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  1. #1
    Administrator in exile
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    Best value bourbons

    Well, just found out today that my health insurance premiums will be going up by 33% so I need to trim my liquor budget a bit. What bourbons would you recommend that have some of the qualities of top shelf brands at the middle to bottom shelf prices?

  2. #2
    Bourbonian of the Year 2003 and Super Moderator
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    Re: Best value bourbons

    Old forester 86 Cheaper than 4YO Beam and a hell of a lot better. AAA, Buy some Barton it gets overlooked because they aren't throwing millions in ads and it sits on or near the bottom shelf, Wild Turkey, I remember when WT Maker's and Dickel were the top shelf , A lot has changed in 30 years. Heaven Hill puts out some decent bourbon in JTS Brown , Echo Spring and JW Dant you may want to see if you can get a 1/2 pint to try they may not be what you are looking for. Old Charter classic 90
    Hope this Helps Elijah Craig 12 easily the best value for the money.

  3. #3
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Best value bourbons

    Old Fitzgerald has always been my "budget" choice.

  4. #4
    Enthusiast
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    Re: Best value bourbons

    Value bourbon -- Local prices under $20

    Spicy Drams
    *Knob Creek 9 yr, 101 proof $18
    Eagle Rare 10 yr, 101 $16
    *Ezra Brooks 7 year, 101 $13
    Old Grand-dad BIB $13
    *Old Grand-dad 114 $19
    Wild Turkey 101 $15
    *Elijah Craig 12 yr 94 proof $15

    Smoother Drams
    Old Fitz BIB $13
    *David Nicolson 1843 BIB (really Old Fitz BIB that's 7 years old) $16
    *Old Fitz 1849, 8 years 90 proof $15
    *Old Charter 'The Classic' 12 year 90 proof $16 (all Old Charters = a bargain)
    Wellers Reserve 12 yr 90 proof $17
    Wellers Reserve 107 $16

    Rye
    *Wild Turkey Rye 101 $16
    Old Overholt $11 - leaves enough $$$ to buy a case of ginger ale.

    * = personal faves

  5. #5
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    Re: Best value bourbons

    texascarl says :*Ezra Brooks 7 year, 101 $13


    Bingo !! there is my suggestion. I can get it at $11 a fifth and I think it tastes like $25 bourbon, OLD EZRA 7 Year 101, is the shit in my book, a great everyday pour.

    TomC

  6. #6
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    Re: Best value bourbons

    </font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
    Spicy Drams
    *Knob Creek 9 yr, 101 proof $18
    Eagle Rare 10 yr, 101 $16
    *Ezra Brooks 7 year, 101 $13
    Old Grand-dad BIB $13
    *Old Grand-dad 114 $19
    Wild Turkey 101 $15
    *Elijah Craig 12 yr 94 proof $15


    [/QUOTE]

    (Author's note: I've experienced yet another computer failure and houseguests over the last week or so. It's good to be back.)

    Years ago there was a TV antacid commercial which portrayed an actor doing yet another commercial, one for meatballs. Take after take he said, in a phony Italian-like accent, "That's some spicey meatball!", each take being spoiled by some production problem, which eventually caused him to need an antacid.

    From your list, above, Old Grand Dad BIB, which I am drinking right now, prompts a like response from me, "That's some spicey bourbon!". Comparing it to the others I've tried that appear on your list (WT 101, EC 12 yr., and KC), I'd say it has the highest spice-to-total-flavor ratio of the lot. I happen to like its particular spiciness a great deal, and I'm actually very surprised to learn as much, as I become reacquainted with it (or at least the brand name) after not tasting it since 1960.

    My first exposure to OGD BIB was under less than ideal circumstances. I was a barely-17-year-old college freshman, totally out of sight of my parents for the first time. The fraternity I had pledged made a weekly liquor run for all residents, regardless of age. Someone had told me that bourbon and ginger ale was a good way to introduce one's self to the drinking of bourbon, which I had never drunk before. One Friday evening I took my bottle of OGD BIB, a bottle of cold ginger ale, and a glass to the commons room and started drinking while watching TV.

    Initially, I put a few drops of bourbon into a much greater quantity of ginger ale. That combination went down so easily that I started increasing the portion of bourbon with each drink. This process proceeded so rapidly that I was taken by surprise when I found it difficult to walk to the bathroom. Nevertheless, I rather enjoyed the overall sensation and my increased sense of glibness; so I continued as before.

    Within a couple hours I drank about three quarters of the bottle. I found out later that my fellow pledges were making bets as to when I would start experiencing gastric upheaval. The outcome (pun intended) was so violent and prolonged that I suspended all activities, both social and academic, for the rest of the weekend.

    With that history it was with a sense of foreboding that I bought my current bottle of OGD BIB, my first in over 40 years. Fortunately, I have since learned the virtues of moderation (in moderate amounts, of course -- even moderation can be overdone), and OGD BIB is currently my favorite in the strictly-spicey, budget-priced category. (As a total flavor package WT 101 is the best value for me.)

    ***
    BTW, I picked up a bottle of Old Grand Dad 114 a few days ago, but I haven't felt the urge to open it yet. What if it spoils my taste for the BIB?

    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield

  7. #7
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    Re: Best value bourbons

    Said by Dave: "BTW, I picked up a bottle of Old Grand Dad 114 a few days ago, but I haven't felt the urge to open it yet. What if it spoils my taste for the BIB?"

    I'm afraid that it will. I have recently obtained my first bottle of OGD 114. It is near the top of my list. Of course, it is up there with some heavy company, but it is that good.

    Tim

  8. #8
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    Re: Best value bourbons

    I'll second the Old Fitz. In my limited search, so far the Old Fitz has been tops. I've tried Old Forrester 86 (good), AAA 10 star (won't buy again; yes, I didn't read the label closely enough), and Elijiah Craig 12 yo (I am dissenting with the popular opinion; maybe I need to revisit this one).

  9. #9
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    Re: Best value bourbons

    FYI, I'm about to jump ship on EC12 as I am close to finishing my first bottle.

    I was a fan at first sip because... because... Well, because it was so damned interesting, not really because it tasted good to me.

    Since then I've met Old Forester 100 proof which costs less and actually tastes good to me. Rather ordinary, perhaps, but good.

    Then there's WT 101 (Am I repeating myself?) at about the same price (from $14 to $20 hereabouts). To my taste, nothing else comes close at that price.

    EC12 just isn't as enjoyable to my taste as the competition.

    (Strangely, during the same time frame that I lost my infatuation with EC12, EWSB, which has some similar flavors, moved up several notches in my private ranking.)

    Speaking of revisiting, I guess I'm going to have to try a different bottle of Old Fitz. The horrid finish of the stuff in my bottle couldn't possibly appeal to so many otherwise normal bourbon drinkers. (I'm no sissy, either; I enjoy Rare Breed and Booker's neat.)

    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield

  10. #10
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Best value bourbons

    It occurred to me as I read your post that, while I normally favor higher proof bourbon, the fact that EWSB is 86 proof may be a good thing. It is so full of flavor, at 86, that it might be overpowering and hard to drink (at least neat) at a higher proof.

    This brings up another thought. An artist once told me that most of making "art" is what you do with your eyes -- looking at the work as it unfolds -- as opposed to what you do with your hands. It's the same with making whiskey. The final step in creating a whiskey is tasting it -- selecting barrels, deciding on the final proof -- and this is done by tasting. Distillers typically have a panel of tasters but the distiller makes the final decision. Ultimately, the judgment is based on how the whiskey tastes (or will taste) straight from the bottle, with no additional dillution. If you want to taste a whiskey the way the distiller intended it to taste, drink it neat.

 

 

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