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  1. #1
    Novice
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    4

    Yet Another Newbie

    Well, another novice here. About the only whiskey I had owned was Jack Daniels then I 'upgraded' to Gentlemen Jack. I wanted to try something else and someone recommended Elijah Craig, which I tried, but I wasn't really happy with that. I tried some Knob Creek one night at a bar and thought that was pretty good. So started reading up a bit on Bourbons which lead me here.

    Been reading a lot of posts getting some info and today headed over to the liquor store to see what was available. Well they don't carry a lot of the brands I read about here and the prices are also a bit higher than some I see posted here. You know, being a newbie and reading all the info here certainly prepared me for what to look for, but it was very difficult deciding what to get, trying to recall all the BOTM reviews I'd read and keeping in mind that I wanted to start out on the lower end of the premium cost spectrum.

    Anyway I ended up with a bottle of Russell's Reserve 90 (25.95) and a Buffalo Trace (21.95) to start out. So I tasted them both tonight, and although it was just the first impression, so far I liked both of them. Didn't really have a favorite of the two right from the git go. I can't really describe the flavors, never really been too good at that kind of thing. But it seemed that the BT was smoother than the WTRR, but the WTRR was maybe a little more interesting, some more depth, and a little more spicy. They both have much more flavor than the the Gentlemen Jack and I prefered the taste of these over the EC 12. Can't recall the KC enough to compare.

    I may get a 3rd bottle to try out against these 2. Any recommendations on what I might want to try. If I remember correctly my limited options, in addition to the standard fare of WT, JB, EW, etc, are as follows. Probably should remove some of these, because I'm not really ready to spend $40 a bottle quite yet.
    Eagle Rare
    Evan Williams SB 96
    Makers Mark
    Knob Creek
    1792
    Bakers
    Basil Haydens
    Bulleit
    Virginia
    Gentlemen
    Woodford Reserve
    EC 18YO
    Rare Breed
    Kentucky Spirit
    Blantons
    Bookers (this was the most expensive bottle on the shelf at 57)
    Last edited by bullfrog; 11-21-2006 at 22:41.

  2. #2
    Guru
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Central Arizona (near Prescott), U.S.A.
    Posts
    4,235

    Re: Yet Another Newbie

    bf,

    Welcome aboard.

    It sounds as though you have formed some pretty clear impressions of your most recent two purchases. Translating those impressions into words that will convey them to someone else is a challenge for just about everyone. (Check the recent vbt#1, #2, etc. threads for proof.)

    As to what to try next, if you're going for maximum diversity, I suggest Maker's Mark, a so-called "wheater". The contrast with rye-recipe bourbons should be very apparent.

    Before you finish the WT RR 90, I suggest you acquire another bottle of Knob Creek, which is about the same age and similar in proof. With just a little water added to the Knob Creek to get the proof down to about 90, you can do a head-to-head comparison with the WT RR. That will give you a good idea of the difference in the house styles of Jim Beam and Wild Turkey. Adding Buffalo Trace to the comparo might be interesting, but less instructive because it's so much younger than the others.

    If by chance the Eagle Rare is the 101 proof, I suggest you grab it just because it may be your last chance; it is no longer being bottled. The ER Single Barrel is very good, too, almost cognac-like to my taste, but you'll have other chances to pick it up.

    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield
    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield

    Dog Lover, Euphonium Player, Campfire Guitarist, Marksman,

  3. #3

    Re: Yet Another Newbie

    You've covered (or, at least, scratched the surface) Buffalo Trace and Wild Turkey distilleries. If you want to stay in the same price range but attempt to assay them all, you options seem to be:
    • Evan Williams Single Barrel '96 (Heaven Hill)
    • Ridgemont Reserve 1792 (Barton)
    • Knob Creek (or Jim Beam Black) (Beam)
    • Woodford Reserve (or Old Forester 100/Signature) (Brown-Forman)
    • Maker's Mark (Makers Mark, and a wheater)
    • Virginia Gentleman, preferrably 90 proof (Buffalo Trace/A. Smith Bowman)
    • Bulleit (Four Roses, via Diageo)


    And, if you let us know where you are, some of us might be able to point you to wider selection nearby.
    Welcome, and good sippin'.
    Tim

  4. #4
    Novice
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    4

    Re: Yet Another Newbie

    I appreciate the info. I reside in Oregon, which is state controlled by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) and they decide what you can buy and they charge a premium rate, which is big money maker for the state ($192 Million in Revenue), so I doubt that will be changing anytime soon.

    I just downloaded a pdf from the Oregon Liquor Control of what's available and it's pretty much what I list above. What I've also found out is that some of these are on the 'limited list' which I assume would mean that it is a limited engagment. In addition I found out that it is illegal to ship liquor to a resident in the state of oregon, malt beverages are also verbotten, but for some reason wine is allowed. Go figure. You can place a special order for anything but you have to buy a case.

    So my selection will be limited but there is enough on the list to keep me busy for a while.

    Here is my revised list with prices, I'm curious how the prices compare to the rest of the nation. Not listing the standard labels of AA, EW, JB, WT, etc. Some have a current discount (which could mean they raised the price a couple months ago so they could discount it now and pretend it's a good deal). Some are supposed to available in 375ml which would increase my options to explore and compare. So I guess I'll take your suggestions combined with this info and decide where to go from here.

    Standard List
    Makers Mark - 25.95 (375ml = 14.45)
    Evan Williams SB 96 - 26.95
    Woodford Reserve - (32.95 - 2.00) = 30.95 (375ml - 16.95)
    Knob Creek - 34.95 (375ml = 18.45)
    Rare Breed - 34.95
    Basil Haydens - 41.95
    Blantons - (44.95 - 3.00) = 41.95
    Bookers - 56.95

    Limited List
    Old Weller 107 - 19.95
    Bulleit - (21.95 -2.00) = 19.95
    Eagle Rare SB 90 - (29.95 - 4.00) = 25.95
    Ridgemont Reserve 1792 - 29.95
    Elijah Craig 18YO - (39.95 - 3.00) = 36.95
    Bakers - 46.95
    Kentucky Spirit - 48.95
    Virginia Gentlemen (was on the shelf but not on the list, wonder if being it's discontinued)

    Thanks, Bullfrog
    Last edited by bullfrog; 11-22-2006 at 20:22.

  5. #5

    Re: Yet Another Newbie

    I would suggest Eagle Rare for your next pour. Exceptional bourbon, very good price. The suggestion for Maker's Mark is also a good one. It is a nice wheat bourbon that has high availability.

    Down the road a bit, I _highly_ recommend Elijah Craig 18 year old. It is a totally different animal than the 12 yo. Two nights ago a friend and I worked our way through five bourbons in this order: Eagle Rare, Pappy Van Winkel 20 yo, Elijah Craig 18 yo, Bookers, Maker's Mark. Of that group, the EC 18 stood out from the crowd as the best pour to both of us. We hadn't really planned on the Maker's, but our conversation went _very_ long and we wanted another pour. All of them were a joy, but the EC 18 really stands out as having the richest flavor.

    Joel
    "Oh Bother!" said Pooh as he slapped another magazine in his AK-47...

    http://vinesnwines.blogspot.com

  6. #6
    Novice
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    4

    Re: Yet Another Newbie

    ok, been trying out the Buffalo Trace and Russell's Reserve for a couple of weeks, and I decided to expand my inventory so I picked up the Eagle Rare, and 350 ML of Makers Mark, Knob Creek, and Woodfords Reserve. Gave them all a taste the last couple nights and haven't made any firm impressions yet, but have discovered that I think I like one better then taste them a again and like another better and so on.

    A couple observations: First I think they taste different on different nights. Like last night for some reason, none of them tasted very good, the night before and tonight the taste is better. So is it just my taste buds are different one night? Is it what I ate or drank previously? Second, it seems that the order I taste them influences my perception of them. I guess that makes sense, I suppose like wines I should have some crackers or something between.

    So that made me wonder if there is a Bourbon tasting order like wines. Dry before sweet, light before full, white before red, and old before young. Does something like that apply to Bourbons as well.

    Anyway, still trying them all out and have no specific favorites yet.

  7. #7

    Re: Yet Another Newbie

    Quote Originally Posted by bullfrog View Post
    ...So that made me wonder if there is a Bourbon tasting order like wines. Dry before sweet, light before full, white before red, and old before young. Does something like that apply to Bourbons as well...
    Well, for me when tasting seriously (i.e., for evaluation), it's low proof before high, wheat before rye.
    Tim

  8. #8
    Mr. Anal Retentive Bourbon Drinker
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    1,824

    Re: Yet Another Newbie

    Quote Originally Posted by bullfrog View Post
    A couple observations: First I think they taste different on different nights.
    Between the 5 you mentioned (BT, WT RR, ER, MM, KC, and WR) you have very good and wide tasting profile.

    I think we all have nights that things taste different. Some nights you might think this is my favorite, other nights something else totally different.

  9. #9
    Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Taxachusetts
    Posts
    314

    Re: Yet Another Newbie

    Funny to be a newbie on this site. Just when you think Jim Beam, Jack Daniels and Makers Mark were a pretty good representative of what's out there you go and find out there is a whole new world to explore. I've drank bourbon, whiskey (scotch, irish), gin (still great with tonic after a day at the shop), ever since the accidental discovery of some blackberry brandy in my grandparent's hutch as a kid. Lol, that's another story altogether though.

    I've really only started enjoying the higher quality offerings after discovering this site though. My advice to you would be to start taking notes of some of the information you are sure to aquire here. It may seem kind of corny (ha ha), but I assure that you will refer to your notes later on. I also document the different purchases that I make regarding price taste availability and so on. I may just be doing this to drive my girlfriend nuts though.

    Wow, this is getting long. Sorry

    Anyways Bullfrog here are some observations. Try to resist the urge to spend 80% of your next three paychecks trying out new things. There are great products out there and I'm quite sure much more in the pipeline.

    I think your best options would be:
    Eagle Rare at $25.95 is a high quality pour which I seem to enjoy more each time I have it. Neat, rocks or just a chilled glass. Always good.
    Rare Breed at $34.95 is quite reasonably priced for what it is.
    Evan Williams at $26.95
    Elijah Craig at $36.95, quite different in my opinion of the other selections but quite enjoyable in it's own right.

    I would stay away from some of the more obviously high priced offerings. Your price for Baker's for instance is $19.00 more than what I paid for a bottle last week. Bookers retails for $36.00 in these parts. No way can they justify those prices. I shop at a control state also, although their motto is live free or die. Maybe that's the difference. Anyways, if you really want to try some of the higher priced, but not always better bourbon, I would find another alternative. Like maybe some sight seeing in a neighboring state or moving altogether if that's what it takes.

    Sorry so long, but what the hell, your here to read right.

    Chris

    Please excuse any typo's or other discrepancies as this post was so long that I didn't feel that I had the time or inclination to preview it's contents.

  10. #10
    Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Taxachusetts
    Posts
    314

    Re: Yet Another Newbie

    After reading your original post again to make sure I even responded to the right post I noticed that you are paying $25.95 and 21.95 for Russell's Reserve and Buffalo Trace respectively. Those are prices way more in line with what you should be paying. I actually pay another buck for the Buffalo Trace in these parts. Also a good offering would be the Jim Beam Black which is usually a few bucks cheaper and quite well regarded.

    Chris

 

 

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