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  1. #1
    Novice
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    West Texas
    Posts
    5

    New to bourbon... some questions

    Hi all,

    I have been doing quite a bit of reading on this board and on the site this weekend, and it's a great spot. I had my 21st birthday a few weeks back, and someone bought me a bottle of Maker's Mark for my birthday. The only thing I had heard about bourbon was from a PBS special about the resurrection of small batch bourbons. But, I was a bit leery of it, as it was my 21st birthday. But, I tried it anyway.

    Well, much to my surprise, I really enjoyed it. This stuff has a really great flavor, and it has better than a hundred years of American tradition behind it. But, I am pretty inexperienced in the "bourbon world" so I thought I'd ask the experts for advice.

    First, what bourbons do you all reccommend for someone new to bourbon?
    Second, does the glass you drink it from make any difference?
    Third, any thing else you want to add would be very much appreciated.

    I look forward to discussing this amazing drink with you all more!

    Jason

  2. #2
    Bourbonian of the Year 2003 and Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    2,942

    Re: New to bourbon... some questions

    First of all, Welcome to Bourbonia, Jason.

    Maker's is a good place to start.

    Rule # 1
    Only drink good Bourbon

    Rule#2
    It's all good, if it's Bourbon

    Now some are better than others , and some are better values than others.............

    You registered a user name at SB.com

    Enjoy the ride!

  3. #3
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN
    Posts
    580

    Re: New to bourbon... some questions

    Welcome to the wonderful world of bourbon drinking.

    Maker's is a wheat bourbon (I'm a Maker's fan) which is different from most other bourbons. Try a few others (a list can be made up with a little searching of other messages on this board) and see what YOU like. You may even get a bourbon tasting together with some friends. organize it so everyone ends up bringing a differnt brand, have a blind taste testing and have everyone rate their choices. (instructions for how to prepare the bourbon for tasting can also be found).

    As for glasses, yes there are special glasses, but you know, I think if you can get the liquid from the glass down your throat, that's what counts.

    What ever you do enjoy and drink responsibly. As a guy who spent many a year in Austin, I know how those DPS and Texas Rangers can be.

  4. #4
    Bourbonian of the Year 2003 and Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    2,942

    Re: New to bourbon... some questions


    (instructions for how to prepare the bourbon for tasting can also be found).

    Our inimitable Chuck Cowdery
    Has this to say about interesting ways to pursue a <font color="red"> Bourbon Tasting </font>

    Feel free to use the search feature, there is a wealth of info to be mined there. Don't hesitate to ask, even if it has been covered, I'll speak for myself now, I don't mind pointing the way.( There are lots of others that will do the same here as well)

    Don't forget what I call the other side of this site. Click on the big StraightBourbon.com logo and there are links,and also info on maker's of Bourbon etc.

  5. #5
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    12,536

    Re: New to bourbon... some questions

    Maker's isn't a bad place to start. The best thing is that someone cares about you enough to start you on bourbon. Stay with whiskey and you'll never experience the embarassment of catching a glimpse of yourself in a bar mirror with some big, pink drink in your hand.

    Don't be too impressed by Maker's heritage. It's pretty much typical of the bourbon category, all of which has a lot of history behind it.

    For glassware, get yourself a cheap brandy snifter. A glass like that concentrates the aroma of the spirit. The most important part of tasting is smelling and something like a snifter helps with that.

    From here you might want to try a good rye-recipe bourbon, since Maker's Mark uses wheat. (All bourbons are mostly corn but use either wheat or rye for flavor.) Some of this depends on how much you can spend but if you're like most 21-year-olds, the answer is not very much so here are a couple of inexpensive suggestions.

    Old Forester
    Evan Williams
    Very Old Barton
    Wild Turkey 101


  6. #6

    Re: New to bourbon... some questions

    Chuck suggests some good rye-flavored bourbons above -- and he is, as always, right -- but if you like "wheater" Maker's Mark, you might also try W.L. Weller Special Reserve 7yo(which I understand is very popular in Texas). It, too, is a wheater, cheaper than MM and, to me, at least, a better drink.
    You'll find your way around (both here and in a liquor store) soon enough. Take it from a one-time "newbie" whose learned much here: You've come to the right place!

  7. #7
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH
    Posts
    189

    Re: New to bourbon... some questions

    For glassware, get yourself a cheap brandy snifter.
    Jason:

    First of all, welcome aboard!

    Brandy snifters come in all sizes. I use a six oz size, which holds one or two "shots" of bourbon and leaves enough air space to breath. You want to be able to "nose" the bourbon before tasting and just after appreciating the bourbon's color.

    You could go to a larger size glass, but you have to find space for a lot of them, assuming you want to do bourbon taste tests with some of your friends. I have four dozen of the small snifters, of which 24 fit on a 48 inch shelf, next to my bourbon shelf.

    Anyway, just enjoy the many good bourbons that are available. Your tastes will be different from everyone else's, so find the bourbons you like, drink them often and then experiment with all the others.

  8. #8
    Novice
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    West Texas
    Posts
    5

    Re: New to bourbon... some questions

    Thanks for all the great replies!

    Well, I am considering my next bourbon purchase, and I thought I'd run a few by you all.

    And I have some extra money this month, so price is no real object (a nice rarity).

    I have heard good things about Blanton's Special Reserve, Old Rip Van Winkle Handmade Bourbon, and W. L Weller 7 or 12 Year Old.

    Also, here are some other, more easy to find bourbons I think I'd like to try: Knob Creek and Woodford Reserve.

    Which out of those two lists would you all reccommend? Any in addition? Once again, thanks so much for all your help!

    Jason

  9. #9
    Guru
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    SI, NY
    Posts
    2,083

    Re: New to bourbon... some questions

    This is only my opinion, but your first 3 choices are good ones, you really cannot go wrong with any of the 3. For me, I'd go with Old Rip Van Winkle 15 year 107 Proof 1st, then Blantons and 3rd WL Weller. BUT it HAS to be the 12 year old... Not the 7.

    Your 2nd list is tougher since I do not care for either Knob Creek or Woodford Reserve. Of the 2, I'd go with Knob Creek but I didn't say I would enjoy it In the price range of them, I would say to try Eagle Rare single barrel if you could find it, maybe even Eagle Rare 101 proof 10 year. Another to try could be Wild Turkey Russell's Reserve. Whatever you decide, enjoy!

  10. #10
    Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Victoria Canada, Whistler, Maui
    Posts
    454

    Re: New to bourbon... some questions

    Given what' you've said that price is not a huge issue, and if you're on an exploration of different styles, I'd like to suggest:

    A. Old Rip Van Winkle 15 year, 107 proof
    B. Knob Creek

    This will offer you two very reasonably priced selections with different taste profiles (both at the extreme of the scale for the bottlers). While there is nothing wrong with any of your other choices, both the Blanton's and the Woodford are less distinctive.

 

 

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