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Trying to spend my holiday bonus


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OK Guys....I have read all the threads,know (most) of your preferences pretty well, so I am asking advice from my Straightbourbon.com expert bourbon pals. I got my pathetically small Christmas bonus today. After I lamented how much it sucks being a Catholic school teacher, I decided that I deserved a prize from the bourbon aisle. I haven't bought a couple of the well known products, so I decided to go with Booker's or Rare Breed. I have had Booker's and remember it being awesome...I started bourbon drinking with Wild Turkey and Knob Creek. (Not counting the Jack Daniels from the flask during LSU games). So I guess I want some input. You just got 65 bucks for teaching punk 14 yr. old boys, what do you go with...Booker's or Rare Breed?

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Given those two choices I'd say Rare Breed. Have you access to Wild Turkey's new small batcher Russell's Reserve? If you do I like that much better than Rare Breed, and you can but two bottles for your $65 and have $10 leftover. If you haven't had Wild Turkey's Kentucky Spirit and you want to blow $50 on one bottle *this* is the one! Russell's Reserve is very very close to Kentucy Spirit and half the price. A great bourbon bargin!

Linn Spencer

Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

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Kentucky Spirit is about 42 bucks. I haven't found Russell's Reserve anywhere yet. You recommend KY Spirit over the Rare Breed?

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I agree with Linn on this one. In fact, I'd rate them: Kentucky Spirit, Russell's Reserve, Rare Breed in that order. These are all fine bourbons, you can't go wrong with any of them.

Another thought. For $65 you should be able to buy two "rare birds"..... Rare Breed and Eagle Rare.

Ahhh, so many bourbons, so little time (and money).

Bill

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Yes I Do Chris! It's such great tasting bourbon. Rare Breed is good but it's just a barrel proof bottling of the regular six year old. Admittedly the barrels are specially selected. Kentucky Spirit is the usual 101 (Turkey) proof & each barrel is selected by Jimmy Russell himself. He's very good at it.

Linn Spencer

Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

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Chris, (1) teaching at a major university I don't get a holiday bonus so it all sounded good to me (2) Yau may have made your purchase by the time I post this but... given your statements I'd buy Rare Breed over Bookers only because Bookers is purposely inconsistent (proof varies, etc.) and Rare Breed is a sure thing. As Chuck says neither would be a mistake. Inconsistent is still "consistently interesting" but you asked for opinions and a forced choice so that's mine. Wish I was coming to LA for Christmas as I'd bring you a bottle of Ky Spirit which is on sale here for $26. I agree with Linn on Spirit over Breed.

Man would I like to be in New Orleans next week. ...Walk through the Lobby of the Fairmont Hotel, grab a bourbon in front of the fireplace at the Absynthe on Bourbon Street.... oh, well.

Happy Holidays!!!

Greg

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Linn:

> Rare Breed is good but it's just a barrel proof bottling of the regular six

> year old.

I was under the impression that the Rare Breed is a blend of different ages of WT from six to twelve years old. Too much wood on the Rare Breed for it not to include at least a little older stock.

Might as well shoot off my mouth about my opinions on Rare Breed vs. Booker's while I'm at it. Personally, I'd take Rare Breed if you're only going to have a couple bottles around the house at a time. It's a fantastic all-around bourbon for any occasion, whereas I have to be in a certain mood for Booker's, great as it is.

As for the WT bourbon rankings, I'd put Rare Breed and the Russell's Reserve tied for first, with Kentucky Spirit and the 12 YO tied for second. I've been really let down on a couple of the Kentucky Spirit bottlings which came out really thin and even slightly tannic. It can be quite good depending on the barrel chosen, but I've never had a bottling as good as a Rare Breed, and I've drank my way to the bottom of a lot of Kentucky Spirit bottles. IME, Kentucky Spirit doesn't offer proper value for money as often as it should. The 12 YO can be too woody for certain moods, but at times it really hits the spot as no other bourbon can.

Finally, if I were going to spend $65 on bourbon, I'd forget all of the above and grab a Hirsch 16 YO, no question about it.

Stotz

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That's what I was told at the distillery Ryan. The additional oak is more a function of the higher proof. Would WT tweek the flavor profile with a barrel or two of older stock? That's likely, but the the vast majority of the bourbon in that bottle is six years old.

While I've noted some variance in Kentucky Spirit bottlings I've never had a bad bottle. As I've pointed out before our bourbon is far more consistant than are we humans. Can you be sure that it wasn't you who was feeling thin and tannic that day? I've never had any bottle of Wild Turkey that wasn't big & bold.

Linn Spencer

Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

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Linn:

> That's what I was told at the distillery Ryan. The additional oak is more a

> function of the higher proof.

How would the oakiness be a by-product of higher proof? In my experience, I've not found proof and oakiness to be directly proportional, but then again maybe I need more experience.

> Would WT tweek the flavor profile with a barrel or two of older stock? That's

> likely, but the the vast majority of the bourbon in that bottle is six years

> old.

I have no problem believing Rare Breed is mainly six to eight years old, but I have it on pretty good authority that there's a healthy dose (something on the order of 20 - 25%) of older bourbon in there.

> While I've noted some variance in Kentucky Spirit bottlings I've never had a

> bad bottle. As I've pointed out before our bourbon is far more consistant

> than are we humans.

To be sure. While I wouldn't classify some of my lesser KS bottlings as bad, they were clearly of far inferior quality relative to other bottles.

> Can you be sure that it wasn't you who was feeling thin and tannic that day?

Well I always feel thin, but a little baking soda got my tannic problem under control. I have a few different open bottles of KS at any given time (no, I didn't win the lottery, but when one finds KS on sale for $25.00 per bottle, one tends to take leave of one's senses with regards to how much bourbon he really needs), and the differences in taste and quality are consistent over time.

Then again, I'm the one who loves Rebel Yell, W.L. Weller Reserve, Weller Centennial and 19 YO Weller, but won't touch Weller Antique with a ten foot pole. Of course given that I'm only a 5'10" Pole (Grandma's name was Malinowski -- uh, her surname, that is) I'll occasionally have a drop to see if my palate's changed. Taste is funny thing.

Stotz

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Chris, I'd get Booker's, especially if it's on sale, say around $38. Bookers is so concentrated, one shot goes a long, long way. It's like getting nearly two bottles in one. I always add a little water and ice to release the flavor hidden behind the 125 + proof. Once you tone down the heat, Bookers is IMO, every bit as delicious as the WT.

Ryan, I got the 19-year-old Weller on order, hoping it's as good or better than the Centennial. I plan to uncork it after the holidays. What do you think of it? Is it too woody?

Omar

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Got to get my two cents worth in. If you want a rare bird, why not consider Eagle Rare 17 year old? It is available in New Orleans and costs less than $40 a bottle.

Ken

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I had some 19 YO Weller at D Marie's tonight. It is woodier than the 10 YO but not unpleasantly so. I still prefer the Centennial.

Mike Veach

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I had some of the Eagle Rare at the BARD Society meeting tonight. It is excellent!!! I think it is as good or better than the 19 YO Weller and I am a Weller fan.

Mike Veach

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Linn,

This is not a wheated bourbon but it does have a lot of sweetness from the corn that balances out the woodiness that comes from age. I liked it and was quite impressed. This is some of Elmer T. Lee's finest work.

Mike Veach

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Linn:

> My authority is Jimmy Russell himself.

That's a pretty good authority.

> Who's yours?

An acquaintance who worked with the brand at Austin Nichols. Frankly, I doubt either of them would own up to the true percentage as it's likely considered something of a trade secret. In the end, the fact that it's a damn good bourbon is all that matters.

Stotz

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Omar:

> Ryan, I got the 19-year-old Weller on order, hoping it's as good or better

> than the Centennial. I plan to uncork it after the holidays. What do you

> think of it? Is it too woody?

Finally just got it myself, but my limited experience with it tells me no, it's not too woody. That formula seems to handle wood extremely well. It's as good as the Centennial, but better is a tough call. It's very different. The Centennial and the other expressions of that formula, to me, have a distinctive tobacco/wine taste to them that I don't get out of the 19 YO. The 19 YO tastes of rich dried fruit and spice; in fact, if I'd tasted it blind I'd have guessed it was a rye formula. I've only had a couple pours, though, so my taste may change. My high opinion of it, however, won't.

Stotz

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Mike said, "... This is some of Elmer T. Lee's finest work"

Welllllll... maybe; maybe not. &nsp; According to Chuck, Sazerac bought the Eagle Rare brand in 1989, which would have been about seven years after that bourbon was made. I think it may have been Ova Haney's finest work :-))

On the other hand, when I mentioned that to Linda she said, "..Unless the only thing Sazerac bought was the label? If that were so, then I suppose they could put any 17-year-old Ancient Age bourbon they wanted in the bottle. So maybe it is Elmer's."

Okay Ken, help us solve this mystery. Just where did that beautiful-tasting whiskey in the Eagle Rare 17 bottle come from?

=John=

http://w3.one.net/~jeffelle/whiskey

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