Ranking some BT products

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Ranking some BT products

Unread postby angelshare » Tue Dec 14, 2004 8:26 am

I've gotten bits and pieces of your opinions regarding some of the BT expressions, but, in a nutshell (price aside), I was wondering how you guys rank the following BT products:

ER 10 SB
ER 17 (particular years better?)
Hancock's President's Reserve
Elmer T. Lee
BT Enthusiast SB (for those of you who have had it)

Also, I'm assuming we all agree that Stagg is king of the BT special bottles, but if there is a dissenter, I'd love to hear it!

As of 12/14/04, I would say my picks are:

1) ER 17 (2001 - I only have a little left! I have an unopened 04; haven't tried other years)
2) BT SB
3) Hancock's
4) ETL
5) ER SB 10
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Unread postby OneCubeOnly » Tue Dec 14, 2004 9:18 am

I'd agree with your rankings with the exception of the ETL. I think with that one it's a mood thing. When I tasted the original bottle (I believe the term was "butt-ugly black label") at the Gazebo, I thought it was one of the best bourbons I'd ever had. But the bottle I have here (the modern one) has yet to ever really grab me. Something about that spicy 'zing' just rings wrong the times I've tried it.

So, my order of those 5 would be:

1. ER17
2. BT Private Bottling
3. Hancock's
4. ERSB 10yo
5. ETL

Note: If Blanton's were included it would be my #1.
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Unread postby Brewer » Tue Dec 14, 2004 11:51 am

I can not currently do a ranking, but this thread leads to some interesting possibilities...a shoot out between a variety of BT products, a shoot out between a variety of Buffalo Trace bottlings (our barrel, the standard bottling, single barrel products from different stores), different ETL bottlings, etc. etc.! Wow this is getting me thirsty and its only 11 AM, and I gotta go to work! :x
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Unread postby Mark » Tue Dec 14, 2004 1:55 pm

Hmm, I LOVE Buffalo Trace products so this is a good question. Between the ones that you have mentioned I would definitely keep the ER17 on top, it is a real winner in my book. I enjoyed the last 2003 I had very much. I was dumb and didn't pick up one of this years but I am certain it was still as good as the previous years. SO anyway, here's my list.

1) ER 17 yo
2) BT SB
3) ETL
4) Hancock's (I don't think this product get enough recognition, ti is very good. The only reason I made it 4 and not 3... Its price. I think it should about $5 less.)
5) ER SB 10 yo
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Unread postby Chris » Tue Dec 14, 2004 7:01 pm

I can not currently do a ranking, but this thread leads to some interesting possibilities...a shoot out between a variety of BT products, a shoot out between a variety of Buffalo Trace bottlings (our barrel, the standard bottling, single barrel products from different stores), different ETL bottlings, etc. etc.!


Too many things to taste, not enough time :(... And unfortunately (at least for me) unless portions are REALLY small, it seems that your tastes change the more bourbons you sample... (go back to #1 after sampling #6 and it's not quite the same anymore)...
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Unread postby angelshare » Tue Dec 14, 2004 11:07 pm

Mark wrote:Hmm, I LOVE Buffalo Trace products so this is a good question.


Just out of curiosity, do you agree with Gary that Blanton's would be the best of all?

I like Blanton's a lot; ditto Rock Hill Farms. They are just so expensive in VA, I feel like I have to be sparing with my sampling and haven't had either recently. Consequently, I didn't really feel "informed" enough by recent sampling to rank them with the others. I just happened to have some ER 17 a few nights ago and thought it was even better than I remembered.

I lucked into some discount Hancock's in MD several months back, so I felt I was able to be more liberal with enjoying it recently. I really do think Hancock's is a unique, special offering, but agree that it is overpriced in general.
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Unread postby bunghole » Wed Dec 15, 2004 12:00 am

OK I don't have your single barrel version of Buffalo Trace, but I know my bourbon well enough to rank them accordingly:

Tied for first place for very different reasons: Rock Hill Farms & George T. Stagg.
2nd place is solidly held by the 17 year old Eagle Rare. Damn good Bourbon.
3rd place is also a tie between Handcock's Presidents Reserve and the 10 year old Ancient Ancient Age.
4th place is Blanton's
5th place is Elmer T. Lee
6th place is Buffalo Trace
7th place is Eagle Rare Single Barrel.
8th place is Old Charter Propriter's Reserve in a tie with the 12 year old Old Charter Classic 90.
9th is W.L. Weller
10th place is a tie between the 8 & 10 year old Old Charters. Not much difference between the two.
11th place is the very young Ancient Age.
Last place is Benchmark.

The 20 year old 'Pappy' is one of my favorite bourbons, but was not distilled by Buffalo Trace.

I also love the Sazerac 18 year old rye. No it's not bourbon, but damn good whiskey just the same.

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Unread postby angelshare » Wed Dec 15, 2004 7:53 am

Really enjoyed your rank list, Ima!
bunghole wrote:Tied for first place for very different reasons: Rock Hill Farms & George T. Stagg.


That comment makes me want to do a side by side with these two. We have a little RHF left. Might be fun to do a special tasting over the holidays with the top shelf stuff.

3rd place is also a tie between Handcock's Presidents Reserve and the 10 year old Ancient Ancient Age.


The perfect example of how in the bourbon world low price does not necessarily predict low quality. Someone with very modest means can enjoy a great whiskey. I'm not sure I tie these two, but I agree it's close and agree that AAA 10 year is better than Blanton's (to me).

11th place is the very young Ancient Age.
Last place is Benchmark.


Based on memory, I would reverse these two, but haven't had AA for quite a while. Even if last among BT, what do you think of Benchmark in general? I think it is another example of how one can get decent bourbon for cheap. It's not the "diamond in the rough" that EW 1783 or AAA 10 yr are to me, but it's good.

I also love the Sazerac 18 year old rye. No it's not bourbon, but damn good whiskey just the same.


Heck, yeah! As far as BT whiskies go, I would rank it near the top, as good as ER 17 probably.

Thanks again for posting your complete BT rundown, Linn! I still don't feel quite qualified to rank them all; guess I'd better do more tasting!! :cheers:
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Unread postby bunghole » Wed Dec 15, 2004 11:14 am

:arrow: More research is always the key, Dave. :wink:

I left out the regular Eagle Rare expression because I can't recall ever having any. It's also been many years since I've had either the AA or Benchmark as I just don't buy them. The 10 year old AAA is my daily pour. Because I am spending so much on cigars I'm not drinking as many high end bourbons as I would like.

I've also not had the entire Van Winkel line, but of those that I have tried the 20 year old Pappy has clearly been the best with the 15 year old running a very close second at half the price yet still expensive.

Stoopsie let me have a taste of some very rare 17 year old Van Winkel that was absolutely killer. If I recall correctly several years ago at a tasting event at BT, Julian had some of his rare bottlings and I believe he said the 17 year old was to his palate the best bourbon he had ever bottled.

ima :cigar:
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Unread postby doubleblank » Wed Dec 15, 2004 2:07 pm

I'm glad you added the Rock Hill Farms to the discussion. It's probably my favorite BT bottling. Also....was that 17yo VW you liked the one bottled in '94?

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Unread postby Brewer » Wed Dec 15, 2004 2:24 pm

Linn,

I know you're a big fan of Virginia Gentleman's "The Fox". As this is now part of the BT group, I'm curious where you'd rate it in the overall mix.

This is a great thread. It just goes to show how many great products BT makes. They kick butt over the other distilleries. The only one that comes close is Wild Turkey, IMHO. WT makes some great products as well, but they're still behind BT.

I can't wait for a day where I can sample a group of BT bottles, so I can chime in on my comparisons. I definitely enjoy everything noted thus far, although I don't believe I've ever had Benchmark or AA.
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Unread postby TNbourbon » Wed Dec 15, 2004 2:39 pm

doubleblank wrote:was that 17yo VW you liked the one bottled in '94?


Wasn't that a 17yo you bought at the Bourbon Festival auction, Randy? What's its status today?
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Unread postby Mark » Wed Dec 15, 2004 3:16 pm

I've got one of those 17yo Van Winkles as well. I think it was Japan only, or at least mine has a Japanese sticker on the back... Also, since it is the closet buried I cannot get the date but I do remember it was early 90's, maybe 92-94...
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Unread postby doubleblank » Wed Dec 15, 2004 3:32 pm

Tim....it was the 17yo intended for the Japanese market....bottled in '94. Still unopened.....but it may be soon. Bourbon's for drinkin.

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Unread postby angelshare » Wed Dec 15, 2004 3:43 pm

I left out the regular Eagle Rare expression because I can't recall ever having any.


In my non-expert opinion, it's better than the SB 10 yr (even though it is 10 yrs old also!) and we almost always keep a bottle around. I've always found it ironic that it is not considered a special bottle, but is better to my palate than its SB counterpart.

I've also not had the entire Van Winkel line, but of those that I have tried the 20 year old Pappy has clearly been the best with the 15 year old running a very close second at half the price yet still expensive.


Have you had any of the Old Rip Van Winkles? ORVW 10 year 107 is Tina's favorite bourbon to date. We have set aside a 15 year to try for the first time after Tina's delivery in January. We, on the other hand, have never had the Pappy 15, 20 or 23. BTW, did you notice that VA ABC carries Van Winkle Special Reserve 12 year now? On sale in December for $31 I think.

Boy, BT really produces some great stuff, doesn't it? One of the reasons I chose just five to rank was that I thought it would be too complicated to include too many, plus some of them I had not had recently or consistently enough to feel I could rank in an informed manner. Linn has obviously done his research! :notworthy: Dang it, once the BT discussion gets going, you can't resist talking about all of them!

Turkey does what it does extremely well; but BT has such a HUGE selection of quality products, it's astounding.
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