I just tried the ORVW 10/107, and to me it is fantastic. It's also in your price range. The ORVW 10/90 is good, but as I said, the 10/107 is great. Good Luck, Joe
Your purchase solution is to just hold off for a month or two and then splurge with $60-90 to spend.
Add some rye...you won't be disappointed....for cost and excellent taste the Rittenhouse BIB cannot be beat.
The WT Rye is good also........
I agree with most of what's been said. Go with the ORVW 10/107 it is a great bourbon at the price point. If you can get the Centennial then grab this months and next months purchase right now as it will be gone gone gone.
I can also suggest the Weller Antique 107 although it isn't that much different from the special reserve (which I sometimes like better) but man are they inexpensive (so you can drink 2 bottles in a month!)
Given your deal with the wife, you also might want to check out the following thread....some tips on stealth bourbon collecting :70358-devil:
Crouching Husband, Hidden Bourbon- Becoming a Whiskey Ninja
To keep with the deal you have going with the wife I would buy ETL for this month, ORVW 107 next and ODG the month after. Being the sneaky one I would try to slide a Baker's, or WT Rare Breed past as it is just outside of your range. One other bourbon I haven't seen mentioned is Weller 12 yr. I have edited this post to make sure it gets on your radar.
Now for the cool part. Since the deal with your wife is 1 Bourbon a month you are free to buy all the straight rye you want. So I would pick up WT Rye 101, Baby Saz, Rittenhouse BIB 100 with that 1 bottle of Bourbon. And if it is your birthday month then you gotta pickup a bottle of VWFRR. It is $47 or so but it would be a b-day present to yourself and the wife cannot possibly say no to that.
I went with the Elmer T. Lee and I could not have been more pleased. It really hit the spot. I went back over my tasting notes and have realized that I really have a thing for Buffalo Trace bourbons so I think I will be going with a Van Winkle next. Hopefully I can sneak the 12yo in.
If anything, by trying a wheat-recipe bourbon of the highest caliber, such as the Van Winkle bottlings, you may be expanding your experience in an interesting and highly enjoyable direction. I know you've already tried Maker's Mark, another wheat-recipe bourbon, but IMO it's not in the same league as the VWs.
Great advice so far, and the ETL is a good choice. From your list (and building on what others have mentioned) I'd say that you're ready to try a better wheater and some more Heaven Hill products -- based on that I'd go with the OVRW 10/107 (you'll probably find the 10/90 too simple) and definitely an EWSB. Several Weller expressions would also fit the bill for a better-than-Makers wheat recipe -- I'd skip the Special Reserve as too light.
Since you liked the Basil Hayden, OGD 114 (or BIB) will give you a younger, kickier version of that mashbill.
I recommend EC18 (especially if you can get it under $30) but it's a love/hate bourbon -- get a few more under your belt before trying it. It's not just an older version of EC12! If you can find Old Heaven Hill around your parts, I'd put one on the list first (but after the EWSB.)
The next BT bourbon to try would be Ancient Ancient Age (10yo, not 10 Star, if you can find it.)
Finally, I agree with your assessment of Knob Creek but I'm still a big fan of Jim Beam Black, and it should be well within your price range. (I'd do that the month after the OGD and before AAA or EC18.)