Last night we went out to dinner and I ended up drinking five different bourbons over the course of the evening -- so I thought it was worth posting my reaction. This was not any side-by-side comparison but social consumption.
The restaurant we chose had (surprise, surprise) a somewhat limited collection but did carry Knob Creek, Bookers, Basil Hayden, and Makers (of course I did not ask what was in their well). The Bookers and Basil Hayden were offered once I asked what premium bourbons they carried. That compares with Chuck's posting about Jim Beam's advertising assignment to BBDO where Knob Creek is referred to as a 'superpremium.'
I took the Knob Creek, though I know it well. I really enjoy the caramel I get from KC.
After dinner, given a very crowded bar where we were, we ventured to one of our favorite pubs. I had to tell the server who knows us that I was not drinking the usual beer tonight and when I asked about bourbon I learned Ten High was in their well and well drinks were on special. I decided to try it -- I don't recall drinking Ten High before. I got a generous pour (though the Knob Creek pour at the other place had been even bigger). To me the Ten High had a 'hot' note to it but it was still pleasant. Thin but pleasant.
I think the only other quality bourbons our pub has are Makers and Turkey 101 so for my second drink I switched to the Turkey. I usually get what I call the same 'hot' notes with Turkey.
At home, I was going to pour my last drink of the night but decided after all of that just to put less than an ounce of Stagg over a little ice before I settled into that last full drink. I thought the Stagg was very smooth over ice! I've usually sipped it neat or with a splash of water.
My fifth bourbon was Weller 12, which has almost become my regular pour.
While I love my Weller I think my ranking of these five would start with
Weller 12 (though I could move it up a notch on another night)
Hope you don't mind me sharing.
And it always nearly amazes me, even after all of my experience, that the bartenders and servers barely know a good bourbon.