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  1. #1

    Newcomer to the Bourbon World

    Hey all,

    I am quite new to the world of Bourbon. I mostly drink good california red wines, and occasionally a beer (Gordon Biersch Marzen is my current favorite here). I keep a small cabinet that used to contain Johnny Walker Black and Jack Daniels among other things. I decided that Jack was too harsh, and then my brother-in-law introduced me to single malt scotches. I stopped drinking Johnny Walker and switched to Glenmorangie 12 year old, aged in sherry wood.

    Then I was watching the thirsty traveler and decided to give bourbon a try. Well, my short love affair with Glenmorangie came to an end and now I like an occasional glass of Maker's Mark. I am here to see what else is out there. To date I have tried three bourbons:

    Maker's Mark
    Elmer T. Lee
    Blanton's Single Barrel

    My next purchse is likely a bottle of Pappy Van Winkel, just to have tried all of the bourbons that were tasted on the thirsty traveler :-)

    What should I try next? At trader joe's they have a small selection of bourbons, notably Knob Creek and some kind of reserve that I don't remember the name of. Are those worth trying?

    Of the three listed above, I probably like the Blanton's the most, followed by the Maker's Mark and then the Elmer T. Lee.

    Despite the anticipated purchase of Pappy Van Winkel, price is a factor.

    Would love to hear suggestions on where to go next. I read through the "top ten" list, but it's a bit overwhelming.


  2. #2
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Berkeley, CA
    You should try a rye-heavy bourbon- anything from the Wild Turkey line will accomplish that. The ones you've tried are "wheaters", so there's a different dimension of bourbon flavor out there for you to check out. I'd recommend WT Rare Breed or Russell's Reserve, but good old WT 101 is nice, too.

    Knob Creek, for the record, is a great bourbon at a good price. Some exceptional values on bourbon (I'm a grad student, so this is my end of the spectrum) include Evan Williams Single Barrel (or any Evan Williams, but the SB is one of my favorite bourbons), Old Grand-Dad 114, and the aforementioned Wild Turkey line. Others on here know a whole lot more than me, but those are some of my favorites that I can afford to drink regularly.

  3. #3
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Berkeley, CA
    By the way, WELCOME. I'm new here myself, but I think you'll find it to be the best place around to learn about and discuss bourbon, with some other spots on the board for rye, other whiskeys, and whatever. It's a great spot. Hope you enjoy it.

  4. #4
    Administrator in exile
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Well, the Maker's is a wheater, but the Blanton's and ETL are both rye-based bourbons, though neither would be considered "high rye."

    If you like Blanton's the most then I would look for something else from the Buffalo Trace distillery, of which the Van Winkle you mention is now technically a part. Since you liked the Maker's I would grab a bottle of Weller 12yo or even the 7yo "Special Reserve" and see what a little extra aging can do.

    Welcome to Straightbourbon.com

  5. #5
    The ETL is a buffalo trace product, but it doesn't have the smoothness of the Maker's Mark, nor the exotic nature of the Blanton's. The Maker's Mark is like a girl you marry, the Blanton's was like an exotic woman you encounter on a distant beach. I can't see drinking the Blanton's nearly as often as I drink the Maker's Mark.

    Thanks for the welcome!


    PS - Regarding the analogy... I stick strictly to "Maker's Mark" in that area of my life with no exceptions...

  6. #6
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Berkeley, CA
    And here I thought ETL was fairly "wheaty". Goes to show how much more other people here know than I do. I do know that I like it, though. Thanks for the correction Jeff- I appreciate it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Welcome to the forum!

    Listen to the guys on here with alot of posts and you will not go wrong! I have been very lazy (on this forum) but sampled plenty of fine Whiskey in my time - especially after joining this site. The tasting notes and up to the minute insider info is 2nd to none.

    You are amongst friends here!

  8. #8
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Toronto, Canada
    Following the imagery suggested of different feminine traits for three bourbons, I'd say the palate of Elmer T. Lee is the good-natured, witty, zaftig girl you dated during college. Not really exotic, but different and, well, fulsome.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Northern Kentucky
    Welcome, also fairly new to this board.

    My current favorite is Elijah Craig 12 year old.

    I was a little put-off at first, for 2 reasons I think. First the bottle/label itself isn't very sexy compared to some of the others (Buliet, Basil Hayden, Buffalo Trace etc. all have very nice packaging) and 2nd, I didn't think of Heaven Hill as being a "Premium" distiller.

    But I had tried their Evan William's 7 Year old and found it quite nice for a mid-tier, and several posters here really liked EC12, so I tried it.

    For the money, I don't think there is a finer bourbon available, and I doubt there is one I would like better at 3x the price.

    Some folks here find an 'off' or metalic taste to it; I don't get that at all.

    For the record I have not tried any of the Winkels, ETL, Stagg or any Wild Turkey products yet - so I've got a long way still to go!
    Last edited by arsbadmojo; 03-13-2006 at 18:56.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Montgomery County, PA
    Hi MythRenegade, I'm also new to this board; in fact, this is my first post!

    I'm also a newcomer to the serious side of bourbon drinking. Though I've enjoyed Jack Daniels since college (I'm 48), I've always been mostly a beer drinker. (I have a particular affection for small, pre-Prohibition Pennsy brewers like Yuenglings, Stoneys and Straubs.) I am having a great old time exploring the pleasures of good bourbon, and am amazed at the amount of information and good conversation at this site.

    Of the three bourbons you mention, I've only had Maker's Mark. Actually one bottle that really hit the spot, as an easy drinker, and a second bottle that for some reason didn't satisfy at all.

    Some recent pours:

    Elijah Craig 12 y.o. - I was pleased to find this for less than twenty bucks. An excellent and flavorful taste, and one which, because of the unique bottle, I like quaffing straight!

    Heaven Hill 10 y.o. black label - There's one liquor store nearby that has a ton of this stuff, and I can find it nowhere else (just six year old white label, which is common. ) Just $7.50 a fifth, and it's the best bourbon bargain I've yet found. This stuff is very easy to drink, with little harshness - I like it as much as Evan Williams Single Barrel.

    Bulliet's - The only brand I've ever found from the Four Roses distillary. This is a lot "dryer" tasting than the Heaven Hill products, a bolder taste that still is balanced. I like it.

    Old Weller Antique 107 - No thanks, take it back. The only one of the current open bottles that I wish I'd never bought. Far too harsh.



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