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  1. #1

    General consensus "best" bourbons?

    A buddy of mine is relatively new to bourbon and he and I have been doing blind side by sides of my 30 or so bourbons to gauge his taste buds for it. We got into a conversation about the finest bourbons in the world and I told him I'm more a mid-shelf drinker; the most expensive bourbon in my cabinet is Blanton's. I told him the obvious answer of Pappy, although I've never had anything other than Lot B. The only other one I could think of was Stagg. So from an informational standpoint, what would be some of the first-class bourbons that are actually worth the price tag?

    Let me clarify that I am happily a middle or even lower shelf drinker. Any of the 3 four roses standard offerings are well enough for me

  2. #2
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    Re: General consensus "best" bourbons?

    That's an easy one. The best is what taste best to you. Other then that there is no correct answer.

  3. #3

    Re: General consensus "best" bourbons?

    Quote Originally Posted by tdwester View Post
    That's an easy one. The best is what taste best to you. Other then that there is no correct answer.
    While I certainly agree with you, I'm looking more for broad strokes on the upper shelf bourbons. While Citizen Kane certainly didn't do too much for me, it is often thought of as the greatest film of all time.

  4. #4
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    Re: General consensus "best" bourbons?

    I am pretty sure I know what you are asking but there is no real answer. Best for a particular person is highly subjective and as has already been pointed out in this thread can really only be determined through trying to see what you like.

    But I think what you mean is what are the publicly perceived "best" boubons. The place to look for that is probably the "ten best" type lists from publications that have no real credibility in the whiskey world. Which is not to say that bourbon on these lists is necessarily bad but it is typically hyped far beyond any objective measure of value. PVW certainly is at or near the top of most if not all of those types of lists. Indeed it is probably 1-8 in the the top ten lists of people who make these lists without having any apparent real knowledge about the subject (The Robert Parker effect perhaps?).

    As an aside David Driscoll just had a somewhat related blog post on the subject in his Spirits Journal blog. Unfortunately it won't help you find the answer to your question either!
    That yella whiskey runnin' down my throat like honey dew vine water and I took another slash…

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  5. #5
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    Re: General consensus "best" bourbons?

    You imply that a minimum price must accompany the definition of "first class", but you don't include that as a variable. Assuming you mean limited, ultra premium labels, in my opinion BTAC sets the standard for high quality across many different styles of American whiskey at a reasonable MSRP (let's assume $80 average nationwide). It's the reason why some people are disappointed at particular releases, because the expectation is so high that these are among the finest bourbons/whiskeys on the market. It's also the reason why people balk at the price of new labels in the market with no pedigree, usually some questionable marketing pitch, and most likely less-than-BTAC-quality liquid in the bottle.

    BTAC, and to a lesser extent the FR LE series, is my QPR baseline for the ultra premium market.

  6. #6

    Re: General consensus "best" bourbons?

    Quote Originally Posted by tanstaafl2 View Post
    I am pretty sure I know what you are asking but there is no real answer. Best for a particular person is highly subjective and as has already been pointed out in this thread can really only be determined through trying to see what you like.

    But I think what you mean is what are the publicly perceived "best" boubons. The place to look for that is probably the "ten best" type lists from publications that have no real credibility in the whiskey world. Which is not to say that bourbon on these lists is necessarily bad but it is typically hyped far beyond any objective measure of value. PVW certainly is at or near the top of most if not all of those types of lists. Indeed it is probably 1-8 in the the top ten lists of people who make these lists without having any apparent real knowledge about the subject (The Robert Parker effect perhaps?).

    As an aside David Driscoll just had a somewhat related blog post on the subject in his Spirits Journal blog. Unfortunately it won't help you find the answer to your question either!
    My favorite bourbons are pretty set in stone and in my own little world, Four Roses is the king of quality. And you are right in that most publications are clueless and I did consult those first but quit when one had both Devil's Cut and Hudson Baby Bourbon listed and I cannot in good conscience give those recommendations to a buddy of mine

  7. #7
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    Re: General consensus "best" bourbons?

    Quote Originally Posted by corpse_welder View Post
    A buddy of mine is relatively new to bourbon and he and I have been doing blind side by sides of my 30 or so bourbons to gauge his taste buds for it. We got into a conversation about the finest bourbons in the world and I told him I'm more a mid-shelf drinker; the most expensive bourbon in my cabinet is Blanton's. I told him the obvious answer of Pappy, although I've never had anything other than Lot B. The only other one I could think of was Stagg. So from an informational standpoint, what would be some of the first-class bourbons that are actually worth the price tag?

    Let me clarify that I am happily a middle or even lower shelf drinker. Any of the 3 four roses standard offerings are well enough for me
    Great question, but everyone has a different answer. Hell my answer probably changes from day to day. I say the best bourbon is the one you are currently drinking.

  8. #8
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    Re: General consensus "best" bourbons?

    Quote Originally Posted by corpse_welder View Post
    So from an informational standpoint, what would be some of the first-class bourbons that are actually worth the price tag?
    When comparing Bourbons it is important to remember higher price does not mean higher quality. It usually means limited edition, limited supply or, in the case of Pappy, a cult following. It wasn't that long ago when 10 year old Ancient Age sold for a dollar or two more per bottle than Old Rip Van Winkle 10 year (the forerunner of Lot B) because there was a higher demand for AAA.

    I maintain the highest quality Bourbons on the market today are those limited editions or single barrel brands which are personally selected by Master Distillers to be the highest expressions of their products. Four Roses LEs, Blantons, Lee, Rock Hills, Old Forester Birthday Bourbon, Evan Williams Single Barrel and others in that category including private barrel selections made by various stores around the Country. Which of these taste best is something only you can judge but when it comes to quality they are equals among peers.

    Stagg, Saz 18, Handy, Van Winkles cost more because they are small production and demand exceeds supply. The various 15-25 year old Bourbons and Ryes put out by the NDPs are priced according to what the market will bear but are no higher quality than Evan Williams Single Barrel and most are not as good.

    What price/quality point you ask? Well, anything over $50.00 and you're paying for a label. Some labels (Stagg, Four Roses LEs) are worth up to $75 for many consumers because they offer a unique taste experience, but their actual quality is no higher than ones costing half as much.

    So drink what you like. The way I see it if folks turn up their nose at my offer of some Old Grand Dad BIB then that's too high tone a company for me to be hanging around with anyway.
    We're Bourbon Geeks, it's who we are, it's what we do.

  9. #9

    Re: General consensus "best" bourbons?

    Quote Originally Posted by squire View Post
    So drink what you like. The way I see it if folks turn up their nose at my offer of some Old Grand Dad BIB then that's too high tone a company for me to be hanging around with anyway.
    That is the way I see it, as well. That is how I enjoy my bourbon, in its simplicity, which is why I am so uneducated on expensive bourbons

  10. #10
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    Re: General consensus "best" bourbons?

    I'd rather be uneducated than overly disappointed. One of the commendable attributes of this Board is the collective wisdom and experience of the members which is freely given to anyone who visits.
    We're Bourbon Geeks, it's who we are, it's what we do.

 

 

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