Bourbon recommendations for beginner

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Re: Bourbon recommendations for beginner

Unread postby BourbonKiller » Wed Oct 19, 2011 12:09 pm

While I usually like to drink high proof unfiltered barrel strength bourbon there are occasions I prefer lower proof whiskeys.

For easy drinking and low octane I recommend

Angel's Envy
Buffalo Trace
Eagle Rare
Elmer T Lee
Evan Williams Single Barrel
Four Roses Yellow Label
Old Bardstown Estate Bottled
Old Charter 10
Old Grandad 86 proof
Weller 12
Willet Pot Still
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Re: Bourbon recommendations for beginner

Unread postby johnnyboots » Mon Oct 24, 2011 7:24 pm


Try some basil haydens, its a pretty soft bourbon that is good sipped or mixed. Stick with it and ignore the snide comments. These things take time and you need to build your pallet accordingly. Like the others said, add a lil water and as you make your way through the bottle use less and less. I've never seen a bottle of makers turn but if it's that off putting move on to something else. Enjoy the journey, it's a blast
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Re: Bourbon recommendations for beginner

Unread postby Vital » Mon Nov 07, 2011 2:47 pm

Ok, so some time passed, a bunch of different stuff was given a try and I think I'm starting to get an idea of what I prefer.

Before anything else - I'll comment on my Maker's Mark issue since it raised most eyebrows here.
As I mentioned earlier I bought a 3-pack of MMs "floppers edition", basically 3 bottles 375ml each with "weird wax"
First bottle was "too much alcohol", to my surprise so was the second one. Don't know about 3rd bottle as it's still sealed in my "booze closet"
I was given a glass of MM by a friend of mine and it was very similar to what I tasted out of those 2 375ml bottles with exception of that strong alcohol taste - it just wasn't there. As all reviews said - MM is very smooth and neutral bourbon and that's exactly what I tasted with my friend. That same weekend I bought a 750ml bottle that came with 2 wax-dipped MM glasses - again, very smooth whiskey.
So I guess that 3-pack I bought was defected as 2 other (normal) bottles did not have that strong alcohol taste to it.

I've tried a bunch of stuff from this thread's recommendations (thank you guys!!) and I think I know what I urge - WOOD flavor.
There's something about taste of wood that just does it for me. I don't know if that's because it is something I can clearly identify out of a lot of other "flavors" but wood is what I want right now.

Favorite bourbons so far: Jim Beam's Devil Cut and Knob Creek. What else would you guys recommend with lots of wood flavor?
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Re: Bourbon recommendations for beginner

Unread postby vince » Tue Nov 08, 2011 9:53 am

If you like wood I would absolutely recommend the Elijah Craig 18 year old single barrel (and the 12 year old small batch as well). I think Blantons offers some nice wood integration as well
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Re: Bourbon recommendations for beginner

Unread postby Wasatch » Tue Jan 03, 2012 6:32 pm

Try the Gentleman Jack, or Buffalo Trace.
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Re: Bourbon recommendations for beginner

Unread postby EllenJ » Wed Jan 04, 2012 12:46 am

Vital wrote:Favorite bourbons so far: Jim Beam's Devil Cut and Knob Creek. What else would you guys recommend with lots of wood flavor?

Nearly anything from Kentucky Bourbon Distillers.
That would include:
Willett (any brand with that name on it)
Johnny Drum
Noah's Mill
Rowan's Creek (one of my own personal favorites)
Pure Kentucky XO
Peter Jake's (if you can find it)

Also (these aren't KDB brands)...
Nearly anything Van Winkle (yes, very expensive; yes very worth it)
Wild Turkey 12-year-old, if you can find any. This is actually too woody for ME, even.
Wild Turkey Rare Breed (as close to the original Ripy bourbon as you'll find, and with a lot of the 12-year-old WT in it)
Elijah Craig 18 year old - This has so much wood it actually turns some afficianados off. Me? I love it!!
Ezra B 12-year-old - if you like WOOD, this might turn out to be your favorite bourbon. It used to be a 15-year-old, and that version was even better. But they ran out of that lot, so the current version is 12. It's still d@mned good.

By the way, you may not realize this, but that "wood" flavor you appreciate isn't just wood. It's "wood, modified by age and oxygenation". One thing that a lot of "craft" distillers don't seem to realize is that the size of the barrel and length of maturation does indeed make a helluva difference. There are lots of wonderful flavors to be drawn from the wood the barrel is made of. We all know that. But there are also lots of flavors that you REALLY DON'T WANT that will -- inevitably -- be extracted from the barrel.

What to do?.
The answer is... wait.

Small barrels -- the five- to ten-gallon ones many "artisan distillers" use -- provide lots of wood flavors. Good ones... and bad ones.
Larger barrels (industry-standard 53-gallon) do, too. But the larger barrels will allow oxidation and evaporation, given years of aging, that reduce or eliminate most of those "bad-wood" flavors. You just can't do that with a small barrel and a short distillation-to-market timeframe. If it's just WOOD you want, please don't hesitate to try Tuthilltown's Hudson Bourbon, or M.B Roland, or several other "micro-distiller"'s products. Personally, I'm not totally happy with that flavor profile (well, M.B.Roland has so much more going for it that I don't mind the small-barrel nuances), but if you're really into WOOD, you just might find that to be the best whiskey you ever tasted. Both of those brands, as well as many others, are being purchased and enjoyed by a whole lot of people, more this month than last; that has to tell you something.
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Re: Bourbon recommendations for beginner

Unread postby jcg9779 » Tue Jan 10, 2012 1:21 am

John, I agree that the Hudson Bourbon has a huge wood flavor, but it is extremely overprice for what it is. It's a young whiskey at a low proof, with a 375ml costing $50. At least it's not charcoal or chill filtered, but I'd love to see this come out at cask strength....even at the young age. And if they would age some of their stuff in a full size barrel for 10 or 12 years, it could be truly great, IMO.

As you walk down the fairway of life you must smell the roses, for you only get to play one round.
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Re: Bourbon recommendations for beginner

Unread postby SteeleWhiskey » Fri Jan 13, 2012 5:08 pm

I recommend you take a look an Knob Creek! It is very similar to Jack Daniels in flavor and taste, but much smoother and in my opinion has a lot more flavor. Worth a look I promise!
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Re: Bourbon recommendations for beginner

Unread postby William » Tue Apr 17, 2012 3:20 am

vanilla coke zero is my favorite soda, it goes well with a number of affordable bourbons as well. makers mark doesnt mix well with coke, and yeah it does have a little too much alcohol flavor, but the other flavors are very nice, if it was 40% Id be buying it more probably. Bourbon and coke with an actual good brand (not t w samuels) is a good entry point.
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Re: Bourbon recommendations for beginner

Unread postby dickelfanaustralia » Thu May 03, 2012 5:34 am

to much water cutting can makes it rough. Don't buy standard WT , beam black, beam white, JD 07 and gentleman, evan willaims black. Go for a higher proof. 95 proof at the lowest. 101 is very smooth and filling. barrel proof it will glide down.
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