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  1. #1
    Moderator and Bourbonian Of The Year 2014
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    Small Batch Bourbon help

    Can anyone offer advise on any of the small batch bourbons -I really like Bookers, have a bottle of Knob Creek on the way, but have never tried Bakers or Basil Hayden.
    Can anyone offer some advice / opinions on which is the better one to try?

  2. #2
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Small Batch Bourbon help

    Use the forum's search function and you'll find lots of opinions about those products. I would recommend trying other things before working though all four of the small batchers. Bookers, Bakers and Knob Creek are the basic Beam bourbon, just at different ages and proofs, so they're pretty similar. Basil Hayden is the Old Grand-Dad formula, but at 80 proof I find it a little blah.

  3. #3
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    Re: Small Batch Bourbon help

    Between those two choices, I believe most people would recommend Baker's over Basil Hayden. Chuck has already hinted at this, but so far you've totally concentrated on Beam products...my suggestion: try some of the nicer bourbons from other distilleries.

  4. #4
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    Re: Small Batch Bourbon help

    I think Baker's is better, but Basil Hayden will give you a striking contrast in taste to the ones you list, so I might cast a minority vote for BH. I have a friend who argues that it is the best of the four, so you never know. Since (I'm guessing) you've not tried many bourbons, it will be very hard to predict what you'll like. The only way to know is experiment. If money is no object, of course, buy them both!

    Having said that, I'm still surprised by my own palate regularly. For example, even though I tend to like woody bourbons, I genuinely like a few young ones. I was a sucker for IW Harper (no longer available here in VA), and, honestly, if I go to a function where the only bourbon is Jim Beam white, I will drink and enjoy it.

    Your post made me a bit nostalgic for those early bourbon discovery days, as it was through the JB small batch collection that Tina and I realized that bourbon could have such a wide and wonderful variation in flavors. Don't get me wrong, we are still "wowed" by trying something new and different very frequently, but you can only have the initial bourbon "epiphany" one time. Enjoy it!


  5. #5
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    Re: Small Batch Bourbon help

    Yeah, I agree. While Bakers is hands down better than Basil Haydens, try some other better bourbons from other distilleries. My suggestion, try something.. Hell anything from Buffalo Trace.

  6. #6
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: Small Batch Bourbon help

    Until recently I did not like Basil Hayden but my opinion has changed. It used to have a dry, cereal flavour that tasted of rye without much else happening. I find a current sample much better: richer, with good middle and length. I would give it a bit more charred character but it is good as it is. This proves I think that bourbons really do change from time to time. Recently I had the unusual experience of tasting from 3 bottles of Elijah Craig 18 year old. They were all similar yet noticeably different. And these were bought from the same shelf. This makes bourbon interesting, it rarely "stands still".

    Gary

  7. #7
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    Re: Small Batch Bourbon help

    It must be really new bottles of BH. I had made the mistake of buying a bottle 3 years ago and made the same mistake 6 months or so ago. It was just as plain, unflavored, and unfulfilling as the first time. I guess for a first time or beginner drinker it is ok, but for what they charge for it, there are tons more better buys out there. Just MHO.

  8. #8

    Re: Small Batch Bourbon help

    Early on in my tasting experience, I liked Basil Hayden's best of all the Small Batch bourbons. My tastes, I think and hope, have matured a bit, and I've come to appreciate Knob Creek a lot. I'm lukewarm about either Baker's or Booker's (though I am a big fan of Jim Beam Black, which essentially is Booker's at lower proof).
    Anyway, you see by the difference of opinion here why there are so many bourbons. So, just try what you can and, by all means, feel free to decide for yourself what you like. We all do!
    However, the suggestion you try something from a variety of distillers is sound -- there are definite difference between 'em, and family resemblances among 'em. It'll hone your tasting skills.

  9. #9
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    Re: Small Batch Bourbon help

    Bakers GOOD - Basil Hayden's/(Haydes) BAD!

    The weakest of the small batch bunch in every way - alcohol/proof wise and flavour. Not worth the effort in my opinion.
    In the words of (Sir?) Gerry Springer - don't even go there!
    (Love Bakers and Bookers by the way!)

  10. #10
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    Re: Small Batch Bourbon help

    I know what you mean, I didn't care at all for BH the first time I tried it but when Bobby and I were at Beam's before the sampler, it was far better than I remembered. Of course location and company might have influenced my taste buds abit.

 

 

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