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Every day Bourbon & Scotch

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theginguy Jul 31, 2008 12:36 PM

Well, I've been on the hunt for my every day Bourbon and Scotch for almost a year now and I think I've pretty much narrowed it down. I've tried a lot of different brands in both categories and here are my two main criteria's:

1. it needs to be in my budget price range. For the east coast, somewhere between $15.00 to $25.00.

2. It needs to be a good mixer as well as decent on the rocks. I don't really like my whiskey straight or neat.

So... here are the winners.

Bourbon - Buffalo Trace. I narrowed it down to BT, Elijah Craig and Even Williams Single Barrel. But I like Old Fashions and I like something that has a pretty long finish and BT was the winner. I was hoping it was going to be the other two, because their cheaper, but for only a few dollars more, I think BT is worth it.

Scotch - This was a very tough one. Scotch isn't cheap and for my budget, well..... a single malt just isn't an option, even though I tried very hard to find one. So I settled for a blended scotch. My only problem with the blended scotch of course is the grain alcohol. But in the end, I was able to find a good blend that did a great job hiding the grain alcohol.

I used to prefer Speyside, but as I continued in my quest to find a good every day scotch, I came to appreciate the more Peatier/Smokier scotches. So I wondered away from the more traditional Spey's and started to focus on the smokier ones. First I really thought It was going to be Jonney Walker, but alas, JW is just a little too hot for me. Plus, I found that it just didn't have the peaty character I was looking for. So finally after much searching, I came back to one of the blended scotches that I had tried early on.

Dewar's White Label. I find it has a really great balance and has a good Highland type of peat flavor to it. It's pretty smooth and within my price range. It mixes well and it's readily available. So Dewar's it is, but white and the twelve year.

Now on to Tequila and Rum.

Oh almost forgot.... Stoli's is my Vodka and Citadelle is my gin. But they have been constant for awhile.

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  1. d
    DavidT RE: theginguy Jul 31, 2008 12:54 PM

    Re: your Johnny Walker tasting experience, which did you try, the Red, the Black or both?

    1 Reply
    1. re: DavidT
      t
      theginguy RE: DavidT Jul 31, 2008 02:17 PM

      I've had both the red and black several times. Don't get me wrong, I like JW a lot. The Black of course is a little smoother. But I just personally steer towards the more "highland/cigar" smoky taste, vrs. the "campfire/smoke" taste. Plus, again, I just find JW a little hot for my taste.

    2. f
      FlaHopper RE: theginguy Jul 31, 2008 01:01 PM

      I just bought a bottle of Buffalo Trace for the first time. It's not bad at all, but it won't steer me away from my go-to bourbon: Early Times. It's less expensive than the more popular brands, including Jim Beam, Makers and Wild Turkey, but it's every bit as good.

      Dewers is a decent scotch, but I've always prefered Johnnie Walker when it comes to blends. Now, I'll take a Edradour, Macallan or Ardburg over any blend, but if I am stuck with a blend, I'll stick with Johnnie Walker. As an aside, you're right about the priciness of single malts. Whenever I buy a bottle, I make it last for as long as possible because the next one won't be any cheaper.

      2 Replies
      1. re: FlaHopper
        d
        DavidT RE: FlaHopper Jul 31, 2008 01:45 PM

        Again, are you talking about Johnny Red or Johnny Black? There is a difference in taste between the two.

        1. re: DavidT
          f
          FlaHopper RE: DavidT Jul 31, 2008 08:30 PM

          Johnnie Red, but it's been a while since I had either. I'd have to taste them both again to distinguish between them and decide which I like better. But to comment on a blend I've tried and liked, yah, Johnnie Red.

      2. sku RE: theginguy Jul 31, 2008 01:57 PM

        BT is an excellent choice. It's as good as many Bourbons that are far more expensive.

        Did you try Famous Grouse? I think I recall from your earlier posts that you did try it. It is definitely my favorite of the basic blends.

        1 Reply
        1. re: sku
          t
          theginguy RE: sku Jul 31, 2008 02:57 PM

          Hey Sku,

          Yeah, for awhile there, It was the Grouse for me. But even though I do like the more sherried flavor, I prefer a bit more peat. But I wouldn't turn a Grouse down for sure. They are both in my opinion pretty equal to quality, just a little different in taste.

        2. c
          Chefpaulo RE: theginguy Jul 31, 2008 03:02 PM

          For the "downstairs bar" (i.e. everyday), I stick with the birds: Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon and Famous Grouse Scotch. But I'm open to changing old habits.

          1. c
            chazzerking RE: theginguy Jul 31, 2008 08:47 PM

            Have you tried the Dalmore; aroud 18-20 a bottle and a good Highland single.IMO it's the lowest price serious scots whisky on the market. as for bourbon, I'd second the BT or suggest Weller or Bulleit. All smooth, caramel-ly drinks that mix well. but these are generally for serving to the undiscerning. I prefer to drink Van Winkle family reserve for Bourbon and Springbank or Macallen 25 when its just me and close appreciative friends

            5 Replies
            1. re: chazzerking
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              DavidT RE: chazzerking Aug 1, 2008 05:56 AM

              I like the 12-year Dalmore single-malt very much. Trader Joe's in San Francisco was selling it for $20 and then the price went to $22-$23. However, they have not had it in stock for some time.

              Please advise where Dalmore might currently be selling in the $18-$20 range.

              1. re: DavidT
                d
                DavidT RE: DavidT Aug 1, 2008 08:49 AM

                By the way, 12-year old Dalmore single-malt in Scotland costs around $45-$50!

                1. re: DavidT
                  sku RE: DavidT Aug 1, 2008 11:24 AM

                  Get the cheap Dalmore while you can. It sounds like the new ownership of Dalmore parent company Whyte and Mackay, United Breweries, is pushing to make Dalmore a super-premium luxury brand. This has already started with a new line of super-expensive releases, but I'm guessing the ultra cheap 12 year (definitely one of the best deals in single malt) may be a casualty of this.

                  1. re: sku
                    d
                    DavidT RE: sku Aug 1, 2008 02:05 PM

                    My guess is the cheap Dalmore may already be gone. As I posted above, it has not been available at my local Trader Joe's for several weeks. I asked the store manager the other day when/if they might be getting it back in stock and he was not encouraging. In fact, my TJ's inventory/selection of single-malts was very meager. I did buy a bottle of 12-year Glenfiddich for $24, but I think the weak U.S.$ is finally catching up with us.

                    BevMo carries the 12-year Dalmore, but charges over $30.

                2. re: DavidT
                  c
                  chazzerking RE: DavidT Aug 1, 2008 09:33 PM

                  In Southeat Missouri, but I haven't tried to purchase in the last 4 months. Guess the terrific exchange rate has screwed that as well.

              2. w
                wontonton RE: theginguy Aug 1, 2008 11:18 AM

                Grant's and John Barr are the cheapest brands of scotch I've found that are actually enjoyable to drink. I don't think they are off the mark much from Walker Red or Dewars, personally. They're both about $14 for a fifth, usually

                1. wagger RE: theginguy Aug 2, 2008 05:18 PM

                  Not sure where you live, but in Denver I get Bowmore Legend for about $19/bottle. An excellent value for an 8yo Islay that is a good everyday pour.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: wagger
                    t
                    theginguy RE: wagger Aug 3, 2008 02:04 AM

                    Hey Wagger,

                    Actually, yeah, I can special order a bottle of Legend for around $25.00. I've really been thinking of trying it. Thanks for the input, because I forgot about Bowmore. My local store doesn't carry any Bowmore's. I've not tried any Isley's. I'm not sure how I would like the Bowmore, but I've been wanting to try it.

                  2. osho RE: theginguy Aug 5, 2008 03:38 PM

                    My standards for everyday drinking are:

                    1. Glenfiddich 12 YO - I can find this anywhere from $22 - $25. Trader Joe's would sell this for $19.99 for the longest time. I tend to stock up either at Costco or during the annual new years' sale at BevMo. Sometimes if I am lucky, I get the 1.5L giant bottle at Costco too. Haven't seen it in a while though.

                    2. Glenlivet 12 YO - Again, I can find this anywhere from $22 - $25.

                    3. Chivas Regal - Yes, this is a blend and I thumbed my nose at it for the longest time, but it's pretty consistent and is decent for that daily after work tipple.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: osho
                      osho RE: osho Aug 6, 2008 07:19 AM

                      Re. Chivas Regal 12 YO, most Ranch 99 stores in California carry it at $19.99 sale price year round. Costco as well. And Safeway sometimes carries it on sale for $19.99.

                    2. Faune RE: theginguy Aug 6, 2008 12:32 AM

                      For Blended Scotch I like Chivas Regal 12 Y/O. You can find it for $24.00 online
                      http://www.missionliquor.com/Store/Qs...

                      I've never tried it, but maybe Famous Grouse? Online @ $18.00
                      http://www.missionliquor.com/Store/Qs...

                      according to wikipedia: "The malt whiskies used in The Famous Grouse blend include The Glenrothes, Highland Park Single Malt and Macallan Single Malt."

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Famo...

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