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  1. #1
    The Boss
    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    Northern CA

    Your first taste of a really excellent bourbon.

    Cliff's "Paradigm Shift" post got me thinking about a post I've wanted to make for a long time, but never seem to get around to.

    I've consumed bourbon as the hard alcohol of choice my entire adult life. Until about ten years ago, I really didnt know that anything but Jim Beam white label existed, and I didnt differentiate between TN Whiskey and bourbon.

    My introduction to the larger picture came in the form of Blanton's. The date was August 5th 1993, and me and my brother were attending ACM SIGGRAPH in Los Angeles. We were in the top floor bar of the New Otani Hotel (I think it was called the Gaijin lounge ) when we asked the bartender if the planet didnt have something finer than JB white to offer us. It's almost embarrasing to admit, but it was also the first time I'd consumed bourbon neat without knocking it back. I can honestly say that to this day I've never slammed a shot of Blanton's. It's some sort of religious reverence thing for me.

    That experience pretty much started the frenzy, and was responsible in very large part for the concept and implementation of Straightbourbon.com.

    Your stories?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Bryan, Ohio

    Re: Your first taste of a really excelllent bourbon.

    I first got a taste of great bourbon from a wedding present from my best man. Before that I had only owned three bottles of whiskey(besides what I drank illegally in high school), Bushmills 10 Year, Jack Daniels, & Makers Mark, and I had consumed the entirety of all three with coke or in "BoilerMakers". After he gave me the Blanton's, there was no turning back. One day not to long after I was searching the net for whiskey info and hit StraightBourbon.com ( BLLLLEEEEEEE!!!!!! ), the rest is history!


    PS I will spare you retelling the tale of the wedding present and direct you HERE if you would like to read it!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002

    Re: Your first taste of a really excelllent bourbon.

    Mine began fairly recently. I was also convinced that Beam White was "The good stuff" when it came to bourbon, thus limited my sipping activities to Scotch or Irish whiskeys, relegating bourbon to be consumed in shots or mixed with coke. Last April, went back to Ohio to visit family, and decided to nip over to Kentucky, knowing that liquor prices are generally far better there. I'd noticed the growing number of bourbons, and decided to try one. On the advice of the guy in the liquor store, I snagged a bottle of Knob Creek, and there's been no looking back since. In fact, the bottle of 18 year old MacAllan that I had just purchased before the trip, and had been highly prizing, has gone untouched since then....

  4. #4

    Re: Your first taste of a really excelllent bourbo

    " The only thing worse than shitty whiskey is sc**ch." - W

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2000

    Re: Your first taste of a really excellent bourbon.


    I began drinking whiskey just a few years ago. At first it was JD and Coke. Then, at a bachelor party, I tried Gentleman Jack on the rocks (no Coke) and liked it. Several weeks later on a Friday afternoon, I decided to go 'In Search Of' the best tasting bourbons at a few Coconut Grove bars in Miami.

    I spotted an old-fashioned bottle sitting in a crowd of scotch and vodka. I couldn't read the white lettering on the bottle, but the contents had a gorgeous amber color. I asked for it on the rocks and took a sip.

    The distinctive bottle with the white lettering was Woodford Reserve. After a couple of sips I knew I was on to something special. The rest as they say, is history.



  6. #6
    Bourbonian of the Year 2006
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Rockland County, NY

    Re: Your first taste of a really excellent bourbon.

    Before I moved to Kentucky, a friend told met buy the bourbon with the red wax. He didn't know what it was called. I was here about a month before my family came down and found the Liquor Barn and asked where the bourbon was. (Imagine trumpets in the background and white light) I was like a kid in a candy store. I grabbed 3 bottles, a Maker's, a Basil Hayden and a small Blanton's. My next move was to the internet to the product web sites. Until that fateful day, the only "bourbon" I knew was JD.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Ann Arbor, Michigan

    Re: Your first taste of a really excellent bourbon.

    I was weened on Jim Beam white, like most I guess. One day I noticed that, sitting next to the old standard, was a bottle of Jim Beam with a different color label. Jim Beam Black was the first quality bourbon I had tasted. From there it was on to Bakers, Bookers, Blantons, etc., but I still think Black rules the roost...


  8. #8
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    Jul 2002

    Re: Your first taste of a really excellent bourbon

    Back in high school, a friend of mine, whose moustache and receding hair line made him appear 30 instead of 17, would act as a fake ID for all the guys and buy us whiskey. That was when I was introduced to JD and Jim Beam White. For several years we all thought we were drinking from the top shelf!

    We finally began to try other spirits including several bourbons (Evan Williams, Old Forester 86) but since drinking was just a means to a bad end at that point in our lives, most of the bourbon was just knocked back and washed down with anything less potent. Despite all this, one bourbon stood out from the rest and it was Wild Turkey 101. After running thru what we thought was the gamut of available bourbons, we settled back in to drinking mostly JD and Jim Beam White again, but we added a third drink to our list: WT 101. We normally rotated between these 3 but WT slowly emerged as the overall favorite.

    I guess that was Part I of my first encounter with excellent bourbon (yeah, I know, WT 101 is not small batch or single barrel....but anything WT is excellent in my book!). My friends eventually lost interest in drinking spirits and began to settle more for beer or gatorade. I stagnated for a while but, on an overnight trip to Carthage, TN (infamous home of Al Gore, who I did not vote for), I picked up a brochure in a hotel lobby that spoke of Bardstown, KY and the Bourbon Festival. That little brochure is what revived my interest in bourbon. I went back home, began surfing the web for more info, dusted off and finally read my copy of the Regan's Book of Bourbon and began to buy some of the products listed therein.

    I bought a bottle of Maker's Mark and thought it was interesting for a change. But the real epiphany (Part II) came with Knob Creek. That was when I knew I had hit the big time! Though my opinion of KC has waned over the last couple of years, I think that was when I first sat up and took notice of bourbon's finer points. It really motivated me to buy more premium bottles and learn more about what I was drinking.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Pelham, AL

    Re: Your first taste of a really excellent bourbon.

    Same here, Jim. I was at a friend's house in 1988, shortly before I got married (that's how I remember the year and it was probably October or November). He offered me a shot of Blanton's, which I had never heard of. It was a real awakening for me.

    Still, I never bought a bottle of Blanton's until just before Christmas, 2001. I don't know why. Probably the price.


  10. #10
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Massachusetts , USA

    Re: Your first taste of a really excellent bourbon.

    To start with I have never been a very much in to drink , I have been know to go for several months to a couple of years and not have anything in that time but a couple of beers on a real hot hot day ....
    My first intro to Bourbon was what my dad drank , Bellows Club Bourbon , he enjoyed it with ginger ale , or cranberry juice for the holidays . I guess it was the headachs in the mornn' that put me off to drinking But found I loved the taste of that bourbon mixed ....
    Later I had a friend who had done much more drinking than I ever will show me there was other bottles of Bourbon to be had , Old Grand Dad 114, Weller 107 , Weller Special Reserve, Ezra Brooks 101 , Evan Williams ,Wild Turkey 101 , 8 year........It was only the fact that some of these are now no longer to be found , have changed in taste or are not carried by the local bottle shoppes. I have started a Quest to find a bottling that will be my every day pour but also try the new breed of Bourbons that are now coming , single barrels , small batch , ,,,,,I wonder if what was the old days of bottom shelf , middle row and top shelf is going to bottom shelf , top shelf and premium with the prices to prove it ,,,,,I feel it would be a sad day that the good middle shelf stock passes in to yesterday to be replaced by top shelf and the price and premium with price plus ..........a loss and sad day indeeed .
    Bill G.



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