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Bourbon

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Xmann
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Bourbon

Post by Xmann » Mon Jan 07, 2019 1:45 am

I've recently started drinking some tequila a couple nights a week while watching TV and relaxing.

I'm now interested in bourbon. Last night at a holiday party, I had Maker's Mark and I enjoyed it. So now my question is, what's a decent bourbon? I'm ok paying around $50 for a bottle. I go into my local liquor store and I'm completely overwhelmed.

What a good recommendation?

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Re: Bourbon

Post by Jaymann » Mon Jan 07, 2019 1:53 am

Drink it with a scotch and a beer.
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Re: Bourbon

Post by pr0ner » Mon Jan 07, 2019 1:56 am

Woodford Reserve Double Oaked would be a mighty fine choice, though it may be a bit over the $50 suggestion (Virginia charges $57 for a 750 ml bottle)
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Re: Bourbon

Post by pr0ner » Mon Jan 07, 2019 1:56 am

Jaymann wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 1:53 am
Drink it with a scotch and a beer.
I doubt xmann is George Thorogood.
Hodor.

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Re: Bourbon

Post by Ænima » Mon Jan 07, 2019 2:01 am

Can’t go wrong with Blanton’s. It’s around $50 in California, but not sure elsewhere. For a little less, Four Roses is quite good. Start with the small batch and work your way up to the single barrel, which is strong, but oh so delicious. 😋

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Re: Bourbon

Post by McNutt » Mon Jan 07, 2019 2:10 am

For $50 you can get some very good bourbon.

Buffalo Trace - $20
Four Roses Single Barrel - $35
Noah's Mill - $50
Pure Kentucky XO - $35
Rowan's Creek - $40
Stranahan's (not bourbon, but close in flavor profile) - $50
Tin Cup - $25
Wild Turkey 101 - $20, but a nice bottle to have on hand.

I have had very few bourbons that I have not liked. My $60 Booker's is going to taste better than my $20 Buffalo Trace, but I will still reach for that Buffalo Trace without hesitation.

One thing to keep in mind is how strong you like your bourbon. Most spirits are going to be around 80 proof. It's not hard to find bourbons that are anywhere from 90-115 proof. The higher proofs make for great slow sippers. Take a very small sip and let it sit in your mouth for awhile. A glass can last you for an hour and you'll be amazed at the lingering flavor.

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Re: Bourbon

Post by GreenGoo » Mon Jan 07, 2019 2:28 am

Jaymann wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 1:53 am
Drink it with a scotch and a beer.
Especially if you're alone.

I think I've convinced myself that I like bourbon, but since I haven't had any in probably 20 years, I don't actually know.

Since I don't even know if I like it, the sum total of my knowledge of bourbon is that it exists.

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Re: Bourbon

Post by Xmann » Mon Jan 07, 2019 2:30 am

How much do you put in a glass? Couple shots worth?

What about ice? I don't want to over dilute it. I put 4 cubes in my tequila. Is there a standard for ice? I use ice that my freezer automatically makes. Should I buy a tray and make smaller cubes? Am I over analyzing ice?

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Re: Bourbon

Post by GreenGoo » Mon Jan 07, 2019 2:31 am

pr0ner wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 1:56 am
Jaymann wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 1:53 am
Drink it with a scotch and a beer.
I doubt xmann is George Thorogood.
Damn it.

Missed it by this " " much.

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Re: Bourbon

Post by Alefroth » Mon Jan 07, 2019 2:54 am

Buffalo Trace is one of my standards.

I got my wife Four Roses and Elijah Craig small batch versions for well under $50 even in WA. Both really solid, but I think I'd give the nod to Four Roses.

The It's Bourbon Night channel has been entertaining and helpful. Ralfy of Scotch fame is also reviewing other whiskies.

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Re: Bourbon

Post by Alefroth » Mon Jan 07, 2019 2:56 am

Xmann wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 2:30 am
How much do you put in a glass? Couple shots worth?

What about ice? I don't want to over dilute it. I put 4 cubes in my tequila. Is there a standard for ice? I use ice that my freezer automatically makes. Should I buy a tray and make smaller cubes? Am I over analyzing ice?
What do you want the ice for?

If it needs dilution I use a little water.

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Re: Bourbon

Post by MonkeyFinger » Mon Jan 07, 2019 3:01 am

Alefroth wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 2:56 am
Xmann wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 2:30 am
How much do you put in a glass? Couple shots worth?

What about ice? I don't want to over dilute it. I put 4 cubes in my tequila. Is there a standard for ice? I use ice that my freezer automatically makes. Should I buy a tray and make smaller cubes? Am I over analyzing ice?
What do you want the ice for?

If it needs dilution I use a little water.
And when he says a little, he means a little. I've known people who use an eye dropper, FFS, but it certainly doesn't take much to open it up. I'll pull a small chip out of the ice my wife keeps in the freezer for tea and use that.
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Re: Bourbon

Post by Smoove_B » Mon Jan 07, 2019 8:50 am

Xmann wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 2:30 am
I put 4 cubes in my tequila.
4? Are you drinking Tequila out of a tumbler? :D

I'd always ask why you're adding ice. If you're cooling it, you're changing the flavors. If you're adding water, you're changing the flavors. With ice, you're doing both. Whenever I try an new scotch/whiskey/tequila/gin, I'm trying it neat. I will follow a general recommendation to eventually add some water, but my preference for just about everything is to have it neat.

Regarding bourbon, I don't really have a taste for it, but I have enjoyed Blantons. I don't care for Makers or Knob Creek. I have a Basil Hayden Rye (which I like), but the Basil Hayden bourbon is supposed to be good as well.

When you're ready to talk gin, hit me up. :wink:

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Re: Bourbon

Post by McNutt » Mon Jan 07, 2019 8:56 am

Some people like their bourbon with ice. I hate cold bourbon. Totally up to you.

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Re: Bourbon

Post by Smoove_B » Mon Jan 07, 2019 9:03 am

Absolutely - and I apologize if I suggested personal preference isn't important. However, in my experience people seemingly just add water/ice to spirits because they think it's required. Do what you like; I'm just advocating for trying them different ways and figuring out an actual preference.

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Re: Bourbon

Post by GreenGoo » Mon Jan 07, 2019 9:23 am

See, unless you have some vested interest in tasting bourbon (or any drink, really) specifically and only for the definitive taste coming out of the distillery, I often wonder why people have such particular demands when drinking anything. Drink it the way you like it. Sometimes I eat my fry truck fries with ketchup, sometimes I put vinegar and salt on them. At no point do I think to myself "this is the way it's supposed to be eaten" or "these fry truck fries taste a certain way, it's a sin to douse them in hot sauce" or "that fry eater over there is doing it wrong, how uncouth".

Unless Xmann want's to become a "expert" on bourbon and discuss the cask flavours from one distillery vs another, does it really matter if he throws a couple of (undistilled water) ice cubes into the glass?

I get that alcohol, like many things, has a certain level of interest and discernment from the consumers of it, but that's for those who care enough to put in the effort. I don't begrudge those who want to savour their bourbon (or any drink, including wine) but it seems ridiculous to me that people care how other people drink their booze. Not that this thread is a particular example of this, I'm speaking in general terms.

Now, Xmann did ask for advice and the thread has produced that. Like I said, I'm not speaking to this thread specifically, and I think it's cool that people are interested in studying and discerning the various qualities of booze, any booze, I guess the point I'm trying to make is that I don't get the snobbery around it that results in people looking down their noses if people don't subscribe to that level of interest. Again, not you guys specifically.

Now if some rich, uncouth bastard buys a billion dollar bottle of wine and then swigs it from the bottle in a drunken binge, I get that the community is going to feel the loss of it. But a 10 dollar bottle of booze that would be a dime a dozen if it weren't ten dollars a bottle? Bathe in the stuff as far as I'm concerned.

I have the same questions for the same concepts that exist around BBQ. It seems weirdly judgemental to care how someone else does something. Of course if they *want* to learn how it's done, then have at it.

Clearly, I'm a heathen.

I'll also point out that I am *not* immune to the social pressure of doing something the "right" way. In fact I might be more susceptible than most.

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Re: Bourbon

Post by McNutt » Mon Jan 07, 2019 9:57 am

Bourbon is probably the least snobbish drink around. Ice, no ice, water, ginger ale? No problem.

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Re: Bourbon

Post by Xmann » Mon Jan 07, 2019 10:01 am

Yikes, I thought it was pretty standard to use ice to chill it. Sorry.

I don't want to dilute it, just to chill it. Never really considered putting the bottle in the freezer or having it warm.

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Re: Bourbon

Post by GreenGoo » Mon Jan 07, 2019 10:01 am

McNutt wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 9:57 am
Bourbon is probably the least snobbish drink around. Ice, no ice, water, ginger ale? No problem.
Sure, and like I said it's not really applicable to this thread, it just triggered the thought. Hopefully I made it clear that I think it's cool if people want to become aficionados about anything.

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Re: Bourbon

Post by LawBeefaroni » Mon Jan 07, 2019 10:03 am

I drink a lot of whiskey and consider myself pretty well versed. I love bourbon and rank it 3rd in its class behind Scotch and Irish. Kind of in a tie with rye.

Bourbon has taken off in popularity over the past decade or so. What was once the working man's whiskey is now in fashion and you have marketing and aficionados (and price hikes) to prove it. That last bit, the price hike that is basically an in-fashion tax, is what keeps me from overstocking my cabinet with burbon (see: Pappy Van Winkle). Like I said, I like the stuff and have been drinking it for a while but at any given price point I can find a Scotch or Irish that I like better.

I mean it has historically been a staple for mixed drinks. Hearing people decry adding a few cubes of ice is kind of funny. But I do always keep some on hand. Drink it how it feels good.
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Re: Bourbon

Post by AWS260 » Mon Jan 07, 2019 10:09 am

Lots of good suggestions here. I especially like Four Roses Small Batch, which is a cheaper than their Single Barrel but nearly as good.

In the not-technically-bourbon-but-might-as-well-be category, consider Jack Daniels Single Barrel.

If you're feeling adventurous, try a rye or wheat whiskey. You'll find some interesting contrasts compared to bourbon (which is mainly corn).
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Re: Bourbon

Post by Jeff V » Mon Jan 07, 2019 10:25 am

GreenGoo wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 9:23 am
Unless Xmann want's to become a "expert" on bourbon and discuss the cask flavours from one distillery vs another, does it really matter if he throws a couple of (undistilled water) ice cubes into the glass?
To me it makes little sense to buy something expensive if you're going to dilute it or add other pollutants. Bargain brands are fine for that. As you say, to each his own, but I won't pretend to understand it.

Over the past few years, with the rise of craft distilleries there are now lots of free or cheap "tastings" for various species of booze (similar to craft beer or wine tasting events hosted at various liquor stores and the like). You might seek those out, especially if you decide to make a hobby of it.

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Re: Bourbon

Post by $iljanus » Mon Jan 07, 2019 10:35 am

Xmann wrote:Yikes, I thought it was pretty standard to use ice to chill it. Sorry.

I don't want to dilute it, just to chill it. Never really considered putting the bottle in the freezer or having it warm.
You could always put the glass in the freezer for a bit and do a pour into that.

I prefer it neat but the Founding Fathers fought to give you the right to drink it as you please. And it's not like the more serious debate about whether or not to put ketchup on your hot dog.
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Re: Bourbon

Post by Jaymann » Mon Jan 07, 2019 10:39 am

pr0ner wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 1:56 am
Jaymann wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 1:53 am
Drink it with a scotch and a beer.
I doubt xmann is George Thorogood.
But he may be John Lee Hooker.
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Re: Bourbon

Post by Isgrimnur » Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:30 am

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Re: Bourbon

Post by Xmann » Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:44 am

Do you guys just pour an amount you think you'll be drinking or is there an amount that's recommended?

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Re: Bourbon

Post by Kurth » Mon Jan 07, 2019 12:07 pm

A second vote for Basil Hayden. Excellent.

But, for the money, my favorite, by far, is Eagle Rare 10 Year. I don’t think there’s a better bourbon out there for the $30-$40 price it goes for.

Also, as far as ice/water/neat, it’s all a matter of preference. I always taste a new bourbon (or scotch) neat, but I really enjoy drinking it over a big block of ice. Not the small freezer cubes, but a massive cube that melts really slowly. But, again, it’s all subjective. Whatever you enjoy is the right way to drink it.
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Re: Bourbon

Post by xwraith » Mon Jan 07, 2019 12:13 pm

Kurth wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 12:07 pm
A second vote for Basil Hayden. Excellent.

But, for the money, my favorite, by far, is Eagle Rare 10 Year. I don’t think there’s a better bourbon out there for the $30-$40 price it goes for.

Also, as far as ice/water/neat, it’s all a matter of preference. I always taste a new bourbon (or scotch) neat, but I really enjoy drinking it over a big block of ice. Not the small freezer cubes, but a massive cube that melts really slowly. But, again, it’s all subjective. Whatever you enjoy is the right way to drink it.
Basil Hayden is my wife's favorite, while Eagle Rare is mine.

My wife wants to sample some Pappy's -- but the cost has always dissuaded us.

On the other hand Eagle Rare comes from the same distillery, and is bottled on the same line (iirc).
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Re: Bourbon

Post by McNutt » Mon Jan 07, 2019 12:13 pm

Pour as much as you like. I rarely go beyond two fingers (1-2 Oz).

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Re: Bourbon

Post by noxiousdog » Mon Jan 07, 2019 12:47 pm

This is my wheel house.

I've been looking for a place to link to The Whiskey Vault. This is basically a marketing channel for Rex and Daniel to make money, but they are really entertaining and they do a great job of providing information. They do all whisk(e)y, but since they are in America they do way more bourbon than they would like. Both are primarily peaty Scotch guys.

Anyway...

Regarding ice.... The problem with ice is that when it's cold you do not taste all the flavors as it numbs your tongue. That being said, the right way to drink it is the way you like it. I'd suggest that if you prefer it with ice, then it's not necessary to buy expensive whiskey as you won't enjoy the full experience.

I like many of the bourbon's previously listed. I am not a fan of Buffalo Trace, but I'm definitely in the minority.
Michter's US-1 is my favorite in the inexpensive class.
Maker's 46 is my favorite cheap one.
AD Laws 4 grain straight bourbon is my absolute favorite (so far).

Other's previously recommended that I like:
Basil Hayden's
Noah's Mill
Rowan Creek
Blanton's (not that I can buy this anywhere any more. They literally laugh at us when we ask in a liquor store. Some restaurants/bars have it)
Woodford Reserve (all of them)
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Re: Bourbon

Post by McNutt » Mon Jan 07, 2019 12:54 pm

Blanton's is one of the few that I just do not like. Nice bottles though.

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Re: Bourbon

Post by Alefroth » Mon Jan 07, 2019 1:22 pm

LawBeefaroni wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 10:03 am

I mean it has historically been a staple for mixed drinks. Hearing people decry adding a few cubes of ice is kind of funny.
I got the impression he wasn't going to make cocktails. Who was decrying it?

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Re: Bourbon

Post by Alefroth » Mon Jan 07, 2019 1:24 pm

GreenGoo wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 9:23 am

Unless Xmann want's to become a "expert" on bourbon and discuss the cask flavours from one distillery vs another, does it really matter if he throws a couple of (undistilled water) ice cubes into the glass?
No one is saying it's the wrong way, but if that's the experience he's looking for, he might not need to spend $50.

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Re: Bourbon

Post by GreenGoo » Mon Jan 07, 2019 1:27 pm

$iljanus wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 10:35 am

I prefer it neat but the Founding Fathers fought to give you the right to drink it as you please. And it's not like the more serious debate about whether or not to put ketchup on your hot dog.
Damn it. You've shown me for the hypocrite I am. Now I feel shame.

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Re: Bourbon

Post by noxiousdog » Mon Jan 07, 2019 1:28 pm

LawBeefaroni wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 10:03 am
I mean it has historically been a staple for mixed drinks. Hearing people decry adding a few cubes of ice is kind of funny. But I do always keep some on hand. Drink it how it feels good.
It depends on whether you want to fully taste a cocktail (which has a recipe which may or may not have ice by design) or if you want to fully taste the whiskey.

But I agree with drink it how it feels good.
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Re: Bourbon

Post by GreenGoo » Mon Jan 07, 2019 1:31 pm

Alefroth wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 1:24 pm

No one is saying it's the wrong way, but if that's the experience he's looking for, he might not need to spend $50.
Good point, and Jeff made it too, it's possible I didn't understand the OP the first time I read it.

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Re: Bourbon

Post by Kraken » Mon Jan 07, 2019 1:37 pm

Xmann wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 10:01 am
Yikes, I thought it was pretty standard to use ice to chill it. Sorry.

I don't want to dilute it, just to chill it. Never really considered putting the bottle in the freezer or having it warm.
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Re: Bourbon

Post by Isgrimnur » Mon Jan 07, 2019 1:42 pm

Isgrimnur wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:30 am
I know a guy looking to close up shop that sells whiskey stones.
:coffee:
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Re: Bourbon

Post by Kraken » Mon Jan 07, 2019 2:50 pm

Isgrimnur wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 1:42 pm
Isgrimnur wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:30 am
I know a guy looking to close up shop that sells whiskey stones.
:coffee:
Hah! I replied to Xmann as soon as I saw the opening, and then quit reading the thread because I was in a rush. I like whiskey, and I appreciate finer spirits, but I'm not very discerning. I'm (almost) as happy with a $18 per 1.5 liter bottle of Seagrams as I am with $50 per 750 ml of something fancy. I can taste the difference, sure, but not $82 worth of difference. Scotch, bourbon, blended whisky, rye, even brandy...it's all good, and mostly interchangeable when I want to sip a shot of spirits.

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Re: Bourbon

Post by Alefroth » Mon Jan 07, 2019 3:53 pm

Xmann wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 1:45 am
I I'm ok paying around $50 for a bottle. I go into my local liquor store and I'm completely overwhelmed.

What a good recommendation?
Honestly, if you went into a liquor store and spent $50 on a bottle, it's very unlikely you'd be disappointed. Try some out and see what you think.

As far as amount goes, I use a Glencairn glass and fill it about to the widest part of the bulb.

Dilution isn't a bad thing, it can really reveal some subtle flavors that get hidden by the alcohol burn (and Science). Like Monkeyfinger says, it just takes a small amount. I usually go with less than a teaspoon for a 90-92 proof bourbon.

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