S John

Whisk(e)y

100 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

4 hours ago, Mexal said:

I bought it recently for $65 here in NYC where prices are jacked up. It's delicious. 

I currently have bourbon, rye, American, scotch, Irish, Japanese and Taiwanese. What are some other countries/distilleries that makes an excellent bottle? I like an eclectic mix.

Yeah, I double checked online and the price here is $67.  I know there's no way it was that expensive in college, because I wouldn't have paid that much for a bottle of whiskey in college.  I pretty much topped out at buying Black Label for around $40.  I did buy one bottle of Blue Label in school, but that was when I got my first internship paycheck (making twenty an hour for the first time in my life) and wanted to celebrate.

In North Carolina we have ABC stores and all the prices are jacked up since they can charge whatever they want and there's no competition.  I usually go down to South Carolina when I need to buy in bulk because it saves me so much money and is only about a fifteen to twenty minute drive most days.

Just to show how significant the price differences can be...I usually use Evan Williams 1783 as my mixing whiskey of choice for whiskey and cokes, so I usually keep a jug of it on hand.  At Frugal MacDoogal, which is the closest store just over the border in South Carolina that I typically go to, this costs about 20-22 dollars (I don't remember the exact amount, but I know it was just over 20).  At the ABC stores near me, it costs 30 dollars.  Damn near a ten dollar price difference and 50% more expensive.

Edited by briantw

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Posted (edited)

So as a 40-year-old lifelong Kentuckian and lover of bourbon, it usually surprises people to find out that I have never actually visited one of our state's many fine distilleries. I know... seems pretty crazy. People come from all over the world to tour this amazing facilities where this magic liquid is concocted, but I've never made the short (two hours or so) drive to visit them myself. I guess the reason is because I never really had a sense of urgency to do so. They're right there, in my "back yard" so to speak. They're not going anywhere and I can do it basically any time. So, it was never really a priority for me.

Well, I remedied that yesterday. With my school teacher wife and kids on spring break and no other plans for the week, we decided to do a day trip to Bardstown, Kentucky - which is a pretty cool, historic little town to visit, even if you don't like bourbon. For my part of the day, though, I got to visit two different distilleries - Heaven Hill and Barton.There are basically six distilleries right there in Bardstown, In addition to the two I visited, there is also Jim Beam, Four Roses, Willett (which is a smaller craft distillery) and just outside of town but still in the same county, Makers Mark.

The one I most wanted to see was Heaven Hill, since they produce several of my favorite bourbons. I'm really glad I visited them, because it made me like their brand even more. I didn't realize that Heaven Hill is the only family-owned business among the big bourbon producers. It's the second largest in the world, just behind Jim Beam and between the two of them, they hold nearly half of the world's supply of bourbon. Heaven Hill has about 23 percent and Beam has around 25 percent. I also wanted to tour Heaven Hill because *everybody* goes to  Makers Mark and/or Jim Beam. I hoped Heaven Hill would be a little more intimate, and I wasn't disappointed.

I had booked the first tour of the day and my family was the only ones on it, which was a treat. The tour guide was super informative and we could ask any question that came to mind and he was happy to answer. The best part though, was when we were going through the rick house where they house the bourbon. As we were going through it, the tour guide got a grin on his face and said that since there was only two of us old enough to drink, he'd sneak us into a special tasting. He took us into the back corner of the rick house where there were three barrels set apart on the their sides. He explained that later that day, a retailer was coming in to sample the three barrels and would then decide which to buy and offer as a store exclusive single barrel offering. He then proceeded to use a bourbon thief and let my wife and I sample each of the barrels for ourselves! That was the coolest thing ever! After sampling all three barrels at cask strength, he asked which one I liked best. It was easily the middle barrel, and he then explained that I must have a good pallet. All three were barrels were Elijah Craig, but two were 9 years old and one was 10 years old. The one I thought was the best was the 10-year-old barrel. 

At the end of the tour, he took us into the tasting room and gave us the standard tastings that they offer guests. One was Bernheim Straight Wheat Whiskey, which is something I never would have bought in the store on my own, but it was so different and smooth that I plan on picking up a bottle soon. The one disappointing thing about Heaven Hill is that back in 1996, there was a huge fire there and their distillery burnt to the ground, and the current distilling plant is in Louisville. The Bardstown facility is just for bottling and warehousing. But we went to the Barton distillery and it was up and running and it was super cool to watch that process too.

 

Edited by MisterOJ

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11 hours ago, MisterOJ said:

He then proceeded to use a bourbon thief and let my wife and I sample each of the barrels for ourselves! That was the coolest thing ever!

Holy shit! That's awesome.

Xray and I once took the tour at Highland Park over in Scotland and our guide told us stories about dipping small empty bottles into barrels to snag tastes for himself as a younger, but didn't offer to pull any samples for us on the spot. Sigh.

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Going through Malaysian duty free soon.  Hopefully - my layover is something like 10pm - 6:30 am.  I swear to all deities...if all shops are closed in that time...

Anyway.  My usual gambits are Laphroaig and Lagavulin.  I currently have a Lagavulin 16 unopened in my apartment and just finished off some variation of Laphroaig.  When I went through the other way, the duty free had an excellent selection... suggestions for favorite peaty/Islay style?  I mean, I'll get another La_whatever_ and be happy about it, but I guess I should try branching out?

In case it's not clear, I am not looking for mixin' whiskey...

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Posted (edited)

My fiancé bought us tickets for a high end Japanese whiskey tasting later this month at the Brandy Library for my birthday. Cannot wait. These whiskeys will be way out of my price range to own but I'm intrigued to see if there is any true discernible difference in taste based on cost.

Edited by Mexal

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Yes.  Yes there is.  Honestly, higher-end whiskeys really are more enjoyable than lower-end options.  I've had three different iterations of Laphroaig and the best one was the most expensive.  Lagavulin is expensive, but it's better than Glen Livet.  Ardberg is better than Glen Fiddich... it's just the way of the world, my friend.

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20 hours ago, Lightning Lord said:

Going through Malaysian duty free soon.  Hopefully - my layover is something like 10pm - 6:30 am.  I swear to all deities...if all shops are closed in that time...

Anyway.  My usual gambits are Laphroaig and Lagavulin.  I currently have a Lagavulin 16 unopened in my apartment and just finished off some variation of Laphroaig.  When I went through the other way, the duty free had an excellent selection... suggestions for favorite peaty/Islay style?  I mean, I'll get another La_whatever_ and be happy about it, but I guess I should try branching out?

In case it's not clear, I am not looking for mixin' whiskey...

Lagavulin 16 is my favourite! Splendid stuff!

I'm a little jealous, I tend to avoid buying because it scares me how fast it disappears!

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2 hours ago, Dolorous Gabe said:

Lagavulin 16 is my favourite! Splendid stuff!

I'm a little jealous, I tend to avoid buying because it scares me how fast it disappears!

Yah... It's the second bottle of the year.  I am half-tempted to just get a third this week, but part of me thinks I should branch out?  On the other hand... I did share the previous bottle with half a dozen other people.  Heathens didn't even appreciate the sweet burny nectar.

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I love Lagavulin, but my favourite peaty Islay is an Ardbeg, though it is massively overpriced these days. The 10 yo is great, but if you can find some, the Uighedail is the dog's bollocks. If you don't want to pay so much, but want peaty, try the Caol Ila Distiller's Edition or a Kilchoman POrt Cask. 

PS It's a little unfair to compare a Lagavulin or a Laphroiag to a Glenfiddich or a Glenlivet. They're practically a different drink in both style and quality. A Speyside of a similar price bracket to compare to your peaty Lag or Laph would be a Glenfarclas or a decent Balvenie.

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On 4/11/2017 at 0:08 AM, Hereward said:

I love Lagavulin, but my favourite peaty Islay is an Ardbeg, though it is massively overpriced these days. The 10 yo is great, but if you can find some, the Uighedail is the dog's bollocks. If you don't want to pay so much, but want peaty, try the Caol Ila Distiller's Edition or a Kilchoman POrt Cask. 

PS It's a little unfair to compare a Lagavulin or a Laphroiag to a Glenfiddich or a Glenlivet. They're practically a different drink in both style and quality. A Speyside of a similar price bracket to compare to your peaty Lag or Laph would be a Glenfarclas or a decent Balvenie.

 

Ah, my friend's got an Ardbeg on his shelf, so I stayed away from that one.  I ended up going for Talisker Dark Storm.  My next trip, I will try to find some of your suggestions.  I like the idea of branching out and none of my IRL friends have more knowledge of this than me...and I am novice at best.

I had no idea on the comparison :)  I just go by what I see often in Duty Free and what is comparably priced there.  I had an okay Glenfiddich that was about the same price as Laph...10 yo, I want to say? 

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On 4/9/2017 at 7:09 AM, Dolorous Gabe said:

Lagavulin 16 is my favourite! Splendid stuff!

I'm a little jealous, I tend to avoid buying because it scares me how fast it disappears!

I'll start by saying I've been a fan/student of bourbon for a good ten years. I started getting into other whiskey shortly after, and became a huge fan of the Scottish stuff. I tried lots of different blends and single malts from various regions and I fell in love with Lagavulin 16. There is a slight caveat though; I only became aware of that particular whiskey (and had a predisposition to liking it) because of one Ron Swanson of Parks and Rec fame. And for that I am ashamed and at the same time grateful.

 

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11 minutes ago, Joey Crows said:

I'll start by saying I've been a fan/student of bourbon for a good ten years. I started getting into other whiskey shortly after, and became a huge fan of the Scottish stuff. I tried lots of different blends and single malts from various regions and I fell in love with Lagavulin 16. There is a slight caveat though; I only became aware of that particular whiskey (and had a predisposition to liking it) because of one Ron Swanson of Parks and Rec fame. And for that I am ashamed and at the same time grateful.

 

Kinda the same for me.  I knew I liked Islay style scotch and Lagavulin was one of the options I saw in a duty free.  I remembered it from the show and went for it, similar to you.  No reason (IMO) to be ashamed of that - any way that drink gets to someone is all well and good...unless it's mixed.

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Posted (edited)

2 hours ago, Lightning Lord said:

Kinda the same for me.  I knew I liked Islay style scotch and Lagavulin was one of the options I saw in a duty free.  I remembered it from the show and went for it, similar to you.  No reason (IMO) to be ashamed of that - any way that drink gets to someone is all well and good...unless it's mixed.

Agreed! In the words of the bodhisattva that is Ron Swanson, "Son, there is no wrong way to consume alcohol."

 

 

 

Edited by Joey Crows

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Bought a bottle of Jefferson's last week and I think this is going to replace Woodford as my go-to mid-tier bourbon.  Really fucking tasty, and very smooth.  There's a chance I've ordered it at a bar before (I like to try new things when I'm at bars with a big whiskey/bourbon selection, so it's hard to remember everything I've had), but this is the first time I've ever gotten a bottle.

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Posted (edited)

Husband picked up some small batch bourbon from the Adirondack Distillery (it's just up the street) for a recipe of bourbon chicken. We knew it would not be great but wanted to try it. Besides, it was going in a recipe. Turns out it's pretty awful, and we didn't like the chicken either. The bourbon is tolerable (just) with water or ice, but not neat, which is how we both drink it usually. Oh well. We may have to have a party and make mint juleps  or something. 

Edited by Whitestripe

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I've just seen this thread for the first time

12 year Redbreast heads my list, but after work I'll read through the thread to see others' thoughts.

 

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On Invalid Date at 0:47 AM, Mexal said:

I bought it recently for $65 here in NYC where prices are jacked up. It's delicious. 

I currently have bourbon, rye, American, scotch, Irish, Japanese and Taiwanese. What are some other countries/distilleries that makes an excellent bottle? I like an eclectic mix.

Sullivans Cove American oak

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After doing some side-by-side taste tests at home, I have come to the realization that if you know what you're doing, you can find some bottom shelf (at least according to price) bourbons that are every bit as good as bottles that cost 3-4 times as much.

Heaven Hill White Label is a bourbon that costs $11 at my local liquor store and I would put it up against any bourbon in the $30-$40 price range. It's plenty good enough to sip either neat or on the rocks, but at the price; if I'm in the mood for a bourbon and Coke or an old fashioned, then I don't feel bad about mixing it either. It really is the perfect everyday bourbon, IMO. The bad news is that you can't really buy it outside of Kentucky. The Heaven Hill Green Label is distributed more widely, and is essentially the same thing but just at a lower proof. (White label is 100 proof, while green label is 90.) They're both aged a minimum of 6 years, so at that price - you just can't beat them.

Old Fitzgerald Bottled in Bond has become my other daily drinker. Since it's a wheated bourbon, I'll have it every once in a while instead of Heaven Hill. It costs a couple bucks more than the White Label, but at $13 it's still a steal. Makers Mark is the most popular wheated bourbon (and maybe the most popular bourbon in world) but Old Fitz BiB is every bit as good as Makers in my book. It's also bottled at 100 proof, and there is Old Fitzgerald Prime, which is bottled at 80 proof and a little cheaper. Unlike the White and Green labels of Heaven Hill, there's a big difference between these two Old Fitz varieties though. I don't like the Old Fitz Prime nearly as much. I really wouldn't recommend it.

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It's a (for here) chilly, rainy night.  There was a peal of thunder a bit back that made me near leap out of my skin.


Dark Storm ftw, while listening to the pounding rain outside.

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This past Saturday morning was a new experience for me. The local big box liquor store had posted on Twitter that they were going to be offering up some rare and hard-to-find bourbons on Saturday morning. I made plans to get there right when the doors opened at 8 a.m., but I was told by my brother (who is more in tune with that scene) that I'd need to get there even earlier if I wanted to have any chance whatsoever of getting a bottle of something I was interested in.

This seemed crazy to me, so I decided just to forget the whole thing. Of course, then I find myself awake at 5 a.m. Saturday with nothing really to occupy my time. And after a couple cups of coffee, I clean myself up and head over to the liquor store to park my butt in line. I get there around 6:20 a.m. - over a half hour before the doors open. I'm the 22nd person in line. There were three bottles I was interested in, so I was pretty sure I'd be able to get at least one of them. The rules of engagement the store put down was that you could only buy one bottle at a time. After you get your one bottle, you can get back in line and go through again and get a second bottle. By the time 8 a.m. rolled around, there was well over 100 people in line.

They only let 10 people in the store at a time, so I was in the third group allowed inside. Before my group was admitted, they had already sold out of two bourbons - neither of which I wanted. Well, not technically true. I wanted the Four Roses 50th Anniversary edition, but I wasn't going to pay the $180 price tag it had. (I don't think. I'm kinda glad they sold out, because I really didn't need that temptation. $180 is a lot of money for a bottle of bourbon and I'm not sure how I'd explain that to the wife.)

Anyway, the two bottles I wanted most were the 12-year-old Weller and the Stagg Jr. The four or five people ahead of me all went for the Weller and there was what looked like a few cases of Stagg left, so I figure I'll buy the Weller and hope there's a bottle of Stagg left when I go through the line a second time. Didn't work out that way and the Stagg ran out before I was all that close to getting back in. But, I did get a bottle of Col. E.H. Taylor small batch, which was the third bourbon I was interested in.

It was just interesting being the middle of the whole bourbon craze. It's so insanely popular right now. I've always just bought what I like and never really gotten *that* into the whole bourbon "culture" of things. It was fun seeing everyone else's excitement at being there for the event though.

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