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  1. #1
    Taster
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    80

    What are your top 5 bourbons?

    This may seem like a silly question as some are difficult to compare, tastes change, and rankings are often silly or useless. With that said, I am really interested in your thoughts, SB. What are your favorites, and why?

    For clarification, when I say top five, I mean however YOU define it. For example, if you mean best regardless of price then that is fine. If your best means value per dollar, then use that in your criteria.

    I would also encourage those of you (like myself) who are new or have less experience with premium or limited bottles to participate.


    Here are mine:

    1. 2014 Russell Reserve Small Batch Single Barrel ($50) - I love the mouth feel of this one, almost like taffy. After I finished it the first time I remember smelling the empty glass for several minutes and loved the fruity, floral aroma.

    2. Four Roses Single Barrel OBSV ($35) - My FRSB collection is four recipes right now and I have only tried the standard OBSV. I love the cherry sweetness - reminds me a lot of the RRSB.

    3. Wild Turkey 101 ($26) - I did a blind SBS with this and Blanton's and enjoyed the 101 a great deal more. Some things I have read lead me to believe there were some problems with WT stuff either currently or a while back but all of my 101 experiences have been very pleasant. It just seems so...classic. And American.

    4. 2012 Booker's ($55) - My wife got this bottle as a gift and we nursed it to the end. It is extremely smooth for a 120+ proof whiskey and what it doesn't have in spiciness it definitely has in chewiness.

    5. Ellijah Craig 12 ($23) - Among the 90 proofers I have tried, this one is my favorite neat. I revisited it recently and was pleasantly surprised at how the bottle opened up after a couple months.

  2. #2
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Arlington, TX
    Posts
    916

    Re: What are your top 5 bourbons?

    Best I've ever personally tasted (Cost/availability not being a factor)

    1. Parker's Heritage 27 Year (The best whiskey to ever cross my lips, and it'll likely never happen again).
    2. A.H. Hirsch 16 Year (Yes, it pretty much lives up to the hype)
    3. Pappy Van Winkle 20 Year (Tastes even better knowing I paid retail)
    4. George T Stagg (Some days I prefer it to just about anything)
    5. Booker's 25th (Probably gets some subconscious points from knowing it was a one-time release)


    Now, Top 5 that are fairly available (or sufficiently bunkered):

    1. Elmer T Lee (Wish it was still as easy to find as it was a few years ago)
    2. ECBP/ Elijah Craig 12 (Some days you want the extra kick, others you want that easy drinker that is easier to find on the shelf)
    3. Smooth Ambler old Scout Single Barrel (Had an 8 year I really loved, but just got a 10 year that is phenomenal)
    4. 4Roses Single Barrel (Currently drinking an OBSK, but not really a bad recipe in the bunch)
    5. Larceny (Just an easy drinking bottle that's easy to find)
    "You Can't Buy Happiness, but you can buy Whiskey!"

  3. #3
    Disciple
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Downriver, Detroit, MI
    Posts
    1,502

    Re: What are your top 5 bourbons?

    Hmmmm, Not an easy question to answer. KJB took an interesting tack by giving it two ways.
    I'll stick to a single definition. That being 'What do I drink the most?' In no particular order here the ones I reach for most often.....
    SB Blend (60-40 OWA/W12)
    Henry McKenna 10-year, BIB
    Old Forester Signature
    Booker's
    Buffalo Trace


    I could add another five pretty easily; but, I'll quit with these.

  4. #4
    Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Chicago Burbs
    Posts
    264

    Re: What are your top 5 bourbons?

    hmmm, this is a tough one, but I'll go with Rich on this and I'll go with the top 5 bourbons I drink most often:

    1. Four Roses Single Barrel
    2. Elijah Craig 12
    3. Weller 12
    4. Blanton's
    5. Elmer T Lee

    kinda buffalo trace/sazerac heavy line up here.

  5. #5
    Taster
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Daytona Beach
    Posts
    83

    Re: What are your top 5 bourbons?

    Quote Originally Posted by dboland View Post
    This may seem like a silly question as some are difficult to compare, tastes change, and rankings are often silly or useless. With that said, I am really interested in your thoughts, SB. What are your favorites, and why?

    For clarification, when I say top five, I mean however YOU define it. For example, if you mean best regardless of price then that is fine. If your best means value per dollar, then use that in your criteria.

    I would also encourage those of you (like myself) who are new or have less experience with premium or limited bottles to participate.


    Here are mine:

    1. 2014 Russell Reserve Small Batch Single Barrel ($50) - I love the mouth feel of this one, almost like taffy. After I finished it the first time I remember smelling the empty glass for several minutes and loved the fruity, floral aroma.

    2. Four Roses Single Barrel OBSV ($35) - My FRSB collection is four recipes right now and I have only tried the standard OBSV. I love the cherry sweetness - reminds me a lot of the RRSB.

    3. Wild Turkey 101 ($26) - I did a blind SBS with this and Blanton's and enjoyed the 101 a great deal more. Some things I have read lead me to believe there were some problems with WT stuff either currently or a while back but all of my 101 experiences have been very pleasant. It just seems so...classic. And American.

    4. 2012 Booker's ($55) - My wife got this bottle as a gift and we nursed it to the end. It is extremely smooth for a 120+ proof whiskey and what it doesn't have in spiciness it definitely has in chewiness.

    5. Ellijah Craig 12 ($23) - Among the 90 proofers I have tried, this one is my favorite neat. I revisited it recently and was pleasantly surprised at how the bottle opened up after a couple months.
    There have been a number of threads here over the past few years that have been very similar. You may want to do a search and compare some of the replies over time. A couple I remember are: "what 5 are always in your rotation" and "what are your favorites at the $20, $30, $40 $50". From memory Ritt BIB, Four Roses Single Barrel, Old Grand Dad 114, Elmer T. Lee, Weller 12 & Antique, and Elijah Craig 12 have gotten the most frequent mentions. My current readily available five are:

    Four Roses Single Barrel
    John J. Bowman Single Barrel
    Weller Antique
    Wild Turkey Rare Breed
    Elmer T Lee

  6. #6
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    245

    Re: What are your top 5 bourbons?

    I'll go with my top 5 easy to find bottles--bottles that I always have on hand and drink regularly, and in no particular order:

    1. Wild Turkey 101--it's readily available, and I find it delicious--immediately identifiable. I also enjoy the Wild Turkey Rare Breed or Russell's Reserve. At any rate, I always have to have something open from Wild Turkey.
    2. Elijah Craig 12 year, or ECBP---for me ECBP is a bit harder to find, but EC12 is always available. It's great when I want a little more age and oak in the bourbon.
    3. Four Roses Store Selections---I always try to keep a few bunkered and a few open. Fun to do side-by-side comparisons. Plus you can't beat the quality.
    4. Something bottled in bond, usually Evan Williams BIB.
    5. Old Weller Antique 107. I love the stuff, and it's usually easy to find. Takes ice well.

  7. #7
    Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    O'Fallon, MO
    Posts
    456

    Re: What are your top 5 bourbons?

    Not technically bourbon, but I suppose it's ok to include rye, so I will.

    1) Pappy 20 yo from S-W, best by quite a large margin. I don't usually drink wheaters, but this is unparalleled. Thinking the great age must make the difference, I tried the 23 yo Pappy's, and it's just not as good. The first release of the Jefferson's Presidential 17 yo was similar, but lacked that special something that the Pappy 20 had. Now that Pappy is BT, there's no more other than in bunkers, and mine is empty.

    2) 2010 Sazerac 18 yo. More of a bour-rye flavor compared to the baking spice bomb TH Handy from the Antique Collection, this was like Rittenhouse on steroids. Best balance of spice, fruit and sweetness I've ever had, plus that perfect amount of wood influence.

    3) 2011 Pappy Family Reserve Rye 13 yo. This was so good, I scoured my whole area for these and came up with 3 bottles. Sadly, all gone now. More sweetness and wood, plus a pure rye bread flavor, not the baking spice of Handy or the balance of Sazerac 18, but just so much flavor.

    4) Booker's Bourbon. My favorite of the ultra proof monsters, including Stagg and Stagg Jr. Great balance and just so much going on. A true party in your mouth. Best "on the rocks" bourbon of all time.

    5) Tie for the two I always have on hand, EC 12 and OF Sig 100. Both still under $30 including tax where I live, and good enough for any and all occasions.

  8. #8
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    8 Mile + 2.5
    Posts
    801

    Re: What are your top 5 bourbons?

    BourbonScout just did a 'top 10 obtainable' list on their instagram over the past 10 days - https://instagram.com/bourbonscout/

  9. #9
    Taster
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Atlanta
    Posts
    68

    Re: What are your top 5 bourbons?

    I'll stick with ones that can be easily found.

    1) Henry McKenna 10 yr.
    2) Four Roses Single Barrel (either a store select or the standard offering is fine by me).
    3) Wild Turkey 101.
    4) Knob Creek Single Barrel
    5) Larceny (used to prefer OWA, but that's not always easy to come by now, and I've stopped worrying about Weller 12).

    If I added a rye to mix, it would be Rittenhouse. I always have at least one of these open at any moment — and I often will go for one of them even when I do have more expensive stuff on hand.

  10. #10
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Marietta, GA
    Posts
    972

    Re: What are your top 5 bourbons?

    Mine changes all the time. If I picked right now and used availability for a criteria I would say in no particular order:

    RHF
    Baker's
    WT SBSmB
    ECBP/12
    4R SB
    Richard
    GBS Member rounding out the top 5
    Are you a Whisk(e)y Apostle?

 

 

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