Base line Chivas perhaps but Royal Salute is pretty tasty (to me anyway)
Base line Chivas perhaps but Royal Salute is pretty tasty (to me anyway)
I am following this thread with interest, as I have yet to find a bourbon that is as palate friendly as even an entry level scotch. My entry entry level scotch was Dewars White, with my day-to-day preference being Laiphroaig or Balvenie Doublewood.
For bourbons; I have tried Wild Turkey, Knob Creek and Maker's Mark. The experience with these hasn't made me too eager to invest further; although I may try some of the lesser known boutique brands listed earlier in this thread.
Last edited by Tim_McD; 05-29-2012 at 06:07 AM. Reason: Rotten iPhone typing skills
First DE Shave: 29-Aug-11; Feather Popular/Derby Extra/AoS starter brush/Cella/Alum Block
Try Buffalo Trace, Makers Mark or George Dickel. If none of those a palatable to you with a splash of filtered water in them then you just don't like the taste of bourbon.
I don't get any increased level of burn out of bourbons then I do with scotch, but I am a regular splash of water kind of guy (unless I am new to a bottle where I will take a sip or two before adding water to my first glass).
Progress, Labs/Astra SP, Semogue 1520, Tabac, Palmolive, Speick, Arlington, MWF, Arko.
What would you think of all whiskies being distilled three times, unblended, aged in new barrels, bottled at 80 proof, with the only differences being the mash bill, length of aging, the way the grain is processed prior to distillation, and only Pot Stills used in distillation? For me Scotch would be better without the influence of the previous contents of the barrel(s), Bourbon, bottled at a lower proof. For me the preference usually is for nothing added to what I am drinking; if I don't care for the flavor/taste as is, perhaps I shouldn't drink it. Whisk(e)y preferences, Scotch, wheated Bourbons, Irish, Canadian usually in that order but not hide-bound.
I love both, bourbon is indeed harsher than a GOOD single malt. But that's just the American persona, bourbon makes hair grow on your chest lol. I'm drinking a dram of Lagavulin 16 and its definitely my favorite. Bourbon I'll go with Makers Mark or Basil Hayden.
Four Roses 2011 Single Barrel, smooth no burn
Call me a light weight but the only way I can drink Bourbon is mixed (Jack & coke etc). Scotch is just so much smoother, especially a halfway decent Scotch. I usually drink it with just a bit of water or sometimes with a splash of ginger ale.
Bourbon just burns, maybe I'm not drinking a good enough quality of bourbon. Think the most expensive I've ever tried is Gentleman Jack & Knob Creek 9 year old and it still burned going down.
Gentleman Jack isn't bourbon. It's Tennessee whiskey (there is a subtle difference -- the latter is filtered through maple charcoal). Delicious nonetheless.
The smoothest bourbons I've had are Basil Hayden, Woodford Reserve and Blanton's (the last of which is the priciest but well worth it). I don't mind the burn, to tell the truth. My favorite everyday bourbon is Elijah Craig 12-year. Inexpensive but a great sipper -- a little hot to some folks but you get accustomed to it.
I was a scotch drinker before I was a bourbon drinker. Today I drink bourbon a lot more as my everyday drink. But I probably go for scotch about 30 percent of the time -- my favorites are the peaty, smoky island malts like Talisker and Lagavulin. But I love Oban 14 and Balvenie Doublewood as well. Still -- a great bourbon like Blanton's (I won't fork over the coin for the seriously, seriously high-end special barrelings) is still less money than a good single-malt. And just as enjoyable with the same splash of filtered water.
My favorite budget whiskeys/whiskys:
For blended scotch I'd go with Black Bottle or Whitehorse. Both have a smoky island malt profile and are as good as but much less pricey than Johnnie Walker Black.
For bourbon, if I'm going for the cheap stuff, basic Evan Williams Black may sit on the bottom shelf, but it's a great on-the-rocks porch-sitting drink.
I like Knob Creek for my sippin' bourbon. Thrown in a few ice chips sometimes or drink it neat. I think it's pretty smooth. Not too spendy. You might try a dash of bitters. True, it will change the flavor profile a bit; for some it takes a little heat off the spirit. Or add some simple syrup with the bitters and you've got an old fashioned. Vegetable peel some orange over the drink if you've feelin' special.
I like Evan Williams for my mixing bourbon, kinda sweet and fruity.
I REALLY like bourbon in case you haven't guessed.
"It puts the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again."
Bourbon does tend to have a bit more kick IMHO. A good and reasonably priced bourbon that smoothes out the edges is Makers Mark 46. A little extra adging than the original but you can really taste the difference. The original red head is a favorite regardless.
I myself prefer Bourbon to Scotch. While Scotch has a reputation of being higher quality and brewed with higher skill (and rightfully so, much of the time), I've always preferred the Americana aspect of Bourbon in addition to the unique flavor and experience while enjoying a glass of Bourbon vs. a glass of Scotch. As with any more expensive liquor, Bourbon in my experience gets "more drinkable" with increased price due to a finer manufacturing process, additional aging (aging in addition to the standard aging in charred-oak barrels). One aspect of the Bourbons I buy that I appreciate is that they are all straight Bourbon Whiskey, that is there is no blending process as with Canadian Whiskeys and many Scotch Whiskys. The liquor has to stand on the quality of ingredients, distilling process, skill of the distillers, the aging and bottling process in order to impress the drinker; not have unpleasant aspects mixed out with different and sometimes higher quality liquors in the blending process. Even with higher-end Bourbons, there are differences in experience that have nothing to do with quality, only with how the distilling process differs from distiller to distiller. A few of my favorites have been Jefferson Reserve, Woodford Reserve, and Bulleitt Straight Bourbon Whiskey. The Bulleitt has a higher rye content than other non-Rye Whiskeys, and it adds a very unique flavor that has a "sweeter" finish than other high-end Bourbons I've tried. These are my favorites of the different brands I've tried, which include Buffalo Trace, 1792, Maker's Mark, Gentleman Jack, Washington Wheat, and some god-awful regional brew 100 proof monstrosity that was for whatever reason priced and placed with actual Bourbons, presumably as some sort of cruel trick.
These are only my opinions and experiences of course, and if you prefer Scotch to Bourbon, I'd love to share a drink with you and debate the merits of both. Because the only thing better than a drink is a drink with some intelligent conversation and debate... and maybe a smoke. Also, I didn't include low-end Bourbons like Jack Daniels, Jim Beam or my personal favorite "Early Times Whiskey", because they have their own place in the world: on steaks that are cookin' on the grill.
Last edited by fortcon; 07-20-2012 at 08:36 AM.
Bourbon here, of course.
If you can find a bottle of 'Pappy Van Winkle's Family Reserve 20 Year Old', It is the smoothest Bourbon that I have ever pulled a cork on. Over 90 proof and, to me, no burn and goes down like water. I don't do shooters, but will pour about 2 or 3 fingers in a small brandy glass to chimney its marvelous nose and sip it like a gentleman ( Neat, just a glass and Pappy-period ). I have one unopened bottle left that I paid $110.00 USD for and its auctioning like mad on eBay for about 3 times that amount now. I wouldn't trade my bottle of 'Pappy' for a Toggle.......
"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." (T. S. ELIOT)
I have not read all the other posts, but we are talking about a few of my favorite things here!
I, too, would say that bourbon is supposed to burn going down! I am guessing that part of the reasons is that it is aged is new charred oak, not old uncharred oak as is Scotch, it is generally aged for far less time than Scotch, and that at least distilled corn and rye mashes are inherently "sharper" flavored than is distilled sprouted barley mash, which is the only grain in a single malt.
I love them all really, bourbon and Scotch. I think bourbon is generally a fantastic bargain compared to Scotch. World class whiskey at a much lower price point across the board. I suspect that the Scotish government or associations of distillers over there or both arrange things to keep prices high, in a way that is not down in the States for bourbon. Scotch is very expensive in Scotland.
I also think there is more variety of flavor profiles in bourbon, even though the island whiskies are so different from the mainland ones.
But I do think bourbon is supposed to have some bite.
Will I fall beneath the shadow of some broken cross?My arms emptied and all my treasures lost?
Great points all around.
Knize, I think you have succinctly stated most of the reasons for bourbon's burn.
The fact that bourbons are typically a much younger and stronger spirit accounts for most of it, even if they were made from the same materials. Add in the different grains and the charred new first-fill barrels they are aged in - that is a liquor that will make your eyes water if you are unaccustomed to it!
Bourbon is what got me into whiskey. Drinking in the deep woody aromas brought me back to my past, and I greatly admire the complexity found within a bottle of bourbon. The mass market Canadian "ryes" that I was accustomed to growing up have no soul, in comparison. (There are more and more Canadian distillers who are putting out a good product, though)
I've since come to appreciate Scotch, and in many cases I prefer it, but bourbon is what started it all for me.
PS: I would think that bourbon is definitely the best value spirit in the world. The quality you can get for the price is unmatched, IMO.
It is hard to find any of it around here, but I've got a couple bottles of Buffalo Trace and Elijah Craig 12 on hand from when they were last sold in this province. They aren't top shelf but they are leagues ahead of other beverages in the price range.
My favorite bourbon so far is Bookers. The first bottle I bought was 130 proof. I drank it straight. With an ice cube. After the initial burn it was delicious. I don't want to mix a bottle of bourbon that costs $50 with anything. I have an unopened bottle of VanWinkle 15 year old bourbon, but it's so hard to find I hate to open the bottle.
I find very little flavor in Scotch, which is why I love Bourbon. Try some Buffalo Trace, Elijah Craig 18, or Pappy Van Winkle 20 (if you can find it). Bourbon also serves as the base for my favorite summer drink, the Mint Julep.
Your bourbon may actually have more alcohol in it. Most bourbons range from 86 to 100 proof. Most scotch is sold at 86 proof. You can get very smooth bourbons, but they will cost you a bit more. My favorite is Knob Creek, aged nine years, and sold at 100 proof! It's as smooth as an old slap on the back.
Most bourbons for me are sickly sweet and I prefer scotch, the exceptions so far are elijah craig 12 and Blantons.
Try leaving the top off for a while if you find it burns too much. Airing it out will smooth it out.
All it takes is all you got.