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  1. #11
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    181

    Re: How To Get Started.

    For me, starting at the bottom worked pretty well so far (I'm still on the journey). I didn't spend a tom of time there and I had enough experience with other liquors that I knew I wasn't going to be totally put off. Beginning and learning about cheaper stuff first allowed me to really see what you gain (and sometimes what you don't) as you step up the price ladder.

    I don't think you can appreciate what's good and why until you know about what's not so good

  2. #12
    Apprentice
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    S.F. Bay Area, California
    Posts
    35

    Re: How To Get Started.

    This is a great sticky!

    To what Cowdery said, "Start your journey by developing your tasting technique," I would add that making it an actual standard technique is most helpful. For instance as already mentioned, taste some neat and with a bit of water. To that I'd add things like using the same kind of glass or glasses, nosing and sipping the same way, etc. There are as many ways to taste alcohol as their are kinds of alcohol but it seems the thing to do is find a way that is agreeable and stick with it. Use the same methods to taste different things helps to make the results less dependent on random factors.

    A great thing to do would be to watch a professional tea, wine or spirits taster at work, noting how the method doesn't vary. I'm sure YouTube would be a good place to find stuff like this.

    Cordially,
    Trace T.
    "Bourbon makes me happy." - T.T.

  3. #13
    Disciple
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    North Shore Boston, MA
    Posts
    1,604

    Re: How To Get Started.

    Quote Originally Posted by TNbourbon View Post
    Here's something akin to what I did: buy and taste -- as Chuck advises, both neat and with water (avoid 'mixing' except for after-tasting pleasure) -- everything bourbon you can buy in 200ml bottles. That'll cover most of the basics, and a few of the second-tier products.
    Chances are, you'll like them all to different degrees, but you'll soon enough notice a trend -- for example, toward wheaters or rye-recipe, or whiskeys from a particular producer.
    Only after you're pretty sure you know what you like (or don't like) in general, start buying higher-priced and longer-lasting (aka, bigger) bottles. Now you're on your way!
    Spoken as someone from the bourbon heartland!

    Unfortunately, Tim, those of us in the bourbon wilderness are lucky to see anything but JD and JBW in a half-pint flask. I remember being in awe of the 200 ml selection in a shop in Manchester, TN last year -- more variety than you could find in the entire state of Massachusetts!
    Kevin

    "Clears up her head with bourbon/Cause beer is so suburban/And declasse for what it's worth"

  4. #14
    Disciple
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    North Shore Boston, MA
    Posts
    1,604

    Re: How To Get Started.

    To Chuck's question, I've been acting as "bourbon guide" to a friend of mine by setting him up with 3- and 4-bottle flights of 50mls drawn from my collection.

    Similar to what Chuck proposed, we've been trying to zero in on distillery "house styles" head-to-head, then following up with age or proof verticals within the ones he likes. I separated wheaters from rye-recipe for this round.

    His breakthrough bourbon was Hancock's after a steady college diet of Jack and Turkey (kind of like my discovery of Blanton's after Makers and Rebel Yell.) We're trying to find something in between as his new go-to.
    Kevin

    "Clears up her head with bourbon/Cause beer is so suburban/And declasse for what it's worth"

  5. #15
    Novice
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ky
    Posts
    12

    Re: How To Get Started.

    why include JD in a bourbon discusion

  6. #16
    Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Baumholder, Germany
    Posts
    455

    Re: How To Get Started.

    Quote Originally Posted by warehouseman View Post
    why include JD in a bourbon discusion
    I think the spirit of the thread is helping people on their initial journey into the world of whiskey as a whole. I wouldn't restrict it to just Bourbon as straight rye, wheat and corn whiskey's are good ways to prepare your taste buds for the intricacies of Bourbon.

    Heck someone even mentioned Scotch in a post above...we will try anything once
    Jason
    "The man who smiles when things go wrong has thought of someone to blame it on"

    2010 Fantasy Football Champion

  7. #17
    Mr. Anal Retentive Bourbon Drinker
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    1,825

    Re: How To Get Started.

    In general, I find that most are not used to drinking any spirit at 80 proof or above. Tasting anything at this proof when you are not used to it will lead to bad results. So, I first teach a person to take very small sips. I also will dilute with water down to whatever proof the person can tolerate. It's like the first time you drank a beer or wine as a kid/teenager - you probably did not like it. I think that is why shots/jello shots are so popular. People get the alcohol without tasting it. Some of my friends don't understand why I never do shots of any kind; I try to explain I like the taste and want to enjoy what I'm drinking.

    The better advise would be to have then start drinking a vodka at 30-40 proof and over a month gradually increase proof to 80. Then introduce them to bourbon.
    Last edited by wadewood; 01-15-2011 at 09:05.

  8. #18
    Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Jackson, MS
    Posts
    12,218

    Re: How To Get Started.

    I agree that mid shelf should be the baseline. Once grounded there a new enthusiast can move up or down with a sense of knowing what to look for.

  9. #19
    Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    New Milford, CT
    Posts
    254

    Re: How To Get Started.

    Quote Originally Posted by StraightBoston View Post
    Spoken as someone from the bourbon heartland!

    Unfortunately, Tim, those of us in the bourbon wilderness are lucky to see anything but JD and JBW in a half-pint flask. I remember being in awe of the 200 ml selection in a shop in Manchester, TN last year -- more variety than you could find in the entire state of Massachusetts!
    I don't know how far Julio's in Westborough, MA is from you. But it is well worth the trip.

  10. #20
    Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    New Milford, CT
    Posts
    254

    Re: How To Get Started.

    I'm not young but young in the bourbon world. These were some very helpful tips. Thank you. I have also found using a GC glass to taste bourbon has helped me tremendously with smell and taste. Just a thought.

 

 

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