Seeking Exceptional Bourbons

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Tar Wheel

Lifer
May 23, 2020
1,463
21,192
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
The title pretty much says it all...

I have been playing with Whiskeys and Bourbons for a while now (yes, I know all bourbons are whiskeys) and I have come to the conclusion that I really like the sweetness corn brings to the table. I have also concluded I really don't like peaty whiskeys.

I am looking for 2 things I am hoping some of you can help with.

1. I am retiring at the end of this year and would like to buy 1 exceptional bottle of Bourbon for that event. Price is not much of a factor.
2. I am also looking excellent Bourbons to stock for regular consumption and price plays no role as I know some bourbons are reasonably priced but are exceptionally fine. I would like to narrow down the field by using your experiences so I don't end up with a bunch of mistakes in the cabinet.

Help a brother out with some suggestions?
I will agree with all of TheIronMonkey’s suggestions. I will also add any batch of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof you come across. Blanton’s is wildly popular, and worth it at $60.00 retail, but not worth chasing at secondary prices.

For an exceptional bottle, George T. Stagg or William Larue Weller from the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection would be what I would seek.

For everyday great bottles that can be easily found, I would go with Wild Turkey Rare Breed, Old Forester 1920 or 1910, and Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Barrel Proof ( although JDSBBP is starting to become hard to come by also).

You mentioned that you liked the sweetness of the corn. Wheated mashbills like Weller and Willet have a soft, sweet palate you may enjoy also. Good luck and let us know what you decide on. Cheers!
 
Dec 3, 2021
4,697
39,354
Pennsylvania & New York
Tar Wheel's and shanez's recommendations of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof and Elmer T. Lee are great suggestions; had I thought about it more, I would've recommended them. The last great Elmer T. Lee I had was when he did his final barrel select before he died and it was terrific; I haven't had any recent releases, but, I don't think you could go wrong with the new releases. I would add Larceny Barrel Strength as well—Batch B520 might be hard to find now—you might still be able to get the release from 2021.
 
Jan 28, 2018
12,860
132,537
66
Sarasota, FL
When you say price is not an issue, please clarify. I could likely find a bottle of pappys but you'd be looking at $1,000 plus. I don't think it is over rated at all,it is fabulous, but I don't think it's worth anywhere near that much money. I could also find Wellers and Blantons for several hundred dollars but again, not worth the money IMHO.

IMHO, one of the best bourbons for the money is Old Forrester 1920. I'm guessing it still sells for less than $100 per bottle. If you are near a competent shop and they have Russell's Reserve Cask Select, that's superb for around $75 per bottle. There's lots of good bourbon available but if you want something really special, it's going to cost you.
 

pantsBoots

Lifer
Jul 21, 2020
2,130
7,511
Terra Firma
Anybody tried Pappys?

Overhyped. If you want to go down the wheated route, Larceny is a great wheated bourbon.

If you like the sweeter edge to whiskey, you're looking for a high corn mashbill, IMO. Mellow Corn is very thin and very cheap, but is a great entry into the realm of corn - I usually have a bottle on hand.

Old Grand Dad Bonded and 114 are both good choices, as is the newish George Dickel Bottled in Bond. Four Roses makes a great pour as well. A local stillery, Nelson's Greenbrier, makes a good tipple. Finally, Old Forester Prohibition is cracking if you like berry notes in your hootch.

That should get you started on the easy-to-source sweeter bourbons. Hit us up when you're ready for rye.
 
Dec 3, 2021
4,697
39,354
Pennsylvania & New York
As an aside, I would highly recommend getting a Paglione Oak Bottle. We did a test with Evan Williams Bottled-in-Bond (which costs about $14.99). I find it pretty rough around the edges. We aged it in the Oak Bottle for one day, set some some aside, and let it continue another day (Susan was afraid of it getting too oaky as it ruined her brother-in-law's wine some years back). We brought the different versions to our local craft beer bar in Brooklyn for some of our friends who appreciate whisky and tried it in its original state, 1 day, and 2 day. Our friends were shocked by how smooth the 2 day was. It was transformed—they agreed that had they not known, they would've thought it was a much finer bourbon, several times the price. Well worth playing with aging in the oak!
 

anotherbob

Lifer
Mar 30, 2019
15,550
29,135
45
In the semi-rural NorthEastern USA
The title pretty much says it all...

I have been playing with Whiskeys and Bourbons for a while now (yes, I know all bourbons are whiskeys) and I have come to the conclusion that I really like the sweetness corn brings to the table. I have also concluded I really don't like peaty whiskeys.

I am looking for 2 things I am hoping some of you can help with.

1. I am retiring at the end of this year and would like to buy 1 exceptional bottle of Bourbon for that event. Price is not much of a factor.
2. I am also looking excellent Bourbons to stock for regular consumption and price plays no role as I know some bourbons are reasonably priced but are exceptionally fine. I would like to narrow down the field by using your experiences so I don't end up with a bunch of mistakes in the cabinet.

Help a brother out with some suggestions?
I haven't tried any Japanesse whiskeys I want to but I haven't. I just am happy that someone else agrees with my preference for bourbon over most other whisky.
 
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Dec 3, 2021
4,697
39,354
Pennsylvania & New York
I haven't tried any Japanesse whiskeys I want to but I haven't. I just am happy that someone else agrees with my preference for bourbon over most other whisky.
That's a whole other world. A nice entry level would be Hibiki Harmony (about 89 or 99 dollars a bottle depending on where you live). I absolutely love the Hibiki 21, but, it is prohibitively expensive—not a big fan of the 17 year. The 21 almost noses better than it tastes.