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Best cognac, whiskey, or other digestif for about $50?

My husband and I have a $50 cap on Christmas this year (grad students with a new baby). I've decided to get him a bottle of something decent for sipping. Any good values out there? He likes cognac, whiskey/bourbon, calvados, not so much on the scotch. And I'm sure he'd be up for any less known beverages in this genre. I'm pretty much a spirits novice, though my dad has been single handedly supporting the Kentucky economy for years...If it's not Jack black I'm pretty much at sea...

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  1. Check out the "What Bourbon Are You Drinking" thread that has been very active on this board.

    www.chowhound.com/topics/450615

    This past Wednesday, the Dining & Wine section of the NY Times ran an article about tasting a variety of premium bourbons.

    www.nytimes.com

    1. In whiskey - I like Crown Reserve or Knob Creek but I've been getting Pendletons from Oregon because its good and different as well.

      1. Cognacs and whiskeys aren't digestifs. Digestifs are herb based libations to settle the stomach after a meal.

        3 Replies
        1. re: JMF

          The vast majority of diners and restaurants clearly take a far more liberal definition of the term. In fact, I've never seen the digestif limited to "herb based libations." What would these include? Gin? Herb-infused aquavits (certainly not de rigueur offerings at U.S. restaurants)?

          1. re: JMF

            I retract my statement. I must have been having a brain dead moment. It happens every now and then.

            1. re: JMF

              No problem at all-- I didn't mean to sound prickly. Maybe we should both be enjoying more relaxing after dinner beverages! ;)

          2. I've been enjoying Woodford Reserve lately. It's about $35 in my area (SoCal). Actually, I've also been liking good tequila on the rocks, also. You can get Cazadores Anejo for about the same price. Good for sipping, and a little unexpected.

            1. I own a bar and love bourbon. I don't drink too much as it catches up with me pretty fast, but I think Knob Creek is the best value for the money, followed by George Dickel.

              1. Well,again -- there is no "best." The best ___________ is the one you like the most, regardless of its cost, regardless of what others may think.

                Personally, Id seek out Maison Surrenne Cognac, Domaine Dupont Calvados, Germain-Robin Alambic Brandy . . . .

                1. In that range, I go for Kelt VSOP Cognac ($49), as good for my taste as most Cognacs at twice the price.

                  For some other opinions, check out this free site:

                  http://www.tastings.com/search_spirit...