Seeking Exceptional Bourbons

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mahew

Starting to Get Obsessed
Dec 30, 2017
116
40
Kentucky Hills and Hollers
So many great bourbons and so little time. Since you are moving to Utah, you might consider something from High West Distillery, if I am not mistaken, they are based in Utah and I am an advocate of supporting local business. If you appreciate Rye, A Midwinter Nights Dram is worth a try. Being an advocate of supporting local goods, living in Kentucky does have certain advantages! Rowan’s Creek is a fine sipper produced by one of my favorite distilleries to visit.
 

elessar

Part of the Furniture Now
Apr 24, 2019
667
1,398
So many good choices mentioned already. I'll mention a couple off the beaten path options to consider, if you can find them. In have no idea on distribution ranges.

Driftless Glen (Baraboo WI). Their bourbon is very very impressive for a young distillery. The limited edition port and sherry cask finishes are not to be missed.

Cedar Ridge (Swisher IA). The Quintessential Blend is an interesting american single malt. Taking some of the best qualities of both bourbon and scotch. I've not had their bourbon, but I will soon buy some. The single malt was very surprising (in a positive way) and I gather their bourbon is top flight as well. I'll be buying a bottle on my next trip to the liquor emporium.

Wild Turkey Longbranch. Looks to have been, or is in the process of being, discontinued. Not the best ever by any means but an absolute steal at the current retail prices (less than $25 around these parts).
 
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SmokeClouds

Starting to Get Obsessed
Sep 7, 2019
164
382
New York
Many good suggestions made already. I would add:
Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit
IW Harper 15 years
Hancock's Reserve

Unicorns are many, some greater than others. Some that I appreciate:

Wild Turkey 12 years (Cheesy foil)
Elijah Craig 23 years
Parker's Heritage Golden Anniversary
etc.

Regarding Pappy, I consider the 15 year to be their best offering, complex and vibrant. If it is worth the asking price these days it is debatable, it depends in what tax bracket you are and how much one desires to acquire a bottle.

I would also suggest that you look into Single Grain whisky from Scotland bottled by independents. Cambus, North British or Invergordon distilleries. Lighter on the palate and not as intense as bourbon but with similar flavor profiles.

From Japan, Nikka Coffey Grain. If no financial restrictions, one of the unicorns, Komagatake 30 year old American Oak.

For what is worth, I worked for over 20 years with wine and distilled spirits, and managed the 2 bars with the largest selection of distilled spirits in NYC.

Hope that this is somewhat helpful.
 

Rockyrepose

Lifer
Oct 16, 2019
1,324
13,234
Wyoming USA
I have a wonderful relationship with my local store. I've managed to get three drawings of Pappy from them if that's any indication and several other allocated offerings in the last few years. Each time it's very close to MSRP. I've turned down Pappy for some of the Antique collection offerings as well.

I remember reading an article years back from a Bourbon judge/journalist who had stated he hated the trend of hype and really hoped he could disprove it on a few of the events he went to judge blind. Short cut to the story is he was upset that he had blind selected Pappy on more than one occasion. I do love the distillery and pretty much most of what they produce.

20220116_193316.jpg
 

jguss

Lifer
Jul 7, 2013
2,388
6,118
Anybody tried Pappys?

As many have observed Pappy is a great bourbon but on the secondary market extremely expensive. The real question is what you want. If you’re just looking for a great bourbon this thread has many terrific suggestions. If you’re looking for a trophy bottle Pappy is one of the few clear choices. There are countless pipe brands that smoke as well as a Sixten/Lars/Nanna etc but people but still buy the great Dane pipes in part precisely because of their cost and cachet. Anyone who thinks hedonic utility isn’t a major driver of purchasing (and all other) decisions is delusional.
 
Jun 18, 2020
3,768
13,472
Wilmington, NC
I am moving to St. George. It's worse: I grew up Mormon, even went on a mission for 2 years.. :) I Already have the house and I love it there! puffy It gets hot in the summer so I have a place in Jackson Wyo. I am negotiating on as we speak for the summers. I hate snow but LOVE Fly fishing....
I love St. George! In college (geology major) we had our field camp course headquartered there.

As for bourbons, which ones do you like? The various distilleries have a house flavor and knowing which ones you like can help us narrow down the choices for something that would appeal to you.

Example - Jim Beam products have a nutty/peanut flavor (in the background of course). So Bookers, Knob Creek, etc. all have that.

Old Forester products have a banana bread character...
 
As many have observed Pappy is a great bourbon but on the secondary market extremely expensive. The real question is what you want. If you’re just looking for a great bourbon this thread has many terrific suggestions. If you’re looking for a trophy bottle Pappy is one of the few clear choices. There are countless pipe brands that smoke as well as a Sixten/Lars/Nanna etc but people but still buy the great Dane pipes in part precisely because of their cost and cachet. Anyone who thinks hedonic utility isn’t a major driver of purchasing (and all other) decisions is delusional.

I am looking for both. 1 bottle for a retirement toast with a few of my closest friends. I want it to be special, not necessarily pricey although I understand that goes hand in hand to a certain extent and there have been some great choices offered up here. I threw Pappy out because of the hype/cachet and to get opinions from those who have tasted it. Based on your comments, if I could find a bottle of 15 year Pappy for 1,500, I would be all over it just for the experience. Above that, not so much.

The other objective is to seek out other bourbons of exceptional qualities and variety for personal enjoyment.

Based on the recommendations so far, I have certainly asked the right people. So far my list has 48 makers to research. You guys are the best! smokey
 
I love St. George! In college (geology major) we had our field camp course headquartered there.

As for bourbons, which ones do you like? The various distilleries have a house flavor and knowing which ones you like can help us narrow down the choices for something that would appeal to you.

Example - Jim Beam products have a nutty/peanut flavor (in the background of course). So Bookers, Knob Creek, etc. all have that.

Old Forester products have a banana bread character...
In my brief and amateur study of whiskeys so far, I settled on Bourbons because they, as a whole, seem to be sweeter because of the corn content. I am intentionally concealing my experiences so far, so no one will eliminate anything they love that I might like. The only thing I want out there is that I prefer the sweeter tastes of Bourbon over whiskey.

I am aware there are literally hundreds if not thousands of different brands and offerings of Bourbon out there. I just want to narrow down the field a bit using the opinions of people I respect. I may not like some of the offerings after I try them but the way I see it, I have a list so far of 48 of the best of the best and once I narrow down my own tastes, I can venture off in my own direction.

The logic is sound to me. puffy
 

pipingfool

Can't Leave
Sep 29, 2016
369
1,475
Seattle, WA
Looks like I need to make a quick trip across the river to Newport to pick this up. I've liked everything from New Riff that I've tried, and living 10 minutes from the distillery doesn't hurt either!
Yeah, the 6yr Malted Rye has been released in other parts of the country. We're just waiting for our allocation here in FL. I'm a fan of their Bourbons because of the high Rye content (30%).

So many great whiskies to try out there. Happy Hunting!
 
Jun 18, 2020
3,768
13,472
Wilmington, NC
My preferences run to stuff that's readily available:

Old Grand Dad 114 is a real bargain and readily available
Old Forester 1910 or 1920, the latter is more expensive but I prefer 1910
Buffalo Trace, this one can be difficult to locate
Makers Mark

For Irish whiskeys, I prefer Bushmills Black or Tullamore Dew.
Try some Bowman Bros. or John J. Bowman. They get their distillate from Buffalo Trace and then "redistill" a portion of it in a pot still. Has the same flavor profile as BT products.

In NC - Bowman Bros is $29 and John J is $50
 
Dec 28, 2015
2,337
1,003
Do you like it better than Noah's Mill? I didn't mention the Willett-produced brands above, but there are several that are quite
Do you like it better than Noah's Mill? I didn't mention the Willett-produced brands above, but there are several that are quite exemplary.
I love them both but do actually prefer the Rowan Creek. The fact that Rowan Creek is slightly less expensive is jus a happy bonus.