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  1. #1
    Novice
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    1

    Greetings...and plenty of questions

    Hello, just wanted to introduce myself and see if I could pick up some tips and recommendations from some of the more experienced drinkers on the site. I am a senior in college and was initially drawn to bourbon through the traditional game day cocktail of a bourbon and coke. The more I was drawn to the drink, the more my tastes changed as I moved from using wells such as Beam or Kentucky Gentleman to brands such as Knob Creek, Makers Mark, and Gentleman Jack which I found to be much more pleasing. However, I began to feel that adding coke to these liquors may be disrespectful and I tried my first real drink recently, a Blantons on the rocks, which I really enjoyed. Since then I also have had Knob Creek on the rocks which I thought was very nice and a little sweeter with a little less bite then the Blantons. Yesterday I picked up a bottle of Woodford Reserve because it was on sale and I heard all different kinds of reviews on it and thought I would give it a try. I have tried it both neat and on the rocks and must say it is my least favorite of the 3, however, each time I try it, it seems to grow on me more and more. Iím really almost completely clueless to the world of bourbon but I really am here to learn. There doesnít seem to be much info on the web for total beginners but I was hoping I could get some help to the following questions:

    • Right now I am drinking out of a standard cylinder cocktail glass that is about as wide as it is tall Ė roughly 4 inches. Is this acceptable?

    • What is the proper amount of bourbon to pour in the glass? I find it easy to determine on the rocks by simply covering the ice but much harder to determine when drinking bourbon neat.

    • What specific brands of bourbon should I really try to determine what I like best? Also if you could spell out the name because Iím not familiar with all of the abbreviations. (remember I am a college student so Iím trying to stay away from any $100 bottles for the time being)

    • How much bourbon should go into your mouth on a proper sip?

    • Any tips for picking up specific flavors in the bourbon? I can really tell the difference between bourbons towards the front of my tongue however I struggle to pick out particular flavors.

    Sorry if these are some pretty stupid questions but Iím really just trying to learn from scratch. If you could help me out, especially with some good recommendations, it would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Northford, CT
    Posts
    784

    Re: Greetings...and plenty of questions

    Quote Originally Posted by toclark77 View Post
    • Right now I am drinking out of a standard cylinder cocktail glass that is about as wide as it is tall – roughly 4 inches. Is this acceptable?
    Really, any glass is acceptable. Normally, whatever glass is clean works for me. But if you really want to do it right, I'd suggest a tulip or wine glass. Those type of glasses concentrate the aromas in a smaller area.

    Quote Originally Posted by toclark77 View Post
    • What is the proper amount of bourbon to pour in the glass? I find it easy to determine on the rocks by simply covering the ice but much harder to determine when drinking bourbon neat.
    Usually, I pour about 2 ounces. This is totally subjective. However, in my opinion, I alternate my pours dependent on the proof of the bourbon. As an example, if I'm drinking George T. Stagg bourbon, which is barrel proof (around 140 proof, in this case), I pour only about one ounce. However, if I'm drinking Elmer T. Lee (90 proof) I will pour two ounces. It's better to pour less. You can always go back for more but it would be a shame if you poured too much and were faced with either throwing it down the drain or down your gullet, if you didn't want any more.

    Quote Originally Posted by toclark77 View Post
    • What specific brands of bourbon should I really try to determine what I like best? Also if you could spell out the name because I’m not familiar with all of the abbreviations. (remember I am a college student so I’m trying to stay away from any $100 bottles for the time being)
    I would suggest you first try Old Rip Van Winkle 10 year old, 90 proof ($20-$22), Weller Antique 7 year old, 107 proof ($18.99-$22.99), and Old Rip Van Winkle 10 year old, 107 proof ($26.99-$29.99). I'd say try them in that order. These types of bourbons are often referred to as "wheaters" on this board. It's due to the fact that the third grain that goes into the mash bill (it's a lesser amount than the other two) is wheat instead of the traditional rye.

    Also, try Wild Turkey 101 (around $20), Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit (upper $30's, low $40's) and Wild Turkey Rare Breed (mid $30's). These are traditional bourbons in the sense that the third grain is rye. While you're at it, try Old Grand Dad Bottled in Bond (upper teens) and Old Grand Dad 114 (low $20's).

    The above bourbons are all a very good bang for the buck. In regards to the wheated bourbon, I'd take the ORVW 10/107. As for the Turkeys, I'd take the Rare Breed over them all. And, the 114 between the two Grand Dads.

    If it turns out you really like "wheaters" then try to track down some Pappy Van Winkle 15 year old, 107 proof (mid $40's) - the best of the Van Winkle, in my opinion, followed by the 10/107. There are other Pappy's (PVW 20 and 23) but they're very expensive ($75+ for the 20 and $170-$250 for the 23).

    Quote Originally Posted by toclark77 View Post
    • How much bourbon should go into your mouth on a proper sip?
    Again, subjective. For me, the lower the proof, the bigger the sip. And vice-versa.

    Quote Originally Posted by toclark77 View Post
    • Any tips for picking up specific flavors in the bourbon? I can really tell the difference between bourbons towards the front of my tongue however I struggle to pick out particular flavors.
    I definitely cannot break down flavors, or even different aromas for that matter. Others here can definitely help you out.

    The prices listed above are for my area (CT). They may well differ, for better or worse, in yours.


    Welcome aboard. This is a great resource for bourbon knowledge. As it was pointed out to me the day I joined, take the time to become acquanted with the search function. You will learn a lot from that alone.

    Almost forgot, if you want to see what other members here suggest/like for bourbon, go to their profile and quite a few of us have a list of Bourbon that we like.

    Good luck and have fun!!!!

    Regards,

    Mark


    P.S. To the much more knowledgeable than myself, please set the record straight if I was wrong with anything that I've written above.
    Last edited by NickAtMartinis; 02-14-2008 at 20:27.

  3. #3
    Guru
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    AZ
    Posts
    2,726

    Re: Greetings...and plenty of questions

    Buy a lot, try a lot, and experiment with every bit.... the best rule of thumb is.. drink what you like the way you like and keep playing with all the parameters until your happy...

  4. #4
    Virtuoso
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Indy
    Posts
    1,198

    Re: Greetings...and plenty of questions

    Great Post Mark !!!

    I couldn't have said it any better.

    "drink what you like, Like what you drink !!!"

 

 

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