Hey guys - I'm new to Bourbon - have tried a few bottles over the past month or so.
So far, I like: Eagle Rare Single Barrel, Wild Turkey Rare Breed, Makers Mark
Wasn't too fond of: Knob Creek, Evan Williams Single Barrel
NC and EWSB were both good - but the spicey/licorice flavor wasn't to my taste. Given that, wondering if anyone has recommendations - other Bourbons they think I'd like.
The trend I see in your likes and dislikes (except for the WT) is a preference for a minimal rye character - perhaps sweetness as well.
Some other low-rye/sweetish bourbons you might like are Old Charter, Elmer T Lee, or Buffalo Trace. To my tastebuds Beam products, Old Forester, Heaven Hill, and Four Roses all have profiles that emphasize the rye more than the three Buffalo Trace products listed.
Some wheat bourbons you might like are Van Winkle (anything but rye) or Weller (anything).
I think you may find Weller 12 and Lot B very much to your liking. If you want more intensity, Weller Antique or Van Winkle 15 are good examples of younger and older brethren at 107 proof instead of 90.
PS - "Lot B" is short for Van Winkle Special Reserve 12 Year Old 90.4 proof
I agree, you'd probably like Elmer T Lee, Weller 12 (a very good buy), and any of the Van Winkle products.
Originally Posted by Sleepies
When I first started drinking bourbon somewhat regularly about five years ago, I tried to do the same thing as you. Not wanting to waste money on something I didn't like, I tried to find patterns in what various people liked. I did not succeed.
With bottlings as different as Rare Breed and Maker's appearing on your list, I don't hold much hope of finding a pattern in your preferences, either. Setting aside the fact that both are bourbon, about the only similarity is that each represents a distiller's effort to make a distinctive, quality product, one that meets a specific taste profile.
I have an outside-the-box recommendation.
At convenient intervals revisit the bottlings that don't appeal to you at first sip. As it happens my first impression of both KC and EWSB was somewhat negative. A few years later I now consider KC a good, mainstream bourbon. I don't drink it often -- in fact, I seldom drink at all lately -- but when I do, I enjoy it. My taste has changed over time, and it continues to do so.
I wish I could say the same for EWSB. I've bought one bottle of each of about four vintages. I didn't go looking for a second bottle of any of them. Curiously, I enjoy every other Heaven Hill bottling I've tried more than I enjoy what seems to be their flagship brand. Elijah Craig (12 y/o and 18 y/o) and Henry McKenna Single Barrel share the same unique eucalyptus/mint/camphor flavor element but it comes across differently in those bottlings, being almost submerged in the 18 y/o. On a cost/value basis I even prefer the basic Evan Williams to the vintage bottlings.
Roger's advice is right on if you'd like to explore styles similar to Maker's Mark. However, I predict that anyone who likes Rare Breed will eventually find rye recipe bourbon more interesting than the wheaters. (My prognostication record stands at an even 50%. :grin: )
In that vein I suggest you try Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit and maybe even Rock Hill Farms. Both are pricey, but IMO every bourbon drinker should taste them at least once. (Now that I've mentioned RHF, someone will probably suggest its even pricier stablemate, Blanton's. IMO RHF is what Blanton's wants to be when it grows up. :grin: )