the Gold Coast (work, surf, party lifestyle), and had had one to many big nights drinking (Australian Bundaberg) Rum and Coke. I'd gotten to the point where even the smell of rum was making me sick. I couldn't stand the taste of beer (and still can't), so a friend gave me a bourbon and coke to try.
Twenty years later, my bourbon tastes have evolved considerably, but a part from the occasional Southern Comfort night, I don't drink anything else except Bourbon.


And to what occasion would you drink Southern Comfort? (Just curious:rolleyes:)

camduncan
03-31-2008, 16:25
And to what occasion would you drink Southern Comfort? (Just curious:rolleyes:)

Usually no specific occasion - just when I feel like a change. Sometimes it makes a nice 'after dessert' drink as well.
My brother in law is a beer drinker, but when drinking spirits, only drinks Southern Comfort and coke. So I often get into a session with him at family get-togethers.

HighTower
03-31-2008, 17:46
Usually no specific occasion - just when I feel like a change. Sometimes it makes a nice 'after dessert' drink as well.
My brother in law is a beer drinker, but when drinking spirits, only drinks Southern Comfort and coke. So I often get into a session with him at family get-togethers.
Cam,

That's just wrong! Maybe you should make him drink bourbon!!
Then, I suppose if his taste is SC, you don't want to waste the good stuff on him!!

Scott

rlovingjr
03-31-2008, 20:47
Old Grand Dad - I blame my mother since that is what she was drinking.

I still enjoy OGD but now I buy the bottled in bond stuff and use it in my Manhattans. The rye notes make a wonderful Manhattan.

Mom likes my Manhattans as well :lol:

mythrenegade
04-01-2008, 08:29
I have been a wine drinker forever, and am one of the few people who liked beer the first time I tried it. When those weren't right, I used to pour Johnny Walker Black. After a while, my brother in law got me onto single malts, and I was drinking Glenmorangie 12 yo aged in Sherry Wood casks.

And then I found bourbon. For me it was an episode of Thirsty Traveler. The only bourbon I'd ever had was a bottle of Jim Beam White that I bought in 1992 or so. I used it basically as an egg nog mixer because I couldn't stand the stuff. Then I saw the thirsty traveler episode on Kentucky Bourbon, and decided to give it a try. There were three bourbons featured on that program: Maker's Mark, Elmer T. Lee, and Pappy Van Winkel 20 year old. Maker's was the cheapest and easiest to find, so I bought a bottle.

In short, I loved it. Then I hunted down the ETL and liked that as well. At first I didn't like it as much as the Maker's. Lastly, I landed a bottle of the PVW20. Since then I have tried probably two dozen bourbons or more. Not much compared to many around here, but it's the only hard stuff I drink.

I still have a small amount left in my last bottle of glenmorangie. It's been sitting there for years...

Joel

SippinJim
04-01-2008, 13:19
Maker's Mark

Tennessee Dave
04-01-2008, 18:29
Blanton's. Funny I don't even have it in my rotation now. At the time I thought it was equal to some of the cognacs I was enjoying. Aah, how time changes taste!

Rake
04-01-2008, 23:54
I remember really liking Knob Creek the first time I tasted it. Later, I bought a bottle of Lot B because of the review on the "shelf talker" below it. Loved that one.

But my gateway bourbon has to be Stagg '06. The day I took my first taste of that is when the madness really began.

scratchline
04-05-2008, 09:15
The first would have to be ND Old Grand-Dad BIB enjoyed in Montgomery, Alabama. After that, the green label WT Rye which kept off the chill in the Catskills. And then the Russell's Reserve 101 which headed me down the bunker road for real. I still enjoy all three but the RR 101 less than the others.

-Mike

Empty_One
06-16-2008, 15:40
And then I found bourbon. For me it was an episode of Thirsty Traveler. The only bourbon I'd ever had was a bottle of Jim Beam White that I bought in 1992 or so. I used it basically as an egg nog mixer because I couldn't stand the stuff. Then I saw the thirsty traveler episode on Kentucky Bourbon, and decided to give it a try. There were three bourbons featured on that program: Maker's Mark, Elmer T. Lee, and Pappy Van Winkel 20 year old. Maker's was the cheapest and easiest to find, so I bought a bottle.

In short, I loved it. Then I hunted down the ETL and liked that as well. At first I didn't like it as much as the Maker's. Lastly, I landed a bottle of the PVW20. Since then I have tried probably two dozen bourbons or more. Not much compared to many around here, but it's the only hard stuff I drink.


That show did it for me also. But since I had Makers before, I went straight to the ETL, and fell in love. Haven't purchased a second bottle yet, still too many to try in my price range, but I'm thinking of picking up a bottle this week.

Gillman
06-16-2008, 17:49
Maker's Mark, Old Fitzgerald and Old Yellowstone - had you asked me in 1980 what my faves were as a tyro bourbon sampler, I'd have said those.

If they tasted now like they did then, they still might be my picks.

Gary

Josh
06-17-2008, 14:25
Like half the folks on here it seems, my first was JBW. I haven't had it for a while but I do order it when I go out from time to time, usually neat, then I put an ice cube or two in it from my icewater, since if you ask for it on the rocks, those turkeys always give you a glass of ice with a splash of whiskey.

This dates me pretty precisely, but my first more upscale bourbon was Jacob's Well. I don't remember much about it except thinking, "Oh, I like Beam, and this seems to be made by the same folks. And I do have some money in my checking account left over from my student loan check..."

scopenut
06-17-2008, 14:59
Used to drink JD socially. Then found Knob Creek on my own. Then found this site. Lord help me now......

-Kevin

Treeguy
06-17-2008, 15:10
About twenty-years ago I woke up late one night, turned on the tube and watched a movie called Where The Buffalo Roam with Bill Murray as Hunter Thompson. He was drinking Wild Turkey from a bottle hooked up to an IV stand.

It looked like a good idea.

So I started reading HST's books and drinking Wild Turkey. Been happier ever since.

jwevan01
06-20-2008, 07:58
My gateway bourbon was also Maker’s Mark. I was a junior in high school in the Seventies and came home one evening after a high school play dress rehearsal to find my father and Jorge (the fastest woodcarver in Ecuador) polishing off a fifth of MM. My father was a wood worker who had managed to bring Jorge to Kentucky on a small educational grant to demonstrate his carving skills. They had just returned from an afternoon workshop where Jorge been featured and been presented with 2 fifths of MM.

My dad told me to sit down and have a drink which was much more appealing than my usual method of stealing from and then watering all the bottles in his liquor cabinet. He poured me a shot and I braced myself for the pain I knew was coming based on my previous experiences with the awful pilfered liquor cabinet mix. Went down mighty smooth with some good heat at the finish and I eagerly helped them through the open bottle and then on through another fifth. I had no idea that any liquor could actually taste good, but that smooth warmth of my first taste of MM is what I still associate with bourbon (still a pretty rocky morning at school the next day). :grin:

My favorite part of the evening besides being poured a drink like a man by my dad was watching the two wood workers talk. Jorge spoke no English and my father spoke no Spanish, yet they were still able to communicate vociferously using the magical translational fluid encased in those bottles. Somehow the differences in culture and geography were rendered trivial by the shared commonality of all humans and drinking bourbon together was the catalyst. I stuck with MM (when I could afford it) for a long time based on the memories of that evening.

Good times,

Joel

dave ziegler
06-20-2008, 08:35
My First Bourbon and still my Favorite was and is when I have it Old Hickory 80 & 100 Proof. I also liked the Haller's County Fair 100 proof back in the day. This year when Kurt Gave me that bottle of Old Hickory the first sip was like a trip down the Bourbon hall of Fame. These are before most peoples times on here but in their time they were awesome and the shelves of the State stores then were filled with these and another Good Continental one Charter Oak Bourbon Bottled in Bond 100 Proof. Then You could get so many Bourbons and the first time I tasted Old Hickory I liked Bourbon!
Dave Z
Old Hickory America's Most Magnificent Bourbon
=---------------------------------------------=

shelly
06-20-2008, 13:34
Someone mentioned Bookers. A friend of mine, who is a former bartender, took me to a bar and bought me a glass of Bookers (good bar!). She told me I would be amazed, and I was skeptical. She was right. I'd been a whiskey drinker (first George Dickel which my parents favored, then Weller) for some time, but never really taken it seriously until I tried the Bookers.

PhilsFan
06-20-2008, 15:54
Maker's Mark was my first, and for a long time my only bourbon.
I don't have any MM at the present time only because I'm trying a lot of different brands recommended by the knowledgeable board members.

I have some more I want to buy (Booker's, PHC, PVW 15 & 20 and GTS) but I'll probably revisit MM down the road.

-Joe

spun_cookie
06-20-2008, 16:18
The fact that wine cost too much now=a=days

billthewoodguy
06-23-2008, 02:45
when I moved to kentucky back in 94 I bought a bottle of mm, this was enjoyed on the rocks sitting on the front porch in the evenings, this went on for several years, actually till fall of 07.
That is when I met the dog; Dougdog that is; I invited him over for a cookout , I think it was the day before thanksgiving, and he brought with him a case of assorted bourbons to taste, among them was geoge t stag, I really dont recall anything else that was in that box.
stag had made a tremendous impression on me, I have been sipping bourbon neat ever since, and my "bourbon shelf" has grown considerably.
Bad dog!!!

Bill

nor02lei
06-23-2008, 12:31
My ”gateway” American whiskey was JD when it still was 90 proof and my ”gateway” bourbon was 101 when it still was 8 years.

Leif

Isoflex
06-26-2008, 21:32
Mine was more a gateway experience than a bottling.

I was introduced to Bourbon when I was about 16 and it was W. L. Weller SR. No other spirit ever came close to Bourbon and I still like the SR and other Weller bottlings.

What got me started about 4 years ago was when someone said how great JD was and I said it was not great just advertised well. He asked what I liked and I said WLW. He said it was rot-gut. And it got me to thinking.... I hadn't really had any experience with other bourbons except a couple of shots of Maker's (which though good didn't change my liking of the WLW). SOOO, a search of the internet led me to SB.com and the rest is history (used to drink a bottle of whiskey every 3 years or so - now it is more like 2 bottles a month).

Now I have so many favorites and very few dislikes, but WLW will always be a special pour for me. Thanks to SB.com the bourbon experience so far has been GREAT!!

scubie02
07-01-2008, 08:32
i'd have to credit Blanton's as being my "gateway" bourbon. Before trying it I don't believe I had ever tried any "higher end" bourbon's, and they didn't seem that "special" to make one choose them over some other, like Scotch or Irish. One day while perusing a new store I saw the distinctive bottle, and as I have a favorite old aunt with the last name Blanton I thought "what the heck". It was the first where I thought "this is something special and worth a premium", and after that I was hooked...probably pushing a dozen open bottles of higher end bourbon's at any given time now.

chefnash51
10-31-2008, 08:47
For me , a craft beer drinker for several years. It was a combination of things.

First higher alcohol beers, that were best enjoyed sipped from a snifter got me thinking about trying a port, or cognac, or whiskey.

Then I saw the Kentucky episode of Three Sheets. I knew I wanted to try a Van Winkle bourbon.

Being the researcher I am.. I found this site and decided to learn as much as I could before making a purchase. Love this site.

After searching many a places in my area, I could find no Van winkle.. and decided to try EWSB 98. Enjoyed it very much. then to my luck, I found a stash of Lot B! My goodness, it was so good I went back out and bought the last 3 bottles there!

To answer - I would credit Lot B as my gateway.. but I am still at the enterence as far as I am concerened. I just know I am here to stay.

Dr. François
11-01-2008, 07:29
Excellent posts, everyone!
At 100 replies, I thought I would re-post the original question:


In the concerned parent world, gateway substances are those "that supposedly lead to abuse of other substances" (link (http://www.thirteen.org/closetohome/science/html/gateway.html)). While I do not mean to make light of drug abuse, I had an interesting thought.

What was your gateway bourbon?

What was the bourbon that really grabbed you for the first time? What was that bottle that let you know that you really, really wanted more of this substance? Please note: this is not just the first bourbon you tried or purchased consistently, but the first bourbon you loved.

Bonus points: is this still a favorite pour or yours, or have you outgrown it?

funknik
11-01-2008, 11:04
Knob Creek.

I bought a bottle for the Kentucky Derby and after a few mint juleps I was hooked. I eventually dropped the mint & ice and fell in love with this bourbon. I will definitely still have this bourbon out at the bar, but I rarely buy a bottle ("always welcome, rarely sought out") because I feel that there are more interesting things to have around when KC is readily available everywhere.

Jono
11-01-2008, 13:11
Buffalo Trace.....I was not much of a bourbon drinker prior to a trip to KY about 8 years ago.....silly me.

ThomasW
11-02-2008, 12:48
Johnny Drum 12 year was the bourbon that really got me seriously interested. It's still good, but there are so many more who are much better.

kickert
11-02-2008, 14:17
The wine manager at my local liquor store always spoke highly of 1792, so when my wife needed a bourbon for some bread pudding, that is what I picked up. At the time I thought it was smooth, but since trying many more I would not neccesarily describe it with that word. However, that got me started.

polyamnesia
11-02-2008, 15:58
Wild Turkey 101...then again when i found a WT101 dusty...!

still a favorite for sure

BengalMan
11-03-2008, 19:00
The first bourbon that I actually drank on the rocks that really got me hooked was Woodford Reserve. From there I fell head first down the slippery slope.

sailor22
11-04-2008, 09:41
My first whisky infatuation was with JD and Coke as a student.
The first Bourbon that I was interested in drinking neet was Blantons - but I found it only occasionally interesting.

I bought a bottle of Van Winkle Family Reserve Lot B on a recommendation and that was my Gateway to so many good Bourbons. It is still one of my all time favorites.

I Lot B and FR SmallBatch as Bourbons I give new whiskey drinkers - I think the lack of any real buuurrrnn in those two make them easier for beginners while still giving them a hint of some of the tastes available.

After Lot B I was onto PDB, EC12, E.T. Lee, and all the Van Winkles - all with a couple of ice cubes. After that I was well and truly thru through gateway. I'm back to mostly neet.

Wilber
11-04-2008, 10:34
The first bourbon I payed any attention to was Acient Age, but have not bought a bottle since experencing AAA 10, read good things here, Yummy stuff. The first bourbon I really fell in love with was RY and I still keep a bottle around, though it is lasting a lot longer than before. Been sampling some different brands and found a few new friends WSR is wonderful.

GOCOUGS2002
11-04-2008, 19:18
Maker's and Woodford got me started...I still haven't found a "favorite" per se and I like it that way; makes it easier to convince the wife that I have to keep searching...not sure I will tell her if I ever find it:lol:

chefmel
11-20-2008, 14:14
But the real turning point for me - my gateway moment, if you will - was walking into a rickhouse at the Labrot & Graham distillery and inhaling one of the most gorgeous and divine scents I've ever experienced. Angel's share indeed! That was about four years ago.

I know what you mean there - I had the same experience last august when I stepped into a rickhouse at HH! I could have spent all day there!

My gateway bourbon was back in the late 1970's and the bourbon was Old Ezra Brooks. I think it was 100 proof and 10yr old. It was packaged in a wooden box and was great stuff. Before that it was mostly JBW mixed with coke. I don't think the Old Ezra is made any more although I did try an Ezra B SB last summer. Not bad, but not as good as the old ezra!

Mark

ionz149
11-21-2008, 08:43
Well my first habitual sipper was JDSB, but my first bourbon that made me want to see what other bourbons had to offer was Woodford Reserve. I liked it because it was affordable and good enough to where if you buy it in the ghetto people act like your buying the nice stuff. After like 5 bottles I started lurking around here and the beginners list was the end of it.

Buffalo Bill
01-21-2009, 10:11
My late father was a Beam Collector from back in the 60's and belonged to the New England Beam Club. As a kid I went to several shows with him... then I turned 18 when it was legal in Massachusetts to drink at that age. "The Massachusetts Miracle!" I still have a few miniatures here of the Beam given out to club members, along with the Beam Pot and ceramic shot glasses dating back to the late 70's. Although, I enjoyed the flavor of Jack Daniel's back then too, but the day I had a Maker's Mark was the day I began looking around at up-scale bourbon; early 80's. I loved Maker's back in the day... 90's went to Scotch... until I had a bottle of Woodford's, and then a bottle OFBB. Those were the days of reckoning for me. Next came the Pappy. BB

Hondo
01-22-2009, 18:20
I would have to say that mine was Early Times... back when it was still Bourbon in the Louisville area.

Then Beam (or someone) started making a premixed Jim Beam and Cola canned drink. I loved these... when everyone else had a cooler full of beer, I had a cooler full of the Beam and Cola drinks. Then I started drinking JBW neat all the time. Funny thing... it just seemed better back in the early eighties.

JeffJ
01-22-2009, 19:13
I got hooked when my wife introduced me to bourbon via VOB and OF BIB.

Haven't looked back since.

Buffalo Bill
01-23-2009, 06:24
I would have to say that mine was Early Times... back when it was still Bourbon in the Louisville area.

Then I started drinking JBW neat all the time. Funny thing... it just seemed better back in the early eighties.

Why is it that most everything seems better from years before? Sometimes I question myself in that regard due to my own palette and taste changing, although I do remember with accuracy when it comes to olfactory and taste. Things were definitely different then in terms of manufacturing on a number of levels. Most things don't remain the same, especially with companies trying to conserve and cheapen nowadays. One thing is for certain, they can fool the public some of the time, but when it comes to whiskey pretty much none of the time. People will still know... BB

fishnbowljoe
01-23-2009, 14:25
I know I have posted this before, but what the heck. My first bourbon was Yellowstone. I had it when I was a teenager and didn't really know what bourbon was. My actual gateway bourbon was, the same as so many others, Makers Mark. Still a good pour. Not the best I have by any means, but I always have some on hand. Joe

Hondo
01-23-2009, 14:49
Why is it that most everything seems better from years before? Sometimes I question myself in that regard due to my own palette and taste changing, although I do remember with accuracy when it comes to olfactory and taste. Things were definitely different then in terms of manufacturing on a number of levels. Most things don't remain the same, especially with companies trying to conserve and cheapen nowadays. One thing is for certain, they can fool the public some of the time, but when it comes to whiskey pretty much none of the time. People will still know... BB

All true of course. I think for my part this example is strictly due to my experience level with bourbon then and now. Two things are true today that were not true twenty five / thirty years ago. First off, back then while I did enjoy bourbon most of the time the intent of drinking it was to get a buzz. Or maybe even get rip roaring drunk on occasion. I don't do it that way anymore. :grin: However most importantly is that I have had the opportunity to sample many other bourbon's many of which I really like. So by comparison it seemed better then than it does now.

JamesW
01-23-2009, 19:27
For years I enjoyed Makers Mark and Knob Creek but it was Woodford Reserve that caught my attention and started the love affair.

Me too. I'd had Makers, EC18, Beam Black but when I hit the Woodford Reserve I got hooked. Funny thing is I don't keep it in my bar and would never buy another bottle when I compare to all the others I've grown to love.