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Bourbon Recommendations ??

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Bourbon Recommendations ??

Postby Mr Ellen » Sun Mar 12, 2006 8:49 pm

After reading quite a few posts here on the forum and especially after reading Jim Murray's Whisky Bible I thought it was time to spend some money on a few Bourbons.
As I am new to Bourbons I would like your opinions on what to buy.

I understand George T Stagg, Evan Williams and Elijah Craig belong to the top choices but would like to hear your opinions on these and others that I ought to try out. If you have tasting notes on a few I would be more than happy.
I browsed through the FAQ but couldn't find an update on Bourbons available today.

Any good onlineshops in Europe??

Perhaps a list of your Top 5 Bourbons regardless of price.... :idea:

Look forward to your entries. :roll:

Cheers...
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Postby Virginia Gentleman » Sun Mar 12, 2006 11:13 pm

If you can find the original 101 proof Wild Turkey Russell's Reserve 10 year old I would say get that. Elijah Craig 12 year old is great. Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel and Wild Turkey Rare Breed are very good to.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Mar 13, 2006 2:18 am

You might stop by here, where there is lots of bourbon info, including tasting notes:
http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/index.php

More generally, some good things about bourbon are its affordability (most 'top-shelf' brands -- with a handful of exceptions, of course -- can be had for $50 or less) domestically, variety (not all bourbons contain the same ingredients -- most are flavored with rye, but some with wheat, and straight rye is a very close kin), and long traditions (most distilling families go back at least to Prohibition in the 1920s and '30s. For example, Heaven Hill's master distiller has always been a Beam, Buffalo Trace distilled DURING Prohibition, Jimmy Russell has been with Wild Turkey more than 50 years).

I'll suggest some 'mid-shelfers': quality whiskey that won't strain the purse-strings:
  • Standard rye recipe bourbon: Wild Turkey 101 (or 8yo outside the U.S.), Jim Beam black label, Evan Williams Single Barrel, Old Forester
  • Wheated recipe bourbon: W.L. Weller 12yo, Maker's Mark
  • High-rye recipe bourbon: Old Grand-Dad, Bulleit
  • Straight rye (more than 51% rye): Rittenhouse Bottled In Bond (100 proof), Wild Turkey


Any of these would be representative of its style, and there are examples both higher- and lower-priced to experience once you've determined which you prefer, in any.
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Re: Bourbon Recommendations ??

Postby Jan » Mon Mar 13, 2006 9:09 am

Mr Ellen wrote:I browsed through the FAQ but couldn't find an update on Bourbons available today.


Yeah, well, had not gotten around to finishing/posting the bourbon section - it's there now. Also finally figured out how to do "inter-post" links, so have added quicklinks to the different sections. :D

Cheers
Jan
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Postby PFC » Mon Mar 13, 2006 10:08 am

Hi!
The bourbon availability at Systembolaget (swedish monopoly retailer of spirits) is truly a sad sight. That being said, a few gems appear from time to time. I've noticed that there still are some "Buffalo Trace" lying around on the shelves. It's about 10 years old and has a rather dry and elegant style. At 309 skr it's a real bargain. Unfortunately it's been discountinued (just like Woodford Reserve and Weller 12) so you need to act fast. Another endangered species is Evan Williams Single Barrel 1995.
The special order assortment is a bit better but due to ridiculous pricing I can only recommend Wild Turkey Rare Breed at 425 skr and Elijah Craig 12 Years at 319 skr (not my personal favourite though).

As for on-line ordering, The Whisky Exchange i London has a decent variety of bourbons. Old Charter Proprietors Reserve 13 yrs is great value and so is Wild Turkey 12. The shipping costs to Sweden are rather high (starts at about 25 GBP) but the delivery is fast and reliable.

/Mats
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Postby Frodo » Mon Mar 13, 2006 11:55 am

I like all the ideas already posted although I've never tried any Wild Turkey except Rare Breed and the basic stuff. Never tried the Rittenhouse either. Having said that, I like he options listed in the afore-mentioned posts.

Here would be my choices to encourage a newbie...

- Evan Williams Single Barrel
- Makers Mark
- Elijha Craig 12yr

If you have more $$, Eagle Rare 10yr.

If you want to go up a step in terms of body, Elmer T. Lee or - perhaps - Bakers.

Geprge T. Stagg and Bookers are considered by many to be "top of the heap", but have flavours that don't apologize (never had GTS).
Last edited by Frodo on Mon Mar 13, 2006 12:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bourbon Recommendations ??

Postby Frodo » Mon Mar 13, 2006 12:02 pm

Mr Ellen wrote:Perhaps a list of your Top 5 Bourbons regardless of price.... :idea:

Cheers...
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1&2) Bookers and Blantons
3) Evan Williams Single Barrell
4&5) Elmer T. Lee and Eagle Rare (haven't had ER in a while)

Notable repect to Elijha Craig 12, Rowan's Creek, and Bakers (did I really say "Bakers"?)
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Postby bamber » Mon Mar 13, 2006 12:38 pm

I would not use the rye vs. wheat distinction but focus on high end bourbons from the major distilleries to get an idea of the flavour profiles available.

Personally / IMO if you really don't like either of the options I would not bother with the other products from that distillery.

Wild Turkey: Russell Reserve or Rare Breed or 12yo
Buffalo Trace: George T. Stagg or cheaper option Buffalo Trace
Heaven Hill: Elijah Craig 12yo or Evan Williams Single Barrel
Four Roses: Four Roses SB
Makers Mark: 1976 Vintage Bourbon or Red Label
Jim Beam: Knob Creek

Others that have more complex origins that I think are worth a go:

Old Rip Van Winkle 10yo 107
Pappy Van Winkle 23yo
Old Granddad 114
Weller 12yo
Weller 7yo antique 107
Noah's Mill

Ryes:

Sazerac 18yo
Van Winkle Family Reserve 13yo

I think all the above whiskies are fantastic and worthy of attention.

But my list of often recommended best avoided goes:

*IMO* Pappy Van Winkle 20yo *IMO* - drinkable certainly but a bit flat and uninspiring. The worst of the Van Winkle offerings by a country mile. A BIG bourbon friend of mine tried this blind at whisky live and he literally tried to wrestle the 15yo off me.

*IMO* Jim Beam Black Label *IMO* - "So much better than the white label". Maybe but possibly my 2nd from bottom whisky (with white label happily flat out on the deck). Just hate it.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Mar 13, 2006 1:54 pm

I have just opened an Elijah Craig 12yo and it is stunning. The nose and taste are good, but unremarkable. The finish, though, is incredibly long, sweet and vanilla, some toffee popcorn. Stunning stuff.

My favourite Bourbon so far is Bookers, which was sweet and complex but without relying on rye. It was warm and toasty and the flavours came in waves. The slightest dram lasts forever, with a superlong finish - the strength and dryness makes it impossible to drink in large quantity.

Buffalo Trace was excellent too, but relied heavily on the fruity bitterness of rye.

Rebel Yell was disappointing - the novelty of the strawberries that JM identified soon wore off, and it was rather a drab drink that took ages to finish.

Wild Turkey 18?? is a bit all over the place, with no consistent theme and a general lack of integration.

Woodford Reserve is excellent and archetypal Bourbon - corn and wood.

Jack Daniels is great, but rather oversweet.

Jim Beam Black has very good vanilla notes.

Four Roses single barrel is glorious - honey and vanilla with a long finish

One day, I will break into my GTS stash!
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Postby jimidrammer » Mon Mar 13, 2006 5:35 pm

My wife and I have a friendly rivalry, she likes Booker's and I like George T Stagg. Actually they are both so close I'd call it a draw on any given day, one or the other leading depending on the pour. Both great! Eagle Rare 17yo, Old Weller Antique 107, & Buffalo Trace are very good, too. Knob Creek and Maker's Mark are a notch below, IMO. Some days a very good Bourbon is more to my mood than a large portion of my Scotch. Don't shoot me. :wink:
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Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Mon Mar 13, 2006 5:46 pm

I've had George T Stagg 141.2, Woodford Reserve, William Larue Weller 121.9 Maker Mark Black 47.5 and red seal.

Woodford Reserve seems to be very popular but for me the Makers Mark Red Seal is fabulous. Really rich christmas cake mix fruit taste with lovely spice behind it.

This is fairly easy to come by too.

William Larue Weller is cracking stuff too but premium and hard to get.

Try WhiskyAuction.com you might get some bargins on that. Check the world section.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Mar 13, 2006 6:33 pm

irishwhiskeychaser wrote:I've had George T Stagg 141.2, Woodford Reserve, William Larue Weller 121.9 Maker Mark Black 47.5 and red seal.

Woodford Reserve seems to be very popular but for me the Makers Mark Red Seal is fabulous. Really rich christmas cake mix fruit taste with lovely spice behind it.

This is fairly easy to come by too.

William Larue Weller is cracking stuff too but premium and hard to get.

Try WhiskyAuction.com you might get some bargins on that. Check the world section.


Please tell me more about the GTS 141.2 and WLW 121.9 as I have unopened bottles of both (froim the same source as you!)
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Postby Mr Fjeld » Mon Mar 13, 2006 7:12 pm

I haven't had many bourbons but Maker's Mark is good. Edgefield Distillery Hogsead was also good but impossible to find unless you visit Oregon. I can wholeheartedly recommend Noah's Mill which I recently bought: Strong scent of plum and apricot - like in a fruity tea, intense vanilla and a lovely smell of fresh pipe tobacco - and sauna!

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Postby Badmonkey » Tue Mar 14, 2006 7:18 am

If I could put together a one-week rotation for bourbon it would look something like this:

Monday - Buffalo Trace, because it is a solid, workmanlike, delicious bourbon
Tuesday - Maker's Mark Black Seal. I like a lighter drink earlier in the week, and the wheated bourbons tend to fit the bill. Weller's is another good choice.
Wednesday - Wild Turkey Rare Breed. The Russell's Reserve seems to get better reviews, but I've never tried it.
Thursday - Eagle Rare. Very classy.
Friday - George T. Stagg, hands down. Damn, what a whisky!
Saturday - Knob Creek. It is not my favourite bourbon, but at least I can afford it.
Sunday - Elijah Craig 12, because the Reverand Elijah will bring you closer to God. I really believe that.
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Postby Mr Ellen » Tue Mar 14, 2006 12:42 pm

Thank you all for your recommendations.
Today I ordered a bottle of Evan Williams Single Barrel 1995 (approx £26.00) and a Buffalo Trace (approx £22.00). Hopefully I'll receive them before the weekend.
Anyway, I'll let you know what I think as soon as I've tasted them. :D
It would be nice to try the George T Stagg or William Larue Weller but they seem very hard to get, and also very pricey. :shock:
In my next order I will include a bottle of Elijah Craig 12y and Noah's Mill, the tasting notes of the Noah Mill really appeals to me...thank you Mr Fjeld :)

Regards...
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Postby bamber » Tue Mar 14, 2006 3:22 pm

You've got two quality bourbons there. Hope you like them !
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