Posted several times already but still hadn't gotten around to intro. Better late than never.
I was born in Wisconsin, raised in north Florida, moved to Oregon a little over a year ago.
Introduction to bourbon was on a camping trip, circa 1965 (I would have been about 12). Jim Beam, IIRC. I approached it with caution, drank just enough to get a mild buzz. No hangover.
When I was 19 Florida lowered the drinking age to 18. I tried a lot of different whiskies. Realized I didn't care for Scotch.
Tried some of those just-released "light whiskies". Anyone remeber those? If not, I'm not surprised - they weren't memorable.
By college graduation (1975) I was a loyal WT 101 drinker. I occasionally sampled other brands, but WT was pretty much it for a while.
By 1979 my career had advanced to where I had disposable income, and I started casting a wider net. Got into wine in a big way (still am), plus distilled spirits other than bourbon, and a wider variety of bourbon. WT 8/101 remained my "go to" (around 1983 I even bought one of those Baccarat WT decanters - Austin Nichols commissioned 1,000 of 'em).
By the mid eighties I was regarded as an expert on such things amongst my friends and acquaintances, and in 1988 completed a non-published work, "Distilled Spirits - A Highly Biased History" which I handed to anyone coming to me for advice.
I hadn't seen it in years, but came across a hardcopy when packing for Oregon. Made for interesting reading. Things have certainly changed in 20 years. Maybe I'll update it.
It had a "Recommendations" section at the end. Here is the section for Bourbon:
Wild Turkey 12yo 101
Wild Turkey 8yo 101
Eagle Rare 10yo 101
Old Grand Dad 114
Ancient Ancient Age 10yo
Beams Black Label 101mo 90
Blanton 8yo 93
Evan Williams 7yo 90
Ezra Brooks 7yo 90
I. W. Harper 86
Old Charter 7yo 86
Old Grand Dad 86
Old Forester 86
Old Forester Bond 100
Old Taylor 6yo 86
Walker's Deluxe 8yo 86
Beam 52mo 80
Beam White Label
Evan Williams 80
Heaven Hill 90
Old Ezra 15yo 101 comment: "Proof you can age a bourbon too long"
Old Fitzgerald "1849" 8yo 90
Weller 7yo 107
Old Fitzgerald 7yo 86
Old Fitzgerald Bond
Weller Reserve 7yo 90
Dickel 6yo 90
Dickel 4yo 80
Regarding the 12yo WT, a few months ago I bumped into the bourbonenthusiast.com web site, they showed the early 90s gold foil version as the first release. I knew that wasn't right, and going back and looking at my 1988 document confirms that.
I'm also pretty sure those late 1980s WT 12yo bottlings had a label just like the 8yo (except with a "12" instead of an "8", of course). They were seasonally released, just before Christmas.
I had bought a case of it and reserved these as my "Special Occasion" Bourbon.
I guess it was around 1992 that WT pulled the bit with the "Old Number 8 Brand" on the 101. This was deeply offensive to me, not so much because they'd gone NAS but because they tried to obfuscate it with the ON8B bit. I've never completely forgiven them for that, and since have only bought WT when they introduce something new (trying to stay informed...). The exception was the Rye, because for so long all that was available was JB, OO and the WT, and the WT was definitely the best of the three.
Knob Creek became my "go to" choice, with Weller 7/107 when I felt like a wheater.
Bourbons tried since 1988 include (roughly in chronological order):
Hirsch 16 BW
WT Kentucky Spirit
WT Rare Breed
WT RR 10/101
Saz 18 Rye
BMH 18yo Rye
VW 12yo Lot B
The PVW was in December, the last two earlier this week.
The Hirsch 16 BW showed up at my favorite liquor store in late 1994, along with some 20yo. I bought one of the 16, tried it, went back and bought three more plus one of the 20. These supplemented the WT 12s as my "Special Occasion" stuff. However by 2003 all the WT and three of the Hirsch were gone. The BTACs were out by then, and I went through several bottles of the ER 17, but was never all that wild about it. Opened the last bottle of Hirsch 16 last fall when we closed on our house purchase here in Corvallis OR. The Hirsch 20 remains unopened.
I do believe that the PVW 15 and GTS will both serve nicely as "SO" choices.
I notice the SB.com software tags me as a "novice". I can only LOL.
BTW, the bike in the Avatar pic is a Yamaha V-Star 1100 Custom. The image is borrowed from the Yamaha web site. Mine has a windshied (for the bugs), saddlebags (for my stuff) and a wider passenger seat plus sissy bar/back rest (for my wife). I've been riding since I was 15, progressing from a Honda 65 to a Honda 175 to a Suzuki 500 to a Suzuki 550 to a Harley 883 to a Harley 1200 to the Yamaha.
Anyway, for those of y'all still with me here, I'm glad to be on board. Great discussions, and lots of useful information.