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  1. #11
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Seattle, USA
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    239

    Re: 3 Bourbons for a beginner: Redux

    Great suggestions all around. This would be my suggested shopping list:

    Evan Williams Single Barrel 1994 - Gingery and silky
    Wild Turkey Russell's Reserve - Heavy and rich
    W.L. Weller 12 Year - Wheat recipe like Maker's Mark, but far better. I get lots of creamy chocolate from this one.
    Van Winkle - Whatever you can find in California. The 15 year is particularly well liked. Another wheat family, but among the finest.

    I personally like the Woodford Reserve. I tried it starting with batch 121, and it's excellent.

    Honestly, though, you might want to try a straight rye if you're interested in contrast. The Wild Turkey Rye is good and fairly commonly available. I recently had the Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye for the first time, and it's one of the finest American whiskies I've had yet.

  2. #12

    Re: 3 Bourbons for a beginner: Redux

    The hot segment within the American whiskey category right now is the $20 to $30 price point...Barton's Ridgemont Reserve, when it returns, will be in that segment as well.
    1792 Ridgemont Reserve has already returned, at least in Tennessee, and, I suspect, Kentucky. We have a bottle of it in the store right now.
    I'll second, third, whatever, the sentiments about many of the bourbons herein listed, with a proviso -- rarely do all of us agree on any one bourbon (Stagg, maybe, being close to an exception among those who've gotten to try it). For example, I see Elijah Craig 12yo recommended here -- I don't like it. Many favor Very Old Barton -- I'm lukewarm about it. Yet I agree about so many other bourbons/whiskeys.
    My point: these are all sound choices, but don't be put off if you find a highly-recommended bourbon doesn't suit your taste, or you like something panned otherwise here. There's great knowledge and experience to be had on these boards, and any of us would be fools not to benefit from it -- but only you can decide what YOU like. In the end, that's what we all do. And, in some form or fashion, we all like bourbon.

  3. #13
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Baltimore, Maryland
    Posts
    111

    Re: 3 Bourbons for a beginner: Redux

    Try the WR and I'd wet your curiosity with Bookers, Rebel Yell, and JBeam Black also. Oh, and don't forget about rye

  4. #14
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    623

    Re: 3 Bourbons for a beginner: Redux

    Hi Richard...Welcome aboard! I too was born and raised in Cincinnati and only discovered bourbon after I moved to California. I would heartily recommend you cut to the chase and find one of the Van Winkle bourbons. You can find them in California if you look hard, though they're definitely not everywhere. To me you can't go wrong with anything they make. I assume you have Beverages N' More in Sacramento...they carry the Van Winkle "Lot B" (or at least they do in the Bay Area). I also recommend Wild Turkey...the 101 is found everywhere, and the Russell's Reserve, which is even better, is not too hard to find in liquor stores out here (Beverages n' More has it). Evan Willaim's single barrel is a good contrast as well, and again can be found at Beverages 'n More. Good luck, and keep us posted on your bourbon exploits!

  5. #15
    Novice
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Posts
    7

    Re: 3 Bourbons for a beginner: Redux

    Thanks for all the great feedback. I was hoping to get enough posts to keep me busy for a while, and looks like I shouldn't have been concerned. I do make trips back to Cincinnati to visit family and friends about twice a year. If I'm looking for some hard to find bourbons is there a place anyone recommends around there? I go see River Bats games every now and then when I'm in town too, so Louisville isn't out of the question.

    Thanks again!

    (Sorry Offtopic-OK, now I know its been too long since I visited, does anyone from Louisville know when/why the AAA River Bats change their name?)

  6. #16

    Re: 3 Bourbons for a beginner: Redux

    Cork 'N Bottle, just over the river in Covington, is well-stocked.

  7. #17
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    623

    Re: 3 Bourbons for a beginner: Redux

    Cork 'N Bottle, just over the river in Covington, is well-stocked.

    This is where I go every time I'm in Cincinnati for a visit. Great selection!

  8. #18
    Novice
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Madison, Wi USA
    Posts
    15

    Re: 3 Bourbons for a beginner: Redux

    Greetings-

    Just wanted to introduce myself, I hope Richard doesn't mind if another newbie piggybacks on his thread to ask a related newbie question. But first let me just summarize my very limited experience with bourbon.

    Maker's Mark - I was a little surprised to see how popular it is on this site. I usually only drink it in a bar when that's the best choice in that bar. But then I learn from another thread what I was beginning to suspect, anyways: the taste in a bar is not always consistent or ideal. And by the way, considering the bars I'm speaking of specialize in punk and alternative rock, I'm just grateful that they even serve MM, contaminated or not. I will definitely have to get a bottle from a decent store.

    Woodford Reserve - The first decent bourbon I ever bought, on an uneducated whim; picked it based on the neck tag. Didn't even check the proof, drank lots and never seemed to get buzzed. Not as if that's what I'm going for, I just couldn't believe how little it was affecting me for how much I was drinking. As I went to bed I made the assumption that it must be a low proof (70?) that accounted for the lack of burn and lack of buzz. The next morning I totally forgot I'd had any alcohol the night before until I saw the bottle on the kitchen counter. I was a bit surprised to see it was 90 proof.

    Basil Hayden - I'm trying to avoid any descriptions of flavors, but this one strikes me as a good one to have around for guests who are reluctant to try drinking bourbon straight. To me it seemed smooth enough, and nothing wrong with the flavor, but it seemed a little light, as though it poured from the bottle tasting as if one ice cube had already melted in your drink. Nothing wrong with it but it seems that bourbon lovers are looking for a little more robustness to the flavor.

    I've sampled a few others in college bars (Wild Turkey, Knob Creek, etc) and decided that its not giving them a fair chance, again, considering the bars I'm trying them in. So I'm discovering that I need to try them in higher class joints and buy bottles from good stores.

    There are enough recommendations made here for Richard, myself and other newbies to keep us busy for a while. However I do have a related question, with a little bit of a twist, and I hope it doesn't sound stupid because its not nearly one of the top criteria I'm using, but I just haven't seen it addressed.

    I'd like to get a recommendation for a bourbon that has a good ratio, or balance, of highest proof with the smoothest taste. I'm looking for something to surprise me more than the Woodford Reserve did, something that drops your draw and makes you suspicious that the proof printed on the bottle is accurate.

    Well turns out the first post here is a bit of a long one from someone so new he could have very little to say. So thanks to everyone here who has already made this a great board, and thanks for any recommendations.

    Dirk

  9. #19
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Sydney, AUS
    Posts
    109

    Re: 3 Bourbons for a beginner: Redux


    I'd like to get a recommendation for a bourbon that has a good ratio, or balance, of highest proof with the smoothest taste. I'm looking for something to surprise me more than the Woodford Reserve did, something that drops your draw and makes you suspicious that the proof printed on the bottle is accurate.

    Dirk
    To a relative newbie as well, I think the Baker's 107 is essentially what I'd go for for fill that gap. I haven't had the pleasure of trying many of the smaller distillery's, being on the other side of the world and all, but to me it's the quintessential Beam profile. Booker's is too potent to be 'easily' enjoyed. 'Basil' which I'm halfway through seems too tame and disperate to the Beam profile and JB Black seems to be too Rye influenced to my taste.

    Since you've enjoyed WR, my guess is you wouldn't object to a pit of cost. The Baker's is an excellent drop. I think Linn's notes somewhere sums it up well.

    I'd also recommend the '94 vintage Evan Willaims Single Barrel. I've tried the '93 and '91 and found them both excellent in a sweet vanilla/oak sort of way. I beleive the '94 is that flavour turned up to 11.

    Got some RB today. Straight it seems to knock me around at the back of the palate. We'll see how i adapt. WT101 may be a good compromise.


  10. #20
    Enthusiast
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Bristol UK.
    Posts
    272

    Re: 3 Bourbons for a beginner: Redux

    Woodford reserve (basic one - can't remember name) tastes really strongly of bananas to me. I like it a lot but I can't get bananas out of head when I drink it

    Cheers,

    B.

 

 

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