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Thread: What Next?

  1. #1

    What Next?

    I'm a bourbon novice and I need your help. I recently did a semi-blind tasting of whiskies around my house....I learned that Canadian whisky is not my thing (Forty Creek stood out in a bad way), but I do like bourbon and rye. Of the bourbons included, Virgin 101, surprisingly, ended up being my favorite, followed by Woodford Reserve, Russell's Reserve, and Bernheim (I know, not a true bourbon). Evidently wheat is not my favorite whiskey ingredient because I've never really been impressed by Maker's either. Other bourbons that I've found underwhelming in the past include Knob Creek and Bulleit. Also, I've only tried PVW 20 once, but I wasn't blown away. On the flip side I did like Blanton's when I tried it at a bar a few days back.

    Now, my palate is far from refined, but I'm hoping my likes and dislikes will provide you bourbon experts with enough information to help me decide which bourbons I should try next. I wish I could sample them all, but alas, I'm too poor. Do you have any recommendations?

  2. #2
    Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Posts
    468

    Re: What Next?

    Sounds like you enjoy higer-rye bourbon.

    However, I'm surprised you didn't like Bulleit - perhaps you don't like *that much* rye in your bourbon?

    That said, Four Roses Single Barrels are a great bourbon - and reasonably priced for what they are (much cheaper than Blanton's, usually), but they make the Bulleit bourbon - so you may want to leave them off your early lists of things to try... but I think it's worth revisiting!

    For good, mid-shelf offerings look into trying:
    Wild Turkey 101
    Buffalo Trace
    Evan Williams Single Barrel
    Jim Beam Black
    Four Roses Small Batch

    Those would be good next stops, all well under $30 (some may be under $20). Between them, their mashbills cover about 60%+ of the bourbon brands on the market... You can get a nose for the distilleries, the mashbills, etc. with just those five bottles.

    Personally, I'm a huge Four Roses fan - I love that heavy rye mash bill (but I actually typically prefer Rye to Bourbon). None of these are wheated.

  3. #3
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Issaquah, WA.
    Posts
    887

    Re: What Next?

    Let folks know where you are from and they will be better able to steer you to whats available in your area.
    I have to second the WT 101, always a nice pour in my book. I would reccomend Elijah Craig 12 and Old Grand Dad BIB as well.
    Enjoy the exploration!

    Todd

  4. #4

    Re: What Next?

    I'm in North Carolina. The selection isn't great in the state-run liquor stores, but I've seen everything mentioned so far. I travel out of a state quite a bit as well so I can generally get my hands on just about everything sooner or later.

    I didn't dislike Bulleit...I just wasn't blown away. Also, I was just getting into bourbon when I picked up a bottle. I may have to give it a second chance.

    Thanks for the recommendations so far! Keep 'em comin'!

  5. #5
    Enthusiast
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    362

    Re: What Next?

    If you are new to this, I would definitely recommend you staying with the low to medium priced bottles until you really develop a palate.

    Evan Williams black label wouldn't be a bad one to go with- its only a medium rye or so, but you can pick it up for around 20$ a handle (plus you can mix it and not feel bad about it).

    But in the slightly higher price range, i agree with the other posters. Wild turkey and old grand dad wouldnt be bad either. Also- maybe some old forester.

    And just because you didn't like makers mark, it doesn't mean you don't like wheaters, nor that you dislike the distillery. Makers mark underwhelms more people than not around here. You might give makers 46 or Old weller antique a try (I promise that one will not underwhelm you).

    I also recommend you give an Old Fashioned a try if you're yet to try one.

  6. #6
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Kilgore, TX
    Posts
    687

    Re: What Next?

    Picking up a small bottle of Buffalo Trace, Evan Williams Black, Wild Turkey 101, and Old Weller Antique would be my suggestions, and see how you feel about them.

    You'll probably like the WT as you like RR, EW may be a bit sweet for you.

    That's what I did when I started out, and it showed the qualities of a few different distilleries and their basic products. You can expand from there.

    I still stock them all but BT!

  7. #7
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Raleigh
    Posts
    505

    Re: What Next?

    If you enjoyed the Blanton's... Then I would suggest trying other BT products such as Elmer T. Lee, Eagle Rare 10/SB and, of course, Buffalo Trace. NC ABC delisted ETL, but there are a few stores around that still have inventory on the shelves.

  8. #8
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    181

    Re: What Next?

    A couple not yet mentioned: Old Grand-Dad 114, Very Old Barton 100 and Wild Turkey Rye.

  9. #9
    Taster
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Somerville, MA
    Posts
    82

    Re: What Next?

    Great recommendations so far. I agree that you should start with the low to mid priced stuff and work your way up.

    My recs:
    Old Grand Dad 100 or 114
    Buffalo Trace
    Basil Hayden (believe this is the same mashbill as OGD but older)
    Elijah Craig 12
    Four Roses Small Batch

  10. #10

    Re: What Next?

    I took some of your recommendations and tried Wild Turkey 101 and Rare Breed since the ABC stores sold 50ml "bottles". Both were excellent. I also tried Gentleman Jack (again, I know not a bourbon) and, I never would have said this in my early-20's, thought it was a little too smooth and mellow....maybe even a bit bland in comparison to the others. I liked the higher proof and sweet & tangy nature of the Wild Turkey brands I tried.

    Old Grand Dad is one that's been recommended by a lot of people, but, unfortunately, they only sell the lowest proof version in NC. I'll snatch up the 100 proofer when I'm out of state over the holidays.

 

 

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