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Aug 13, 2008 10:36 AM

very special bourbon (and glasses?) for a wedding gift

I have a very good friend of 20 years who is getting married in late November. We’ll be getting them some household stuff off the registry, but I’d also like to get him a more individual present. He really likes bourbon, so I was thinking about some of the Riedel bourbon glasses and a nice bottle. Right now his “house brand” is Bakers, but I would like to get him something nicer. I thought it would be neat to get him a 20-year-old bourbon. He and his fiancée have been together for 10-years, so that could work as well. But the aging thing, while it would be nice if it worked out, is not of paramount concern – ultimately I am looking for a really good value and something he can happily drink for a long time.

So, my questions:
1) Are the Riedel bourbon glasses worthwhile? If not, is there something else that would be good?
2) What would be a good choice for a bottle in the, say, $75-125 range? I’ll happily pay less if there’s a screaming deal out there, but I wouldn’t really want to pay more for his bourbon than for his wife’s cookware.
3) I know some choices in this price range are hard to find – any tricks to getting limited edition stuff?

Thanks for your insights – I am pretty much strictly a wine drinker, so I am pretty lost when it comes to the world of high-end spirits.

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  1. 1 word. pappy van winkle 20 year. nothing else can compare. :-)

    3 Replies
    1. re: TBird

      I actually had that in mind initially from the little I read. But it doesn't seem to be available anywhere I can find on the web. Might it be released again between now and November? Thanks!

      1. re: meg944

        actually, if you want to go whole hog, get the 23 y/o. It's even smoother and more caramel-ly, if that's possible. It is without a doubt the best bourbon available(IMHO). As to glasses, the Schott is an excellent glass, or you might consider some funky old-fashioned glasses(glasses for old- fashioneds, not old fashion glasses. There! wasn't that confusing) Once the bottle of stupendous stuff runs out they can use the glasses with more pedestrian whiskey and actually mix it with something.

        1. re: chazzerking

          chazz, she asked "$75-125 range"...or i'd agree.

    2. As for your first question. The Riedel bourbon glasses seem like nice glasses, but they do look a bit fragile. Although not specifically for bourbon, I think that the Glencairn Scotch glass will work as well, if not better than the Riedel glass. In addition, the glass happens to be a bit cheaper, especially if you buy larger amounts. If you want to find them for a very good price, I know there was an eBay seller who sold them in lots of 6 or so for one of the best prices around. Otherwise there are plenty of other sellers and a look at google even gives me places offering custom laser engravings on the glass.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Xaga

        Awesome - thanks for the tip. I know I have had issues w/ the fragility of the Riedel wine glass - we use Schott Zweisel now. I assume a scotch glass and a bourbon glass would be comparable.

        1. re: meg944

          If I didn't already have 6 of the Riedel single malt glasses, I'd probably get the Glencairn ones. If I was in the market, I'm a long-time subscriber to Malt Advocate, so I'd get them from them (

          Other bottles to consider would be one of the Hirsch bottlings (I admit to not paying that much attention to info on the more-recent supply of it b/c of cost) or the Sazerac 18.

          1. re: ted

            I was actually going to order from Malt Advocate and then at the end of the order I found out they charge $52 for shipping – whew! Maybe subscribers get a discount?

      2. For someone who likes Baker's, I would go for Parker's Heritage, an excellent aged, cask strength Bourbon which usually runs in the $70 range.

        Other good choices would be Eagle Rare 17 year old, George T. Stagg or Elijah Craig 18 year old. All of these are great Bourbons at excellent prices. The Eagle Rare and Stagg are generally $55-65 but can be hard to find. The EC18 is $35-45 and easy to find.

        Pappy Van Winkle, though, is also an excellent choice.

        1. These are great suggestions, everyone - thanks so much!!!! Luckily I have several months to hunt for something wonderful, and these look like some really good ideas. If anything, the big difficulty now will be not taking some of the $ I have set aside for his new wife's cookware and buying him two or three!

          Well, there's always his 40th birthday coming up in a few years.....

          1. FYI, in the end I went in a different direction on this. I was having a hard time finding the really wonderful bourbons, and talking w/ my friend, he mentioned that he has also been getting interested in Irish Whisky lately. He is very Irish and in fact they are going to Ireland for their honeymoon, so I decided to go with a bottle of the Midleton Very Rare. Still working on the glasses, though – I am debating on whether or not to get the ones that can be engraved.

            Thanks again for everyone’s help!

            2 Replies
            1. re: meg944

              any whiskey drinker should enjoy the Extra Rare. I got a bottle beck before the price went nuts and I only share with"worthy" drinkers(those who appreciate fine whiskey, and don't drink too much of it")

              1. re: chazzerking

                Thanks - I think he’ll be excited about it. It was near the high end of my price range but not out of line w/ what I planned to spend, and I like the Irish connection w/ the honeymoon and all. I am still saving these bourbon suggestions for ideas for when his 40th comes around.