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All About Bourbon Whiskey

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Went to buy a bottle of Appleton Friday night. They were out, so in lieu of that I bought some Rebel Yell Bourbon.

The label on the bottle says: Fourteen years before the great victory at Chickamauga et c.

Long before the American Civil War, the preference among Southern Connoisseurs was for smooth, mellow bourbons, golden in color and rich in taste. This whiskey is made according to the original recipe and method in one of Kentucky's oldest distilleries, first established in Louisville in 1849.

Strong but slow-spoken, Rebel Yell takes a long time to mellow, so you in turn, should take your time enjoying the fine, deep flavor of one of America's most authentic bourbon whiskies. Take a glass and explore a piece of history.

Of course, I bought it as a novelty, and remember my brother having a bottle back in the 60's.

Anyone here ever tried it?

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I have tried it on several ocassions.  Now that I think of it, I don't know if there is a bourbon whiskey that I haven't tried.  Rebel Yell is ok.  The best bourbon for the money is Maker's Mark, no contest.  If money is no object then there are several that I like:  Jefferson Reserve, Woodford Reserve, Evan Williams Single Barrell, Blanton's; Pappy Van Winkle, Booker's, Basil Hayden's, Knob Creek.

Maker's is ultra-smooth which I like because I drink my bourbon neat or on the rocks.  Its smoothness comes from the use of soft winter wheat instead of rye.  Maker's is really too smooth for use in an Old Fashioned.  For those I like something with a little more kick like Bookers.

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Yup, it is produced by United Distillers here in Louisville.  Rebel Yell has that same smoothness found in Maker's Mark because it also uses winter wheat instead of rye grass.

However, it doesn't have as good of flavor profile because it is more mass-produced and not aged in barrell as long.  of course, the trade off is that it is cheaper.

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  • 4 months later...

I couldn't find a bourbon thread, only odd mentions here and there. I love bourbon. Other than wine, for me it's the one alcoholic beverage that makes you realize instantly that it's a food. Manhattans are nice, but at home I drink it neat, late at night -- sipping likker, and actually sit in my rocking chair and think or write.

I keep either Knob Creek or Maker's Mark at home. Knob Creek used to cost a lot more, but now I can find it discounted -- I used to prefer it, but it doesn't taste quite as rich and filled with corn as it used to. When I have money, I like to have a bottle of Baker's around -- it tastes like bourbon brandy to me, and I drink that after dinner.

I've tried Evan Williams and was disappointed, and for sour mash, preferred Jack Daniels to George Dickel (too sweet).

Haven't tried Bookers -- some people say it's the best bourbon around. The best I ever tasted was A.H. Hirsch.

I cook with bourbon also, might as well, it tastes so good. I use it in desserts -- cherry clafoutis, whisky cake with ground brazil nuts; and in marinades or sauces for pork. My favorite gravy for turkey is turkey broth and drippings, sweet corn, apple cider vinegar and bourbon.

Anyway, my bourbon bottle is almost empty and I need to get a new one. I might try Bookers -- is it really that good?

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Here's a true "travel" story. I used to handle travel for large groups. This particular group was an association of 2500 attorneys in the state of Texas. They were having their annual convention at the Marriott Casa Magna in Cancun. The president of the association (a big name Texas lawyer who you might have even heard of) insisted that we call the bar at the Marriott and ask them if they had Weller's bourbon. If not, he said, we had better figure out a way to get it down there. The bartender at the Marriott said that they didn't have Weller's but added that they did have a "very fine selection," naming off at least fifteen other brands.

The president wouldn't budge. And not only did he want enough for himself, he liked treating his friends to his favorite brand of bourbon. It's not all that easy transporting cases of spirits between countries, however, so we wound up smuggling a case of Weller's bourbon into Mexico just for this guy.

And here's a bourbon recipe from my family. It's my grandmother's "Bourbon Punch." (Granny never DID like a lot of fruit in her punch....just plenty of punch in her punch. :biggrin: )

Bourbon Punch

1 fifth good-quality bourbon

2 6-oz cans frozen lemonade (in the way-old days, she made up a lemon syrup for this part, but as soon as frozen lemonade became available, she ditched the syrup for the convenience of the frozen product)

2 quarts club soda

Night before, put bourbon in freezer and club soda in fridge. At serving time, combine all ingredients and mix well.

Serve with garnishes (cherries, lemon or orange slices, mint leaves) and bucket of ice alongside.

Here's another easy one:

Bourbon Cup

In brandy snifter, highball glass, or other dessert dish, put scoop of vanilla ice cream. Splash with bourbon. Sprinkle some dry instant coffee on top.

Oh, and always put a little bourbon in the sweet potatoes.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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I used to find bourbon too sweet, when my palate was more accustomed to Scotch, but I have grown fond of it since I've been in the States. Makers Mark at home - mint juleps, manhattans and straight up - but I often order Wild Turkey in bars. I always drink Wild Turkey in the bar at Sardi's. Why? Because I am compulsive-obsessive. :sad:

I have not explored aged bourbons. Is there much merit in moving to old and/or single batch varieties?

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Once at the end of a very unscientific and lengthy bourbon tasting, I got treated to a shot of the 20 years old A.H. Hirsch bourbon. Even in the state I was in, I could taste it was something special.

Is anyone familiar with Booker's? Is it really that much better? (Discount liquour store has it more than double the price of Knob Creek.)

Yeah, bourbon in sweet potato casserole with pecans at Thanksgiving. In fact, bourbon in nearly everything at Thanksgiving.

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To quart of eggnog, add 1 cup bourbon, 1/2 cup rum, 1/4 cup brandy.

All three are nice - rum for flavor, brandy for kick, but only the bourbon is absolutely indispensable.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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and for sour mash, preferred Jack Daniels to George Dickel (too sweet).

Neither Jack Daniels nor George Dickel are bourbons. (And it's not clear that is what you are saying) They are Tennesee whiskeys and bourbons are also sour mashes.

Most of what's in quotes comes from this book by Gary and Mardee Regan, the rest of these thoughts/facts come from various distillers I have spoken to throughout the years. Wherever I use the word 'only' it is to the best of my knowledge. I love bourbon and do believe the AH Hirsch to be the finest I've tasted, both the 16 and the 20 year. That being said, I think Basil Hayden makes a tremendous DRY manhattan.

"Sour Mash: Think of sour mash as “Whiskey DNA” in the same way sourdough starter used in bread making is “sourdough DNA” Sour mash is a measure of the liquid called backset that is a byproduct of the 1st distillation of the a previous batch of whiskey. It is “set back” into a subsequent batch of mash, along with some fresh yeast, to help get fermentation going on it’s own particular “genetic” or “family” path."

"On January 7th, 1964, the 88th congress of the United States of America passed a “concurrent resolution” declaring that bourbon whiskey “is a distinctive product of the United States and is unlike other types of alcoholic beverages, whether foreign or domestic; and whereas to be entitled to the designation ‘Bourbon whiskey’ the product must conform to the highest standards … and whereas Bourbon whiskey has achieved recognition and acceptance throughout the world as a distinctive product of the United States … it is the sense of Congress that the recognition of Bourbon whiskey as a distinctive product of the United States be brought to the attention of the appropriate agencies.”

"Straight Bourbon: Federal Law requires that bourbon must contain at least 51% corn in the grain recipe. The other grains used are malted barley and either rye or wheat, although law does not stipulate this. Most bourbon mashbills contain more than 51% corn. The spirit must finish its second distillation at no more than 160 proof. The spirit must be aged, at no more that 125 proof, for a minimum of 2 years in charred new American White oak barrels. If the whiskey is aged for less than four years the age of the whiskey must be stated on the label. No coloring or flavoring may be added to straight bourbon whiskey. Straight bourbon must be bottled at a minimum of 80 proof."

"Straight Tennessee Whiskey: Must conform to the same regulations as bourbon, and although corn need not be the predominant grain, it always is. However, before it is aged, Tennessee whiskey is filtered through huge vats that contain at least 10 feet of sugar maple charcoal, in a procedure known as the Lincoln County Process."

In terms of flavours and mashbills Here are some loose guidelines:

CORN which must make up 51% of the mashbill gives bourbon it's sweet notes

RYE Aromatic spice notes, pepper

MALTED BARLEY is there only to make sugars for the yeast to feed.

WHEAT Soft, silky texture

I saved wheat for last because it is predominant in Makers Mark which is the only wheated bourbon I am aware of. Most Bourbons have a mashbill of corn, rye, barley.

The Makers Mark mashbill is: Corn 70%, Wheat 16% and barley 14%

The Jack Daniels Mashbill is: Corn 80 Rye 8 Barley 12

BOOKERS is only unfiltered whiskey, barrel strength at 121-127 proof

BASIL HAYDEN: High rye in mash bill great for manhattans

BAKERS: Very sweet notes, good for cognac lovers

KNOB CREEK: Won national Manhattan contest.

AH HIRSCH: Only Pot Stilled Bourbon.

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Christopher, thanks, that's what I was trying to say. Have you ever tasted the Booker's? Someone told me it was kind of rough -- the bourbon you'd like on a camping trip. (High proof?) As I said, I really like to sit around and sip bourbon late at night. My current bottle is nearly empty and I'm leaning toward getting a bottle of Booker's. The book you quoted gives it a 96 rating and says "a deep, rich nose with a complex mix of sweet vanilla, rich butter, oak, honey, caramel, leather, cloves, and a wonderful orangy backdrop..."

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Have you ever tasted the Booker's?  Someone told me it was kind of rough --

I've found Bookers to be a bit hot. So I am agreeing with the assesment that it is rough. I would go order a shot at a local bar and see how you feel before buying a whole bottle.

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I love bourbon - it's the one alcohol I can drink any season, anytime, anywhere.

Though I've tried a number of them, I always head back to Makers Mark.

I like my Makers cool -

I always order it with three rocks and a lemon twist.

At the restaurant where I worked, the liquor rep knew my fondness for the stuff and gave me a bottle of Makers Gold with my name printed on it. Unfortunately the bottle didn't last that long it was sooo good...

Basil Hayden definitely for Manhattans, although I don't like it for just sipping.

Bookers I too find a little hot, although it does seem the one the boys I hang with like to drink when everyone starts throwing back shots - they like the idea of a woman going round for round with them with a high proof bourbon (another one of those silly macho things I guess)

I have two dishes at the restaurant with bourbon.

One is a bread pudding with pears, walnuts and a wicked bourbon sauce

The other is a Wild Turkey pot pie - Turkey, wild mushrooms, and a good slug of Wild Turkey in the cream sauce - it's pretty godam good.

See ya at the bar.


We need to find courage, overcome

Inaction is a weapon of mass destruction

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It is strange the way people react to women drinking bourbon. I always get double takes when I order it at a bar. What's also interesting is people don't usually say they love vodka or rye in the same way people say they love bourbon. The pot pie sounds delicious. What kind of a crust do you use for it? I make a bourbon sauce for my bread pudding also, it's a Louisiana recipe with a little lemon peel, yellow raisins and sweet coconut flakes and it puffs up like a souffle when it's done. I add a little bourbon just at the end to peach jam and pear jam and pour some over chocolate pound cake at the end.

Since I can't make up my mind, I'm going to get a bottle of Knob Creek (the discount liquor store on Broadway below 8th Street has a great price) and a bottle of Booker's. I'll let you know about the Booker's next week.

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Yeah! Another bourbon gal...

In regards to reaction from ordering bourbon - funny isn't it?

I think because as it's somehow construed as a 'ballsy' drink and I tend to drink it straight I get a look of either shining admiration or complete horror and fear :wink:

The same goes when I order tequila (which I also only drink chilled and straight)

(Of course none of this has to do with my behavior after I've been drinking :laugh:)

Peach jam with bourbon? YUM!

I use a puff pastry crust brushed with a little cream for the top of the pot pies.

Curious to know what you think of the Booker's...


We need to find courage, overcome

Inaction is a weapon of mass destruction

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Then I used to take the peach jam and cook it down with a little butter and put it in the bottom of a cake pan. Then I'd make a buttermilk biscuit dough, roll it out into a thin rectangle, rub soft butter on it and then sprinkle chopped toasted pecans and brown sugar on it, roll it up into a log, cut it into 1-1/2" pieces and put them on top of the peach jam in the cake pan with a little more brown sugar and butter pieces sprinkled on the top, bake it, and then turn it immediately upside down and eat hot. Jammy biscuits.

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makers Mark and a few cubes :wub:

Brings back some fond memories (I think)Bourbon/Molassas duck breast,Vanilla smashed sweet potatoes with simple orange segments,pecan buttered green beans and a chilled glass of Mr Makers :raz:

Turnip Greens are Better than Nothing. Ask the people who have tried both.

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  • 2 months later...

Expand your bourbon experience beyond Jim Beam's Small Batch and Wild Turkey. Try any of the following, which are fantastic:

W.L. Weller

Rebel Yell

Eagle Rare

Rip Van Winkle 10 yr, 10 yr 107, 12 yr Rye, 15 yr

Wild Turkey Russel's Reserve

Old Charter 12 yr or 13 yr

Old Granddad 114

Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel

Elijah Craig Single Barrel

Ezra Brooks Single Barrel

Jefferson's Reserve

Hancock's Reserve

Black Maple Hill

Classic Cask

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