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  1. #1

    A question from a new bourbon convert

    I am looking for opinions on expanding my bourbon collection. My question is should I buy less expensive bourbons first and then work my way up to the finer ones to develop my palate, or should I just go right for the top shelf? I would greatly appreciate any opinions on this.

    By the way, this has to be one of the finest topic oriented boards I've ever found.

  2. #2
    Bourbonian of the Year 2004 and Guru
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    Quote Originally Posted by furnace1954
    I am looking for opinions on expanding my bourbon collection. My question is should I buy less expensive bourbons first and then work my way up to the finer ones to develop my palate, or should I just go right for the top shelf? I would greatly appreciate any opinions on this.

    By the way, this has to be one of the finest topic oriented boards I've ever found.
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    Bettye Jo
    Last edited by boone; 03-16-2006 at 10:35.
    Colonel Bettye Jo Boone
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  3. #3
    Connoisseur
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    Jul 2005
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    Mentor, Ohio, USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by furnace1954
    I am looking for opinions on expanding my bourbon collection. My question is should I buy less expensive bourbons first and then work my way up to the finer ones to develop my palate, or should I just go right for the top shelf? I would greatly appreciate any opinions on this.
    It's a great question. IMO I would not go straight to the best of the best of the best. To accurately appreciate what these Bourbons bring to the table you need a foundation. This is not different from anything else you might taste. Before you go for the 5 star french dinner you should try a wide variety of french style foods to have some idea what they taste like. I'm not saying you won't enjoy the best Bourbons immediately but you just won't taste everything they have to offer. Now I'm not advocating starting off with the cheapest thing you can find either. I would recommend you try a few distiller's "mainstream" products. Wild Turkey 101, Jim Beam Black, Maker's Mark, Buffalo Trace etc. These are wonderful Bourbons that will give you terrific examples of these distiller's products. Once you can taste the (rather substantial) difference between them, give a couple of the premium pours a shot (no pun). Kentucky Spirit, George T Stagg, William Larue Weller, Booker's... I think you'll see why these get such great reviews around here. Happy tasting - and welcome to the forum.

    Ken
    "Wealth can be wonderful, but you know, success can test one's mettle as surely as the strongest adversary. "

  4. #4
    Advanced Taster
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    Berkeley, CA
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    Well said, Ken. I agree.

  5. #5
    Thanks for the great advice. That makes perfect sense in the context that you used. I also appreciate the suggestions as to what brands to start on. I'm going shopping this weekend with around a $75 so I should have a few more responses by then and I'll pick up whatever are the most commonly recommended bottles.

    I noticed you live in Ohio as well and was wondering if you know of any good bourbon joints? Thanks again for your time.

  6. #6
    Connoisseur
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    Jul 2005
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    Mentor, Ohio, USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by furnace1954
    I noticed you live in Ohio as well and was wondering if you know of any good bourbon joints? Thanks again for your time.
    What part of Ohio?? If near the Kentucky border you can always find a wide selection just over the river. If in Northeast, the local store in Mentor is doing pretty well (with some help) and has almost everything I listed except the Buffalo Trace products. Another good store in this area is the Bootlegger in Chagrin Falls. Hope this helps.

    Ken
    "Wealth can be wonderful, but you know, success can test one's mettle as surely as the strongest adversary. "

  7. #7
    Bourbonian of the Year 2010 and Guru
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    While you're out looking and buying, make sure to get some of the older brands as they tend to be affordable and good quality pours. Try the Wellers, Old Charters, Fitzgeralds. Also make sure to try some rye whiskey, Wild Turkey seems to be the most widespread and a good dram to boot.
    2010 Bourbonian of the Year

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  8. #8
    I live in northeast...well, northcentral ohio. Cleveland and the surrounding area aren't far so I guess I should head that way and try to find some nicer stores. We have a decent liquor store in Vermilion if you're an underager who likes to get drunk on schnapps on the weekend...very small bourbon section.

    Thanks for the additional suggestions. I'm actually going to print this and use it as a shopping list on Saturday.

  9. #9
    Connoisseur
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    Ohio Guys

    There a few of us that live in the Cleveland / Akron area. There has been talk of a get together. Perhaps this would be a good time. We all could bring some of our bottles for you to try and save you a few coins.
    Dale

    "All I want to know is who's the player on second base?"

  10. #10
    Connoisseur
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    I highly reccomend Chuck Cowdery's book Bourbon Straight if you enjoy reading. It has a great history of Bourbon and many of the distilleries that are still around today. At the end of the book it offers many different "tast groupings" that help to contrast mash bills. It also follows a "bottle" up the shelf so you can compare a product as it ages or is subject to tighter selection requirements which is interesting.
    I have found that my purchases go up and down the shelves depending on my available income more than the available selection!
    I have been able to pick up some nice bottles that were not expensive, but because of the information on this board, I learned they were limited or no longer being produced.
    I have been searching for an affordable "everyday" pour for myself, but still managed here and there to pick up a top shelf bottle to try or save for a later date.
    One of the best tips I have received was not to give up on a bottle after one pour, my taste changes depending on my mood, what I have had to eat or drink prior to a taste, more than I would have guessed.
    This is an incredible site, and the people here have been awesome in helping my education and selection.
    Welcome and enjoy!
    Todd

 

 

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