Whiskey and Scotch Recomendations

My go-to binge whiskey has always been Ten High. Cheap, tolerable, non-blinding. Of late they've only had the handles at my local liquor store, so I've made a small step up to Early Times' 750. Just found that Early Times has a new upgrade, called Early Times 354 Bourbon.

It has stuff floating in it. Like, shreds of what appear to be cigarette tobacco, suspended throughout the liquid, not just at the bottom, seemingly defying simple physics. 80 proof, tastes like Early Times but lighter, without that irony tang.

The bottle has a nice rectangular shape.

I will never buy it again.

Just polished off a Kentucky Colonel tonight. Good stuff. 3 parts good bourbon (I used Four Roses), 1 part Benedictine (not B&B, the real thing), a few shakes of Angostura bitters. Stir into a few cubes in a small old-fashioned glass. Mmmm....

Minarchist are you familiar with Kentucky? I'm heading down there in a few months and I'm interested in hitting some distillery tours. I know I'll be hitting the Buffalo Trace distillery, but I know there's probably tons of smaller ones that don't really make the news. We'll be staying in Lexington, if that helps at all.

Seth wrote:

Minarchist are you familiar with Kentucky? I'm heading down there in a few months and I'm interested in hitting some distillery tours. I know I'll be hitting the Buffalo Trace distillery, but I know there's probably tons of smaller ones that don't really make the news. We'll be staying in Lexington, if that helps at all.

Well, I did spend the first 17 years of my life there...

...Lexington is my favorite city in America, so it's a fun little town. Not as much to do at night as, say, Chicago or NYC, but cool nonetheless. If you get any extra time, be sure to drive down Old Frankfort Pike and the surrounding area to see some incredibly beautiful horse farms. It's a shame you won't be there in April or October, as that's when Keeneland hosts races.

I haven't toured every distillery, but I've toured a lot of them. Some of the coolest have been:

Woodford Reserve — I understand it can get crowded nowadays, but a cool, historic tour and some of the most gorgeous scenery around
Buffalo Trace — The biggest, most comprehensive, and frankly the best (not very pretty though)
Maker's Mark — Yeah, so the bourbon probably won't win any awards (although Maker's 46 isn't bad), but totally worth it for the history and for meeting the awesome little old ladies that still hand-dip each bottle into hot wax. And I guarantee you any one of those frail octogenarians could drink you under the table.
Heaven Hill — very cool, just make sure you go on a day they're actually doing tours, not just museum tickets.

A tier down:

Wild Turkey — nice place, gorgeous views, but the tour is a bit lacking and the tasting from my memory was meh.
Four Roses — This is only here because they only recently started doing tours and I haven't had a chance to make it yet. I've heard it's nice, though.

Skip:

Jim Beam — seriously, it sucks. Nothing more than a video and a gift shop.

Other cool bourbon-related things:

The Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History — if you happen to go so far as Bardstown, and any serious tasting will take you there (and beyond), this is worth a trip. Especially if you're a history wonk.

Awesome, this is exactly what I was hoping for. Honestly I was seriously considering a Jim Beam tour, so I'm glad for the warning.

I'm traveling with one professional and a couple amateur photographers, so any place that has sites worth preserving on film (yeah he's a 35mm buff) are well worth knowing about.

Thank you!

Minarchist wrote:
Seth wrote:

Minarchist are you familiar with Kentucky?

Well, I did spend the first 17 years of my life there... :)

He was trying to give you the benefit of the doubt.

It actually seems they've added a few things to the Jim Bean tour

http://kybourbontrail.com/index.php/...

In general the Bourbon Trail is a pretty good place to start, especially since you're already visiting Buffalo Trace

http://kybourbontrail.com/index.php/...

Are you looking for good bars/restaurants in Lexington? I've been here about 7 years so I've got a list

O Hai!

If anyone will be in the area anytime soon (before Oct. 7), Buffalo Trace distillery is Louisville's groupon for the day (the distillery is actually in Frankfort, much closer to Lexington). Free tour, plus $12 for $25 worth of merch at the gift shop.

Minarchist wrote:

O Hai!

If anyone will be in the area anytime soon (before Oct. 7), Buffalo Trace distillery is Louisville's groupon for the day (the distillery is actually in Frankfort, much closer to Lexington). Free tour, plus $12 for $25 worth of merch at the gift shop.

Got mine!!

Speaking of Buffalo Trace, the same distillery makes a cheaper bourbon called Benchmark, which I've recently tried. I think it's my new best bourbon for the money, better than Jim Beam Black at half the cost. It's not quite as good as the flagship Buffalo Trace, but it's really an excellent bourbon in its own right. Between Benchmark for my everyday sipper/mixer and Buffalo Trace for special occasions, I feel like I've solved the bourbon puzzle.

Or at least, if I weren't so interested in trying out new flavors, I would feel that way.

CostCo is selling a "Kirkland Signature" bourbon that is apparently quite good for the money. Made by Jim Beam but not necessarily the same as the store brand. If you are in a state where you can get it (I'm not) it might be worth picking up at the price.

I've tried the Kirkland and it's good. They only sell it in the fall here though.

Minarchist wrote:

O Hai!

If anyone will be in the area anytime soon (before Oct. 7), Buffalo Trace distillery is Louisville's groupon for the day (the distillery is actually in Frankfort, much closer to Lexington). Free tour, plus $12 for $25 worth of merch at the gift shop.

Cool. If I don't make it home this summer, I've still got plenty of friends/family that will use it.

Any thoughts on Gentleman Jack?

I'm trying out a few of the 'cheaper' alternatives (some of those recommended in this thread retail for $120+ down here, IF you can find them) and our local has it on special for around $50.

I've tried a bourbon (Wild Turkey), Blended Scotch (Chivas) and an Irish whisky (Jamesons), and found the bourbon a 'bit rough' compared ot the others (enjoyed the Jamesons the most). I'm wondering if the double filtered charcoal will soften my experience, or if I've just been unfortunate to sample too low an end of drinks?

Makers Mark is also available for around the same price, what would be the better of the two, or more specifically, what would be the differences in the two in terms of flavours, mouth feel etc.

I've adopted what somebody mentioned earlier in the thread that "if it hurts your throat, you're swallowing too soon" and that has added greatly to my enjoyment and appreciation of the flavours. I'm also taking everything 'neat' so that I know I'm getting everthing out of the drink that I can, in it's purest form/flavour. Just looking for some guidance in the next step.

Not sure how it stands up in the greater scheme of bourbons, but the Gentleman Jack is pretty nice. The Jim Beam Small Batch is about the same price, and also very drinkable.

As I've posted before, for the love of god, don't drink Maker's Mark!

KrazyTacoFO wrote:

As I've posted before, for the love of god, don't drink Maker's Mark!

Have you posted that because you hate bourbon, or because you want to save more for yourself?

(Unnecessary clarification: I love the stuff. )

KrazyTacoFO wrote:

As I've posted before, for the love of god, don't drink Maker's Mark!

Have you tried Maker's 46? Actually pretty good stuff. More balanced than the main brand (which is not terrible, for what it is).

Sonicator wrote:

Not sure how it stands up in the greater scheme of bourbons, but the Gentleman Jack is pretty nice. The Jim Beam Small Batch is about the same price, and also very drinkable.

I can't stand Jack Daniels, but Gentleman Jack is not bad. It ain't no bourbon, though. That there be Tennesee Sour Mash Whiskey. Yes, there's a difference.

Wild Turkey (the base line, not Rare Breed, Kentucky Spirit, etc.) is a bit rough. Best used when you want to kill your ability to be bothered by alcohol burn.

Cheap stuff: Old Forester and Jim Beam Black are probably my favorites. Maker's will do as well.

If you like Jameson's, also check out Basil Hayden's, but it will be a little more expensive. Also might not be exporting ...

I can't comment on any Jack Daniel's product, as I avoid that sour mash swill.

Minarchist wrote:
KrazyTacoFO wrote:

As I've posted before, for the love of god, don't drink Maker's Mark!

Have you tried Maker's 46? Actually pretty good stuff. More balanced than the main brand (which is not terrible, for what it is).

Sonicator wrote:

Not sure how it stands up in the greater scheme of bourbons, but the Gentleman Jack is pretty nice. The Jim Beam Small Batch is about the same price, and also very drinkable.

I can't stand Jack Daniels, but Gentleman Jack is not bad. It ain't no bourbon, though. That there be Tennesee Sour Mash Whiskey. Yes, there's a difference.

That led me to some instructive wikipeding.
Edit: And also made me want to expand my practical experience of them. As my countryman mentioned, our options here are a bit limited.

I really enjoy Bourbon, I grew up in KY, I have to. I haven't had Maker's 46 before, only the regular stuff. I just think the regular Maker's is a horrible version of Bourbon, but that's just my palate talking.

Evan Williams if your kinda broke, Cutty Sark if your not too broke.

beeporama wrote:

CostCo is selling a "Kirkland Signature" bourbon that is apparently quite good for the money. Made by Jim Beam but not necessarily the same as the store brand. If you are in a state where you can get it (I'm not) it might be worth picking up at the price.

Fun Factoid:

In Washington state, the home of Costco hq and of the Actual city Kirkland, you cant buy any Kirkland alcohol products because all alcohol must be sold at a state run store, and Kirkland is a Costco only product.

KrazyTacoFO wrote:

I really enjoy Bourbon, I grew up in KY, I have to. I haven't had Maker's 46 before, only the regular stuff. I just think the regular Maker's is a horrible version of Bourbon, but that's just my palate talking.

Makers is just bland, it's okay with a mixer because you're not really obliterating a ton of flavor. But my distaste for it is because people think that's what bourbon tastes like, and it's only like half the flavor that's actually involved with a good bourbon.

I'm still really in love with Buffalo Trace, I can't keep the stuff in the house. For the money it can't be beat. I'll have to try Lobo's suggestion of Benchmark and see how it goes.

PyromanFO wrote:
KrazyTacoFO wrote:

I really enjoy Bourbon, I grew up in KY, I have to. I haven't had Maker's 46 before, only the regular stuff. I just think the regular Maker's is a horrible version of Bourbon, but that's just my palate talking.

Makers is just bland, it's okay with a mixer because you're not really obliterating a ton of flavor. But my distaste for it is because people think that's what bourbon tastes like, and it's only like half the flavor that's actually involved with a good bourbon.

I'm still really in love with Buffalo Trace, I can't keep the stuff in the house. For the money it can't be beat. I'll have to try Lobo's suggestion of Benchmark and see how it goes.

I'll drink Maker's Mark under duress. Like when I order a Baker's in a loud bar and I get a "Maker's" instead. That is -- I won't throw it out if it's free. But yeah...you won't see that bottle in my basement.

+1 on Buffalo Trace, too. I cannot find a better taste:price ratio out there. I'm not saying it's the best bourbon on the planet (I still love the hell out of Booker's, and I've yet to taste Pappy Van Winkle) but it's still top shelf whiskey for 23 bucks.

I have consumed a bottle of Gentleman Jack in one night before. I ended up carrying a 180lb. lady in a bee costume down the streets of Wrigleyville. I insisted that she couldn't have been more than 140lbs, because: "Gentleman."

I realize its slightly off topic, but I will be doing this tonight to celebrate the royal wedding..
img is broken but I will be making a 'royal wedding', crown and RC cola.

wordsmythe wrote:

I have consumed a bottle of Gentleman Jack in one night before. I ended up carrying a 180lb. lady in a bee costume down the streets of Wrigleyville. I insisted that she couldn't have been more than 140lbs, because: "Gentleman."

IMAGE(http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_rFs0uVY_4rE/TMseq35do4I/AAAAAAAAItg/4lhXblrTzLw/s1600/odonnell02.jpg)

Thanks for the great feedback guys, really apreciate it.

As Sonicator confirmed, selection down here is woeful. It gets even worse on the West Coast, as freight charges from the East Coast make it harder to justify a gamble on stock for the retailers, so we only get the the stuff that's going to move off the shelves through market/brand recognition. That might be why the Gentleman's is being reduced in price, no one gets it.

Sifting through all of the information I'm picking up the following as a plan of action.

Wild Turkey base line was a 'bad' sampling of Bourbon and shouldn't bias my perception of the liquor going forward (other than to serve as that 'rough' example).

Possibly slide the palette into the flavours I can come to expect in a proper bourbon through the sampling, and enjoyment, of a Tennesee Sour Mash Whiskey (in this instance, the Gentleman Jack).

Then move onto a Buffalo Trace for the full bourbon experience once my palette has matured (same retailer also carries this).

Am I doing it right (or could I do it better)? Baby bourbon steps and all...

I'm going to be on a work trip for a few days this coming week and there is an open bar. I'm going to try a few different kinds since I won't have to foot the bill.