From one bourbon newbie to another…


Dave is a part-time blogger that writes about whatever suits him at the time.

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30 Responses

  1. j@m3z Aitch. says:

    As both a bourbon and a wine drinker, kudos to this post. The best advice I ever got about wine–from someone working at a Napa Valley winery, no less–was to figure out what tastes good to you, and to not worry about all the other details (until and unless you reached a point where you were comfortable enough with wine that you wanted to delve into the arcanity). The same is true for bourbon (and Scotch, and beer, and… and… and…).Report

    • Dave in reply to j@m3z Aitch. says:

      The best advice I ever got about wine–from someone working at a Napa Valley winery, no less–was to figure out what tastes good to you, and to not worry about all the other details …

      It’s nice to hear that some things are common sense no matter what people drink. Kudos to you.Report

    • The best advice I ever got about wine–from someone working at a Napa Valley winery, no less–was to figure out what tastes good to you, and to not worry about all the other details…

      And if you don’t have time (or budget) to explore broadly, find a reviewer whose tastes are like yours — ie, you like stuff that they like. Given that exactly the same wine can be judged anywhere from swill to gold medal, depending on the competition’s judges, you need to find someone that gives recommendations that work for you.Report

      • Jam3s Aitch in reply to Michael Cain says:

        Also, you don’t have to pay a lot. Most of the wines I buy are in the $8-12 range, and only ocasionally do I get one that’s not worthwhile. I did pay in the twenties for a couple bottles recently, which is unusual for me, but they were something I particularly wanted and have a hard time finding.Report

  2. I’m a Woodford Reserve kind of guy, myself. If I’m going to take a bourbon to be enjoyed on its own, that’s my pick. I don’t fancy myself anything like an expert, however, and when I get around to expanding my palate I’ll probably work on my scotch appreciation first.

    For manhattans, I’m less choosy. I”ll usually go with Knob Creek for that one.Report

  3. Kazzy says:

    I tried the Scotch route, also perceiving it to be of nobler stock. But, all things being equal, I just like bourbon better. I’m still a relative noob to both but, eh, I’m okay with tha. If I like what I’m drinking, I like what I’m drinking.Report

    • j@m3z Aitch. in reply to Kazzy says:

      Scotch is good, too. There are times I really like that peaty flavor better than bourbon. But the thing to remember is that it’s all just corn liquor of various sorts, and anyway the folks who originate bourbon were probably just descendants of the original Scots and Irish corn liquor makers.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to j@m3z Aitch. says:

        Let m first say I almost always prefer beer to liquor. And some situations do lend themselves better to Scotch. And certain Scotches I like better than others, though right now its the simpler ones as my palate develops. But, again, I drink what I like.Report

  4. Tod Kelly says:

    Around our house lately, it’s all been bout the Rye. But we will come back to bourbon, I’m sure.Report

  5. Mike Schilling says:

    I have never liked bourbon, or any of the brown liquors (scotch, irish, rye, whisky, etc.) but I’ve recently been introduced to Bulleit, and it’s pretty damned good.

    I like the idea of rye, since it lest me pretend to be Humphrey Bogart telling Dorothy Malone that without her glasses she has gazongas out to here, but it’s vile stuff.Report

  6. Damon says:


    You’re totally on point here on all your topics in this post.

    After visiting Scotland, I picked up a single malt scotch ranking book and single mindely went though it tasting all the 80+ scored bottles I could get my hands on (over about a decade). It was fun and I do consider myself a connoisseur, but the price / value propisition is always in my mind.

    I’ve also got into bourbon and I enjoy it quite a lot. I’ve had both the 20 and 23 year old Pappy’s, and IT IS VERY GOOD, but the price / value ration between the 20 and the 23 year old,at least several years ago, wasn’t worth it. The 20 was good enough. Now, since it’s gotten so trendy, I can’t even get it.

    Neither the single malts or Pappy’s is what I would call “regular drinking” booze, it’s more for special occasions or as an indulgence, and I’m currenly enjoying some lower priced brands. It looks like the suggestion above are worth investigating.Report

    • Dave in reply to Damon says:


      As someone that’s tried the Pappy, do you think that someone like myself that hasn’t had the Pappy would be able to tell the difference between that and another high quality wheated bourbon like W.L. Weller? I’ve read tasting notes on the Pappys and one thing that I see in a lot of those reviews is that Pappy doesn’t have a strong/dominant oak presence, something I get in a good way from George T. Stagg.

      I’m very much a bang for the buck guy. A bottle of black label Evan Williams costs several dollars less than a bottle of Jim Beam ($13 vs. $18) and offers a lot more bang. Rittenhouse Rye and Old Grand Bottled in Bond can be had out here for $19.99. I bought my first bottle of Elijah Craig for $23. Sadly, it was in Ohio. It’s more expensive in NJ.Report

      • Damon in reply to Dave says:


        The Pappy’s 20 year old, when I got it (as a gift for someone) was @ 150 USD. The 23 year old was over 200 USD. To me the difference in cost between the two bottles far outweighed the quality of the drink. I think that’s applicable to most aged alcohol. At some point marginal improvement in the quality of the drink becomes negligible. The sweet spot for me between cost and flavor is 20 years max.

        Now, that being said, I’ve never tried the bourbous you’ve mentioned, but Pappy’s was very smooth and didn’t have a lot of dominant oak, as I recall. I’d describe it as very smooth, balanced, with some carmel/sweet notes and a nice finish.

        I think you’d be able to tell the difference, but good luck actually getting a bottle! It’s become very trendy.Report

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