My standard early morning cocktail (EMC) is strong coffee with maple syrup and White Horse. I haven't yet found a bourbon that is equal to the White Horse (a mere blended Scotch, but powerful nonetheless, and $17 a bottle in these parts in case quantities). White Horse has to be special ordered around these parts. It is based on Lagavulin and Talisker as core malts, which gives a dark chocolate aftertaste....and blows Johnnie Walker Red into the weeds. Thus, it goes VERY well with coffee. It goes pretty darned well all by itself as a matter of fact....even at 6AM in the morning....even if you don't have time to make the coffee. I would prefer Laphroaig, of course, but that costs about three times what White Horse does. Really, drinking "kerosene out of an ash tray" at 6 AM isn't as bad as it seems, but I do concede Laphroaig is an acquired taste. After single malt Scotch, my next favorite whiskey is Wild Turkey 101 Rye (neat, of course). I have a case of Rittenhouse 101 Rye BIB on special order at the local liquor store. Almost as good as WT 101 Rye. Rye is pretty bad for mixing with coffee in the morning, however. I generally drink rye whiskey straight up when Laphroaig isn't available (like 95% of the time on my budget). There are few whiskies that can give you a kick like Laphroaig, bur WT 101 Rye is in the running, and for far less money.
My question is: does there exist a bourbon that can substitute for Islay Scotch in morning coffee? I bought some Evan Williams 100 proof BIB (it was only $11.85, so WTH? Pretty good for bourbon if drank by itself.), but it is soda pop compared to Islay Scotch malts. I would like to keep it under $20 a bottle. WT 101 and Jim Beam Black are also soda pop compared to Islay malts.
The White Horse was a pleasant discovery, and it took the place of Teacher's Highland Cream as my standard daily scotch. Still, it's a bit on the mild side once you get acclimated to Laphroaig. Bourbon tends to be a lot cheaper than scotch around here, and single malts other than Glenlivet (talk about overrated and toned down for mass appeal) are special order (if I could afford them in the first place). I need a bourbon that kicks down the door and rattles the shutters without being harsh (seemingly contradictory, but Laphroaig somehow manages that....like being run over by a steamroller with marshmallow tires....or peat bog tires as the case may be). Any suggestions???