I tried to think back to what pours held the crown as "Ben's Favorite" and how they were replaced. Here is what I came up with.
1.) Maker's Mark - It "won" my personal 6 way taste test so it had to be the best.
2.) Four Roses Small Batch - The first bourbon that made me say "Wow, that is great"
3.) Eagle Rare Single Barrel - The oldest (and most expensive) bourbon I had had to date. It set a standard for "richness" and thus earned my top spot.
4.) Elmer T. Lee - Similar to Eagle Rare for me, but eventually displaced ER when I did several side by side tastings and found I preferred ETL. My avatar on SB.com was created around this time.
5.) George T. Stagg - This bourbon changed my world. I remembering being giddy the first time I tried it. I didn't know bourbon could taste this good. It was my first $50+ pour, my first uncut/unfiltered pour, and my first cask strength pour. Its march to the top of the BCS (Ben's Champion Spirit) was dominate.
6.) Pappy 15 - A gift in honor of the birth of my daughter from a member here at SB. I found it had everything I liked in GTS, but was more rounded and balanced. I realized it was #1 after someone asked me what the best bourbon for $75 was and I said Pappy 15 without hesitation.
After about a year of dedicated tasting, I realized rankings -- even my own -- were subjective and only relatively helpful. I no longer have a single favorite, but am thrilled to know of a good number of bourbons that make me exceedingly happy when I have the opportunity to sip on them.
So what about you, what were your favorites and how did they change.