Can a poor man be a bourbon enthusiast?

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Can a poor man be a bourbon enthusiast?

Unread postby Mike » Mon Jun 11, 2012 6:41 pm

Short answer......... of course.

Being a Bourbon Enthusiast is an attitude toward Bourbon drinking........... nothing more is required. ALL of us are (in my opinion) Bourbon novices. At least we are novices in the sense that none of us knows what the perfect bourbon is.......... because there is not one. As anyone who has been a BE participant for a long time knows, I am partial to what I call ultra aged bourbons (which, as a rule are more expensive), but many excellent judges of the quality of bourbons are not so enamoured of the older ones and prefer those roughly in the range of 6 to 10 years....... with good reason.

These not young, not old, bourbons have extracted much of the 'goodness' of the barrel, and more time therein yields only more tannins and the chance of greater bitterness.

If your budget, for whatever reason, and there are plenty of good ones, does not allow for buying boubons (and even those only occasionally) in the $30 (and up) range, must you remain a 'deprived' Bourbon Enthusiast?

I have been more fortunate than most in what I could allocate for bourbon in my budget. But, had it not been the case, and had I still wanted to 'explore' bourbon's offerings, with judicious selection, patience, and proper guidance (say from BE), I would have missed little or nothing in the world of bourbon tastes. I might have been willing to save some money on occasion to make a purchase....... but that is not different from any other 'hobby', if I may be so bold as to characterize the true lover of bourbon.
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Re: Can a poor man be a bourbon enthusiast?

Unread postby Bourbon Joe » Mon Jun 11, 2012 8:17 pm

Mike wrote:If your budget, for whatever reason, and there are plenty of good ones, does not allow for buying boubons (and even those only occasionally) in the $30 (and up) range, must you remain a 'deprived' Bourbon Enthusiast?



I'm glad you qualified this Mike. My experience has shown that the more you get into Bourbon, the more money it costs.
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Re: Can a poor man be a bourbon enthusiast?

Unread postby bunghole » Mon Jun 11, 2012 8:36 pm

Well don't be silly, of course you can! The more bourbon you drink, the poorer you get.
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Re: Can a poor man be a bourbon enthusiast?

Unread postby Birdo » Tue Jun 12, 2012 7:30 am

There is plenty of good bourbon on the cheap. Sometimes, I will look at this stuff through the eyes of a chemical process engineer. All bourbon starts out the same except for a few variables in the recipe. It's then aged for different amounts of times and bottled at different proofs. If this is true, its easy to see why good bourbon can be had for little cash. I would say Weller SR, Very Old Barton, OGD and such are all great in their own right.

As an enthusiast, I often spend a few more dollars for additional time in the barrel. I haven't found the need to spend more than $30/750ml which will get you Four Roses Single Barrel, and for less, Knob Creek, Elijah Craig and plenty of others.

I actually like WT101 better thank other pricier bourbons from the same distiller.

At the end of the day, its nice to enjoy a little bourbon, just don't waste too much time splitting hairs as to what is best, it's all good.
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Re: Can a poor man be a bourbon enthusiast?

Unread postby vince » Tue Jun 12, 2012 8:34 am

Their are many excellent bourbons on the market for under $20. Very Old Barton, Ancient Ancient Age 10 year old, OGD BIB, Jim Beam Black, Old Weller Antique, Wild Turkey 101, and Old Forester to name a few. I always have these on my shelf but I too seem to gravitate toward age and am fortunate enough to be able to budget for some of the higher priced offerings.

Can you be a bourbon enthusiast and never buy a bottle for over $20? My answer to that would be "yes". Their is a world of great bourbon on the market today. Everyone has a different palate so find what you like. But, as Mike often points out, (and I agree wholeheartedly) be open to your palate changing, because it will. What you may love today you may grow tired of in the future and what "put you off" in the future you may find more and more appealing. Never waver on what you like. Their are no right and wrong answers.....just enjoy the journey!
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Re: Can a poor man be a bourbon enthusiast?

Unread postby gillmang » Tue Jun 12, 2012 10:18 am

I agree fully with the last two comments. Bourbon by (legal) definition is all similar - yes, yeast type, mashbill composition, but most importantly, aging, will differentiate them. But provided you can buy one not too oily/corny, it is as good basically as any other - I said basically or in its essentials - and sometimes, or in the view of some that is, better. E.g. recently I served a friend, not a bourbon fan as such, Rock Hill Farms (about $50.00) and VOB 86 ($12.00). I served them blind. I said, which do you prefer? He said the RHF, because it is "smoother", i.e., presumably, has less flavour and palate impact. Well, I prefer the VOB. It tastes more like bourbon whiskey to me, it has a full fairly complex palate. The other is drier, less complete in the palate IMO, thinner in body too despite the higher proof. Hey, that's my opinion, and many here may disagree. But the point is, it's all good except, IMO again, very young stuff that hasn't lost a strong oily edge and is almost like corn whiskey.

Of course some wish to spend more for a more aged (woody, smoky) taste, and that's fine. But that's more on the details of the drink, not to minimize them for enthusiasts, but the basic profile of all bourbon aged 4 years and more is similar IMO. And you can get many 4 year old bourbons, and older in some cases, for a low price, many brands have been mentioned in this thread.

Also, I stress that some private label brands - they are getting harder to find but are out there - are excellent values. Banker's Club is one.

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Re: Can a poor man be a bourbon enthusiast?

Unread postby EllenJ » Tue Jun 12, 2012 2:42 pm

The answer to this is really very simple...

(1) Have you tasted two or more examples of bourbon, or rye, or whatever, regardless of how cheap they might be?
(2) Do you notice that they taste similar to one another and not to other beverages?
(3) Do you notice that there are differences in their individual flavors?
(4) Can you explain that?

If you can answer all of those questions "yes" you are a "connoisseur".
The rest is just a matter of degree.
If you are a connoisseur and you enjoy bourbon, and you can't wait to try more varieties, you are an "enthusiast".
Welcome to the club!
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Re: Can a poor man be a bourbon enthusiast?

Unread postby MauiSon » Mon Jun 18, 2012 8:02 pm

Oops, already covered that ground.
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Re: Can a poor man be a bourbon enthusiast?

Unread postby Mike » Mon Jun 18, 2012 8:09 pm

MauiSon wrote:Oops, already covered that ground.


No harm, no foul........ I do a 'mulligan' every other time I post.
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. - Dylan Thomas
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