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  1. #1
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    Best bourbon for someone who likes Irish Whiskey?

    I've got a friend who loves to drink Irish Whiskey neat (his "daily pour" of choice is Powers Irish Whisky, a bit too bland for me). He greatly enjoys bourbon when mixed 3/4 bourbon to 1/4 coke, but claims he cannot drink it neat or on the rocks. I got him to try my favorite everyday bourbon, Elijah Craig, and that was a no-go... so was Maker's Mark, which I've always been told is a good "introductory" bourbon.

    So - my friend DOES like whisky, but hasn't yet found a bourbon he can drink neat - am I doomed to years of arguing with him over which whiskey is better, or are there other bourbons I should be recommending to him?

    Thanks!

    -Will

  2. #2
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    Re: Best bourbon for someone who likes Irish Whiskey?

    EC, esp. 12, is fairly distinctive and many who like bourbon don't prefer it; as to Maker's Mark, some don't prefer wheaters. For a Heaven Hill product other than EC, why not have him try Evan Williams single-barrel. From Beam, why don't you have him try Knob Creek or Jim Beam Black, and from WT maybe Russell's Reserve, Spirit or Rare Breed. Or maybe one of the VW products for a different perspective on wheaters. Or from Buffalo Trace, Buffalo Trace or Eagle Rare 10. If he doesn't like any of those, maybe he just doesn't like bourbon?

  3. #3

    Re: Best bourbon for someone who likes Irish Whiskey?

    Yeah, even before reading the previous post, Evan Williams Single Barrel jumped to my mind. Lighter like a scotch or Irish whisk(e)y, but still distinctively bourbon from the corn and rye. JB Black is a personal favorite. Luckily, both of these are fairly inexpensive (under $25).

  4. #4
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    Re: Best bourbon for someone who likes Irish Whiskey?

    If he likes Irish whiskey, I would have thought Maker's Mark would have been a reasonable choice...light, not really that challenging, as Chuck would probably say, and "smooth."

    The EC 12 should have provided a contrast - older, with rye flavor. Sounds like that didn't go over.

    This might sound crazy, but what about "plain old" Jim Beam white? It's young, it's light, it's not harsh. It may provide a good transition. As Chuck points out in his book (I'm paraphrasing here), it's high volume/low priced, but very respectable.

    Keep working at it. You owe it to your friend! I'm biased, but I think if you don't like bourbon, you just haven't tried the right one.

  5. #5
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    Re: Best bourbon for someone who likes Irish Whiskey?

    Personally, I'd try Elijah Craig 18: it is almost like a brandy or cognac in terms of smoothness. My favorite Irish whiskey is Redbreast 12, the only one I bunker, which has no bourbon counterpart, period. But the EC 18, and Hirsch 16 for that matter, strike me as being breath-takingly smooth and mellow, and Irish whiskey is nothing if not top of the scale smooth! Just my 2 cents and good luck with your noble mission! Cheers, Ed

  6. #6
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    Re: Best bourbon for someone who likes Irish Whiskey?

    Two bourbons came to mind here--and both are BT single-barrel products: the first being Eagle Rare SB 10yo. To me, it's one of the most approachable bourbons, particularly to a beginner. No harshness, lots of subtle flavor, and a lot to explore if you dig deep enough.

    The second one I thought of was Blanton's. Expensive, but to me it's the quintessential "smooth" bourbon. It's been said before, "if you don't like Blanton's you don't like bourbon." While I might not go QUITE that far, I believe it's about as balanced and drinkable as bourbon gets.

  7. #7
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    Re: Best bourbon for someone who likes Irish Whiskey?

    Honestly, I think the difference between Bourbon and Irish are enormous, to put it mildly. Just finished perusing my Bourbon collection and Im still stuck for an answer. I guess I would have to go for Evan Williams SB, as well, even though that would be a more correct answer to the question : "Best bourbon for someone who likes Scotch?"


  8. #8
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    Re: Best bourbon for someone who likes Irish Whiskey?

    What's interesting is the guy drinks Powers Gold, which isn't exactly what I'd consider one of the "smooth", easy-drinking Irishes. Powers to me has a lot of the antiseptic/menthol potstilled malt type taste. There really isn't a bourbon that's going to reproduce that.

    However, nowhere in the original question did it ask for an Irish-like bourbon--it was which ones are drinkable straight. I understood that to mean: which bourbons are easily tolerated by a bourbon novice?

    I'd look for low-proof low-intensity mild-finish type bourbons, or if you're going to the "good stuff", look for easy-drinking ones (like my previous suggestions).

  9. #9
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    Re: Best bourbon for someone who likes Irish Whiskey?

    However, nowhere in the original question did it ask for an Irish-like bourbon--it was which ones are drinkable straight. I understood that to mean: which bourbons are easily tolerated by a bourbon novice
    What about Four Roses, then? Im always unsure about what bottlings are available in the US, though.

    What's interesting is the guy drinks Powers Gold, which isn't exactly what I'd consider one of the "smooth", easy-drinking Irishes
    Yes, I agree totally. There is nothing ingratiating about this whiskey. Irish whiskey is often stereotyped as light or bland but there are some noteworthy ecxeptions.

  10. #10
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    Re: Best bourbon for someone who likes Irish Whiskey?

    What about Four Roses, then? Im always unsure about what bottlings are available in the US, though.
    The 80 proof Yellow Label would be an excellent choice, as it's pretty mild. (Too mild for my tastes). I've only been able to find it in Kentucky though. Another possibility would be Basil Hayden (which people on SB.com have nicknamed "brown vodka").


 

 

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