Can I Learn How To Drink Bourbon Or Whiskey?

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cigrmaster

Preferred Member
May 26, 2012
13,668
679
United States
When I was a teenager I drank Seagrams VO with ginger ale. I hated the taste of beer so I drank what my mom drank. I did plenty of shots of Jack Daniels in my day but really didn't care for it. I had a girl who liked Crown Royal and coke and I would drink it once in a while but not often. I even went through a time when I was drinking an old classic known as a Ward 8. Those I liked very much at that time. I also drink shots of Tequila a couple of times a year and use the old standby Jose Cuervo Gold. I know it is shit, but I like the burn and it was I am used to. Patron was so smooth it felt like nothing going down.
I have a cigar buddy who is into high end Single Malt Scotch's. I tried a few of them(one being 18 year old Macallan) but to my taste buds, they all tasted like kerosene. I normally drink Grey Goose Vodka( always a vodka drinker,Russian heritage) with diet tonic water and lemon and I really like good champagne with Veuve Clicquot Brut being my go to. I also drink Mojito's and Margarito's once in a while. Back in the 80's I used to sip on Grand Marnier for a time.
So how does one acquire a taste for a good Bourbon or Whiskey? I don't have a problem spending good money for a bottle, anything like a hundred or less for a fifth? Is it all going to taste like kerosene to my taste buds? I keep reading about all you guys and your Bourbons and Whiskey and I feel like I should be drinking some with my pipes. Is there hope for me, can I learn to drink the darker liquors?

 

aldecaker

Preferred Member
Feb 13, 2015
4,412
3
I would recommend trying Powers, Jameson's, or Bushmills. I never could acquire the taste for Scotch, and bourbon only seems good when it is in the higher price ranges. (And I still don't like it near as much as Irish.)

 

pianopuffer

Senior Member
Jul 3, 2017
464
25
NYC
You may get many different answers here, but like pipe smoking, if you're starting with the high end, specialized stuff, you may want to rethink your approach.
Scottish whiskey and American whiskey are two different animals, IMO. Perhaps you aren't a fan of the peat that most single malts are associated with. I suggest you try a couple of options to determine if your palate is into American-styled spirits:
a) Jim Beam (white label)

b) Basel Hayden's
IMO, these two are completely approachable whiskeys that will get you started. I suggest them over ice at first, just to cut the spirit a little as well as cool it down. If that suits you, try em neat, maybe even a tiny splash of water.
Like pipe tobacco, the market is lousy with good stuff, you just need to know what you do and don't like. Also, don't be afraid to branch out, try a rye whiskey or mix up a Manhattan for yourself to see how American whiskey behaves in a cocktail.
Best of luck, and at the end of the day, if you aren't wild about it, spend your time (and money) on better adventures.

 

uncleblackie

Member
Dec 20, 2014
280
0
I enjoy Islay (a regional designation for scotches, known for being smoky, due to the barley mash being dried over peat fires) single malts, almost exclusively. The breakthrough for me was learning about a practice called chill-filtering, and avoiding any chill-filtered whiskies, and also that it needs to be at least about 55% abv (and preferably around 60% abv) so as to get a nice alcohol vapor kick in the sinuses.
Also, take small sips and let them roll across your tongue.
Ardbeg 10 year is a decent place to start, though their Corryvreckan is more to my tastes. Kilchoman makes some excellent ones.
Whatever you do, do not buy chillfiltered.

 

olkofri

Preferred Member
Sep 9, 2017
2,327
177
Heh, only bourbon I drink is Jim Beam: 1 oz of lemon juice (basically, half a lemon, I don't measure this other than with my finger) and ~3 oz of Jim Beam, plus a pinch of salt. Stir and enjoy.

 

cigrmaster

Preferred Member
May 26, 2012
13,668
679
United States
Thanks for the suggestions so far. Are some blends sweeter than others? I am not a big fan of smokey flavors like from Latakia. I don't smoke English blends at all. I am like a kid who likes anything sweet.

 

darwin

Preferred Member
Apr 9, 2014
821
0
I've been working on a bottle of Wild Turkey American Honey and it's about the sweetest bourbon I've ever tasted. It goes well with something tart & bubbly like Seven-Up.

 

cigrmaster

Preferred Member
May 26, 2012
13,668
679
United States
I have had my share of Southern Comfort years ago and when I meant sweet, I don't mean that sweet. But thanks for thinking of it.
Wild Turkey American Honey that sounds interesting.

 

darwin

Preferred Member
Apr 9, 2014
821
0
No. It's only 71 proof. Meant to be drunk neat probably but I like it better mixed.

 

josephcross

Preferred Member
Dec 30, 2015
945
2
Bushmill Black is a go to for me. It leans toward the sweeter side. I’m a fan of whiskey that has spent time in a sherry cask.

 

zack24

Preferred Member
May 11, 2013
1,726
0
Harris, my God man! You clearly need an intervention....probably in the form of a Cowboy steak at my place with a traditional Old Fashioned made with a good Rye Whiskey and other secret ingredients....

 

huntertrw

Preferred Member
Jul 23, 2014
3,860
7
The Lower Forty of Hill Country
Harris, my God man! You clearly need an intervention....probably in the form of a Cowboy steak at my place with a traditional Old Fashioned made with a good Rye Whiskey and other secret ingredients....
In that case, then his "support network" (the rest of the Forums' members) will have to accompany him. What time is dinner, and when? Please let us know. :)

 

thesmokindragon

Preferred Member
Jul 12, 2011
3,819
2
It took me years to enjoy and appreciate them Harris, I also went toward Vodka on rocks.
I like The Macallan® Fine Oak 15 Years Old, pretty smooth I would not say sweet but does have a fruit and honey finish on it.
Flavors; Vanilla, Raisin, Rose, Chocolate Shavings, Floral , Cinnamon, Dried Fruits, Orange Zest

Nose; Sublime and full with a hint of rose and cinnamon

Palate; Intense rich chocolate with a hint of orange and raisin

Finish; Lingering with a hint of chocolate, orange and dried fruits
On the bourbon side of things I would suggest Four Roses Single Barrel;

Tasting Notes

Nose: Fruity, spicy, floral, caramel, vanilla, cocoa, maple syrup, moderately woody.

Palate: Hints of ripe plum & cherries, robust, full body, mellow.

Finish: Smooth & delicately long.

 

renfield

Preferred Member
Oct 16, 2011
614
152
An Irish spirit like Bushmills or Jameson’s might be the place to start. Very smooth and easy to drink.
If you like those you can try some single malts on the less peaty end of the spectrum for something with more complexity. From there the selections are numerous and vary widely in character.