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ortho1121

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ortho1121

Got introduced to bourbon with Basil Hayden and it's smooth.  Also like Russell 10 year old, Elijah Craig and Four Roses Small Batch.  Don't like heavy proof like Bookers.  Drawing on your expertise/experience can you give me some suggestions so I can branch out? Prefer smooth finish. 

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KSJon

For my taste the Russell’s, EC and 4R small batch are all great choices.  Personally I enjoy the higher proof whiskeys.  Which, if the mood hits you, you can proof down to your preferred level.  But staying in the low to mid 40% range I would have to recommend Buffalo Trace, Maker’s 46 and maybe even an Evan Williams single barrel.  They are all what I would consider smooth easy drinkers.  

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Radioyada

My suggestion is to visit a bar with a decent selection of what you have and have not already tried and start seeing what you like and do not.  Relying on other's opinions is no better than making your own, but a lot less fun.  Figuring out what you do not like is just as important as finding out what you do.

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Richnimrod

KSJon's advice about watering ANY dram to your preferred comfort/taste level is spot on!   Never fall into that false belief that the only way good whiskey should ever be enjoyed is neat.   That, in a word is: Bullshit!!!!!

The only way (and the only rule at all) to enjoy any dram is this: THE WAY YOU LIKE IT!!!!!!

There are time when I want to take a hundred tiny sips of a high-proof Bourbon like Booker's or 1792 Full Proof neat and make a pour last an hour or more; but there are also times when I prefer such a whiskey over a large ice cube (or even a couple cubes) and savor the slowly evolving, mellowing nature of it as it waters down.   There are also times when I want it 'proofed down'; but, not chilled, so adding a little water at a time until it seems just right is my method.

I'm not much of a cocktail guy; but many here are and they will give you loads of advice on how prepare some killer ones.   For me; a good 'Old Fashioned', or simple highball are about as far as I go most of time.

So, take all advice with a grain (or more) of salt... but don't put it into your Bourbon... BAD Idea!

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clearmoon247

I have a guideline to exploring bourbon:

So, you are new to bourbon and don't know where to start?

Well, here's where I would recommend starting:

    Buffalo Trace/Eagle Rare
    Larceny/Maker's Mark
    Elijah Craig
    Knob Creek
    Old Forester Signature (100-Proof)
    Wild Turkey 101
    Bulleit Bourbon
    Old Forester Rye (Green Label)

Based on which of the above you like most can determine which bourbon's you would like.

 

Bourbon is composed of a few ingredients; water, grain, and yeast. The composition of grain determines what the product is and its flavor profile. Corn, Wheat, Rye, and Malted Barley are the 4 main grains used in whiskey. If the primary ingredient is corn (+51%) it can become a bourbon. +51% Rye is a rye whiskey, etc. In bourbons, the secondary ingredient is usually wheat or rye. Wheat leads to a sweeter bourbon. Rye leads to a spicier bourbon. Bottled-in-Bond (BiB) means it was distilled during one distilling season, by one master distiller (the one who oversees the entire operation), it's aged in a Govt. Bonded Warehouse for a minimum of 4 years, and it is bottled at exactly 100-proof.

 

If a product is barrel proof, barrel strength, batch strength, full proof, or cask strength, it means that it is bottled at either the exact proof when it is dumped from the barrel or at a proof that would be considered high enough to go into a barrel (normally 110-125+).

 

With all of this in mind, if you try all of the above options, here is a good map to explore further in your bourbon journey.

 

If you love Buffalo Trace, consider Eagle Rare, Stagg Jr, EH Taylor, Ancient Ancient Age 10-Star. Possibly consider trying things like Blanton's, Elmer T. Lee or Rock Hill Farms if you can find them at a bar.

 

If you enjoy Maker's or Larceny most after trying the rest, begin exploring wheated bourbons, such as Weller's (Old Weller Antique, Weller 12, etc), Maker's 46/Maker's Cask Strength/Private Select, or Old Fitzgerald BiB (Only found in KY).

 

If you grow fond of Elijah Craig, you might also enjoy things like 1792, Evan WIlliams (Bottled-in-Bond, 1783, or Single Barrel), Elijah Craig Barrel Proof, JW Dant, High West American Prairie, and Henry McKenna 10-Year BiB.

 

Knob Creek is made by Jim Beam and has a nutty profile very well known by the brand. Good improvements from Knob are Jim Beam Distiller's Cut, Knob Creek Single Barrel, Bookers, Baker's, Rowan's Creek, and Noah's Mill.

 

Old Forester Signature (100-Proof) is made by Brown Foreman and has a number of quality options out there. Other fantastic options include; OF 1897 (Their BiB offering), OF 1910 (Finished in a second, heavily charred barrel), OF 1920 (Barrel Strength), as well as Woodford Reserve, and Woodford Double Oaked.

 

Wild Turkey has a distinct flavor profile, so you may consider Russel's Reserve (regular or single barrel), Wild Turkey Rare Breed, and WT Kentucky Spirit, and WT Master's Keep.

 

Bulleit is a high rye bourbon, which means that it will have a bolder, more pronounced flavor. If this is in your wheelhouse, consider trying Bulleit 10-Year, Bulleit Barrel Strength, Old Grand-Dad (BiB or 114), Four Roses Small Batch, or Four Roses Single Barrel. Four Roses also has Barrel Proof selections and a variety of different Recipes to try (OESK, OBSV, etc), which can be found [here](https://fourrosesbourbon.com/our-recipes/)

 

Lastly, if Old Forester Rye wins out, check out the following: Rittenhouse Rye (Bottled-in-Bond), Pikesville Rye, Sazerac Rye (if you can find it), High West Double Rye and Yippee Ki-yay, and Whistlepig Piggyback & 10 Year Rye. The following Rye's are all sourced from MGP: James E Pepper 1776, Templeton Rye, Bulleit Rye, and Michter's Rye.

 

At this point, if you aren't overwhelmed and want to explore further, check out the Bourbon Family Tree and see what else your now favorite distillery makes and enjoy the best bourbon in the world, whatever is your favorite!

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fosmith

Eagle Rare, Buffalo Trace, Evan Williams Bottled in Bond, Wild Turkey 101, Knob Creek would all be good next stops on your bourbon journey.  Enjoy the ride...

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MDBourbon

Weller SR if you can find it

 

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FasterHorses
26 minutes ago, MDBourbon said:

Weller SR if you can find it

 

Dont waste your time or $ on WSR

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EarthQuake

Here's some to try if you're looking for easy going bottles:

 

Buffalo Trace

CEH Taylor Small Batch

Eagle Rare

Old Forester Statesman

1792 Bottled in Bond, Small Batch or Single Barrel

Michter's US*1 Bourbon

Woodford Reserve

 

Most of these should be relatively easy to find.

 

@clearmoon247's post is a great way to try the various different house profiles of the bigger producers without spending a lot of money too.

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PhantomLamb
23 minutes ago, FasterHorses said:

Dont waste your time or $ on WSR

Amen, it's not that great.  Kind of cool to have, but not worth the hunt or the cash.

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EarthQuake
3 minutes ago, PhantomLamb said:

Amen, it's not that great.  Kind of cool to have, but not worth the hunt or the cash.

Yup. It's a bottom shelf bourbon. Buffalo Trace is better and you don't even have to go out of your way to find it. OWA / W12 are okay under $30 but you're not likely to find them at that price, if you can find them at all, and most of the stuff mentioned in this thread is better anyway.

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lcpfratn
Dont waste your time or $ on WSR

Greg, One person I know, who shall not be named, might just consider that statement blasphemy!
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DCFan
11 hours ago, EarthQuake said:

Here's some to try if you're looking for easy going bottles:

 

Buffalo Trace

CEH Taylor Small Batch

Eagle Rare

1792 Bottled in Bond or Single Barrel

 

Most of these should be relatively easy to find.

Maybe in your neck of the woods but not in my state or a lot of other places as well.

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lcpfratn
Yup. It's a bottom shelf bourbon. Buffalo Trace is better and you don't even have to go out of your way to find it. OWA / W12 are okay under $30 but you're not likely to find them at that price, if you can find them at all, and most of the stuff mentioned in this thread is better anyway.

Different strokes for different folks, as they say. WSR is certainly not worth chasing, but I wouldn’t consider it in the bottom with many just barely 4yo bourbons. OWA is probably worth a bit over $30 to me in this market, but not worth the new MSRP of $50. However, BT has effectively eliminated the secondary market and hoarding of OWA in many places by increasing the price. I do expect the price to come back down in time. For me, W12 is definitely worth at least $40 in the current market, and maybe even $50. Name another 12yo bourbon that sells for less than $40...maybe some KCSiB PS in some markets, but that’s not going to be the case for future barrel picks.
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EarthQuake
3 hours ago, DCFan said:

Maybe in your neck of the woods but not in my state or a lot of other places as well.

We get shafted on allocated stuff generally in Iowa, but these are usually available, BT and ER especially. CEHT and 1792 are somewhat seasonal but easy enough to find if you're looking for them.

 

In any case, it's unreasonable to expect someone to know what is and isn't available in every market, which is why I gave multiple suggestions.

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EarthQuake
3 hours ago, lcpfratn said:


Different strokes for different folks, as they say. WSR is certainly not worth chasing, but I wouldn’t consider it in the bottom with many just barely 4yo bourbons. OWA is probably worth a bit over $30 to me in this market, but not worth the new MSRP of $50. However, BT has effectively eliminated the secondary market and hoarding of OWA in many places by increasing the price. I do expect the price to come back down in time. For me, W12 is definitely worth at least $40 in the current market, and maybe even $50. Name another 12yo bourbon that sells for less than $40...maybe some KCSiB PS in some markets, but that’s not going to be the case for future barrel picks.

I'll preface this by saying I'm not a big fan of wheaters, and BT's wheated mash has never impressed me. So take my opinion with a big ol' grain of salt.

 

In my mind, WSR is on par with Ancient Age, Old Grandad BIB, VOB, etc. Most definitely a bottom shelf bottle. That's not to say it's bad whiskey (there are plenty of decent bottom shelf pours) or that there isn't anything worse, but it's on par with stuff in the $13-19 range, and when it was priced accordingly, it was a decent value. Sure, there are some bottles that are significantly more expensive and not any better (nearly all craft bourbon), but once you get above $20 there are better choices, like WT101, BT, OF100, etc. Even if we restrict it to wheaters there's David Nicholson 1843 and Rebel Yell 100, which I'll take over WSR any day of the week.

 

OWA/W12 at $30-40 makes sense if you're a big fan of the line, for sure. But in my opinion at least, there's so much on the shelf in that price range which is as good or better. Then you have the opportunity cost of the hunting for these overhyped bottles, and it's really not worth it to me at that point.

 

Yeah, W12 has a 12 year age statement, but it's just an age statement, it doesn't bestow magical powers on the bourbon or the drinker. I would still rather have Russell's 10, Eagle Rare, Four Roses Small Batch, Four Roses Single Barrel, CEH Taylor Small Batch, Old Ezra 7 BP, 1792 BIB or SiB, etc, and yeah, all manner of lovely Knob Creek Single Barrels - two local stores got 15 year picks recently, I picked up 3 bottles on sale at $35 each, and a few from the other store at $40. Both KCSB picks are much, much better than W12, and I didn't even have to wait in line, enter a lottery, or pay exorbitant secondary prices to get one.

Edited by EarthQuake
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MDBourbon

In regards to WSR, based on lower proof and the profile the OP mentioned. I think it's a great choice,  everyone has their own opinion, I get it. I wouldn't pay more than $30 but  IMO it's worth trying and I find a lot of new bourbon drinkers find it very approachable as a neat pour.  

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FasterHorses
8 hours ago, lcpfratn said:


Different strokes for different folks, as they say. WSR is certainly not worth chasing, but I wouldn’t consider it in the bottom with many just barely 4yo bourbons. OWA is probably worth a bit over $30 to me in this market, but not worth the new MSRP of $50. However, BT has effectively eliminated the secondary market and hoarding of OWA in many places by increasing the price. I do expect the price to come back down in time. For me, W12 is definitely worth at least $40 in the current market, and maybe even $50. Name another 12yo bourbon that sells for less than $40...maybe some KCSiB PS in some markets, but that’s not going to be the case for future barrel picks.

I just dont have a taste for WSR.  It has no depth and no interesting taste profile to me. It’s bland and i’d rather have a beer or topo chico. OTOH  I would probably buy a W12 every week at $50 until I got tired of it, which I cant imagine. OWA is great when you get a good one and quite unenjoyable when you get one thats too hot and unbalanced. Im not knocking weller.. just hate to think what that SR could grow up to be but never will.  

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DCFan
16 hours ago, EarthQuake said:

In any case, it's unreasonable to expect someone to know what is and isn't available in every market, which is why I gave multiple suggestions.

Of course but if anyone has spent even a modicum of time on this board one can pick up that BT products are getting harder to find.

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Richnimrod
3 hours ago, DCFan said:

Of course but if anyone has spent even a modicum of time on this board one can pick up that BT products are getting harder to find.

'...are getting harder to find'?   :o   Hell in many markets the brands from The Buffalo have been very difficult to source for several years.    Indeed around my area, they've actually become a bit easier to find over the last couple months.   Not saying they're filling shelves that in years past were often full; but at least showing up in somewhat larger numbers from time to time.

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EarthQuake
7 hours ago, DCFan said:

Of course but if anyone has spent even a modicum of time on this board one can pick up that BT products are getting harder to find.

Again, this is why I gave multiple suggestions - and numerous from BT just in case you can't find one, you can probably find one of the others, if not every day, then perhaps on occasion. As Rich mentions, in some areas certain BT brands are getting easier to find.

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DCFan
11 hours ago, Richnimrod said:

'...are getting harder to find'?   :o   Hell in many markets the brands from The Buffalo have been very difficult to source for several years.    Indeed around my area, they've actually become a bit easier to find over the last couple months.   Not saying they're filling shelves that in years past were often full; but at least showing up in somewhat larger numbers from time to time.

In good ole Virginny we just got word that Weller Full Proof will go in a lottery drawing in a couple of weeks. 240 bottles for the whole freaking state. Meanwhile after perusing the ABC website if I want to get a bottle of BT I'll have to drive 49.4 miles to get a bottle (they have 11 in stock in Colonial Beach ;) ).  ER is a little better since there are 2 stores that each have 5 bottles in stock and I'll only have to drive a little over 13 miles in opposite directions to get some. I'm glad you can find it on the shelf in your neighborhood.  :) 

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Richnimrod
2 hours ago, DCFan said:

 I'm glad you can find it on the shelf in your neighborhood.  :) 

Uh, didn't say that, exactly.   :mellow:

I said it is showing up from time to time ... twice in the last 4-months for BT, once for OWA, and a half-dozen bottles of BT each time, 3 of OWA  (not counting a barrel pick we did of OWA, when we got several dozen bottles... which were gone in two days).   Zero W-12, only one bottle (once) of WSR (that I'm aware of at my retailer).    So... not tons, or what I'd call frequently; but, better than it was for several years, when those amounts might be seen annually... or so.   So, this amounts to an improvement during the last few months or so; compared to the several years prior.

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DCFan
6 hours ago, Richnimrod said:

Uh, didn't say that, exactly.   :mellow:

I said it is showing up from time to time ... twice in the last 4-months for BT, once for OWA, and a half-dozen bottles of BT each time, 3 of OWA  (not counting a barrel pick we did of OWA, when we got several dozen bottles... which were gone in two days).   Zero W-12, only one bottle (once) of WSR (that I'm aware of at my retailer).    So... not tons, or what I'd call frequently; but, better than it was for several years, when those amounts might be seen annually... or so.   So, this amounts to an improvement during the last few months or so; compared to the several years prior.

Hell, Pappy shows up in Virginny "from time to time".  🤣

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Richnimrod
4 hours ago, DCFan said:

Hell, Pappy shows up in Virginny "from time to time".  🤣

There ya' go!   Not necessarily 'often', or 'frequently'; but better than 'never', right?  :)

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