In the relatively short period of time that I have been a bourbon enthusiast, I have learned something very interesting. I have learned that COLOR is a very, VERY reliable indicator of how much I am likely to enjoy a particular bourbon. It almost NEVER misses. If the color is a deep, dark amber, I am likely to enjoy it. And the nearer that dark amber is to a nearly ruby color, the more that ratchets us up a few notches of probability.
I'm not 100% certain of the significance, but I'm thinking that proper aging (good temperature oscillations) might produce a more richly colored bourbon. And part of it is certain to be my preference for proofs above 90 and preferable 100 or better in most cases.
I've tried some very popular and highly praised upper shelf (though maybe not tip top shelf) bourbons of late, if only to be able to say that I've tried them. And in many cases, while they may have been very nice bourbons and of excellent quality, the color test could have predicted my reaction. There are some pretty pricey bourbons that didn't impress me because they were nice, smooth, but bland to my tastebuds.
Do any of the others of you place a high value upon color? I do.