Greetings from The People's Republic of Maryland. I've been a big fan of craft brewed beers for a long time but recently was turned on to bourbon by an old friend. Said friend, who is a family man on a tight budget, informed me that Evan Williams black label bourbon, over ice or with a bit of water, was a fine drink at a very good price. I trusted this mans judgment enough to overcome the prejudices I have harbored regarding "brown" liquors based on youthful ignorance and overindulgence. ;-)
Long story short - after some Internet investigation to shore things up I've sampled Evan Williams 1783 Ten Year old, Rittenhouse Rye BIB, Wild Turkey Rye 101, Old Granddad 100 BIB, JB Rye, and Buffalo Trace and can conclude at this point I really enjoy the rye/rye-leaning bourbon and higher proofs. I don't really like any beverage at room temperature so my basic formula has been
1 old fashioned glass
2 finger pour
3 ice cubes.
Alternatively, I really like a whiskey highball with quality ginger ale (such as Dominion here on the East coast) and a twist of lemon.
As of right now, Buffalo Trace is my favorite for straight up over ice. The balance is really great in my opinion.
I'd like to extend a heartfelt thanks to this forum and in particular Sijan for his 'affordable bourbons and ryes for beginners" post.