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Thread: Bourbon Thread

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    Bourbon Thread

    Alright, RedsZoners, I know many of you are bourbon drinkers, and our beer thread is one of my favorite places to go for a new recommendation. So I want to do the same for America's spirit.

    What do you all keep on your shelves, what are some good mid-level price bourbons you enjoy, and what are some of the best bourbons you've ever had, that we just have to try.

    I consider myself bourbon educated, but I've found I'm hitting the proverbial wall when it comes to finding new bourbons. The most recent new bourbon that's really blown me away is the Willett 10 year single barrel. I had it at a bar here in Lexington, and I can't remember being so pleasantly warmed by a bourbon in a long time.

    Anybody else?

    (BTW, I searched around and couldn't find a bourbon thread, so if I've doubled up, please point me in the right direction.)
    Last edited by WildcatFan; 06-04-2013 at 07:13 PM.
    "I never argue with people who say baseball is boring, because baseball is boring. And then, suddenly, it isn't. And that's what makes it great." - Joe Posnanski

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    Joseph (06-04-2013)

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    Re: Bourbon Thread

    I absolutely adore bourbon. I am still very much in the learning phases of bourbon drinking I'd say but I have a bar with about 25-30 different bottles on it downstairs.

    My favorite at the moment is Eagle Rare 10 year old [comes from Buffalo Trace]. I will take it along on a trip in a flask sometimes [I'm not an alcoholic I swear].

    Do you partake in the various tours of the bourbon trail? I've found those very enjoyable myself.

    There are a few mainstream/mid level types that I enjoy that I may or may not be chided for, but Makers is always good. I also enjoy the Four Roses single barrel as well. I had an Elijah Craig 18 year old that I loved when I first started to get into bourbon but as the last year or two have passed and I've developed my taste a bit more it's a bit off over all. I can't quite explain it, but its not as good as it once was for me.

    For me though most bourbons fall into one of two categories. A drinker or a mixer. Things like Devil's Cut are just about undrinkable so they end up in the mixer category whereas the Jeffersons Reserve is definitely a drinker for me.

    Championships for MY teams in my lifetime:
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    Chicago Blackhawks - 10, 13
    University of Kentucky - 78, 96, 98, 12
    Cincinnati Bengals - None
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    WildcatFan (06-04-2013)

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    Re: Bourbon Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph View Post
    I absolutely adore bourbon. I am still very much in the learning phases of bourbon drinking I'd say but I have a bar with about 25-30 different bottles on it downstairs.

    My favorite at the moment is Eagle Rare 10 year old [comes from Buffalo Trace]. I will take it along on a trip in a flask sometimes [I'm not an alcoholic I swear].

    Do you partake in the various tours of the bourbon trail? I've found those very enjoyable myself.

    There are a few mainstream/mid level types that I enjoy that I may or may not be chided for, but Makers is always good. I also enjoy the Four Roses single barrel as well. I had an Elijah Craig 18 year old that I loved when I first started to get into bourbon but as the last year or two have passed and I've developed my taste a bit more it's a bit off over all. I can't quite explain it, but its not as good as it once was for me.

    For me though most bourbons fall into one of two categories. A drinker or a mixer. Things like Devil's Cut are just about undrinkable so they end up in the mixer category whereas the Jeffersons Reserve is definitely a drinker for me.
    The Eagle Rare often makes it to my house too. Particularly in the summer because it's so sweet. I've never had the FR Single Barrel, but the Small Batch is up there for me. Interesting about the EJ 18. Another one I've never tried.

    I don't mix, really, so I can't speak to that. For me, the wheated bourbons would seem to do the best as mixers with coke or whatever. If I'm going cocktail, I'll use a rye like Woodford usually to counteract the sweetness.

    I'm actually a tour guide on the Bourbon Trail. Town Branch in Lexington, we joined in October. I probably do 8-10 tours a week. Come by sometime!
    "I never argue with people who say baseball is boring, because baseball is boring. And then, suddenly, it isn't. And that's what makes it great." - Joe Posnanski

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    Re: Bourbon Thread

    Far from an aficionado, but bourbon's definitely my preferred liquor. I haven't had much outside the varieties you'll find at your local liquor store, but definitely enjoy Basil Hayden's most.

    I was at a bar in Louisville recently, and noticed a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle 20 Year. Busted the budget and had a pour. Can't say I was overly impressed. Wasn't quite as smooth as I anticipated. It should be noted that I had been drinking some pretty robust beers for a number of hours, so I probably wasn't in the best condition to taste it, but couldn't resist.

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    Captain13 (06-06-2013)

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    Re: Bourbon Thread

    Would love to come visit Town Branch. I definitely enjoy that bourbon. I'll let you know when we will be that way again and try to say hello.

    Funny that you mention the Woodford. I enjoy Woodford Reserve, but I really didn't like the Double Oaked series they started a couple years ago. Again, not a drastic difference I know, but enough just to put me off a bit.

    And the small batch comment reminds me, for my wifes birthday this year I got her a dozen roses, which was 3 different bottles of Four Roses, the small batch, the single barrel, and the regular. She was very excited.

    Championships for MY teams in my lifetime:
    Cincinnati Reds - 75, 76, 90
    Chicago Blackhawks - 10, 13
    University of Kentucky - 78, 96, 98, 12
    Cincinnati Bengals - None
    Chicago Bulls - 91, 92, 93, 96, 97, 98

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    WildcatFan (06-04-2013)

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    Re: Bourbon Thread

    Great idea for a thread. Especially to compliment the existing scotch thread. I'm by no means an expert myself.

    I have to say, I think Buffalo Trace for the price is excellent. It took a while, but it's finally sold in a fair number of liquor stores here (though it's still harder to find in bars out here).

    I have a bottle of Buffalo Trace's Single Oak Project that I have yet to crack open. If you're unfamiliar, it's pretty interesting. You can read about it here: http://www.singleoakproject.com/. The gist of it is that some years back, they decided to cut a tree and do 192 different barrels all from different parts of the tree, making for 192 unique bourbons that are being released over a period of years (obviously a limited run for each barrel). You can then rate it on their site and give a review. The barrel # that is highest rated at the end will then be manufactured in the future using the same specs as that barrel and will be available on a wide scale. Not cheap however. A 375 ML bottle is around $55 (only size it comes in). Bottles are numbered with the barrel number.

    One of my favorites is the Hudson Baby Bourbon. It's the first (and maybe only?) bourbon to be distilled in New York with 100% NY corn. It's excellent, but it's not cheap either. It's around $40-45 for a 375 ML (the only size it comes in). Every bottle is hand numbered as well. Not sure if it's available in Ohio and other parts of the country not on the east coast, but if it is, it's well worth it.

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    Re: Bourbon Thread

    Great stuff FOP.

    That brings up a question from this Kentucky boy, there's no right or wrong answer I don't think, but I'd love to hear the bourbon lovers consensus.

    Long ago I was informed that bourbon came only from Kentucky and that was even part of some sort of law [which I know isn't true now] but that to be bourbon you had to not only have the formula but also be made using the limestone rich waters of Kentucky.

    So the question is does bourbon come only from Kentucky and the rest is just whisky? Or is it only the formula that matters and not where its bottled?

    Don't intend to hijack the thread at all, just wondered what others thought.

    Championships for MY teams in my lifetime:
    Cincinnati Reds - 75, 76, 90
    Chicago Blackhawks - 10, 13
    University of Kentucky - 78, 96, 98, 12
    Cincinnati Bengals - None
    Chicago Bulls - 91, 92, 93, 96, 97, 98

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    Re: Bourbon Thread

    I'm not a bourbon snob, but I did eventually acquire a taste for it like a Kentucky gentleman ought. I'm not all that much of a drinker so when I do have a bottle on hand it's decent stuff. And I rarely mix anymore; if it's not good enough to drink neat, it's not worth buying. Having said that, I rarely drink it neat except for initial tasting. Most bourbons taste better to me once there's a melting ice cube or two in the glass.

    The most frequent choice is Maker's Mark. I'm not sure I can defend this solely on taste, but I grew up in the middle of the bourbon zone (and not that recently); Maker's was the old-school boutique brand before such a thing was commonplace, and I loved the distillery and the craftsmanship it represented. So it's nostalgia as much as the product.

    The go-to inexpensive choice is Four Roses, the regular label. As good as many things ten bucks a bottle more. I've heard Evan Williams Single Barrel is really good for the money (low $20s) but haven't tried it yet.

    The sweetest price point for me is around $30-35 where Woodford Reserve, Maker's 46, Elmer T. Lee, Eagle Rare etc. reside. I rarely see the need to spend more. When I do, I generally enjoy the bourbon but don't see the need to get it again once having sampled, e.g. Woodford Reserve Double Oaked. The exception is Angel's Envy. I really liked that one and will buy it again.
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    Re: Bourbon Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph View Post
    Great stuff FOP.

    That brings up a question from this Kentucky boy, there's no right or wrong answer I don't think, but I'd love to hear the bourbon lovers consensus.

    Long ago I was informed that bourbon came only from Kentucky and that was even part of some sort of law [which I know isn't true now] but that to be bourbon you had to not only have the formula but also be made using the limestone rich waters of Kentucky.

    So the question is does bourbon come only from Kentucky and the rest is just whisky? Or is it only the formula that matters and not where its bottled?

    Don't intend to hijack the thread at all, just wondered what others thought.
    Legally, you're right, it doesn't have to be produced in Kentucky. Nearly all of it is, though, and I've never actually seen one on the shelf that wasn't. Not sure what a true bourbon aficionado would think of a non-Kentucky product. The likes of me probably couldn't taste the difference, maybe someone else could.

    Speaking of arguments over liquor, "is Jack Daniel's bourbon?" is usually a good one to toss out there. (Technically it is, but neither bourbon purists nor Tennessee whiskey makers will claim it as such.)
    Not all who wander are lost

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    Re: Bourbon Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by fearofpopvol1 View Post
    I have a bottle of Buffalo Trace's Single Oak Project that I have yet to crack open. If you're unfamiliar, it's pretty interesting. You can read about it here: http://www.singleoakproject.com/. The gist of it is that some years back, they decided to cut a tree and do 192 different barrels all from different parts of the tree, making for 192 unique bourbons that are being released over a period of years (obviously a limited run for each barrel). You can then rate it on their site and give a review. The barrel # that is highest rated at the end will then be manufactured in the future using the same specs as that barrel and will be available on a wide scale. Not cheap however. A 375 ML bottle is around $55 (only size it comes in). Bottles are numbered with the barrel number.

    One of my favorites is the Hudson Baby Bourbon. It's the first (and maybe only?) bourbon to be distilled in New York with 100% NY corn. It's excellent, but it's not cheap either. It's around $40-45 for a 375 ML (the only size it comes in). Every bottle is hand numbered as well. Not sure if it's available in Ohio and other parts of the country not on the east coast, but if it is, it's well worth it.
    That's fascinating abut the Single Oak Project. I was just talking to our distiller today about the parts of the tree they use. The inner cut tends to be more dense and not as porous, so you get a little less extract from it, but more wood flavor, while the outer is where you really get that vanilla and caramel flavored because the wood is more open. I'd love to read more about that project.

    Interesting about the Hudson Bay, too. What did it taste like? Really sweet/smooth, but delicate? Is the mash bill itself all corn, or do you just mean all the corn is from NY?
    "I never argue with people who say baseball is boring, because baseball is boring. And then, suddenly, it isn't. And that's what makes it great." - Joe Posnanski

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    Re: Bourbon Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph View Post
    Great stuff FOP.

    That brings up a question from this Kentucky boy, there's no right or wrong answer I don't think, but I'd love to hear the bourbon lovers consensus.

    Long ago I was informed that bourbon came only from Kentucky and that was even part of some sort of law [which I know isn't true now] but that to be bourbon you had to not only have the formula but also be made using the limestone rich waters of Kentucky.

    So the question is does bourbon come only from Kentucky and the rest is just whisky? Or is it only the formula that matters and not where its bottled?

    Don't intend to hijack the thread at all, just wondered what others thought.
    Thanks! To legally be a bourbon, it has to be made in the US, though most bourbon is made in Kentucky. There are some other specs as well a producer most follow to fit the "bourbon" moniker.

    It's not made in Kentucky, but I'm telling you, it tastes every bit as good as any Kentucky bourbon I've had (or better).


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    Re: Bourbon Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by IslandRed View Post
    Legally, you're right, it doesn't have to be produced in Kentucky. Nearly all of it is, though, and I've never actually seen one on the shelf that wasn't. Not sure what a true bourbon aficionado would think of a non-Kentucky product. The likes of me probably couldn't taste the difference, maybe someone else could.

    Speaking of arguments over liquor, "is Jack Daniel's bourbon?" is usually a good one to toss out there. (Technically it is, but neither bourbon purists nor Tennessee whiskey makers will claim it as such.)
    I see a difference in Tennessee whiskey and Kentucky bourbon so to me Jack Daniels is not bourbon.

    Semantics I'm sure to many people, but to me there's a difference indeed.

    Championships for MY teams in my lifetime:
    Cincinnati Reds - 75, 76, 90
    Chicago Blackhawks - 10, 13
    University of Kentucky - 78, 96, 98, 12
    Cincinnati Bengals - None
    Chicago Bulls - 91, 92, 93, 96, 97, 98

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    Re: Bourbon Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by IslandRed View Post
    Speaking of arguments over liquor, "is Jack Daniel's bourbon?" is usually a good one to toss out there. (Technically it is, but neither bourbon purists nor Tennessee whiskey makers will claim it as such.)
    Jack Daniels would be called a bourbon if they put the word "bourbon" on the label. That's the only difference. They get their kicks, though, calling it Tennessee whiskey.

    Legally, bourbon can come from anywhere in the US, but only Kentucky gets to put its name on there. If it's made in Kentucky, you can label it Kentucky bourbon. If it's made in New York, you can't label it "New York bourbon." We get to hold that over everybody's heads.
    "I never argue with people who say baseball is boring, because baseball is boring. And then, suddenly, it isn't. And that's what makes it great." - Joe Posnanski

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    Re: Bourbon Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph View Post
    Would love to come visit Town Branch. I definitely enjoy that bourbon. I'll let you know when we will be that way again and try to say hello..
    Please do.
    "I never argue with people who say baseball is boring, because baseball is boring. And then, suddenly, it isn't. And that's what makes it great." - Joe Posnanski

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    Re: Bourbon Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by WildcatFan View Post
    Jack Daniels would be called a bourbon if they put the word "bourbon" on the label. That's the only difference. They get their kicks, though, calling it Tennessee whiskey.

    Legally, bourbon can come from anywhere in the US, but only Kentucky gets to put its name on there. If it's made in Kentucky, you can label it Kentucky bourbon. If it's made in New York, you can't label it "New York bourbon." We get to hold that over everybody's heads.
    You can still call a New York bourbon a "bourbon" however, so long as it meets the requirements of a bourbon. A bourbon does not need to be created in Kentucky to be a bourbon.


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