Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Spirits >
Feb 21, 2006 07:57 PM

Bourbon Tips

  • j

A friend just gave me a couple of hot bourbon tips. Any where-to-buy (mail order) suggestions, or other obscure brands to add to the list (my preference is less for new-fangled yuppie products than for lesser-known older/quieter ones)?

George T Stagg
AH Hirsch
(, but beware the last bottling is from a distillery that burned down, so the label will continue but the contents will be different.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Jim,

    Don't know where to get those brands, but thought I'd throw in my two cents. I've always enjoyed Rebel Yell, found it to be very smooth and tasty. A very good "drinking" bourbon, although it might not be as "obscure" as you desire.

    It's also pretty reasonable, about $14 for a 750 ml bottle. And it's Keef Richard's favorite.



    4 Replies
    1. re: Pete G.

      You know, my father in law had Rebel Yell one time, but also had Old Forester another night. One night I discovered O.F. and Fresca and I am not kidding - it is a great mix.

      While I truly stand behind the O.F. now, I don't remember the Rebel Yell for taste, but I have increased that certain bourbons are good for certain things. Turkey 101 for shots, turkey 80 and coke, jack and coke, beam never (now that I'm not in college - and on that note, a room mate and I almost bought a rooster as a pet and called it Old Fitzgerald after a particularly cheap whiskey).

      Anyway, I know what you're looking for, and neither Pete nor I probably answered specifically what you're looking for. I'm huge into Scotch straight, I go Irish for shots and then hate myself, and then most of the time I enjoy a bourbon - usually mixed, but with reason. By the time I'm going to have the bourbon like Bookers (I believe either Turkey or Beam refined), I might as well have Scotch - but that's just my two cents.

      Any way you go, enjoy the trip.

      1. re: Dennis S

        Dude, scotch is a totally different galaxy in the liquor universe. I love the scotch. I love the bourbon. They are appreciated the same way, for the variety of notes in the flavors, the manner and order in which your taste buds are attacked, the character of the finish, etc. But I wouldn't say that a well-crafted bourbon may just as well be replaced by any old scotch.

      2. re: Pete G.

        Billy Idol named a song after Rebel fact he was drinking Rebel Yell with the Rolling Stones the night of and/or the night before when he thought of many lyrics for the song.

        *my citation is from the mouth of Billy Idol

        1. re: creamsherry

          on the site click on shoulder label program....pretty cool, you can create your own label just like a cigar(like if a family member has a baby as an example).

      3. Woodfords Reserve... really nice. Readily available but no one talks about it much. Runs about $25-30 750 ml and worth twice the price.

        Newest strange bourbon... Pogue... tastes like vanilla and coconut.

        3 Replies
        1. re: JMF

          Second on the Woodfords Reserve. A local bartender turned me onto it, now my favorite.

          1. re: susancinsf

            I love the stuff too. We visited this summer. Really nice place.


          2. re: JMF

            +1 on WR. My all time favorite (for now).

          3. I bought a bottle of the Eagle Rare 10 awhile ago and was just having some tonight, I think it's got a bit of a metallic hint that slows it down a bit, but only at the first drink. I'm not sure about the physics of it all but it does seem to benefit from 'opening up' for awhile. Not to say it doesn't have a sweet spot, it's got a nice sort of caramel-y bit of toffee in there as well. Haven't tried the 17 yr.

            I've also recently tried the Willie Nelson brand, "Whiskey River" and it was good as well. Smooth but without as many interesting flavors.

            I've read good things about the Michter and one of those might be the next one I try (also, I think they're on sale). Pennsylvania liquor stores, though state run, seem to do a decent job of finding interesting stuff. I'll link the bourbon page below.

            Dax also recommended the Bookers so that's on my short list as well. We literally just had this conversation offline. He's from Georgia, I'm from Nebraska, hence, bourbon.

            Basil Hayden is still my guy. Smooth, interesting sweet flavors, maybe a bit too 'corn-y' for some, but I really like it.


            11 Replies
            1. re: joypirate

              Surprised not to see Maker's Mark on there, a popular-priced bourbon that's very nice indeed, with great oaky vanilla and cinnamon.

              Had a twinge seeing the Evan Williams down the bottom. I'd assume that's the black label, and worth the price. I got a few bottles of the red label back in the 70s, and it was wonderful, but no more. Either out of production, or bespoke by some overseas market.

              Jack Daniels I don't think of as bourbon at all. It's blended whiskey, which is something else.

              1. re: Shep

                bourbons I don't know; but my dad loved his old crow and coke

                1. re: Shep

                  Maker's Mark is in the store, but not on the website. Actually, last time I was there they had something I'd never seen before, 1.75's of Maker's Mark. Now that's a LOT of bourbon.

                  1. re: joypirate

                    The "Family Reunion" size.

                  2. re: Shep

                    Jack Daniels is not Bourbon, it is Tennessee whiskey, Boubon must be from Kentucky.

                    1. re: StriperGuy

                      I was googling that lately and it appears that "Gentleman Jack" is made in exactly the same way as bourbon is made, though since it's from Virginia they don't call it bourbon.

                      1. re: joypirate

                        The Tennessee whiskeys have a charcoal filtering stage that bourbon typically doesn't have (although I think there's at least one exception). But I'm not sure if it's required in order to call it Tennessee whiskey.

                        1. re: joypirate

                          First of all, Gentleman Jack and all other Jack Daniels products are from Lynchburg, Tn. No where else.
                          Secondly, the difference between bourbon and Tn whiskey is "The Lincoln Process." It is filtered through charcoal to mellow it.
                          I'm not sure if bourbon HAS to come from Ky. I do know that "all bourbon is whiskey but not all whiskey is bourbon." That is courtesy of our friends at Makers Mark.


                          1. re: Davwud

                            Bourbon does not have to come from KY to be considered bourbon. Yes, the Lincoln Process is exactly why Jack Daniels is not, nor ever will be, bourbon.

                            1. re: Blind Mind

                              I now have a bottle of bourbon from Virginia so I now know. I wrote that 5 years ago.


                        2. re: StriperGuy

                          not true that bourbon must be from ky, although that is a common misperception. see jim's festival link above for more on that topic.

                    2. Jim, you probably know this already, but just in case: Stagg and Hirsch -- along with a few jillion other bourbons -- are both available at LeNell's in Red Hook. I don't think she does mail-order. But if you have a car, it's worth the trip from Queens. And hey, if you don't have a car, LeNell lives in Queens herself, so maybe she'll bring some back from the store for ya. Anyway, I'll link to her bourbon selection below.

                      I love the history and heritage of bourbon more than I love the drink itself -- I ain't no connoisseur. That said, I'm fond of Elmer T. Lee, and the Pappy Van Winkle 20-year (never had the 23-year, which is really pricey).

                      -- Paul


                      10 Replies
                      1. re: Paul Lukas

                        You've made me a happy man! I'm loving the link. Can't wait to get down there. How could I not have known about this??

                        Alas, no IW Harper, though. I heard there may be a bottle in Newark, NJ...


                        1. re: Jim Leff

                          Wow...the RYE SELECTION!!

                          1. re: Jim Leff

                            I used to enjoy Old Overholt (largely due to the price, I suppose, not to mention there didn't used to be many brands of rye available), and settled in with Wild Turkey Rye for the long run. Fortunately, I left the game before all the pricey stuff hit the market!

                            1. re: Jim Leff

                              "Beer is for women, wine is for men, and rye for heroes...”


                              1. re: joypirate

                                Wow, I knew it was delicious, but I didn't know it was noble!

                                OTOH, not sure I'd want to be a hero in Bismarck's eyes...

                                1. re: joypirate

                                  Isn't Bismarck a herring? Does it go well with bourbon?
                                  Love Woodford reserve. Do not care much for Makers Mark.

                              2. re: Jim Leff

                                Of course if you put off your visit for a few months you could combine the trip to LeNells with a visit to the Red Hook ballfields. They're only about a 5 minute drive away.

                              3. re: Paul Lukas

                                Here's even better store in Mill Valley, CA (Bay Area)


                                1. re: Paul Lukas

                                  Didnt notice this thread till Bob Martinez told me about it tonite. Now that you have LeNell's listing, here are a couple of things about her place:

                                  1- she does tastings from her well stocked bourbon cabinet whenever anyone comes in and is interested. She'll pour from more than 20 and educate you on all aspects of the productions;

                                  2- she's friends with a # of producers, so the Van Winkle family, the Maker's Mark people.... have all come for weekends and brought great stuff for us all to sample. I've had excellent "white" Makers (not sold retail) that is the product before it's oaked & incredible Van Winkle's that way.

                                  3- she has an e-mail newsletter. Get on the list.

                                  4- as Bob M. said, she's only a couple of minutes from the RH ballfields. It's a ritual with a # of us to go there after eating. She's also just down the block from 360 if you want to go before dinner at one of the best $25 pre-fixe places in the city.

                                  Recommendations: I really think Makers Mark is the best in its price range. Go up a notch and the Van Winkle 12 year old "special reserve" is excellent. Both of these are the ones I just drink. Up again and either Michter's or Blanton's. Another notch up and there's Stagg and the better Van Winkles.

                                  Other than DiFara's, I shill for her the most.

                                  1. re: Paul Lukas

                                    Just so you know, we've got a couple of bottles of this past release of Stagg left over at LeNells. Found a couple we had put back. We can deliver some places, just depends on where you are.

                                  2. Found this very cool photo essay about the KY Bourbon Festival, something I've long dreamed of attending. See link.