Sunday, December 26, 2010

Pappy Van Winkle

It has been a while since I posted something so I thought I would put up a short bourbon review. The poll ended with a majority of votes for bourbon and scotch, so I think those will be the whiskeys I review the most. This review will be about the best bourbon on the market. I don't think it is the best for price, but the best tasting. This mysterious bourbon goes by the name Pappy Van Winkle.

Most people I know have never heard of Pappy or even the Rip Van Winkle name. I can understand this seeing as it costs about $70-$100 depending on the age. This is expensive for bourbon just in case you were wondering. Last time I checked Van Winkle products are distilled in the Buffalo trace distillery, but the bourbon is nothing like Buffalo trace and shouldn't even be considered an affiliate. Pappy Van Winkle is the smoothest, richest bourbon on the market and offers the age and flavor that other bourbons just don't have. Before trying Pappy Van Winkle 20yr and 15yr I didn't think bourbons were capable of achieving the complexities of Scotch. I thought they were all harsh, hard hitting whiskeys that were only there to get you hammered(something like how I view Canadian whiskey now). I can now safely say I was wrong and Pappy Van Winkle is what changed my mind. The !5, 20, and 23 year models all offer a wood like taste that only comes from aging in a barrel for close to two decades. (I have never had the 23 myself, but can assume it gets better as it ages) Other bourbons don't usually age this long so it is common to think that only Scotch has the sophisticated aged flavor :D This mentality will be changed after the first glass of Pappy Van Winkle.

You will also notice that Pappy keeps all of the things you like most about bourbon so it won't be too big of a jump. It will keep the spicy, kick in the pants flavors while still going down smooth. Or to put it another way, it will taste nice without giving you whiskey face. Oh, did I mention how sweet it is, because it has the perfect amount of sweetness too? It's not an artificial sweet like with Ten High and other cheap bourbons, but more of a natural sweetness from the grains. All of these flavors combined makes Pappy Van Winkle one of the best whiskeys on the market, not just bourbons, but whiskeys. It can easily stand its own against high priced Scotches, but diverges from that peaty soft taste to give you the powerful bourbon flavor. This is why I think it is so good. It is the only bourbon in it's class, so it is the only great whiskey that can compete with the aged scotches. If you are looking for the perfect bourbon and are not worried about price, you can't lose with Pappy Van Winkle 15, 20, or 23. Once you try this bourbon, you will never find a bourbon anywhere near as good.

I would like to apologize in advance for this being poorly written, it's late and I don't really have the time to look it over.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Whiskeys

With the holiday season approaching I though I would make a post about some of the whisk(e)ys that make good gifts. The first on my list is the phenomenal Pappy Van Winkle 15yr and 20yr. This is probably the most high class bourbon you can purchase and it is well worth the price. It's unbelievably smooth and has a great sweet taste along with a strong wood flavor. I would assume the wood taste comes from sitting in oak barrels for 15 or 20 years and it is well worth the wait because this bourbon receives my highest ranking. I think it is the one bourbon worth the hefty price tag. If you get this for a whiskey aficionado, they will not be disappointed, I will personally guarentee it. If they don't like it, I will buy the rest of the bottle from them. 

The other bourbon I recommend with a cheaper price tag is Woodford  reserve. This is actually one of the best bourbons for a moderate price. I know people that actually consider this the best bourbon around, period. I would be inclined to agree, but I am a sucker for the oak barrel taste that Pappy brings to the table. That being said you can pick up a 12yr Van Winkle for a little more than Woodford and still get the premium Van Winkle taste; however, if you are really looking to save and want a fantastic bourbon, you can't go wrong with Woodford.

For those of you that have friends hooked on Islay malt scotch, I would recommend Ardbeg nam beist. It is one of the peatiest malt scotches I have ever had and it goes down, oh, so smooth. Laphroaig and Glenlivet scotches are also good, but chances are a person who loves peaty scotches has already had these. Ardbeg comes in a few different year varients that differ significantly in price. The nam beist (16y) fetches about $70a bottle, and the normal Ardbeg(10y) comes in at about $50. I have only had the older one and I can safely say it is well worth the money. I know some others who have had the younger one and say that it is comparable to Laphroaig, which makes it a good whiskey as well, but not quite as good as its older brother.

Well those are the best gifts I can think of at the moment, feel free to comment on any you would recommend.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Where's Whiskey

I have hidden a handle of Ten High in this Where's Waldo picture. Can you find it? Plus two points if you can find Waldo.

Hint: It's really small

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cheap Alternatives

I have been reading a lot of comments about people looking for cheaper alternatives to the go-to popular whiskeys. So I decided to make a post about a few of the ones that I recommend to most people. I know that I already spoke of the huge savings you get when switching to Ten High, but this post is going to be about cheap bourbons that you can drink straight, not ones that are cheap mixing whiskeys. The whiskeys I am talking about replacing are going to be the popular bourbons, there are alternatives to popular brands of other whisk(e)ys, but I will save this task for other posts. Right now I will focus on replacing bourbons like Jack Daniels, Wild Turkey, and Jim Beam. These are the whiskeys you hear advertised everywhere and sang about in songs. All of this coverage has made them them synonymous with the word whiskey itself. Kind of like Kleenex for tissue paper. Just because people say pick me up a bottle of Jack instead of a bottle of whiskey doesn't really mean that you should be going out and buying a bottle of Jack Daniels. There are some people who really do enjoy the unique tastes of these specific  bourbons, but for the most part a lot of people wouldn't really care if the taste of their whiskey changed slightly. If it was about producing the same exact taste for a lesser price, then these whiskeys might not compare; however, most people aren't so picky that they won't drink anything without that trademark charred flavor that Jack Daniels has. I personally love this flavor, but it isn't enough to warrant me spending the extra $10 per bottle. There are other unique tastes in other whiskeys that are fantastic and cost a fraction of the price.

The first replacement whiskey that comes to mind is Fighting Cock. It is about $18 a bottle and has a flavor that will immediately remind you of Wild Turkey. It will have the same nice kick from the 103 proof and the nice spicy notes as well. Switching from Wild Turkey to this should be seamless, I know I was able to do this and Wild Turkey was my favorite/go-to whiskey for a while. The Replacement I would recommend for something like Jack Daniels is Old Forester. The first thing I would like to bring up is that these whiskeys do not have the same taste. Jack is a Tennessee with a charred taste and Old Forester is just a plain bourbon. If you're not attached to Jack's signature flavor though, this is an option that can save you some money and still taste fantastic. It's only slightly cheaper at about $20 a bottle, but the savings will buy you another bottle after four purchases. I can't really explain how great this bourbon is for the price, all I can say is that you will be pleasantly surprised that a bourbon this cheap tastes just as good as any mid to top shelf bourbon. Ezra Books is also another cheap bourbon that could replace your current popular brand. It is also the cheapest of the ones I have suggested. I haven't checked in a while, but I believe you could get a handle of Ezra for the price of a bottle of Jack. It is definitely worth checking out considering it has a decent flavor, worthy of sipping, and is a fraction of the price.

I know I listed Jim Beam in this post, but as you already know it is pretty cheap. I just listed it because people seem to think that it's the only cheap alternative. So even though you won't save a lot switching from Jim Beam to one of these whiskeys you can at least get a different flavor. I hope this post helped some of you looking to save a little money on your whiskey purchases. I will probably do one on mixing whiskeys soon.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Poll is up

Hey guys, I put up a poll about favorite whiskeys/whiskies. Vote, so I can know what to review next and feel free to explain your vote here in the comments section.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Ten High

As you may have noticed in my credentials post, I drink an ass load of Ten High. This isn't because I think it is a good bourbon, but rather because it's really cheap and still has a "whiskey" flavor. If I were to just rate taste alone Ten High would be one of the worst on my list. Right above Old Overholt and Five Star. However, once price is factored in I don't think there is a more economical option than Ten High. Depending on where you buy it you can usually pick up a handle(1.75 liters) for $16. Compared to the $20-$30 you usually pay for 750ml of other bourbons, this deal is fantastic. I personally drink mine straight, but I wouldn't recommend this to people who only like good whiskeys. It would be perfect with coke and if you have friends that are constantly mooching off of your nice whiskey just to pour it into a soda, I would suggest buying some Ten High to give them instead. They won't notice the difference and it will save you some money. The reason I am so attached to this whiskey is probably because I have been drinking it for so long. I have been guzzling down handles of this stuff for as long as I have been drinking, and throughout this time it has proven to be a nice cheap whiskey with no massive hangovers. If you need a cheap bourbon that will taste mediocre and not give you a hangover, Ten High is the whiskey for you.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Scotch Joke

A little too busy to throw up a review today guys, so I figured I would throw up a whiskey joke I heard instead. Not that great, but still slightly humorous.

A dude walks into a bar and says to the bartender : "I want a 12 years old scotch, and don't try to fool me because I can tell the difference."
The bartender is sceptical and decides to try to trick the man with a 5 year old scotch.
The man takes a sip, scowls and says : "Hey - Bartender, this crap is 5 years old scotch. - I told you that I wanted a 12 years old."
The bartender won't give and tries once more this time with a 8 year scotch.
The man takes a sip, grimaces and says : "Bartender, I do not want 8 years old scotch like this filth. Gi'me a 12-years old scotch or ill leave !"
Impressed, the bartender gives him the 12-year scotch on the house, the man takes a sip and sighs,
" Ah, now that's the real thing. "
A disgusting, ugly, grimy, stinking drunk has been watching all this with great interest. He stumbles over and sets a glass down in front of the man and says. :
"Hey, I think that's really far out what you can do. Try this one."...
The man takes a sip and immediately spits out the liquid and cries, "Yechhh! This stuff tastes like piss!"
The drunk's eyes light up and he says, "Yeah sure, now how old am I ?"

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Hey guys, I figured I would make a post about my credentials that way you know you're getting the opinion of a man that really loves his whiskey. I don't have any formal credentials, but I do have a lot of first hand tasting experience. The pictures below are of the whiskey wall that my roommate and I have created from the past year's whiskey drinking(with a few jokes thrown in there, like a can of Busch, and a couple of our 40s). By past year I mean from January to now. I have had plenty of other whiskeys, but these are the ones that I have had at my apartment and felt like throwing on our shelves. As you can see most of them are bourbon and a lot of those bourbons are Ten High and Old Grand-Dad. That's because these are the best bourbons for the price. I also drink a bunch of beer and even brew my own when I can. I might throw some posts up about beer once my blog gets going or if people want me to, but I don't have as much of a palate for it, so i will keep it off for now. That being said, I am attaching a picture of our beer collage as well.

Makers Mark 46- (news, not a review)

I didn't even notice until very recently that Maker's Mark has come out with a new bourbon called Maker's Mark 46. Seeing as they haven't done anything new for the past 50 years I guess this is good new for their company. I will try to get my hands on it and give it a review as soon as I can, but I am not sure they sell it around here yet. Reading the news article on it makes it seem like it's going to be a waste of money, but I won't judge it until I give it a try. Although, if it's anything like the normal Maker's Mark I expect a disappointing review. Has anyone else tried this yet?

Old Grand-Dad 114

I figured Old Grand-Dad should be the first whiskey I talk about, seeing as it is my favorite. Having said that I think it is obvious that this post will mostly positive comments.

I don't even know where to start with this one, because it is just an all around great bourbon. I guess the value is its best feature. For a 750ml you pay around the $25 mark, which is average for any mediocre bourbon. However you are not just getting any old bourbon, this is the most robust, flavor packed, kick you in the nuts bourbon you will ever taste. Because I refuse to drink it with any rocks or water I get the full kick from the 57% alcohol, which I think is one of Old Grand-Dad's best features. It doesn't end there either, after your tongue gets used to Gran-Dad's rough style you get to experience the monster flavor.  For the most part you get that nice sweet bourbon flavor with a bitchin' woody taste(I guess thats what you get for aging it in oak barrels for several years) This still isn't what makes it the best though. There is some unknown flavor in Old Grand-Dad that just makes everything about stick. I wish I had words to describe it, but I don't think it's possible to relate it to anything else. It's what I would call the robustness of Old Grand-Dad, but this doesn't do it justice. Maybe one of you following my blog can help me put words to this magic flavor.  That is if it's even possible. I would recommend this bourbon to everyone, for me it is easily a 10/10, I don't think many people who have tried it will disagree with me.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

First Post

Hi all, thanks for viewing my blog. The blog will probably focus on my reviews of different whisk(e)ys, but might go off topic if I haven't had anything new in a while. Feel free to post your own comments about each of the different whisk(e)ys too, that way there is more than one opinion.

On a side note I would like to start this blog with a post about the difference between whisky and whiskey. In the first part of the post I used parentheses to show that either spelling is correct, but in the future I will probably just use the two interchangeably. Currently the only difference between the two is the country that each whisk(e)y is made in. Most whisky is made in Scotland, Canada, or Japan, while whiskey is generally produced in Ireland and America. There are known exceptions, but this is a good guideline. I probably won't stick to this guide line because it doesn't matter, but it is nice to know the difference between the two spellings. I used whiskey for this blog because I live in the USA and will be talking about bourbon quite a bit; however, there will also be a lot of other random reviews and rants so I decided to finish the title with everything else. Thanks again for reading, I hope you enjoy my blog.