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All About Bourbon Whiskey


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Was helping out at a cocktail competition yesterday and tried a fantastic bourbon and cocktail made with it: Reservoir  From Richmond, VA, very young, but deep, complex, balanced, and this bourbon-basher really liked it! 

 

The cocktail is called "A Jones for Lenore" by Torrence Swain, a DC bartender, in the "Craft Spirits of Poe" competition. Here's what went in:

 

Bourbon (I assume 2 oz)

1/2 oz yellow chartreuse

1/4 oz? Ango

Lime of unknown quantity (presumably 1/2-3/4)

served up, garnished with a clove-studded lime wheel.

 

Amazing drink.  Too bad the bourbon is $90 a bottle though  :hmmm: I find it rather unreasonable that a whisky that's so young it doesn't even have the word "straight" on it is selling for that much.

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Was helping out at a cocktail competition yesterday and tried a fantastic bourbon and cocktail made with it: Reservoir  From Richmond, VA, very young, but deep, complex, balanced, and this bourbon-basher really liked it! 

 

The cocktail is called "A Jones for Lenore" by Torrence Swain, a DC bartender, in the "Craft Spirits of Poe" competition. Here's what went in:

 

Bourbon (I assume 2 oz)

1/2 oz yellow chartreuse

1/4 oz? Ango

Lime of unknown quantity (presumably 1/2-3/4)

served up, garnished with a clove-studded lime wheel.

 

Amazing drink.  Too bad the bourbon is $90 a bottle though  :hmmm: I find it rather unreasonable that a whisky that's so young it doesn't even have the word "straight" on it is selling for that much.

 

I did not find it to be as interesting as you apparently did. Maybe it would work in a cocktail although at the unbelievably high price they are charging it isn't really even reasonable to use it for that purpose. I did not think it very good on its own. Indeed "unreasonable" is probably the kindest thing I could say about it...

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. ~Mark Twain

Some people are like a Slinky. They are not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs...

~tanstaafl2

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Well I don't like normal bourbon too much so maybe its unreasonable-ness is why I liked it?

 

Always a possibility. Every palate is different!

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. ~Mark Twain

Some people are like a Slinky. They are not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs...

~tanstaafl2

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  • 5 years later...

I recently got into bourbon after years of avoiding it based mostly on the crap I was exposed to in bars.  Recently picked up Wild Turkey Rare Breed and really loving it's nose, complexity and smooth long caramel finish.  A crazy value at ~$40 if you can find it.   It easily competes w other cask strengths at double or more the price.  Anyway, that's just one of my stock pile.  Is anyone drinking bourbon and what do you like? Cheers!

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That wasn't chicken

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On 5/14/2021 at 2:16 PM, Eatmywords said:

Is anyone drinking bourbon and what do you like?


I like bourbon, prefer it over all other whisk(e)y I've tried, but my tastes in bourbon are like my tastes in most other spirits... not as refined as they probably should be. I only drink spirits in the context of cocktails and I'm not a big fan of many of the glass full of one booze with half a drop of something else added to whisper in the general direction of being a cocktail type drinks so a lot of the pricey spirits feel like wasted dollars in the context they'd be used by me. Without going to the cabinet to verify, I believe I have Jim Beam Black, Wild Turkey 101 and Maker's Mark right now.

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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Bourbon is way undervalued, I think.

Lots of varieties. And you don't have to spend a zillion on Pappy, which is nice, but not that nice.

I agree with @Tri2Cook, the less expensive stuff is pretty good.  I like Woodford, Knob Ck, Basil Hayden, Booker's.

BTW, I've found that a glass of Pappy is pretty cheap in Canadian bars.

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On 5/15/2021 at 5:16 AM, Eatmywords said:

I recently got into bourbon after years of avoiding it based mostly on the crap I was exposed to in bars.  Recently picked up Wild Turkey Rare Breed and really loving it's nose, complexity and smooth long caramel finish.  A crazy value at ~$40 if you can find it.   It easily competes w other cask strengths at double or more the price.  Anyway, that's just one of my stock pile.  Is anyone drinking bourbon and what do you like? Cheers!

 

I haven't been drinking a lot but my go-to bourbons are Russel's Reserve, Buffalo Trace, Wild Turkey/WT-101. I have a couple of others that I'm not as fond of so I should really drink them up. Bourbon is expensive here.

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It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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21 hours ago, Tri2Cook said:


I like bourbon, prefer it over all other whisk(e)y I've tried, but my tastes in bourbon are like my tastes in most other spirits... not as refined as they probably should be. I only drink spirits in the context of cocktails and I'm not a big fan of many of the glass full of one booze with half a drop of something else added to whisper in the general direction of being a cocktail type drinks so a lot of the pricey spirits feel like wasted dollars in the context they'd be used by me. Without going to the cabinet to verify, I believe I have Jim Beam Black, Wild Turkey 101 and Maker's Mark right now.


Agree, either neat or once in a while couple drops of water or tiny cube esp if high proof or cocktail with several parts.  My process is to try everything neat a couple times than allocate to mixer or straight.  (I have enough bottles now I can do that easily : )   My favorite sippers currently are that Rare Breed and Old Forester 1920.   (The OF is highly touted in the 'bourbon world' right and for good reason.  At around $60 it drinks like a much more expensive bottle.  For a spl occasion sipper I highly rec to grab now before this release is gone).   

 

Friday night I made spin on a Kentucky mule with Old Grandad Bonded, Canada Dry Bold (a new release that is close to ginger beer and great for ginger ale lovers like me) fresh lemon juice, splash of grand mariner, 2 shakes of  angostura, lemon wedge.  It was really nice.   Had to warn my guest after pounding one that OG was a 100pr and he'd be ubering home if he didn't pace himself. 😁 

That wasn't chicken

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12 hours ago, gfweb said:

Bourbon is way undervalued, I think.

Lots of varieties. And you don't have to spend a zillion on Pappy, which is nice, but not that nice.

I agree with @Tri2Cook, the less expensive stuff is pretty good.  I like Woodford, Knob Ck, Basil Hayden, Booker's.

BTW, I've found that a glass of Pappy is pretty cheap in Canadian bars.


Totally agree on the value and variety. There is a tremendous amount of good bourbon available esp in the under $40 range.  As a long time scotch/irish whisky fan I'm finding the higher proof bourbons (90pr and on) are more interesting from a profile and complexity perspective.  I want to try the Woodford Double Oak and I have the Knob Creek 9yr (100pr) which is a great sipper and at $30 a real steal.  I have Basil Hayden and find it well balanced.  A good entry level w the low proof.  Would love to try the Pappy sometime to see what the hype is all about but until I win lotto w be holding off.  

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That wasn't chicken

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7 hours ago, haresfur said:

 

I haven't been drinking a lot but my go-to bourbons are Russel's Reserve, Buffalo Trace, Wild Turkey/WT-101. I have a couple of others that I'm not as fond of so I should really drink them up. Bourbon is expensive here.

 

It's interesting how the pricing varies so much even just here throughout the states let alone overseas.   Buffalo Trace is a solid bourbon and value ~$30.  (Finished a 375l recently : )  Gets much love by the pros in the entry level as well the WT101 which was one my few disappointments (relegated to the 'mixer' team). I find it tad harsh, hot and young but find in cocktails.  I know I'm in the minority on that one.   Heard great things about Russel's and looking frwd to trying it.     

 

As I mentioned, one guy I've learned much from on youtube is this Jason C - Mash and Drum. His vids are so informative and his palette is impressive.  His recs on the mark w my likes.  Here's a good one on Best Values should anyone be interested 

 

 

 

 

 

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That wasn't chicken

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4 minutes ago, Eatmywords said:

WT101 which was one my few disappointments (relegated to the 'mixer' team). I find it tad harsh, hot and young but find in cocktails.

Totally agree.  I usually keep Elijah Craig on hand, the 94 proof one that used to say 12 yrs before they removed the age designation a number of years ago.  I should try some others but since I mostly use them in cocktails, I don't need to get too fancy. 

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NAFTA turned Jack Daniels into bourbon even though its <51% sour mash.

 

Still tastes like bananas to me

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38 minutes ago, blue_dolphin said:

Totally agree.  I usually keep Elijah Craig on hand, the 94 proof one that used to say 12 yrs before they removed the age designation a number of years ago.  I should try some others but since I mostly use them in cocktails, I don't need to get too fancy. 

Yes, a few years ago EC dropped the age statement to keep it affordable by combining younger blends but only as low as 8yrs so still nicely aged for entry level.  Called Small Batch now.  I think it's great neat since it's only 94pr (w sounds crazy to anyone not used to going over 80pr for anything).  Was one of my first purchases at $27. It's got nice depth with the classic profile of caramel, vanilla, nuts, baking spices, etc.  A real bargain.  I'd love to try one barrel proof release sometime.

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43 minutes ago, gfweb said:

NAFTA turned Jack Daniels into bourbon even though its <51% sour mash.

 

Still tastes like bananas to me

Never got it w JD.  It shouldn't be lumped in the bourbon cat. It's labeled 'Tennessee Whiskey' and sweeter than bourbon due to it's finishing process. (Otherwise the mashbill is similar).  Had it maybe 5x in my life. Always off-putting.  Although the barrel select stuff is getting much praise right now.  Would try that.

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That wasn't chicken

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7 hours ago, Eatmywords said:

 

It's interesting how the pricing varies so much even just here throughout the states let alone overseas.   Buffalo Trace is a solid bourbon and value ~$30.  (Finished a 375l recently : )  Gets much love by the pros in the entry level as well the WT101 which was one my few disappointments (relegated to the 'mixer' team). I find it tad harsh, hot and young but find in cocktails.  I know I'm in the minority on that one.   Heard great things about Russel's and looking frwd to trying it.     

 

 

You can more or less double prices here and there seems to be an extra charge if you go over 40%. I agree that Wild Turkey is harsh but sometimes with bourbon that is a good thing. Or maybe I just convinced myself of that when I was young and stupid. But I think if you age it too much it can get kind of bland.

It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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8 hours ago, Eatmywords said:

Never got it w JD.  It shouldn't be lumped in the bourbon cat. It's labeled 'Tennessee Whiskey' and sweeter than bourbon due to it's finishing process. (Otherwise the mashbill is similar).  Had it maybe 5x in my life. Always off-putting.  Although the barrel select stuff is getting much praise right now.  Would try that.

 

As a native Tennessean, I have a sort-of fondness for Jack Daniels, but you have to know how to drink it. It goes down well neat, or with one or two ice cubes and maybe a spritz of lemon to tame the sweet.

 

Not a bourbon fan in general, as I find it too sweet, but I tend to keep Elijah Walker (for drinking) and Knob Creek (for cooking) on hand. I will drink them only if I run out of Scotch, vodka and rum.

 

If I'm going to drink a whiskey straight, or over a couple of rocks, I'd much prefer one of the Highland malts. But I will confess bourbon, or Bulliet rye, is nice to have on hand for a Manhattan.

 

On the other hand, there's a helluva lot to be said for a good shot of dark Jamaican rum with lime....

 

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19 hours ago, kayb said:

 

As a native Tennessean, I have a sort-of fondness for Jack Daniels, but you have to know how to drink it. It goes down well neat, or with one or two ice cubes and maybe a spritz of lemon to tame the sweet.

 

Not a bourbon fan in general, as I find it too sweet, but I tend to keep Elijah Walker (for drinking) and Knob Creek (for cooking) on hand. I will drink them only if I run out of Scotch, vodka and rum.

 

If I'm going to drink a whiskey straight, or over a couple of rocks, I'd much prefer one of the Highland malts. But I will confess bourbon, or Bulliet rye, is nice to have on hand for a Manhattan.

 

On the other hand, there's a helluva lot to be said for a good shot of dark Jamaican rum with lime....

 

Haha, well you have to like JD or they'll deport you.  I've tried to find 'a way' but have the opposite take.   It's unbearably sweet while bourbon (decent/good bourbon) is less so.  It's expected as Tennessee whiskey is sweeter based on the sugar maple filtration used in the style. 

 

I think you mean Elijah Craig (I couldn't find Walker) and really like the small batch 94pr (as mentioned above).  If that's not what you have I highly rec.  

 

I love scotch too and Irish whiskey/tequila/rum.  Maybe I was bored w covid but when I discovered bourbon I found it had more dimensions and profiles than my aged scotches.  I think that's mainly due to the higher proofs allowing for big complexities and longer finishes.  I'm still trying to figure out what's drawing me as my wife gives me the stink eye when I come home with another bottle. 

 

I've started appreciating ryes too.  I have the Old Forester which I'm really liking mixed or neat.  I've also tried the Rittenhouse and like it a lot.  Both around $25 which is crazy to me when I compare what kind of scotch I can get for the price range.  Johnny Red? No, thx. 

 

As for rums, I'm seeing more and more aged small batch stuff coming out meant for sipping.  I'm going to have to pick something up.  Any recs?  Anyone? Buehler?  😁

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On 5/17/2021 at 3:24 AM, haresfur said:

 

I haven't been drinking a lot but my go-to bourbons are Russel's Reserve, Buffalo Trace, Wild Turkey/WT-101. I have a couple of others that I'm not as fond of so I should really drink them up. Bourbon is expensive here.

Nice selections, every one of them. Bourbon that is excellent and won’t break the bank.  I’m a fan of WT 101.  Enough rye and proof to keep it interesting and you can’t beat the price 

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4 hours ago, Eatmywords said:

As for rums, I'm seeing more and more aged small batch stuff coming out meant for sipping.  I'm going to have to pick something up.  Any recs?  Anyone? Buehler?  😁

 

I'm not one much for sipping rum.  And rum comes in so many styles.  However some older rums/rhums I have are Pusser's 15, Neisson 18, and Appleton Joy.

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14 hours ago, scubadoo97 said:

Nice selections, every one of them. Bourbon that is excellent and won’t break the bank.  I’m a fan of WT 101.  Enough rye and proof to keep it interesting and you can’t beat the price 

 

Just about everything you read or watch on WT101 agrees which is why I was so disappointed when I couldn't jump on the wagon.  For the abv it's thin, runs hot yet finishes quick.  I wondered if the the recipe or some process changed on the newer releases.  I've come across a couple comments agreeing so I wonder.    

That wasn't chicken

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On 5/17/2021 at 5:20 PM, gfweb said:

NAFTA turned Jack Daniels into bourbon even though its <51% sour mash.

 

Still tastes like bananas to me

 

That's the only reason I keep it - to beef up banana flavours in desserts. A bottle generally lasts a long time...

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