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?
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