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  1. #1
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    The allure of value bourbons: quality, quantity or both?

    I am (still) intrigued by a lot of the conversation and regard for low cost bourbon. OGD 86/BiB/114, FC103, EWB, AAA, OF Signature, VOB and others. There is much less conversation for labels like Blanton's, RHF, Noah's Mill, Booker's, Bulleit and others which are generally double or even triple the price.



    Is the interest in lower cost products primarily based on price, or do you find these bourbons simply superior to their significantly more expensive siblings? Put differently, would you still prefer OGD BiB over RHF if they were the same price?



    My personal interest in asking is because I have very little resistance to buying the more expensive products, mainly because I don't drink a large quantity of whisky overall. I have to share it with my wine and beer habits. I really don't care much about the price of a dozen or so regularly open bottles because it might take me six months or more to finish them, so my overall cost to have them readily available is still quite low. But if I was emptying a bottle a week (or more) I could see where being more frugal would be necessary, even if it meant avoiding my "favorites" to achieve more quantity.



    Do the OGDs and VOBs of the bourbon world get your attention for their outright superiority or their bang-for-the-buck?

  2. #2
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    Re: The allure of value bourbons: quality, quantity or both?

    Both. Neither. One simply cannot generalize, each and every comparison stands on individualized merits. Since price is of little concern to you, buy 'em all (high and low priced favorites) and decide fer yerself. The value lies in self-determination alone.

  3. #3
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    Re: The allure of value bourbons: quality, quantity or both?

    I can understand why some threads encourage the "don't ask us, make your own opinions" responses, but I dont understand what makes you think that I haven't. I tried to word my message to specifically avoid that response, but will accept that I failed. I want others thoughts on how price, quality and quantity interact with each other.

    You have to admit that it's not a typical environment. You will not find wine collectors discussing the merits of their Lafites and Margauxs while also singing the praise of $4.99 case buys from the corner market.



    If it helps lower the defenses a little, I am thoroughly enjoying a bottle of $14.99 FC. I didn't say I was a snob, I just stated that I am not put off by the higher prices as others might be, and ask why more attention is paid to the lower cost labels in general.
    Last edited by DBM; 04-02-2013 at 01:52.

  4. #4
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    Re: The allure of value bourbons: quality, quantity or both?

    To be clear, I think that it really is true that value is important, and that in the bourbon world there are whiskeys that are of the same or marginally lower quality for a much, much lower price. And for people who truly have to follow a budget (I won't get too embarrassingly specific, but I'll say that I'm on a sub-$15 grad student stipend for the year to keep my wife and myself afloat, for example), that value is actually / inherently important and worth discussing on its own merit.

    But that's not really why people - especially those either wealthy or irresponsible folks with high or non-existent bourbon budgets, who tend to dominate the post counts around here - like to talk about value bourbons. Again, they discuss value to show and then elaborate on knowledge, not so much because they have to.
    Last edited by CoMobourbon; 04-02-2013 at 01:59.
    I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different.
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  5. #5
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    Re: The allure of value bourbons: quality, quantity or both?

    http://www.straightbourbon.com/forum...ight=top+shelf

    Here's the link to the thread I mentioned earlier about the self-avowed "only top shelf" SBer. Much more recent than I remember! Whoops!
    I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different.
    ― Kurt Vonnegut

  6. #6
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    Re: The allure of value bourbons: quality, quantity or both?

    Any time I feel bad about over-spending on bourbon, I just take a stroll down the scotch aisle and immediately feel better. I think part of the reason the hobby has really taken off over the past decade is because people began to realize the high quality whiskeys that are available here Stateside. Comparing the "value" brands to the premiums is just taking it the next step further. It is the same story that wine connoisseurs tell about Napa vs imported bottlings.
    For me, the first step was identifying what I really liked as far as bourbon goes. Then I built my bunker. Now I like to find "Value" pours that keep my bunker in tact, for special occassions. Not many of us can afford to drink Pappy as a regular pour since the prices skyrocketed.
    Bourbon is sunshine held together by water....

  7. #7
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    Re: The allure of value bourbons: quality, quantity or both?

    Quote Originally Posted by CoMobourbon View Post
    http://www.straightbourbon.com/forum...ight=top+shelf

    Here's the link to the thread I mentioned earlier about the self-avowed "only top shelf" SBer. Much more recent than I remember! Whoops!
    An interesting thing that may have been relevant to the referenced thread is I believe I've read that women have more taste buds and or are generally more sensitive to flavors.


    Here is an article:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...1216104035.htm

    I think I read about this originally while reading about hoppy beers and why women tend to be less often attracted to brutally hoppy beers.

    please excuse the tangent

  8. #8
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    Re: The allure of value bourbons: quality, quantity or both?

    Interesting discussion. I like/own FC, OGD114, OF Sig, etc. and recently developed a newfound appreciation for WT101. I tend to find other (roughly) similarly priced brands, such as 4RYL, Weller SR and VOB 86 to be okay, but somewhat bland. And I'll fully admit my exploration of the lower shelves has been perfunctory at best. My limited experience has been that those brands are too, I dunno, is "astringent" the right word? Maybe there's another undiscovered gem in there, but I'm not going to strain myself trying to find it (and while I don't need barrel proofers, I prefer at least 90 proof).

    So, at the risk of snobbery accusations, I tend to stay away from what some would consider the "value pours". Value, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. I'd rather drink EWSB or EC12 than plain ol' EW, BT or ER10 over Benchmark, KC over JBB. More often than not I'll spring for the extra $10-12 to buy WTRB over WT101.

    My bourbon drinking is most often done at home with no one else but my wife around, so I'm clearly not trying to impress anyone wiht my selection. My best guess in those situations is that I'll reach for a bottle that cost me less than $30 at least half the time, but it's not uncommon for me to reach for something higher on the shelf.

    Certainly there's a law of diminishing returns. I don't think my PHC POH is 3 times better than EC12, but I willingly spent at least that much on it. I'll drink much less of the former than the latter. But dang, sometimes it sure feels good to bust out that POH. Bottom line: I fully realize that pricier doesn't necessarily equate to better. But it often does, and perception does affect reality. Even if to some extent I'm fooling myself, what difference does it make as long as I can afford it and I'm enjoying myself?

  9. #9
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    Re: The allure of value bourbons: quality, quantity or both?

    I agree with Tony, for as much as I pour myself a drink I want decent quality. Not saying its a $50 bottle every time but usually the $25-$40 stuff and i too like WTRB and spend the extra cash over regular WT101; why not?

  10. #10
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    Re: The allure of value bourbons: quality, quantity or both?

    Though I'm not that old, I'm going to sound old here... but I think bourbon is a lot more expensive than it used to be so it is somewhat amusing to hear conversations that have bourbon's value (today) as a point in a discussion. I bought nearly a dozen bottles of Stagg for $31 each in Kentucky when I last bought Stagg (was 2003/4) and now the price seems extreme to me. So, for me, bourbon was a great value and that was a major part of it for me. Similar anecdotes exist for other bourbons, and also with regard to availability. I remember seeing Pappy in the store glass case every time I went to the store for a few years way back when.

    I still love it, even with the higher prices. And even with those higher prices, there's still superior relative value compared to Scotch (for me, at least). If I spend $40 I can have many of my very favorites, but I cannot say the same for Scotch, and in that category I only have a small list of loved ones for about $60 or less.

    One thing I appreciate more about Bourbon is that I can have a range of preferred bottles at my disposal, all at very reasonable prices. On the whole, then, yes the value is a substantial part of my enjoying this fine spirit.

 

 

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