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wormil
Sep 12, 2002

Hulk will smoke you!

Old thread here: http://forums.somethingawful.com/sh...hreadid=1833104

quote:

Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite and furthermore always carry a small snake.
-W. C. Fields

Brief Introduction

Whisky - a distilled spirit made from fermented grain mash and aged in oak barrels (Scotland, Japan, Canada)
Whiskey - the above but from Ireland or the United States
[note: the spelling tends to be cultural or traditional but especially in the US, they are sometimes used interchangeably.]

The main types of whisk(e)y you'll encounter are:
Scotch Whisky - distilled and matured in Scotland
Bourbon Whiskey - made from 51% corn and aged in new, charred, oak barrels; must be distilled and aged in the US, no requirement it be made in Kentucky
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bourbo...al_requirements
Tennessee Whiskey - bourbon made only in Tennessee and sometimes filtered through charcoal
Irish Whiskey - made in Ireland
Canadian Whisky - made in Canada
Single Malt - a whisky from one distillery made of malted barley
Blended - whisk(e)y mixed with another whisk(e)y or neutral spirit.
Single Barrel - what it sounds like, whiskey from one barrel, premium product but expect inconsistency
Small Batch - a whiskey, generally bourbon, mixed from a small number of select barrels, could also be a blend of whiskeys, there is no legal definition, normally produced as a premium product
Straight Whiskey (U.S.): Essentially a whiskey aged for 2 years in new oak barrels. The legal definition is longer but that's the gist.
American Rye Whiskey - made from 51% rye mash and aged in new, charred, oak barrels.
Canadian Rye Whisky - must possess the aroma, taste and character generally attributed to Canadian whisky. Basically this means it could be just about anything.

==============================
How to order whiskey in a bar:

Neat: whiskey and a glass, no ice, no water, room temp
Straight or straight up: whiskey strained over ice
[note: some bartenders may use "straight" when they mean "neat"]
On the rocks: whiskey and ice
Two fingers: whiskey, neat, in a glass poured to the height of 2 fingers, rarely used in bars but generally 2 oz. Three fingers would be 3 oz.

==============================


Some goon recommended introductory whisk(e)ys:
    Irish Whiskey:
  • Red Breast 12
  • Bushmills 10
  • Green Spot

    Canadian Whiskey:
  • Forty Creek Copper Pot
  • Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye

    American Rye:
  • Rittenhouse Rye Bond (Heaven Hill)
  • Sazerac Rye (Buffalo Trace)
  • Pikesville Rye
  • Russell's Reserve Rye

    Scotch blend:
  • J&B Rare Blend
  • Johnnie Walker Black
  • Islay Mist

    Mild Single Malt
  • Glenlivet 12 (15 or 18 for $$)
  • Aberlour 12 (sherry)
  • Balvenie 12 Double Wood
  • Springbank 10

  • Highland Park 12

    Peaty Single Malt:
  • Talisker 10
  • Lagavulin 16
  • Laphroaig 10 or Quarter Cask
  • Ardbeg 10

    Bourbon:
    Down on your luck friend (>$10):
  • Early Times

    About $10-19:
  • Ancient Ancient Age (made by Buffalo Trace)
  • Evan Williams
  • Fighting Cock 103 proof

    About $20-29:
  • Elijah Craig 12
  • Evan Williams 1783 and Single Barrel
  • Wild Turkey 101
  • Old Grand-Dad Bonded 100 proof

    About $30-$39:
  • Four Roses Single Barrel and Small Batch
  • Woodford Reserve
  • Russell's Reserve
  • Knob Creek
  • Jefferson's Small Batch

    About $40+ :
  • Bakers 107 proof
  • Rare Breed, barrel proof (112)
  • Kentucky Spirit Single Barrel
  • Bookers, unfiltered, barrel proof (121-130)
  • Woodford Double Oaked
  • Blanton's Single Barrel

    Bourbon acronyms:
  • EC = Elijah Craig
  • EW = Evan Williams
  • WT = Wild Turkey
  • OGD = Old Grand-Dad
  • 4R = Four Roses
  • Beam = Jim Beam (not an acronym)

wormil fucked around with this message at Aug 21, 2018 around 05:39

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wormil
Sep 12, 2002

Hulk will smoke you!

I made a new thread because I wanted to talk about this Evan Williams 1783 small batch and the old thread was done.

Anyway, being on a budget this month I decided to try something less expensive than my usual drinks and found this expression of Evan Williams (86 proof and 10 years old) on the shelf for $13. It's a screwcap whiskey (I'm biased) and I wasn't fond of the regular Evan Williams when I tried it a year or two ago but I have to say that this is unexpectedly tasty. The flavors aren't very complicated and it's a bit on the sweet side but really there is nothing offensive about it and I would definitely buy this again.

wormil
Sep 12, 2002

Hulk will smoke you!

Hirsute posted:

As a native Kentuckian I strongly feel that you should add the phrase "must be distilled in Kentucky" to the description of bourbon please TIA.

Bourbon doesn't have to be distilled in Kentucky, just in the US, common misconception. Tennessee whiskey does have to be distilled in Tennessee.

indoflaven posted:

Scotch is always made in oak barrels that have previously been used to make bourbon.

By legal definition though, it only has to be aged in oak barrels, they can be used or new.
http://www.scotch-whisky.org.uk/swa...uidance2009.pdf


I had started writing a more comprehensive OP but it got too long. The wikipedia articles on various whiskeys are easy enough to find if someone wants in depth reading.

wormil
Sep 12, 2002

Hulk will smoke you!

indoflaven posted:

My mistake. I went to a Glenlivet tasting and they said they only use bourbon barrels for scotch. Fucker lied. Obviously its different for other Scotches'.

Yeah, French Oak Reserve is matured in new oak barrels.


Bruce Leroy posted:

So, what would any of you recommend as a good way for a novice to get introduced to whisk(e)y?

Go to a decent bar and start tasting. If whiskey alone is giving you too much burn, dilute with water or try a few cocktails like a Highball, Manhattan, or Old Fashioned.

wormil
Sep 12, 2002

Hulk will smoke you!

Bruce Leroy posted:

As a short followup question, are there basically any specific brands of whisk(e)y (of all kinds, including Scotch, bourbon, etc.) that I should just avoid?

To start I would avoid really young bourbons (>5 yrs) or young scotch (>10) yrs. The younger the more alcoholic it will taste. Wild Turkey 101 is an excellent introductory bourbon. The high proof might give you pause but it's well balanced and smoother than many lower proof whiskeys. There have already been some scotch recommendations.

wormil
Sep 12, 2002

Hulk will smoke you!

Bruce Leroy posted:

Thanks for the advice.

Another question, is there any sort of "pairing" that goes with whisk(e)ys like there is for other things like beer and wine or should they be drunk alone (with some water or whatever) to keep the taste pure?

I went to a bourbon tasting in Kentucky and they just had regular finger food, but I don't like to eat while drinking whiskey. I wouldn't worry about keeping the taste pure unless you are keeping notes. It will take a little while to acclimate your taste buds unless you already have a sensitive palate.

wormil
Sep 12, 2002

Hulk will smoke you!

Bruce Leroy posted:

Basically, do you think you could reliably pick out the more aged or better quality whisk(e)ys from the younger, crappier stuff?

If I order WT101 in a bar and they give me something else, I know it instantly. If you're talking about telling the difference between something like Aristocrat and Elijah Craig (EC12) then absolutely; but say between EC12 and Evan Williams, probably not. Bourbons from the same distillery often have similar enough flavors that they can be difficult to distinguish except at the more extreme ranges unless you have a sensitive palate or a lot of experience with that distillery. Places like Jim Beam or Wild Turkey basically make one bourbon, the very best of which is chosen for it's premium expressions (Bookers, Bakers, Kentucky Spirit, Russell's Reserve, etc) and the rest get blended into their more mainstream brands (Black, 101, etc). 101 for example is a mix of 6, 8, and 10 year old bourbons. Then there are bourbons like Old Grand-Dad which is a 4yr 100 proof kick in your rear end but many people love it. That's why my original reply to your question about if you should avoid anything was, "No. Try it all." But I deleted it and wrote out a longer reply because I thought the younger stuff my put you off in the beginning.

edit: I'm not experienced enough with scotch to know if those generalities apply there.

wormil fucked around with this message at Oct 8, 2011 around 05:50

wormil
Sep 12, 2002

Hulk will smoke you!

PainBreak posted:

That's pretty interesting info. Interesting, but I'm not sure that it's 100% true.

I am a huge fan of the small batch bourbons that Jim Beam puts out, and Bookers, Baker's, Basil Hayden's and Knob Creek are all significantly different from each other...

I was assuming that since all the Beam products have similar flavors they were just different expressions of one bourbon but I found this on their website:

quote:

Knob Creek®, Basil Hayden's®, Booker's® and Baker's® are each made from their own special, time-honored recipes

Bookers tastes similar to Black and I dislike both, I would be surprised if Bookers is a different recipe. This quote from their marketing seems to support that:

quote:

Booker Noe, Jim Beam's grandson and master distiller emeritus, hand selects each barrel that will become Booker's Bourbon. Each barrel that will become Booker's bourbon is aged in the very center of the rackhouse where the temperature and humidity combines in the perfect proportion for the finest bourbon.


Bakers is one of my favorite bourbons. Beam's website makes it clear that Bakers uses a different yeast and Basil Hayden a different recipe than black. I can't find any explicit statements about Knob Creek one way or the other but I remember liking it so maybe it is a different recipe or maybe the extra aging does some good. So I stand corrected.

wormil
Sep 12, 2002

Hulk will smoke you!

Frogmanv2 posted:

Im just starting to get into making my own. Is there a distilling thread in here somewhere?

Not that I know of but I read an interesting book a while back on modern still designs, if I can find it I'll post the title, but I think it was a free e-book.

wormil
Sep 12, 2002

Hulk will smoke you!

Frogmanv2 posted:

I have all the information I need. I was just wanting to add to the conversation.

http://homedistiller.org/ has pretty much sorted me out.

I've been thinking hard about building a still and will check out that site.

wormil
Sep 12, 2002

Hulk will smoke you!

From what I've read, the concerns about going blind are drastically overstated and it's relatively simple to avoid.

quote:

Besides being illicit, white lightning has earned a reputation for blinding and killing people who drink it. Many sources attribute these effects to methanol ("the heads"), which boils off naturally during an early stage of the distillation process.

"The heads will make you blind if you drink it, but I defy you to try to drink it," says microdistiller Michael Heavener, co-owner of Highball Distillery in Portland, Oregon. "If it doesn’t make you wince when you smell it, it's probably not going to make you go blind."
The real culprit in poison moonshine was usually radiators, according to Spidell. "Copper coils are not the most efficient condenser. If you're making 10,000 to 25,000 gallons at a time, you might immerse a truck radiator in the water. Chemicals in the moonshine leach out lead salts from the soldering. As a result of that, here comes the lead poisoning."

Made properly, home-distilled spirits are as safe to drink as any commercial liquor. Still, Heavener warns, "I'd be more concerned with the danger of explosions."
http://www.wired.com/culture/lifest...currentPage=all

wormil
Sep 12, 2002

Hulk will smoke you!

spankmeister posted:

This is not entirely correct. First of all if it's blended scotch it can contain any other type of grain (usually corn), not just barley. The barley is usually malted and in the case of malt whisky (be it single or vatted) always.

Thanks, somehow I got part of the definition of single malt mixed up with scotch. Will fix.

spankmeister posted:

Practically speaking there are two: Jack Daniels and George Dickel. Both are charcoal filtered.

Those are the two I'm familiar with although there are two additional distilleries listed in wikipedia and it says they do not filter, which is why I wrote "sometimes filtered". The other two are not sold in my state (not unusual, state run liquor sucks rear end) so I'm unfamiliar with them.

spankmeister posted:

Whisky from a single distillery

I meant one as single. Do any distilleries have multiple locations?

wormil fucked around with this message at Oct 15, 2011 around 20:22

wormil
Sep 12, 2002

Hulk will smoke you!

spankmeister posted:

Well you say "from a single type of malt", and I don't think the type of malt is in any way regulated.

You were right, I already changed the OP. I was under the impression that if it contained more than one type of malt it had to be labeled "blended malt" but after your post I looked it up and that is only if the malts come from different distilleries. Scotch is a learning process for me still (pun intended).

wormil
Sep 12, 2002

Hulk will smoke you!

Mikey Purp posted:

Also, does anyone have any experiences with Booker's? That was the other bottle I was contemplating before going with the Four Roses.

I hate to be the dissenting opinion but I disliked Bookers. Maybe it was a bad bottle but mine tasted like Beam Black with a heavy helping of dust. I love Four Roses Single Barrel, good choice, wish I could buy it in my state but I can only get the Small Batch.

wormil
Sep 12, 2002

Hulk will smoke you!

mojo1701a posted:

...only one I haven't tried yet is Woodford Reserve

Get the Woodford, it's the best bourbon in it's price range, one of the best bourbons period. Looking over LCBO's website... Bakers, Woodford, Four Roses Small Batch, Elijah Craig 12, Knob Creek, Wild Turkey 80

wormil
Sep 12, 2002

Hulk will smoke you!

Picked up a bottle of Carriage House Apple Brandy (80 proof) for something a little different. It's distilled in copper pots here in North Carolina. Very nice.

wormil
Sep 12, 2002

Hulk will smoke you!

DrPain posted:

Except it's got a 12, 15, and 18. Not two 15's. They're ~$90 at Costco, don't buy it off ebay with two 15's.

Wow, that would be a $180.00 value here.

wormil
Sep 12, 2002

Hulk will smoke you!

Whew! Had a few types of honest to god moonshine tonight. The first was clear corn liquor, tasted like lighter fluid with a dash of diesel fuel but the finish was amazingly corn sweet. The second batch was raspberry infused, much smoother and sweeter. I preferred the former over the latter.

wormil
Sep 12, 2002

Hulk will smoke you!

Woodford's newest Master Collection is out.

Tasting notes here:
http://www.woodfordreserve.com/emai...sting_Notes.pdf

quote:

Woodford Reserve Master's Collection Rare Rye Selection

This year's sixth release of the Woodford Reserve Master's Collection begins arriving in stores this week. It includes dual 375ml bottles - one that has been matured in a new charred cask and one matured in an aged cask. Both are from a 100% rye recipe but the difference in the final product is the manner of maturation.

quote:

The 2011 edition of Woodford Reserve’s Master’s Collection, a Rare Rye Selection, is starting to hit stores. For this edition, Woodford Reserve first created a 100 percent rye whiskey. That in itself is unusual, master distiller Chris Morris told me; very few craft distillers are making 100 percent rye, and no other large distillers.

Half of the rye whiskey was then aged in new, charred white-oak barrels; the other half in used Woodford barrels. The purpose, Chris says, was to showcase the barrel conditioning. The two expressions are packaged together in 375ml bottles fashioned to evoke Woodford Reserve’s iconic copper-pot stills. This Master’s Collection retails for right around $100.

wormil
Sep 12, 2002

Hulk will smoke you!

Four Roses' Master Distiller, Jim Rutledge, has a good reputation. I met him a few years ago and he was sincerely interested in people's impressions of his whiskey. The bottle of Single Barrel I had at the time was outstanding but since it isn't sold in our state I haven't been able to sample it since. Shame to hear the consistency may not be there.

Interview with Jim Rutledge where he covers some history of the brand and development of the Single and Small Batch bourbons. He also discusses the difficulty in being consistent with a small distillery.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A99Re52_QjQ

wormil
Sep 12, 2002

Hulk will smoke you!

TapTheForwardAssist posted:

Am I missing anything, or short of titanium I should just get whatever stainless flask is cheap, and the tube type might be easier to clean/dry?

I don't know anything about the relative quality of stainless flasks but this time of year, many distilleries will be selling gift packs with free flasks included. I have 3 or 4 from last year. Wild Turkey is the most expensive whiskey I'll put in one but I accidentally left AAA in a flask for about 4 months once and I tasted it out of curiosity, it was fine.

wormil
Sep 12, 2002

Hulk will smoke you!

RHIN0002 posted:

I'm not really sure how to even describe the taste, except that it's got sort of a chemical kind of aftertaste, if that makes any sense. Now my question is this: Is this the typical aftertaste for scotches, or is something wrong with this bottle?

It's typical for some scotch, well, most scotch. If you read tasting notes you'll see all sorts of unappetizing flavors represented but oddly they will grow on you. $40/bottle is about as cheap as I can go on a bottle of scotch and still be able to drink it neat or even on the rocks. Scotland is a cooler climate and it just takes longer to mature. Plus I'm told the cost of business in Scotland is sky high so that doesn't help prices. Glenlivet is the typical introductory scotch, very smooth and mellow, the 12yr is drinkable and runs about $38/bottle here. The 15yr is noticeably better at $56/bottle. Highland Park is my preference for inexpensive scotch and runs $49/bottle here. Dalwhinnie 15yr wasn't bad. I've had a few blends but the only one I would buy again would be Johnnie Walker Green. Truthfully though, anything below $50 and I'd rather have a $20-30 bourbon.

wormil
Sep 12, 2002

Hulk will smoke you!

Boner Slam posted:

I don't necessarily like harsh, but it needs to have character beyond tasting like the stuff you get in a club.

Options:

If you didn't like the Rare Breed it is unlikely these will fill the bill. If you like Beam products I've read good things about Devils Cut. Bakers is one of my favorite bourbons but outside your given price range. Most likely you are too acclimated to the Islays and will not like bourbon.

Seagrams 7? Yeah if you're going to a frat party.



Boner Slam posted:

I don't necessarily like harsh, but it needs to have character beyond tasting like the stuff you get in a club.

Old Granddad 100 (Unfortunately you guys only have 86 proof available)

wormil
Sep 12, 2002

Hulk will smoke you!

Kenning posted:

Some things to remember about bourbon when comparing it to Scotch is that it's a very young whiskey. Most of the bourbons in your price range are aged for 4 years, and none for more than 6.

Most bourbons on that list are aged 6-10 years. Makers is 6-8 years. WT101 is a blend of 6, 8 & 10 year. Bulleit is 6+. Don't remember BT off the top of my head but I believe it is 6-8. Beam Black is 8. The Four Roses would depend on which expression but they are all over 4. Don't know the age of Blanton's but I'm sure it contains whiskey over 6. Whiskeys mature at different rates in different climates. Hell, they mature at different rates within the same warehouse, which is one reason the barrels are harvested at different times and tasting is so important. So "very young" is misleading and inaccurate.

http://whiskeyreviewer.com/2011/11/bourbon-vs-scotch/



Kenning posted:

It's not going to be as smooth as most Scotch...

And this is not true either.

Kenning posted:

Most of the whiskeys you've listed are not, strictly speaking, sippin' whiskey, so bear that in mind.

With the exception of 7 Crown and and Red Stag, they are all sipping whiskeys.

wormil
Sep 12, 2002

Hulk will smoke you!

The only bourbons on that list that I drink regularly are Four Roses Small Batch, WT101 (regular not the 8 year which isn't sold here), and Elijah Craig 12.

Also, Gentleman Jack is not a bourbon although it is very similar.

If you want to find out if you like bourbon then drink nothing but for a while. You've been drinking Islay and bourbon is so different that you need to acclimate your taste buds.

wormil
Sep 12, 2002

Hulk will smoke you!

Boner Slam posted:

What do you enjoy about Bourbon that makes it worth to acclimate your taste buds after a scotch?

Well I started with bourbon and had to go the other way. My first bottles of scotch were not entirely pleasant but since other people obviously love it I was determined and after a bit I did. For awhile I liked most whatever I was drinking the most, that is to say if I were drinking scotch for a couple weeks then I wouldn't care for bourbon and vice versa but now I can switch back and forth. Last night I was drinking Ardbeg 10, the night before, Elijah Craig 12. There is no guarantees, I tried tried various wines for years before giving up and realizing that I just don't like it, nor do I care for gin. Bourbons are fairly narrowly defined and more like each other than most other whiskys so if you like one then you'll find others.

Even though I am a Wild Turkey fan I probably wouldn't start with Rare Breed. If you want to know if you like bourbon, start with Elijah Craig 12 because it is a well crafted middle of the road selection and relatively inexpensive.

Ralfy does some video tastings of bourbon in Oct & Nov of 2011 if you want the perspective of a malt drinker.
http://www.whiskyreviews.blogspot.c...01_archive.html

wormil
Sep 12, 2002

Hulk will smoke you!

Killer robot posted:

As for the Booker's, I haven't had too much of barrel proof bourbons before, just the rather milder Wild Turkey Rare Breed, so it was a very different sort of thing. I might need to get that some time.

I'm curious as to your take on it. I bought a bottle awhile back and it tasted like dust and not much else. Based on other reviews I must have had a bad bottle.


Killer robot posted:

Also when I was at the big liquor store picking it up I saw a few wheat whiskeys. Is that a new thing? What sort of character do those have relative to corn or rye?

My only experience is with Makers and Weller which I would describe as bland but others may say mild or light.

wormil
Sep 12, 2002

Hulk will smoke you!

WT101 was my New Year companion.

wormil
Sep 12, 2002

Hulk will smoke you!

Canadian whisky for the most part is for getting drunk.

mojo1701a posted:

I meant to ask this also: does climate have an effect on whisky maturation?
... I figure these days, they just keep the barrels in climate-controlled indoors, but I honestly have no idea.

Absolutely. Wild Turkey warehouses (called rickhouses) are not climate controlled, can't remember if any of the others were or not. Even the micro-climates inside the rickhouse have a drastic effect on maturation. Wild Turkey talks about this in depth during their distillery tour. They can tell you roughly how long each individual barrel will mature by it's place on the racks just from long experience. The barrel itself also plays a role since some allow faster evaporation. There are spaces near the doors that are left empty because barrels placed there take too long to mature, presumably from the draft. It's also why age isn't a reliable indication of quality or complexity. You could have 6 year and 8 year barrels that mature around the same time.

I can't find my pictures from the tour right now but you can catch a glimpse of a warehouse near the end of this video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arRynJ06yhY

And of the inside here:
http://www.bourbonstreetphotography...530513291_qhxCN

wormil
Sep 12, 2002

Hulk will smoke you!

Halloween Jack posted:

The Crown Royal had an alcoholic bite and a spicy taste, but it felt like there was no body of "base" underlying it, if that makes sense.

To me it's 'thin' which is the same thing you're saying, I think.

wormil
Sep 12, 2002

Hulk will smoke you!

DoctaFun posted:

Needless to say I passed...

I remember your post from the old thread, prices are cheap where you live. Never move.

wormil
Sep 12, 2002

Hulk will smoke you!

DoctaFun posted:

I don't know the legality of shipping booze, but if they were say, significantly cheaper with a greater selection than where you live, I might be able to be persuaded to do a little shipping. You know, for an old L4D companion.

Shipping liquor is illegal in my state and postal security having been beefed up I wouldn't want anyone to risk it. I appreciate the sentiment though.

wormil
Sep 12, 2002

Hulk will smoke you!

DoctaFun posted:

Just picked up a bottle of the redbreast 12 to see what all the fuss is about .

Also, the same liquor store had Pyrat rum on sale for $15 . I haven't seen the stuff for any less than like $35 before. I have a friend who loves the stuff so I picked him up a bottle.

That's a good deal for Pyrat which is a decent rum. I struggle to drink them anymore after giving up (most) sweets a few years ago.

I must have gotten a bad batch of Redbreast because my bottle was mediocre to put it mildly, not worth $50 for sure.

wormil
Sep 12, 2002

Hulk will smoke you!

DoctaFun posted:

...but I'm not used to the higher proof stuff so that could be it.

But once you are used to it, anything below 100 proof will taste weak.

wormil
Sep 12, 2002

Hulk will smoke you!

spankmeister posted:

This.

Higher-proof whiskies are better value.

After all the grief you gave me over putting an ice cube in bourbon.

wormil
Sep 12, 2002

Hulk will smoke you!

I drink every whiskey neat the first time around but unless it's really good, I add an ice cube after that.

spankmeister posted:

But drink your bourbon however the gently caress you wan't, I don't really care in the end

I do, and I know you don't.

wormil
Sep 12, 2002

Hulk will smoke you!

It depends on the person. When I first tried Laphroaig there was that moment when I didn't think I could drink anything else but I enjoy variety and it wasn't really a problem.

Picked up a bottle of Lismore Single Malt, very fruity but not much depth. It's okay but I probably wouldn't buy it again.

wormil
Sep 12, 2002

Hulk will smoke you!

I've had 3 bottles of Buffalo Trace, the first was good, the second not so much, the third was alright; these were spaced several years apart. After the price drop last year I feel better about recommending it, but I'd rather have Wild Turkey 101 being the same price or Elijah Craig 12 being cheaper.


GoGoGadgetChris posted:

What are some favorite $25-$45 bourbons around here? Anyone tried any of the variants of Four Roses or Jefferson's?

I've only had Four Roses Single Barrel once but it was fantastic. That was at a bourbon tasting with Jim Rutledge so in all likely hood it was a cherry picked bottle. But I've had 4R Small Batch a number of times and enjoy it immensely. Russels Reserve is also excellent. At the higher end of your price range, I love Bakers. A lot of stuff between $24-28 is meh. In the $19-24 range you have WT101 and EC12 which I mentioned above. Evan Williams 1783 is a fantastic bargain at $13, not much depth but considering the price...

wormil
Sep 12, 2002

Hulk will smoke you!

DoctaFun posted:

Because of all that, I think the small batch bottles will probably be more consistent, while the single barrels will be slightly more volatile.

That is my understanding though, someone please correct me if I'm wrong .

This is from memory but the Small Batch is a mix of four 4R bourbons each made with unique yeasts so it is different than Single Barrel. But you're right that Small Batch will be more consistent.

GoGoGadgetChris posted:

I noticed the recommendations are generally for the Single Barrel. Are the variants truly different products (for example, the four price points of Greek spirit Metaxa range in flavor from vanilla to fruit to leather), or just bumps in quality?

4R is covered above but with other distilleries it varies. Wild Turkey makes one bourbon, all their products are just different expressions of that one. Standard 101 is a mix of 6, 8 & 10 year barrels; Russel's Reserve is all 10 year. Jim Beam has different bourbons and different expressions both but I couldn't tell you which is which off the top of my head (other than Bakers, I'm not a Beam fan). Buffalo Trace make many different bourbons under many different brands. Woodford has their standard bourbon but they are fond of experimentation and making special batches, some of which are no longer bourbon in the strictest sense. I don't know much about Heaven Hill. I believe Makers Mark only produces one bourbon.

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wormil
Sep 12, 2002

Hulk will smoke you!

Phineus posted:

Is there any chance we could get some kind of large list of Goon recommendations added to the OP so people can see a running list of things they should try?

But then, what would we argue about?

Every major bourbon has been recommended at some point or another and scotch is so different from region to region. Also, offerings vary by country... many bourbons offered overseas are not available in the states and vice-versa. Availability even varies by state in the US.

That said, I'm happy to do it if we can agree on a few of each type. Maybe a list of whisk(e)ys that are widely available and easily approachable by beginners?

For bourbons I would make the case for Elijah Craig 12. It is well liked and respected by connoisseurs, inexpensive, consistent, and widely available. Wild Turkey 101 would be my second recommendation but the higher proof is sometimes intimidating.

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