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Best & worst Bourbon?

Best & worst Bourbon?

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Old May 18, 07, 11:41 pm
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Best & worst Bourbon?

Over the past couple of years I have become really fond of Basil Hayden. At your better bars it is also less expensive then most of the Scotch. I prefer a Basil Hayden on the rocks with a splash of mineral water.

Most would order it simply on the rocks and some would order with branch water (bourbon and branch). Branch is pure water distinguishing it from soda water.

Mineral water is really for the bourbon enthusiasts so that one can appreciate the natural flavors that are be diluted with soda water or ginger ale.

One thing I have done is order the Bourbon with a splash of mineral water and look at what the bartender does. Typically at your better bars they will open a bottle of mineral water in front of you. This is a place worth going back to. On the other end of the scale they will hold up the soda gun to you and say "is soda water OK." That place is not worth returning to.

On the other hand Booker's is just too strong for me to enjoy in a high end setting. The value of Basil Hayden has really attracted me to it but are there other good Bourbons out there worth it?
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Old May 19, 07, 12:09 am
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Bulleit is too strong for me at 90 Proof. If you haven't tried Buffalo Trace (also 90 proof), look for it, but it is nearly impossible to find on the west coast. To me it has to smoothest finish when sipped neat.
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Old May 19, 07, 3:51 pm
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Basil Hayden is a delightful bourbon. Booker is bottled too early, IMHO, which contributes to its harshness. You'd see a little loss in proof if they waited another 5 years, but it'd be much better.

In comparison, Buffalo Trace made a small batch called George T. Stagg (15 y/o), which was 120 proof, but as smooth as Basil Hayden. I had the pleasure of a bottle of this and I have to say it was the most delicious spirit I ever drank, and I used to live with a whiskey merchant! It saddens me I'll be paying through the nose to acquire another bottle of this since it hasn't been available for many years now.

Now being a fan of Buffalo Trace, I have moved on to their Eagle Rare bourbons. If you can find it, get the 18 y/o. It is quite comparable to Basil Hayden, but with even more intense vanilla flavors. Very smooth and delicious. Not easy to find (as opposed to the 12 y/o, which is available most everywhere that sells good whiskey) and not easy on the wallet.

[edited to add] - the particular bottling of the George T. Stagg was aged an additional 3 years (to 18) and bottled special for the shop my roommate worked at in NYC. I'd give anything for another bottle of that particular batch.
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Old May 23, 07, 7:43 am
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Woodford Reserve is my personal favorite. I agree with the previous posters regarding the virtues of Buffalo Trace and Eagle Rare.

I was very surprised to find Buffalo Trace on the shelf at a pub on the outskirts of London a few weeks back. I don't seem to see any of these three brands outside the U.S. much.
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Old May 23, 07, 7:49 am
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I'm a fan of Woodford Reserve as well. I also highly recommend Four Roses Single Barrel. It's pretty rare, but well worth the search.
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Old May 23, 07, 9:08 am
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My favorite is Pappy van Winkle 15 year old!
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Old May 23, 07, 9:14 am
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A.H. Hirsch 16 Year. There is absolutely nothing else even close. (The 16 is, for some reason, even better than the 20 year, which I find overly hot even at the same proof.)

Unfortunately, there's only a limited supply of the stuff - the distillery that made it (Michters) went belly-up. All that's left is this batch distilled in 1974, bought and bottled by a Mr. Hirsch. It goes for about $100/bottle online; a few years ago you could find it for $60. I keep one bottle sealed in storage and always buy another one to replace it when my open bottle runs out.
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Old Jan 11, 08, 7:51 pm
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Thought I'd bump this thread as I've recently become a bourbon lover.

Any new thoughts on other brands?

I haven't made my way to the smaller/"gourmet" brands yet, but I'm in love with Makers Mark and Knob Creek. Makers goes down so smooth.


Posted as I'm drinking 2 fingers of Makers
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Old Jan 11, 08, 8:00 pm
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Easy! The Best AND the Worst Bourbon is :

Street!

Actually, I'm glad to see this discussion as it will give me the impetus to try some of the most frequently mentioned ones. Mostly drink wine, but have been curious about some of the upper end Bourbons.
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Old Jan 11, 08, 8:12 pm
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Being in Kentucky, I get my feel for Bourbon. Woodford Reserve is my personal favorite. Makers Mark is great more affordable choice. I don't mess with anything less than that. Woodford on the rocks is very good.

I highly recommend taking the the Bourbon Trail tour in Kentucky.
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Old Jan 11, 08, 8:28 pm
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Are there any Rye whiskey's that FTer's recommend?
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Old Jan 12, 08, 11:02 pm
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If interested in fine bourbon, I would suggest Pappy Van Winkle's Family Reserve. This is 20 years old....and an incredible sipping bourbon. It is quite expensive by bourbon standards at $90 (here in PA) per bottle...but worth every penny.
Another fine choice: WL Weller Centennial. This is a 10 year old, 100 proof bourbon. It costs roughly $30-$35 per bottle.
Within the past 3 years, I have adopted bourbon as my "winter" drink of choice.

Good luck with your tastings !
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Old Jan 12, 08, 11:41 pm
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Originally Posted by phillygold View Post
Another fine choice: WL Weller Centennial. This is a 10 year old, 100 proof bourbon. It costs roughly $30-$35 per bottle.
Within the past 3 years, I have adopted bourbon as my "winter" drink of choice.

Good luck with your tastings !
Interesting. Is the WL Weller 12 year any good? My local liquor supermarket seems to only have the reserve and the 12 year in stock.
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Old Jan 13, 08, 12:58 am
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Originally Posted by brosnan6 View Post
Interesting. Is the WL Weller 12 year any good? My local liquor supermarket seems to only have the reserve and the 12 year in stock.
While the 12 year old is a good bourbon, the 10 actually is more complex and better suited to sipping. (thus the difference in price).
The 10 year old is a better "special occassion" bourbon. The 12...a better "everyday" bourbon. Good, but not great in my opinion.
Stay away from the Special Reserve. It pales in comparison to even the 12 y.o.
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Old Jan 13, 08, 9:22 pm
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The best whisky is Scotch.

But the best Bourbon I've ever found is the Pappy Van Winkle 20yr. If you can find it, grab it. Their future bottlings of 20yr whiskey will become even scarcer because they did not anticipate until recently the increased demand for high-end whiskey.
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