Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Spirits >
Jan 5, 2012 08:27 AM

What bourbon are you enjoying?

The other day I was sipping on a Rock Hill Farms and an Abraham Bowman 18 YO bourbon. Also been enjoying Four Roses Single Barrel OBSV

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I'm barely more than a novice bourbon drinker, but since Christmas I've been really loving Black Maple Hill. You may well be familiar with it, but indulge me a little description anyway: it starts off quite sweet, follows with a good bit of roasted corn and carmelized banana flavors, and has a nice long, round finish. Smooth enough to happily drink it neat, but still enough spice and burn that it feels like you're drinking bourbon (as opposed to, say, Blantons). Probably my favorite bourbon that I've tried so far. The bottle went pretty quick though, by my standards.

    For the last few months before that, I'd been generally enjoying Woodford Reserve, though it's a bit more wood-y than I'd like. Have a bottle of Ridgemont Reserve 1792 that I basically like but can't enjoyably drink neat. Drinking Bulleit over at my friend's place, and I like the entry and the finish but not the middle as much. And I keep a bottle of Evan Williams just so I don't bust the bank or spoil myself - gotta appreciate the good stuff when I have it.

    I live in the Radical Sobrietocracy of Pennsylvania, so I don't readily have access to the variety of bourbons that some places do. Lots of stuff left to try if and when I can find it.

    15 Replies
    1. re: cowboyardee

      If you're in PA you have Old Grand Dad 114 which we don't have here in NC - I picked up a bottle on sale for $23 when I was up there for Thanksgiving and it is now one of my favorites,

      They also had Wild Turkey rare breed on sale for $30 at the time and I regret not having bought a bottle, as it is closer to $40 here and is a pretty good Bourbon.

      I am from PA, and for all I see people who live there complain about the liquor stores there, the selection is much better than here in NC, prices are almost always at least comparable or better, and sale prices are competitive with anywhere in the country. When they put items on closeout the prices are usually a steal.

      1. re: ncyankee101

        Thanks for the recs.

        Wild turkey is an old favorite, though I don't happen to have any in the house right now.

        I've tried the Old Grand Dad 86 proof at a bar once. I liked it considering the price, but I don't remember being blown away by it or anything. Is there a huge qualitative difference between the Grand Dad 86 and the Grand Dad 114?

        I live in a town with one liquor store that has a miserably tiny selection, even by state store standards. Luckily i work in Pittsburgh and grew up in - and still regularly travel to - Philly, so I can get to a better state store on regularly enough.

        1. re: cowboyardee

          The ODG gets a little better when you go up to the 100 proof, and IMO (and many others) much better when you go to the 114.

          1. re: ncyankee101

            "and IMO (and many others) much better when you go to the 114."

            Agreed. The OGD 114 is an excellent bourbon and great buy.

      2. re: cowboyardee

        Black Maple Hill is good juice but since it's barreled at Kentucky Bourbon Distillers who buy distillate and then barrels and ages it we will never know it's origin. KBD does some great things with the distillate they buy. I'll be visiting them in a few months.

        I'm not a big fan of Woodford Reserve and have not had the pleasure of Bulleit bourbon or rye. I did pick up a Willett 4 YO rye the other day. The rye has the same origin as the Bulleit but I know they don't taste the same. The Willett is also barreled by KBD.

        Keep sipping. Sipping neat get's easier. I have some 138 pf and higher bourbons that sip really well neat but will titrate them down to around 107 tasting at different proofs. Some really sing at a certain proof and some fall apart.

        1. re: scubadoo97

          Just out of curiosity, what don't you like about Woodford Reserve? Like I said above, it tastes a little too 'woody' for my preference. And I don't see myself buying it again given its price compared to some bourbons I've preferred.

          "Keep sipping. Sipping neat get's easier."
          AFAIK I haven't tried any bourbons over 110 pf yet.

          1. re: cowboyardee

            Just some off notes with WR that just don't do it for me. I get a metallic taste. I should probably revisit it one day soon

          2. re: scubadoo97

            A little follow up:

            I tried Bulleit rye recently. Just one glass. But must say I enjoyed it. Liked it better than Bulleit bourbon, which is pretty decent in its own right. I'll likely buy a bottle one of these days.

            Had a chance to buy OGD 100 (haven't seen the 114), but at the urging of my local liquor guy, I went with Eagle Rare (on sale) instead. The Eagle Rare has a nice spiciness to it, and no off-flavors. It comes in fast with a really big, aggressive flavor. But to be honest, the complexity just wasn't there for me. The whole way through the sip, the flavor was monolithic and unchanging. Also to be honest, it wasn't as sweet as I like my bourbons to be. I've since went online and read a few reviews - everyone seems to note the spiciness, but others mention a 'sweet entry' or many layers of subtlety and flavor. I don't know if I just got an underdeveloped bottle or if my senses as a bourbon taster are still too underdeveloped to pick out these things. But I know that to me, a sip BMH felt like a ride, whereas a sip of Eagle Rare was more akin to a smack in the face, albeit from a very pretty woman.

            1. re: cowboyardee

              We were just doing a blind tasting of bourbons in the $20 range and tasted a Bulleit bourbon. It got pretty good reviews from our tasters. From low to high. Typical bell curve. I liked it. Some felt is was kinda like a Four Roses. I have not had a Bulleit rye but know the rye is a Lawrenceburg Distillers Indiana (LDI )distillate. They supply the rye for High West, Willett and quite a few others. It has a very minty character. On the Willett I get that pine/ evergreen/mint type nose but it's quite pleasant on the tongue.

              I have not really tried the Eagle Rare but will have to try it one day.

              1. re: scubadoo97

                So what other ones did you try and what was the verdict?

                1. re: ncyankee101

                  I'd be curious to know that as well. Old Weller Antique is my house bourbon standby and falls in that range.

                  1. re: tomjb27

                    OWA is an excellent wheater and one I've been enjoying a lot recently. This is the BT juice that goes into a Pappy 15

                  2. re: ncyankee101

                    So far in this tasting we did JTS Brown BIB, AAA 10YO and the Bulleit. I thought they were all pretty good for the price. Reviews where mixed on all, but the majority scored them well. Not great but good, better than average bourbons

                    1. re: ncyankee101

                      We blind sampled OGD BIB, 1792 Ridgemont, Bulleit, AAA 10YO and JTS Brown. The top rater was the JTS Brown with an average score of 84/median 83 being on the upper end of an average bourbon. The low score went to the OGD BIB and scored 81 ave/78 med and the rest were in the middle.

                      This tasting had a few people reevaluating the Bulleit bourbon which they had discounted previously in their rotation. It's great to try things with no preconceived perceptions.

                  3. re: cowboyardee

                    Cowboy - I have to say I agree with you on the Eagle Rare, I finally picked a bottle of this up at a decent price when I was in PA and I am not blown away by it. Not bad just very one-dimensional, kind of like a less-sweet Maker's mark. I'm actually glad they had just sold the last 1.75l they had on closeout for $34 (which I had planned to buy), because for the same price I would much rather rebuy my Elijah Craig 18 yr when I finish it.

              2. It use to be Makers Mark Gold wax, but that is only a fond memory. My day to day mixing and on the rocks bourbon is now Benchmark 8 from Buffalo Trace. Tastes like it stayed in the barrel for more than a fortnight. 1.75 L for $16.99. While I appreciate and revel in some of the single barrels, the question is what am I currently enjoying. It just arrived in Florida a month ago. Will probably jump to $25.00 like so many other introduced libations here.

                1 Reply
                1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                  Picked up a bottle of Bakers for $30.99...loved it for $34.99 (what I paid for the last bottle of Bakers and love it even more for $30.99!!! Drink it with a few drops of water to release the flavors and lower the proof!!
                  Its in-laws know I used to love Woodford Res so they got me an engraved bottle for Christmas...I used to love Woodford but either the last 2 bottles are way different, or I lost my taste for it!! Now WR has become my Manhattan Bourbon!!

                2. I've been enjoying the Elmer T. Lee for a couple of bottles now. Maybe I'm full of it, but it seems like when you first open the bottle its a bit hot, but after a week it really mellows out. I can drink it straight but it mixes really well too.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: masterplan

                    A lot of folks have noted the same with other whiskeys. They change once opened and they change in the glass

                    1. re: scubadoo97

                      Not just whiskies, it also has happened with many Tequilas and rums I have had.

                        1. re: scubadoo97

                          I've also had a few get worse after being open, though these seem to be the exception. Don Sergio silver tequila was one, I found it interesting when first opened now I don't like it much at all.

                          1. re: ncyankee101

                            Silver is not an aged spirit. Could have something to do with it

                            1. re: scubadoo97

                              I've had plenty of other blanco / silver Tequilas that did not go downhill after being opened, the Don Sergio just tastes weird to me now - kind of a play-doh / clay smell and taste.

                          2. re: scubadoo97

                            Upon further investigation it turns out that the company that sells all those wine aerators also sells one for spirits. Seems somewhat gimmicky, but maybe it works? Anyone tried that?