I apologize in advance for the long post, but I'm pressed for time (have until 4/7) and I want to give enough info to help focus your recommendations.

I want to put together a good "bourbon sampler" gift for my parents. I've been reading up on the forums here, and I know opinions and favorites vary pretty widely - however, basically I'm looking for any input where my selection may be way off the mark. In other words, I doubt there will be a 5 bottle consensus - but I'm open to suggestions.

My Dad's tastes will dictate the selection. On one hand he likes a drink with some kick - and makes a martini that'll knock you on your butt, but on the other hand, when it comes to Bourbon (or any other liquor besides Gin), his tastes lean towards sweeter mixed drinks like Sours, Manhattans, Daquiris, Margaritas, etc. Even his tastes in wine are heavy to the sweet side and he doesn't care for wines that are even moderately dry. The Bourbon he keeps on hand is Jim Beam, but like I said, it is exclusively used with a mixer.

After what I've read at this site (very nice site - BTW), I'm assuming I need to focus on the Wheat blends as opposed to Rye since sweeter and smoother seem to be what they would prefer. I would like to include a single Rye selection just for contrast and in case it may be preferred in those occasions where the drink is accompanied by a cigar.

Here's my preliminary selection, and I welcome and appreciate any feedback or corrections:

  1. Wild Turkey Rare Breed (the only Rye selection)
  2. W.L. Weller 12 YO
  3. Old Rip Van Winkle 10/107 or 15/107
  4. Elmer T. Lee
  5. Maker's Mark (want a readily available bar selection)

If I can make them converts, it will dramatically reduce the prep time for our weekly Happy Hours - so this isn't entirely without its selfish motivations.