"Every bottle is its own learning experience." -- Sensei Ox-sama
Gary (aka 'Country')
"Too much of anything is bad, but too much of good whiskey is barely enough." - Mark Twain
"Because Whiskey Matters!" - David Perkins
Well he was right and even though the prices are steadily climbing it's still a great value in a comparision to that other stff from the old country(it tastes better too).
Personally I really like good bottom shelf bourbons for several reasons. #1 for me is the ones I buy taste good to me. #2 I can drink them and save some money for more expensive, or special, bourbons. #3 I can bring them to parties and throw away the top without sweating - a $12 bottle of OFBiB is always well received at party, usually much better than a $12 bottle of wine.
If I could drink certain rare bourbons every day I might be as concerned but I have a budget for hooch and bottom shelf bourbons easily fit within my budget and are enjoyable to drink. Do I enjoy that they are "my secret" and I'm "smart enough" to know about them - sure maybe a little bit. At the end of the day it is just whisky - nice to have but not as important as food and family.
I'm one of those guys too. Stagg, Pappy, and VW Rye off the shelf and I didn't know how good I had it. It's not just bourbon though. Around the same time I was also buying Macallan 18 (Gran Reserva) at $80 back when it was still vintage dated. Oh the good old (sadly not so old) days.
GBS Member rounding out the top 5
Are you a Whisk(e)y Apostle?
It's been said by many before me, but the attraction to value bourbons is the ratio of quality to cost. I've never been overly impressed by premium bourbon, as I find it a bit too refined for my liking, but it's a subject that fascinates me. That being said, "value bourbon" in my household is just "bourbon" by this point, what with my preferences and current financial state. Can't say I mind too much, since I've always had a few $30-$50 bottles around that I enjoy but overall tend to reach for them less than my WT101 and Grand-dad or OWA. I have always been a vocal supporter of Stagg but the price is a bit high with my wife out of work with our baby as well as the headache finding it. My idea of a "premium" bourbon is Blanton's or Four Roses SB and the rest of my cabinet is less than $20 and delicious
I've done this exercise before here but find yourself some bourbon prices from the 50's and 60's, or pre glut, and plug them into an inflation calculator. Not as cheap as you think. Eagle Rare 101 is at $40 based on its introductory $10 price in 1976. A gallon of Mt. Vernon Rye in 1900 at $2.79 will be $82.18...actually more now as that thread was from 2010.
I believe You're spot on there Thad. I can recall when good Bourbon was plentiful but I don't ever remember the good stuff being cheap by the standards of the time.
We're Bourbon Geeks, it's who we are, it's what we do.