Bourbon Tasting Party

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Bourbon Tasting Party

Unread postby GPS Gio » Mon Dec 03, 2012 4:33 pm

I am a Bourbon Newbie and recently became a lover of good bourbon, only tried Makers,Woodford and Knob so far. I have done my best to amass a portfolio of quality bourbons (harder in my area than most areas of America). My intention is to have a tasting with some friends during the upcoming holidays. I'm curious if there a brand that I am missing that would complement or be essential to the 13 I already got, I can try to find before the holidays. I also would like an opinion of the 13 that I got already where to start and where to end. The 13 I have are:

ANGEL'S ENVY BOURBON
BAKERS BOURBON * 7YR 107'
BASIL HAYDEN'S BOURBON
BUFFALO TRACE BOURBON
BULLEIT BOURBON
FOUR ROSES BOURBON * SMALL BATCH
JEFFERSON'S VERY SMALL BATCH BOURBON
KNOB CREEK BOURBON
MAKER'S MARK BOURBON
OLD GRAND DAD * 100'
ROWAN'S CREEK BOURBON * 12YR
WILD TURKEY * KENTUCKY SPIRIT
WOODFORD RESERVE BOURBON


PS I hope that the 13 already on hand aren't too similar.
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Re: Bourbon Tasting Party

Unread postby Birdo » Mon Dec 03, 2012 5:47 pm

I like four roses single barrel better than the small batch. Don't overlook cheaper bourbons like Jim Beam Black, Fighting Cock, and Ancient Ancient Age 10y/o. They are all very good. I also like Wild Turkey 101.
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Re: Bourbon Tasting Party

Unread postby jcg9779 » Mon Dec 03, 2012 6:09 pm

GPS Gio wrote:I am a Bourbon Newbie and recently became a lover of good bourbon, only tried Makers,Woodford and Knob so far. I have done my best to amass a portfolio of quality bourbons (harder in my area than most areas of America). My intention is to have a tasting with some friends during the upcoming holidays. I'm curious if there a brand that I am missing that would complement or be essential to the 13 I already got, I can try to find before the holidays. I also would like an opinion of the 13 that I got already where to start and where to end. The 13 I have are:

ANGEL'S ENVY BOURBON
BAKERS BOURBON * 7YR 107'
BASIL HAYDEN'S BOURBON
BUFFALO TRACE BOURBON
BULLEIT BOURBON
FOUR ROSES BOURBON * SMALL BATCH
JEFFERSON'S VERY SMALL BATCH BOURBON
KNOB CREEK BOURBON
MAKER'S MARK BOURBON
OLD GRAND DAD * 100'
ROWAN'S CREEK BOURBON * 12YR
WILD TURKEY * KENTUCKY SPIRIT
WOODFORD RESERVE BOURBON


PS I hope that the 13 already on hand aren't too similar.


I'd throw in Old Weller Antique or Weller 12. Weller 12 would give you an aged wheater at a proof that is very approachable.
Jack


As you walk down the fairway of life you must smell the roses, for you only get to play one round.
-Ben Hogan
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Re: Bourbon Tasting Party

Unread postby EllenJ » Mon Dec 03, 2012 6:48 pm

GPS Gio wrote:...PS I hope that the 13 already on hand aren't too similar.

Here's a pat-on-da-back for you...
There are many ways to assemble an interesting collection of different bourbons (or anything else, for that matter), and among the most common ones seem to be:

(1) what examples to I personally like the best (at this moment, at least)?
(2) what do the "experts" think I ought to like?
(3) what do people sharing tastes of my collection think they'd like to try?
(4) what's the Best Bourbon (whatever that really means)?
(5) see #4
(6) see #4
(7) well, you get the idea...
and (8) how many COMPLETELY DIFFERENT examples of bourbon (or anything else) can I assemble for this collection

I happen to subscribe to #8; in fact, I'd buy a bottle of something I don't really LIKE, as long as it's DIFFERENT from the others. And I commend you for aspiring to do something similar. By the way, your collection certainly does NOT suffer from being too similar; any serious collector of American whiskey would be proud-and-a-half to have as much diversity in their collection as you already do. When you have that bourbon party, I sure hope the Goddess and I are invited. Where do you live?

P.S - Jack's suggestion of a nice aged wheater is a good one. You could certainly benefit with a couple of those. Old Fitzgerald is inexpensive and very good... and it compares interestingly with both Maker's Mark (which you already have) and the Old Weller Antique.
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Re: Bourbon Tasting Party

Unread postby GPS Gio » Tue Dec 04, 2012 2:03 pm

Thanks to EllenJ for not raining on my parade with the inspirational pat-on-da-back. Thanks for the tasting suggestions as well to others.

Assuming I stick with the 13 in the lineup...is it correct to drink from weakest proof to highest proof? Is there other ways to tackle it (interms of drinking order) or am I making it more complicated than it needs to be. Not to sound stupid I have been drinking all my Bourbon with a few cubes of ice (no water). Am I defeating the purpose of a "tasting" if don't drink them all straight up?

EllenJ you make it to the deep bush of NW MT I will have you.
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Re: Bourbon Tasting Party

Unread postby EllenJ » Tue Dec 04, 2012 7:13 pm

Welllllll... I s'pose my supply of dental floss IS getting a bit low...
But I SERIOUSLY doubt that a drive out that way is a-gonna happen before a LOT of snow has melted. :lol:

As for arranging the proof in a tasting, weakest to highest proof is one common way to do it. Another might be to start with lighter bodied and progress toward the older, woody-er stuff.

My favorite (for serious tastings; way too much involvement for casually enjoying whiskey) is to reduce the proof of everything to that of the lowest common denominator. That cuts out some important differences, of course, since the bottling proof is often an expression of what the "distiller" is trying to accomplish for that brand. But it does create a level playing field. Bottom shelf brands at 80 proof are (usually, not always) bottled that way because it's the legal minimum (Basil Hayden is one example of where that I'SNT true), and the "barrel proof" brands are, of course, bottled at whatever the barrel proof happens to be, usually very high. But you don't have any of those in your collection. In most cases those were never originally intended to be offered without diluting, and many are really the same whiskies you already have, once brought down to 90, 100, 107, etc.

Here is a little spreadsheet you can copy into Excel or whatever that will give you an instant answer to how much water you need to add to a given amount of whiskey (or any other spirit) to bring it's proof down to whatever you want it to be. I based it on a formula I got from Chuck Cowdery.

........ A ............................................ B
1 ..... [leave blank] ................... Units of spirit to be diluted - milliliters, ounces, jiggers, gallons, barrels, whatever
2 ..... [leave blank] ................... Starting proof
3 ..... [leave blank] ................... Target proof
4
5 =ROUND((A1*((A2/A3)-1)),2)....... Units of water to add

Just fill in the amounts in the first three rows and your answer will show up in row #5.
I prefer to use 90 proof myself, and just leave the occasional 80-proofer go.
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