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Bourbon tasting

My friends and I got our passports stamped to have a boys weekend at my friends cabin. I was thinking about having a bourbon tasting while we suck on some stogies. I have the following bourbons on hand:
Makers Mark
Elija Craig 12 year
Wild Turkey - Rare Bread
Eagle Rare - single barrel

I was thinking about picking up two more bottles. Any suggestions and tasting notes?

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  1. Blanton's
    Woodford Reserve
    Booker Noe
    Knob Creek

    Your list is good, but we consider the above four much better. The flavors are each different, and you must decide which you like. DH drinks with good grade ice. I drink neat with water on the side. Which means we are drinking different flavors out of the same bottle.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Janet

      If you're going to buy Booker's then I'd skip the Knob Creek. They are both made from essentially the same recipe by the same people in the same place. Booker's is the more authentic, straight from the barrel version. Jim Beam makes them. They also make Basil Hayden's and Bakers, which have more variety in the recipes, either one of those would be a better choice than Knob Creek if you want to experience a spectrum.

      1. re: sgwood415

        While I agree with your conclusion I disagree with your reasoning. Bookers and Knob Creek taste entirely different.

        1. re: jpschust

          Yes, I didn't really say they taste the same. I mean they are closely related and it's more interesting to try a wider variety. But that's just my opinion for sure. I think Knob Creek is good, but the others offer more interesting tastes to me.

      2. re: Janet

        Black Maple Hill
        Jim Beam Black
        JTS Brown
        Maker's Mark

        I either sip 'em slowly out of a stemless fat Riedel crystal goblet or on the rocks with assistance from a tipping jigger to cool down the spirits.

      3. I would add Bulliet to the above (scratch Woodford and put a question mark next to Knob Creek). I highly recommend Bookers as well.

        How nice are you looking to go? A good bottle of bourbon will last you awhile, so it's an investment--you can get something fairly good for $10-25 more than those you list. As much as I like an occasional shot of Wild Turkey or Makers, you can get those any time. You're on vacation--treat yourself to something special.

        1. I'd include Evan Williams Single Barrel. And I've been drinking rye a lot lately- I like Old Overholt (and it's cheap). The younger Sazerac rye has an odd grassy aroma to me. Also recently finished the dregs of a handle of the bonded Old Forester that I've had for many years and had forgotten how much I like it. Their boutique attempt with the "Birthday Bourbon" wasn't worth it to me, though.

          And I'll contribute to the Booker's chorus. Need to find some excuse to travel to the Caribbean to get it for $20 a bottle again.

          4 Replies
          1. re: ted

            I would go for the Evan Williams. Old Overholt is something ebst used as nail polish remover or mixed with a bunch of stuff to hide the flavor. A good rye would be a Van Winkle.

            1. re: Captain

              Wow, I respectfully beg to differ. Of the ryes I've had in the past year, including Beam, Wild Turkey, and the younger Sazerac, the Old Overholt holds its own very well. I've yet to grab a Van Winkle, mainly b/c I'm uncertain which to buy, and then they're relatively expensive (cheapest, as far as I can tell, is at least 2X the price of Overholt).

              Describing it as "nail polish remover" is a bit hyperbolic. Is it a good, cheap mixer? Yes. But I also have enjoyed it straight up on the rocks? I'll reserve my nail polish remover/rubbing alcohol comments for stuff where that's accurate.

            2. re: ted

              I am an Evan Williams Single Barrel vintage fan. Lovely vanilla nose. Made a batch of bourbon balls with it today, see Home Cooking for the recipe. Just waiting for them to age a bit but they are favorites at Cchristmas.

              1. re: Candy

                I was pretty psyched to find a '94 bottling lurking in a liquor store in FL over the holiday. Always interesting to try a couple of years side by side.

            3. Sounds like a great tasting. If you can get George T. Stagg, add it and have people drink it last; it's a powerhouse. If you want to get creative, I would throw in a rye whiskey: Sazerac Rye or Old Potrero are good picks. If you're looking for cheaper, I also agree that Woodford Reserve is a good pick.

              Personally, I don't like the Jim Beam small batch collection (Knob Creek, Bookers, Basil Haden, Bakers ) that much, but many swear by them.

              I've heard great things about Black Maple Hill but haven't tried it yet...I'd be interested to hear from anyone who has.

              1 Reply
              1. re: sku

                Uhh, a little late to the thread, and a dollar short as well. I'm just here to talk about Black Maple Hill -- I just drank a bottle of the fourteen-year, and I gotta say: I didn't offer any to friends or visitors; I didn't swill it down fast; I didn't consider making a Manhattan; I poured two fingers over a single ice cube, sat on the couch by myself, turned off the TV and the stereo, and...well, you get the picture. No, I don't work for them.

              2. I have both Woodford and Knob Creek in my liquor cabinet. I smoke stogies and have glass fairly often.

                If you're not married to bourbon, I'd suggest a bottle of Gentleman Jack (Still whiskey). It's perfect with cigars. It's got a much better flavour as well.

                DT