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All About Bourbon Whiskey


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I recently purchased a small production single-barrel bourbon, Eagle Rare 10 year old. . .

funny you should mention this--i bought a bottle of this just last week. katie had recommended it a long time back, but i hadn't seen it around the liquor stores in a while. it's freaking excellent, and only $20 here in pennsylvania. i'ma buy it again and again. the price point is perfect for drinking straight, making cocktails, or even if it comes down to it, cooking without feeling like you're wasting TOO much money. excellent stuff.

my only complaint is that the bottle is too tall to fit in my liquor cabinet...

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and only the strong suspicion that I'd need to buy another bottle immediately has stopped me from trying it in a bourbon ice cream.

Bread Pudding with a Bourbon Vanilla Sauce, man:

I had this last week at Pampy's in New Orleans.

... oh my God. I've been thinking of making a bread pudding with Pepperidge Farm's dark wheat bread -- I wonder how a bourbon sauce would go on that?

Seriously, the only thing keeping me out of the kitchen to find out right now is the sheer amount of fruit I bought at the Farmer's Market, which would go to waste if I made some other dessert.

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Upthread there was a discussion on bourbons, scotch and cognac. I started drinking cognac and armagnac before bourbons and found them to be smoother (even the armagnacs). Then I tried the Pappy Van Winkle's family reserve...smoothest bourbon I had tasted thus far...almost like a fine cognac.

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I guess my Top 5 would include:

1. Pappy Van Winkle's Family Reserve

2. Elmer T Lee - single barrel sour mash

3. Woodford reserve

4. Maker's Mark

5. Eagle Rare

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1 & 2 . Knob Creek (I like this very much and always get it on sale for $17.99).

3. Wild Turkey 101

4. Maker's Mark

5. Bulliet

Thanks,

Kevin

DarkSide Member #005-03-07-06

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One I've had recommended to me recently is the W.L. Weller 12 Year.

It comes in around $18/750ml here. Anyone tried this? Does it compare to Maker's Mark or Knob Creek?

I wasn't pleased with Wild Turkey 101 for mixing, so am looking for something else.

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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I recently purchased a small production single-barrel bourbon, Eagle Rare 10 year old. . .

I've a bottle of this as well, and I can't agree enough with Jason--this stuff rocks.

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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In case anyone is interested, the 2004 Brown Spirits winners from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition (flash site) can be found here.

I realize it's just another competition (and a short-lived one at that), but I found the following noteworthy:

DOUBLE GOLD

BEST BOURBON - Old Forester Small Batch Bourbon, Kentucky, USA ($15)

GOLD

Evan Williams Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Kentucky, USA ($12)

Virginia Gentleman Small Batch Bourbon, USA ($20)

SILVER

Jim Beam Black Label Bourbon, Kentucky, USA ($18)

Knob Creek Small Batch Bourbon, Kentucky, USA ($26)

Van Winkle Family Reserve Single Barrel American Whiskey, Kentucky, USA ($85)

BRONZE

Basil Hayden's Small Batch Bourbon, Kentucky, USA ($32)

Jim Beam White Label Bourbon, Kentucky, USA ($13)

Maker's Mark Small Batch Bourbon, Kentucky, USA ($20)

Old Forester Straight Bourbon, Kentucky, USA ($12)

Beam Black is close enough in price to Beam White (and significantly better) that I've always wondered why anyone bothers with the White. Then again, with the DOUBLE GOLD winner being $15, I also wonder why anyone would then in turn bother with Beam at all. Then again, Bourbon is a pretty subjective drink, in my opinion.

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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I've a bottle of this as well, and I can't agree enough with Jason--this stuff rocks.

Well boys, it's only $19.99 in PA and available in "regular" state liquor stores so you could theoretically just cross the border and stock up.

We could have it for party favors when we get around to having that mandatory staff meeting... :cool:

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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I haven't tried many bourbon's so far, but here are my top picks:

1. Eagle Rare Single Barrel 10 Year (thanks for the recommendation Katie - so far, this bourbon can't be beat for $20)

2. Van Winkle Family Reserve 12 Year

3. Woodford Reserve

4. Evan Williams 1783 10 Year (at $11 a bottle, this is the perfect bourbon for mixing)

5. Maker's Mark

A couple others I'm really looking forward to trying are Buffalo Trace and Bulleit. They are both in my comfortable price range.

Has anyone tried the Buffalo Trace? I haven't really seen anyone mention it.

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Here's my list.

1) AH Hirsch 16 year old Reserve

2) Rip Van Winkle 12 year old

3) Eagle Rare 10 year old ( a revelation for the price)

4) Knob Creek 9 year old 100 proof

5) Old GrandDad Straight

Truth be told I should rank Woodford Reserve ahead of Old GrandDad but price considerations make GrandDad my "House Bourbon" so it gets the #5 spot.

''Wine is a beverage to enjoy with your meal, with good conversation, if it's too expensive all you talk about is the wine.'' Bill Bowers - The Captain's Tavern, Miami

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A friend of mine, who's been going to U of Kentucky, is sending me a bottle of "Kentucky Pride", but I can't find any info on the net. Is this a good bourbon or is it rot gut?

"Homer, he's out of control. He gave me a bad review. So my friend put a horse head on the bed. He ate the head and gave it a bad review! True Story." Luigi, The Simpsons

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So I now have three bourbons in the cabinet:

Woodford Reserve

Blantons

Kentucky Pride (which I haven't tried but my friend, who went to school at UK, swears by it).

"Homer, he's out of control. He gave me a bad review. So my friend put a horse head on the bed. He ate the head and gave it a bad review! True Story." Luigi, The Simpsons

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Evan Williams 7 yr. old is about the best "well" bourbon I've tried.  I prefer it for mixing with Coke or ginger ale, and drink the higher end bourbons when making Manhattans or sipping on the rocks.  Also only when I can afford them! :raz:

Just out of curiosity, why do people consider Evan Williams to be a lower-end spirit? Is it just because of the lower price and higher popularity? Or something else?

I mean, if I was simply to take it blind as a spirit not knowing anything about it's pricing or marketing, or even its style, the fact that it's aged 7 years, is unblended, is single-malt, is distilled to a relatively low proof, and is bottled at a higher proof than the legal minimum, to me this would maybe not qualify as a super-premium spirit, but definitely heads and shoulders above most low-enders.

What am I missing?

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Just out of curiosity, why do people consider Evan Williams to be a lower-end spirit? Is it just because of the lower price and higher popularity? Or something else?

I mean, if I was simply to take it blind as a spirit not knowing anything about it's pricing or marketing, or even its style, the fact that it's aged 7 years, is unblended, is single-malt, is distilled to a relatively low proof, and is bottled at a higher proof than the legal minimum, to me this would maybe not qualify as a super-premium spirit, but definitely heads and shoulders above most low-enders.

What am I missing?

Who cares about the conventional wisdom? If we're smarter than the conventional wisdom, then it to our advantage to keep it that way. Let others think EW is a low-end spirit... and it's price will stay pleasantly low. We'll know better, but who else? Who cares? :cool:

Edited by cdh (log)

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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I think of Evan Williams as an excellent value spirit. Now low-end, but not high-end either. For the money, it is hard to beat.

And although it is a bit more expensive, really like Ezra Brooks. Evan Williams has a bit too much sweetness in it for my tastes, but Ezra has a nice bite, and a few extra proofs (not that there is an effective difference between 80 and 86 really...)

As for my top 5....

Wild Turkey 101

Booker's

Baker's

Basil Haydn

Pappy Van Winkle

He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

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  • 2 weeks later...

i have to say, this is the last thread I of my creation I thought would survive for this long. I think it was my first ever.

anywho, i havent been imbibing a lot of spirits lately, but i did get a fantastic bottle of 10yo 10%rye from pappy van winkle. yummy.

i made splificators :)

Mark

"The Internet is just a world passing around notes in a classroom."

---John Stewart

my blog

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In the news:  Woodford's legal squabble regarding advertising.

I have maintained for a while that B-F's claims about letting people know that Woodford Reserve is not made at Labrot & Graham is bogus. We have visited the distillery twice--the first time shortly after they opened and again just last year. The place is gorgeous and well worth a visit. However, on both occasions they were very quick to change the subject when I asked about "how can you make an eight year old whiskey in a distilliery that just opened?" and "who makes the whiskey being sold as WR?". One of the docents was downright peeved that I actually noticed a problem in the date of production/sales. They hedged the question by saying it was "bottled" on site--which it is as they bring the barrels fr/ the distillery near Louisville to L&G and bottle it there.

When I asked at the gift shop, "when is the WR that is made on premise going to be available?" the lady was quite upset that I mentioned the fact and several of those who were in the gift shop were amazed. "You mean this is not the stuff made here?" was the standard question after I said what I did much to the chagrin of the sales people who quickly glossed over the subject.

So, their high & mighty assertions that they let every one know that the product w/ the WR label is NOT manufactured at L&G is, in a word, hogwash and good for some one for making note of the fact.

Yadda yadda. B-F has not been secretive about this. If the guides were not up to speed, that's a fault of training. The issue here is what makes a whiskey. It is the barrel, and the aging, that gives a whiskey up to 80% of its flavor and character. That's not my opinion, that is the opinion of a roomful of bourbon master distillers I had the honor to interview; there was over 250 years of experience in the room. WR is aged at WR, has been since they re-opened. Some was NOT aged there, but the point is, the barrels are selected for being in line with the WR flavor profile. That's how it's done everywhere that a distillery makes more than one whiskey. Even at Wild Turkey, where they only make Wild Turkey, barrels are selected as being candidates for Rare Breed, Russell's Reserve, and Kentucky Spirit.

As for being made at WR, the stuff on the market now is a blend of pot still and column still, all aged at WR. It's an excellent whiskey, and I'm happy to drink it. The distillers at B-F are very forthcoming with me, always have been.

Just to touch on something else, about marketing, and about expense. Bourbon and rye whiskeys are the biggest bargains on the spirits shelves. Maker's Mark is not the only wheated bourbon (Old Fitz is also wheated, as are most of the Van Winkle whiskeys), nor is it the only one that's well-marketed. Fact is, most bourbon sells for about half of what it should sell for, and rye is stupid cheap. You're getting great value for your money, even when you buy a bottle of Kentucky Spirit for over $50. Compare it to high-end Scotch whisky or cognac, and see what I mean.

Lew Bryson

I Drink for a Living

Somewhere in the world...it's Beer O'Clock. Let's have one.

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"rye is stupid cheap" ---which would you suggest

Basically, whatever you can get your hands on. You can usually find Old Overholt, Jim Beam, and Wild Turkey Rye Whiskeys in most places. The others -- Rittenhouse, Pikesville, Sazerac, Van Winkle, etc. -- are much harder to find (especially here in L.A.).

So, try whatever you can find, and go from there. IMO, Old Overholt is a great rye to start with. If you don't like that, chances are you're not going to like the others...

So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money. But when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness."

So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.

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1. favorite bourbon <$20

Evan Williams Single Barrel... no question. If you're reading this thread and have never tried it, you've got to get a bottle.

2. favorite bourbon <$30

Basil Hayden

3. favorite bourbon>$30

Booker's

Chris Sadler

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  • 1 year later...

Eagle Rare 10 year is now available at my Costco for $40 for 1.75 L which is equivalent to $17.14 for a standard 750 mL bottle. Maker's Mark is only $3 cheaper.

I agree with everyone above that Eagle Rare is a remarkable deal. I think I'll buy a gallon this time.

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Moving to New Hampshire has changed my drinking habits, because domestic stuff is SO much cheaper than any imported brands -- which means fewer Negronis for me, and more Old-Fashioneds.

Oddly, although I have a better whiskey selection than I had in Indiana, I can't get Blanton's. But my top five this year:

1: Knob Creek. You know how Cook's Illustrated breaks down their product comparisons by category? This pan's best for omelettes, but that one's best overall? This is my workhorse bourbon. Eggnog, sours, Old-Fashioneds, whatever, it's always just right. It's not always Best In Category, but it doesn't suck at anything.

2: Bulleit. I don't know anything about Bulleit, I don't know what its "frontier whiskey" subtitle indicates, and I don't know if it has an unusually high rye content -- but it's the rye-est tasting bourbon I've had, it makes a great Sazerac, and it's my favorite whiskey to try out a new bitters with. It's also my favorite to drink on the rocks, other than Blanton's.

3: Eagle Rare 10 year. Still the best buy, even here where everything's cheap.

4: Booker's. Damn fine sippin' whiskey.

5: Maker's Mark. This will sound like faint praise, but the best thing about Maker's is that you can get it at virtually every bar in the country.

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