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  1. #1
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    The Best Bourbon Is Free Bourbon.

    This thread always seems to be active on the board somewhere, with minute variations. What's the best bourbon? I get that question a lot, or the equally problematic, "what's your favorite bourbon?"

    What do I say? I may mention a couple of things I particularly like, although the list always varies. I often dismiss it with, "the best bourbon is free bourbon."

    The truth is, the list of things I like about equally well is very long, and what I say tends to reflect what I've enjoyed most in the last week or so. Recently it was Four Roses Single Barrel. Sometimes it's Woodford Reserve or Knob Creek.

    I tend not to mention the cheaper products I also like just as well, such as JTS Brown. I also generally don't mention products that are difficult or impossible to find, such as Very Very Old Fitzgerald or A. H. Hirsch. I also tend not to mention the more challenging older bottlings, like George T. Stagg.

    I also don't mentions rye (unless specifically asked) or corn whiskey.

    But I never give the true answer, which is that there is no best and hardly any true favorites. If I narrow the words used to describe the experience, I can plug in a few products. Most memorable would have to be Very Very Old Fitzgerald and A. H. Hirsch, but also the Fairfield Henry McKenna Doug found. Always in my house and open: Old Fitzgerald Bottled-in-Bond and Very Old Barton Bottled-in-Bond. I can name a favorite from each distillery, although if they make multiple recipes then it's one per distillery per recipe. And, like I said, it will change tomorrow.

    So let's bury the concept of best, which is the search for The One. That's not what this enthusiasm is about. It's about luxuriating in The Many. And hoping for many, many more.

  2. #2
    Trippah and Admin
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    Re: The Best Bourbon Is Free Bourbon.

    I agree 100% with this idea.

    I have other obsessions that I cater to now and again and there are internet forums and groups tuned in to each. For Geocaching, a common quesiton is what is the best GPS? or what is the best place to find a geocache? In the computer forums, people ask about the best PC or laptop, etc. For TV and internet service, people what to know who offes the best service.

    Now, newcomers may not really know what they are asking for, so asking about the best gives them a point of reference for starting off. In enthisiast forums, it is easy to find someone who will evangelize about how their preference is also the best and they will go to great lengths to prove to you that it is really the best. But is it really?

    As I've grown and matured, I've come to realize that my ego isn't big enough to lead me to believe that I know what the "best" of anything it. As I try new things and learn more about life, I form educated opinions about what I prefer and what I simply don't like, but that doesn't mean that any of that is the best. It simply shows what suits me.

    With that, I've learned to temper my recommendations for things with the caveat that this is what I've prefer after some research, but you may find something else to fit your needs.

    With that, I believe in the concept of having a favorite, but even that can be a situational choice.

    Just my .02
    My name is Joel Goodson. I deal in human fulfillment.
    I grossed over eight thousand dollars in one night. Time of your life, huh kid?

  3. #3
    Guru
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    Thumbs up Re: The Best Bourbon Is Free Bourbon.

    Yes, this is a very similar concept to my answers if I am asked, "What is your favorite music group?" or "What is your favorite movie?" Or, many other similar questions. Since I love hundreds of songs or artists or movies, etc, any answer is meaningless. And any answer might be completely different within a few days.

    Tim
    Self-Styled Whisky Connoisseur

  4. #4
    Guru
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    Re: The Best Bourbon Is Free Bourbon.

    Most of the time it is a relative neophyte who asks such a question. Experienced responders qualify their answers by breaking things down by type; wheated vs rye recipe, age and to an extent proof and price points, giving more than one quality example from each of the sub-categories, since after all, taste is subjective, and for example not everyone likes every house style equally and some folks like a more or less aggressive taste profile. Just as an example, someone who dislikes the aggressive taste profile of WT Rye may find the new WT RR Rye to be just what the doctor ordered.

    These types of questions, when they are posed by the inexperienced, reveal their ignorance and provide a means to educate them. However, one might counter that they should make use of the search function. I'll admit, that rebuttal isn't without merit. In fact, its a strong argument. But I for one, try to be patient with newbies. I try to keep in mind that a lot of folks don't have any background to draw from. They may be in their 30's and 40's and just discovering whiskey for the first time.

  5. #5
    Connoisseur
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    Apr 2008
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    Re: The Best Bourbon Is Free Bourbon.

    Quote Originally Posted by ILLfarmboy View Post
    Experienced responders qualify their answers by breaking things down by type; wheated vs rye recipe, age and to an extent proof and price points, giving more than one quality example from each of the sub-categories, since after all, taste is subjective
    I for one, try to be patient with newbies. I try to keep in mind that a lot of folks don't have any background to draw from.
    As a newbie, I try to read posts from guys like you, and others with
    thousands of posts because I am able to learn a lot about the world of
    great bourbon choices out there. I really enjoyed the "Your Top Five" posts which gave great ideas for bourbons I'll be buying and trying over the next few months.

    As for me, I don't want to ever find a "Best" bourbon...I just want to explore what's out there and enjoy the journey.

    -Joe
    "I think the most un-American thing you can say is 'You can't say that' " - Garrison Keillor

  6. #6
    Virtuoso
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    Re: The Best Bourbon Is Free Bourbon.

    Quote Originally Posted by ratcheer View Post
    Yes, this is a very similar concept to my answers if I am asked, "What is your favorite music group?" or "What is your favorite movie?" Or, many other similar questions. Since I love hundreds of songs or artists or movies, etc, any answer is meaningless. And any answer might be completely different within a few days.

    Tim
    That's me. People ask "what kind of music do you like?" all the time, but I still don't have an answer, so I just stand there looking stupid.

  7. #7
    Guru
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    Re: The Best Bourbon Is Free Bourbon.

    Interesting posts. I've replied to many questions about what I like or what my favorite is. There was a question posted recently about ones favorite daily pour. Just as each one of us is unique, so is our taste and preference experience; and that's a dynamic process anyway. The bourbon I really liked two years ago, isn't even in my house anymore. Not because it's a "bad" bourbon, but because my bourbon experience has broadened to the point that my purchases have gone beyond that initial bottle. I don't have a daily pour....my answer was whatever tickles my fancy. Low shelf, top shelf....no matter. If I like it, it's in my bunker and I drink it. Today was VOB BIB, yesterday J.W. Corn and Early Times 80's vintage; day before that Pappy 15, AAA 10 year and SW Old Fitz BIB. Tomorrow? I don't know nor do I care. I just know it will be good.
    “Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.” - P.J. O’Rourke
    Greg's "bourbondork" blog

  8. #8
    Administrator in exile
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    Re: The Best Bourbon Is Free Bourbon.

    Actually, Weller 12yo is the best bourbon ever, bar none. If you disagree with me, you only show your ignorance to the world!
    Simplicity is the essence of universality - MK Ghandi

  9. #9
    Irreverent One
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    Re: The Best Bourbon Is Free Bourbon.

    Quote Originally Posted by jeff View Post
    Actually, Weller 12yo is the best bourbon ever, bar none. If you disagree with me, you only show your ignorance to the world!
    That's never stopped me before.

    Can't get Weller 12 here in OR. Ship me a bottle, and I'll try it head to head with some Hirsch BW and see if you're right.
    Last edited by CorvallisCracker; 04-21-2008 at 10:21.
    Scott

    "Remember that your sense of humor is inversely proportional to your level of intolerance."
    - Serge Storms

  10. #10
    Novice
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    Re: The Best Bourbon Is Free Bourbon.

    Quote Originally Posted by jeff View Post
    Actually, Weller 12yo is the best bourbon ever, bar none. If you disagree with me, you only show your ignorance to the world!
    Jeff, I agree! It is a very fine Bourbon!!!

 

 

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