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Let's talk about Bourbon



I’m sure there are some bourbon (and rye) lovers out there. Do you have a collection? What’s your go-to tipple? Your favourite? Preferred style? Your dream dram (other than PVW)? Ever been to Kentucky to visit the distilleries?

My current favourites are E.H. Taylor SB and Booker’s. Woodford Rreserve was my ‘go-to’ until I tried Eagle Rare, which goes down very easily indeed.


OMG @hugofount, get involved!! (Hugo has quite the whisky/bourbon collection…)


I am certainly no Bourbon connoisseur but I do like the taste of it a lot. So far our favourite is Makers Mark. We have also enjoyed Woodford Reserve when we couldn’t get Makers. I also like Jim Beam and JD, especially if making a cocktail. I luuurve a Manhattan and cannot bear to use Makers given its price.

I was introduced to Bourbon and ginger at university when one of our lecturers took a few of us to the bar and bought us all said drink, showing us how to add just the right amount of mixer so as not to drown the spirit. My course was Religious Studies, the lecturer a great guy specialising in Martin Luther. I think he must have been musing on the Holy Spirit and got carried away!


I hope you wrote down his mixing instructions and nailed it to the door of his office.


I am never failed to be surprised by what one taster adores, another abhors!
Some years ago, friends who were visiting New England for the “leaf” thing, very generously and kindly brought me back a bottle of Makers Mark, as a gift.

All I could taste was marzipan, which I detest with an absolute passion, ergo I gave it away to a student who then apparently and unknown to me, elevated me to “supercool” status. Might I state for the record that I have never, ever thought of myself as such and was truly horrified. lol!
Shortly after that a gift of Kahlua came into my possession, and I dutifully passed it on, not as yet realising that I had now been raised to a “deity” level.
I wonder why I cannot receive iterations of Remy, which I love?
I am after all, a simple soul; not at all difficult to please.
“Yeah, right” was the cry!
Life can be so unfair, except for thirsty students. Ha, ha!!


I’ve never been that impressed by Makers Mark (most of the Beam products I find too dry and sharp) but I do love the 46 version, very smooth. I don’t remember marzipan though, that’s not something I enjoy either.

Anyone tried the society bourbon? I was sure I had but my little black book has no sign of it.


Current selection is
Woodforde double oaked
Eagle rare 10
Makers 46
Wild turkey rare breed
Old forester
Pike creek 10
Michters rye
Wild turkey standard
Elijah craig 12
Evan Williams 2004
The aged bourbon like Evan Williams, Elijah and eagle are my favourites


I adore the Evan Williams, and it’s so cheap in America. Punches well above its price point.


That’s quite a cache! Are there some style groupings that would help a newbie navigate the world of bourbon?


I find the different ‘houses’ have certain styles (Beam vs Buffalo Trace e.g.), but then there are the single barrel vs standard bottling vs cask strength etc. Also differences in the rye/corn proportion, and some wheated bourbons.

/r/bourbon has a good intro document here.

The way I’ve been learning what I like (also with scotch, rye and rum) is to order a bunch of different samples from master of malt and make notes. In theory that should limit my purchasing of full sized bottles. In practice…


I think @tom nails it above.
For me, I started out with the standard bottlings of Woodforde Reserve, Maker’s Mark, JD Gentleman Jack/Single Barrel etc. and then just explored the next tier up.
I went to the Whisky Exchange whisky show a few years back which gives you a great chance to try loads of different stuff. I really like the Michters style but it is quite expensive. I also think the Four Roses duo of ‘Small Batch’ and the ‘Single Barrel’ offer great value as well.
The Four Roses small batch is a great place to start along with Woodforde Reserve (can often be found for around £25 or less in most supermarkets when on offer.

Once you’ve given them a try, go for the more aged expressions like Eagle Rare, Evan Williams and Elijah Craig - you won’t be disappointed!


That’s interesting about Four Roses. It is ubiquitous in French supermarkets - probably not the small batch version - and I assumed it was just a bottom of the range cheapo and never bought a bottle. Maybe should give it a try.


That’s the Four Roses Original (Yellow Label) - pretty simple stuff. Small Batch is worthy of investigation.


I read this as “My course was Riesling Studies”… I felt rather envious for a split second! :rofl:


It’s a bit sad to note that Bourbon is likely to be on the EU retaliation list (to US import penalties on steel & aluminium) for incurring import tariffs. I suppose “stock up now” might be a plan.


Luckily I already have a large stock (“why do you need so much whiskey?”) otherwise I would.

Most of my bottles though are bought on trips to see my in-laws. It’s basically 241 over there in comparison.


I really like Bakers for small batch premium stuff. Pretty expensive here, but not off the charts compared to rare Scotch Whisky or premium Cognac. Makers Mark is my choice for standard use.

As for rye, it’s less sweet and worth a taste. I actually prefer it for Manhattans. Bulleit is a great one to start with, and I’d suggest Sazerac at the premium level.


…whereas I’m not a fan of Eagle Rare. It tastes somehow confected to me. I’m curious what ryes you like, if any @tom


I used to see Bakers a fair bit in airports but it seems to have gone recently. I like it a lot.

Eagle Rare for me is just so easy going, but a bit more ineteresting than WR.

I’m more of a novice when it comes to Rye but I’ve enjoyed Smooth Ambler Old Scout 7 y/o and 1776. Tried Michter’s once and wasn’t impressed. I think I tried Bulleit at the same event and wasn’t enamoured, but keen to try the Knob Creek and I’d love to get hold of a bottle of Booker’s Rye if I can (fat chance).

I have a small bottle of Whistlepig in my cupboard that needs to be opened sometime. And then of course there’s the BTAC one, but let’s not get silly.


Reading this thread is like sitting in a sauna and listening to Russians talking about ‘the shipment’…