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  1. #1
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Distillery Exemplars

    I'm putting this thread here because I think it might be particularly useful for beginners.

    There are a lot of bourbon brands on the market considering how few distilleries there are. The object here is to pick the best whiskey (preferably something in general distribution) that each distillery makes, not necessarily their most representative product, but the product that shows the distillery's output in the best light, the exemplars.

    I'll go ahead and begin. Big caveat is that this is highly subjective. There are no right or wrong answers. On second thought, if for Beam you were to say "Old Crow," that would be a wrong answer.

    I'm not picking an exemplar for each recipe the distillery makes but if I did, for example, I might pick Weller 12 as the exemplar of BT wheated bourbon. If you want to break it down that way, be my guest.

    Another way of looking at it is if you set out to try one whiskey from each distillery, what should you try?

    Here's mine.

    Beam Clermont/Boston -- Baker's Bourbon
    Beam Maker's Mark -- Maker's Mark
    BF Shively -- Any Old Forester Birthday Bourbon, but especially the 2006 or 2007.
    BF Woodford -- Standard WR Distiller's Select, but WR Master's Collection Sweet Mash, if available.
    Buffalo Trace -- Blanton's
    Heaven Hill -- Any Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage, but especially the 1994.
    Wild Turkey -- WT Kentucky Spirit
    Four Roses -- 4R Single Barrel
    Jack Daniel's -- JD Single Barrel
    George Dickel -- GD No. 12
    Tom Moore -- Ridgemont Reserve 1792

  2. #2
    Advanced Taster
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    Re: Distillery Exemplars

    Nice idea ... nice list!

    Being a newbie, I haven't tried something from all of them (yet), but of the ones I've sampled:

    Beam Clermont/Boston: Knob Creek (haven't had Baker's or Booker's)
    Beam Maker's: Maker's Mark
    Buffalo Trace: Buffalo Trace
    Heaven Hill: Elijah Craig 18
    Wild Turkey: WT Rare Breed
    Jack Daniel's: JD Single Barrel
    Dickel: GD 12
    Jay

  3. #3
    Connoisseur
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    Re: Distillery Exemplars

    Quote Originally Posted by cowdery View Post
    I'm putting this thread here because I think it might be particularly useful for beginners.

    There are a lot of bourbon brands on the market considering how few distilleries there are. The object here is to pick the best whiskey (preferably something in general distribution) that each distillery makes, not necessarily their most representative product, but the product that shows the distillery's output in the best light, the exemplars.
    This should be the starting point for everyone that wants to venture beyond their one tried and true brand. There is plenty out there to put your decision making process in meltdown. Thanx Mr. Chuck! Your list is great guidance for some and validation for others.
    Often I am forced to deal with the fact that I prefer bourbon over dealing with facts.

  4. #4
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    Re: Distillery Exemplars

    I would suggest most of what Chuck posted.
    These are the ones I would change.

    BF Shively--OF Signature, the Birthday just didn't hit me.
    Buffalo Trace--Rock Hill Farms and/or any WLWeller
    George Dickel--Barrel Select
    ovh

  5. #5
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    Re: Distillery Exemplars

    Chuck... I love the idea. I do have a question though. Why Blanton's for BT? There is so much good stuff coming out of that distillery, for me Blanton's has always been over priced and lacking character.

    Of course everyone is going to have their opinion... I am geniuninely interested in why you picked Blanton's.

    Also, I am curious of you notion "Beam Maker's Mark." Is MM owned by Beam?
    Hope is subversive, for it limits the grandiose pretensions of the present by calling into existence the possibility of something better.

  6. #6

    Re: Distillery Exemplars

    Also, I am curious of you notion "Beam Maker's Mark." Is MM owned by Beam?
    [/quote]
    Yep,Maker's Mark is owned by Fortune Brands....Jim Beams parent company.

    There is still a bunch that i haven't tried,but from the one that i have.Here are my fav's.

    Beam:Knob Creek....OGD 114 a close 2nd.
    Buffalo Trace:W.L. Weller 12 YO
    Van Winkles: Pappy Van Winkle 23 YO.This is bottled at Buffalo Trace,but i believe it is distilled at another location.
    Four Roses:Four Roses Single Barrel....only tried this one and the yellow label.
    Heaven Hill:Elijah Craig 12 YO
    Last edited by trx450; 01-09-2009 at 20:23.

  7. #7
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Distillery Exemplars

    Maker's isn't just owned by Fortune, it is part of Fortune's Beam Global Spirits and Wine division.

    There are much better values to be had in the BT portfolio, which is why I rarely buy Blanton's, but there is no consistently finer whiskey made there.

    But as the wise man wrote, your mileage may vary.

  8. #8
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    Re: Distillery Exemplars

    Any Van Winkle that is being distilled now is at Buffalo Trace, I believe. There may be some old bottles distilled elsewhere that are being used. If so, those distilleries are either gone or one of the one of the others on the list.

    Beam Clermont/Boston -- OGD BIB or 114
    BF Shively -- Does the Rittenhouse BIB count?
    Buffalo Trace -- ETL

    Tom Moore -- Ridgemont Reserve 1792

  9. #9
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    Re: Distillery Exemplars

    Great game. (I added some ryes).

    Beam Clermont/Boston -- Old Grand-Dad 114
    Beam Maker's Mark -- Ah, isn't MM the only thing they make?
    BF Shively -- I'd go with the OF Birthday Bourbon as well.
    BF Woodford -- Only thing I've had is standard WF.
    Buffalo Trace -- Pappy 20/Eagle Rare (For Rye, Handy Rye or Saz 18)
    Heaven Hill -- Elijah Craig 18SB/Rittenhouse Rye BIB
    Wild Turkey -- WT 101 Rye
    Four Roses -- 4R Single Barrel
    Jack Daniel's -- Nothing, sorry, I'm not a Jack fan.
    George Dickel -- GD No. 12.
    Tom Moore -- Is this Barton? If so, I'd say VOB 100 Proof.

  10. #10
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    Re: Distillery Exemplars

    Nice thread Chuck:

    Beam Clermont/Boston -- Knobb
    Beam Maker's Mark -- Maker's Mark 101 (if you can find it - top notch) or any MM from the 80s or 90s. MM use to be a great bourbon
    BF Shively -- Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2005 or 2007
    BF Woodford -- Standard WR Distiller's Select
    Buffalo Trace -- Old Weller Antique
    Heaven Hill -- Parker Heritage Barrel Proof. Nothing else out there like it to me
    Wild Turkey -- A pre 1994 Wild Turkey 8 yr of Old # 8. That is what WT is to me.
    Four Roses -- Any of the FR 40th that were less than 102 proof.
    Jack Daniel's -- Standard Black (save your money for a bourbon - you will learn if you like this one from their standard product)
    George Dickel -- Standard 8 (save your money for a bourbon - you will learn if you like this one from their standard product)
    Tom Moore -- Very Old Barton

 

 

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