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Jul 31, 2008 12:36 PM

Every day Bourbon & Scotch

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

    1 Reply
    1. re: DavidT

      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. 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

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

        1. re: DavidT

          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. 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

          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. 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. 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

              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

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

                1. re: DavidT

                  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

                    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

                  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.