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Cheap Bourbons, Ranked
November 25, 2013 5:57 PM   Subscribe

A Timely Ranking of Cheap American Bourbon in Time for the Holidays
posted by Renoroc (107 comments total) 56 users marked this as a favorite

 
Bless this post.

And on the topic of cheap bourbons -- if you're planning to use it for cocktails, I've had VERY good luck with Wild Turkey 101. The higher proof holds up well to mixers and it's easy to find (which is particularly helpful when, say, visiting family who don't live near a decent liquor store.)
posted by Narrative Priorities at 6:04 PM on November 25, 2013


Evan Williams is my go-to don't think, just drink bourbon. It beats Jack Daniels by miles. Rebel Yell looked like a next try on this list.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 6:06 PM on November 25, 2013 [9 favorites]


I like bourbon, and it looks like a good list. I kind of hate bourbon becoming popular, and the rise of bourbon pretentiousness. Having a good $14 bourbon should h elp with that.
posted by theora55 at 6:11 PM on November 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


I hate it when people come into threads and go NO BLAHBLAHBLAH THIS LIST IS INVALID
but come on yo, NO OLD GRANDAD????? its literally the King of The Cheap Olds.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:13 PM on November 25, 2013 [17 favorites]


Old Fitz is pretty decent tho
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:14 PM on November 25, 2013


I have an inexplicable love of Ancient Age (not the blended one), but Evan Williams and McAfee's Old Benchmark are both decent bourbons.

But then, I keep garage whiskey that is drunk straight from the bottle at "room" temperature (in Texas) as well as higher end bourbons drunk from one of those open topped things made of glass.
posted by Seamus at 6:15 PM on November 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Not available everywhere, but Trader Joe's Kentucky Bourbon is what we've had around lately. Old Grand-Dad should've made an appearance on the list. Fun list -- the author's got a sense of humor without relying on easy snark -- thanks for posting!
posted by sleevener at 6:19 PM on November 25, 2013


At about $17 a bottle, Old Forrester Signature (100 proof) sits at the costlier end of the spectrum, but I think it's the best value available in real bourbon. It's an absolute cracker of a whiskey which, if marketed in a fancier bottle, would easily sell at twice the price. I'm not sure why so many non-bourbon American whiskies are on this list, but if you're dipping into that well I do favor Early Times as a dirt-cheap mixer.
posted by Mendl at 6:21 PM on November 25, 2013


Can we get any of these in Canada? Sure could go for some Old Crow.
posted by Flashman at 6:22 PM on November 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I come home last night
full a fifth of Old Crow
you said you goin' to your ma's
but where the hell did you go
you went and slipped out nights
you didn't think that I'd know
with some
gin-soaked boy that you don't know

- Tom Waits, "Gin Soaked Boy"
posted by soundguy99 at 6:26 PM on November 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Missing the US right now- there are no cheap bourbons in Canada.


A 750 of Old Grandad costs $34, and that's when you can find it.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:31 PM on November 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


thirty f...four? o_o

never leave the boat
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:33 PM on November 25, 2013 [8 favorites]


And that's cheap up here.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:34 PM on November 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


So I've been a huge fan of old crow reserve avert since Will Gordon introduced it in one of Jo's columns for serious eats. For whatever reason old crow and old crow reserve both cost 20 bucks a handle here in Chicago so the choice is super easy for me.

For everyone who like Will Gordon at deadspin check out his old colum drinking the bottom shelf at serious eats
posted by Carillon at 6:34 PM on November 25, 2013


Old Crow is pretty good, but I'd rather drink Cougar than Jim Beam so maybe I don't know anything. Used to be the bottle shops down in Victoria would let you buy a bourbon that was called "Bourbon" and if I remember correctly, had a picture of some...like an arroyo on it or something, and maybe a guy on a horse. Yeah, that was it. Horse guy. I think they both had arrows in 'em.
posted by turbid dahlia at 6:38 PM on November 25, 2013


Drinking the Bottom Shelf.
posted by turbid dahlia at 6:38 PM on November 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


The last cheap Bourbon we had in Canada was Louis XV, and he managed to lose the colony.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:40 PM on November 25, 2013 [48 favorites]


For relaxing times, make it Suntory time.
posted by charlie don't surf at 6:41 PM on November 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Obligatory Modern Drunkard Link: I Am Rotgut Man.
posted by Seamus at 6:46 PM on November 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sometimes I wish I was still an alcoholic, Modern Drunkard is such a great website.
posted by turbid dahlia at 6:49 PM on November 25, 2013


No Four Roses?

Owned, BTW, by Suntory Japan. And 100% non-GMO grain, if you care.
posted by Dreidl at 6:55 PM on November 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Is Black Velvet a bourbon? Because I find I drink a lot of that.
posted by hippybear at 6:55 PM on November 25, 2013


I stocked liquor for a little over a year and a half at two different places, and nobody really ever bought any bourbon that came in a plastic bottle, so stuff like Ancient Age, Ten High, and Old Crow were pretty much ignored. I thought maybe it was just that plastic bottles turned people off, but people bought absurd amounts of Black Velvet, Canadian Mist, and store brand vodka, so I don't know what to think. Gin was another thing people didn't like to buy in plastic bottles.

Maybe it's a regional thing or maybe I'm just seeing patterns that aren't really there.
posted by Redfield at 6:56 PM on November 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Good lord... I'm proud to discover that I haven't had a single one of these rotgut whiskeys for years now. (I used to drink Evan Williams by the gallon in college, then moved up to Wild Turkey LOL.)

By the time I was 25, I was not particularly financially secure, but I did make a well-founded decision: Life is way, way too short for cheap-ass alcohol. Whiskey foremost among said cheap alcohols.

Do yourself a favor: If a good whiskey is too expensive for you, drink less of the rotgut and spend your money on smaller quantities of the good stuff.

Splurge, and get yourself a bottle of Blanton's. Sip it, straight up. Just a little. Savor it.

That is all.
posted by mikeand1 at 6:58 PM on November 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


A 750 of Old Grandad costs $34, and that's when you can find it. And that's cheap up here.

What province are you in? $34 isn't unreasonable by Canadian standards, but I'd hardly call it cheap. Knock $10 off and then you're into "cheap" territory.

Ah...ridiculously high liquor taxes. O Canada...
posted by asnider at 6:58 PM on November 25, 2013


Dear lord. Bruvado.
How bad does that bourbon have to be?
Why do I want this so bad?
posted by Seamus at 6:59 PM on November 25, 2013


I love a good value in bourbons & beer but this is the same guy who ranked Grain Belt Premium as the best cheap beer, methinks his rating may be a wee bit dubious.

If anything, vastly different from my own.
posted by djseafood at 7:11 PM on November 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Is Black Velvet a bourbon? Because I find I drink a lot of that.

Black Velvet is cheap Canadian whisky.

It is also an Alannah Myles song that will be stuck in my head for the next several hours. Thanks.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:14 PM on November 25, 2013 [17 favorites]


Can we get any of these in Canada? Sure could go for some Old Crow.

Provincial liquor board websites are handy! If you're where your profile says, check here. (I'm not seeing Old Crow, but a few of the others are there at around $30/750mL.)
posted by Sys Rq at 7:19 PM on November 25, 2013


I love Burbon but I've never been lower down this list than number six. Probably because I mostly drink it /have drunk it straight up, not in a cocktail, so I've bought 'better' like Wild Turkey. Oh god just saying that, 'Wild Turkey' fills me with nostalgia and yearning like one of Schubert's songs.
Another angle for an article about cheap Burbons would be the different kinds of arguments and regrets you have after drinking seven or so too many before the meal has even started. Because there's gotta be some research worth doing there.
posted by From Bklyn at 7:19 PM on November 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Jim Beam Black when I'm flush. So, Evan Williams Green, usually.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 7:20 PM on November 25, 2013


The bourbon article made me want to rush right out and buy some Evan Williams, but after reading some of the "Drinking the Bottom Shelf" articles linked by turbid dahlia I now realize that Will Gordon is a dangerous, dangerous man and I need to close the tabs and step away from the computer before I wind up with a freezer full of pumpkin vodka and a liquor cabinet full of peppered Southern Comfort and wild cherry brandy.
posted by soundguy99 at 7:21 PM on November 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


No Ancient Ancient Age? That's really the best of the bottom-shelf bourbons, though it can be hard to find outside of the upper South.
posted by evoque at 7:21 PM on November 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


This list is invalid, as it is missing Virginia Gentleman. Currently listed by the Virginia abc at less than $13/750 ml (and eat your heart out, Canada, as you get a load of that whole list). Of course, when I was an undergrad at William & Mary in the mid-1980s, it was Virginia Gentleman Vodka that we drank (and puked out) with far greater frequency. First liquor I ever saw sold in a plastic bottle.
posted by JimInLoganSquare at 7:23 PM on November 25, 2013


None of these are available in Ontario. (And for those of you in the U.S. who'd like to experience sticker shock, go here and scroll down to "Retail Price List.")
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 7:23 PM on November 25, 2013


Man, bourbon sure has surged in popularity lately.

Like some kinda new religion that will bring you to your knees.

you're welcome Sys Rq
posted by DigDoug at 7:23 PM on November 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


Somehow, I find myself compelled to mention that I still own this 45, which I was listening to at far too young an age. I have never actually consumed George Dickel, but the song has stuck with me since my age was told in single digits.
posted by hippybear at 7:26 PM on November 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


(And for those of you in the U.S. who'd like to experience sticker shock, go here and scroll down to "Retail Price List.")

Of course, we here in the U.S. have to pay for our own rehab, so we need the lower whiskey costs to maintain that synergy. Canadians pay at the front end, we pay at the back end.
posted by JimInLoganSquare at 7:26 PM on November 25, 2013 [12 favorites]


I am so, so happy that I have reached a life stage where I can drink Blantons and Bulleit without making any Serious Decisions about the rest of my month. Recent development, but hey.
posted by 1adam12 at 7:26 PM on November 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


A new religion that'll bring you to your knees: Black Velvet, if you please.
posted by Flashman at 7:28 PM on November 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Whiskey professional here: 10 hrs/day 5 days/week. Try Colonel Lee. 8 yrs. $12-15 for 1.75mL. Great stuff. Smooth and fruity, like great bourbons, but it's not a shame to make fruitcake.
posted by The Potate at 7:37 PM on November 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


I keep meaning to do a ranking like this, but I get a few in and, well, you know, let's just say things don't quite work out any more.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 7:40 PM on November 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


At my local grocery store (not even liquor store) you can get a plastic 1.75L of Benchmark for $12.49. In New Orleans there literally is no better bang for your buck.
posted by komara at 7:44 PM on November 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm surprised no one's mentioned Colonel Kwik-E-Mart's Kentucky Bourbon
posted by Red Loop at 8:00 PM on November 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


This guy has terrible, terrible opinions about everything. This is nearly as bad as his cheap beer list.
posted by codacorolla at 8:01 PM on November 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


I must be from a different place than most of you because I always considered Old Granddad to be a bit high brow for my tastes. I personally can only think of a handful of times that I didn't buy the cheapest bottle in the store and I never failed to get drunk so I must have been doing something...right?
posted by Literaryhero at 8:02 PM on November 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Jesus, how do people in Canada get drunk?
posted by danny the boy at 8:13 PM on November 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


Jesus, how do people in Canada get drunk?

I've been asking myself the same question since I moved here a month ago.
posted by grouse at 8:15 PM on November 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Make friends.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:15 PM on November 25, 2013


Between this and the link to giantgummybears.com in an AskMe answer the other day, it is going to be a very merry Christmas. Old Crow and five-pound gummy bears.
posted by Area Man at 8:15 PM on November 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


There are sooooooo many left off this list, seriously, no Heaven Hill (or their budget Aristocrat brand), no Kentucky Tavern, no Kentucky Gentleman, no Old Grandad, no Fighting Cock, no Old Taylor, no Ancient Age, no JTS Brown, no Old Fitgerald, no Setter, no Colonel Lee...

Oh jesus, I think I need to get my liver checked out.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 8:17 PM on November 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


Old Crow and five-pound gummy bears.

It's a good thing they're bullet proof!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 8:20 PM on November 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Jesus, how do people in Canada get drunk?

The duty-free shop on the border.
posted by foobaz at 8:27 PM on November 25, 2013


One more for the road... when I was a kid we lived for a while somewhere between Lynchburg (home of Jack Daniels) and Tullahoma (home of George Dickel) Tennessee. My dad had taken us to Lynchburg for the down-home "factory tour" offered there, but then he found out you could go through the Dickel plant as well. We headed down one rainy Saturday and found it to be a highly industrial operation with giant stainless steel vats and such. The tour guide was very upfront about the whole thing however and said essentially, "here at George Dickel we let you see where we actually make the whiskey, unlike some of our neighbors that tour folks through some old barns and give people the impression that they don't really use a set up just exactly like this one to make their stuff."
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 8:36 PM on November 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


While bourbons are whiskey; both Daniels & Dickel are whiskeys not bourbons fwiw.

From the article:

First, the pedantry: To officially qualify as bourbon, a distilled spirit must be American (though, contrary to myth, not necessarily Kentuckian), consist of at least 51 percent corn, and be aged in new charred oak barrels prior to bottling.

From the Wikipedia for Tennessee whiskey:

Tennessee whiskey is straight bourbon whiskey produced in Tennessee.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 8:45 PM on November 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


A 750 of Old Grandad costs $34, and that's when you can find it. And that's cheap up here.

Premier in Amherst has it for $20 next time you're down in the Beefalo.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:55 PM on November 25, 2013


Seconding Trader Joes bourbon. A remarkable buy at $15.
posted by LarryC at 8:57 PM on November 25, 2013


I was also struck by not including Costco bourbon, which I've heard is quite excellent. I'm convinced that Grantland keeps having this guy vomit up his ideas into listicles because they know how angry it's going to make any rational person, thereby driving commenting and 'engagement'.
posted by codacorolla at 9:06 PM on November 25, 2013


Sometimes I wish I was still an alcoholic, Modern Drunkard is such a great website.

I don't know about today, but as of 6 or 7 years ago, there was a print version as well. I was visiting a friend in Minneapolis, and we were way too drunk for 2 PM on a Saturday and between bars when we stopped into either a Border's or Barnes and Noble asking for Modern Drunkard by name. They just said, "Go to Shinders." Sure enough, Shinders had it in print. Cover story was about champion drinker Joe Namath.
posted by TrialByMedia at 9:13 PM on November 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Jesus, how do people in Canada get drunk?

When you find a mouse in the bottle, they have to give you free beer for life, eh.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:17 PM on November 25, 2013 [15 favorites]


This have I heard: "Old Crow isn't just the best cheap bourbon...it's the best cheap anything."
posted by infinitywaltz at 9:44 PM on November 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Come on. Just cough up a couple more bucks and you're drinking Buffalo Trace without the nagging inferiority complex. I have no problem with Costco brand either.
posted by sapere aude at 9:48 PM on November 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am really upset about the lack of Wild Turkey and Old Grandad. Maybe they're not cheap enough?
posted by schroedinger at 10:36 PM on November 25, 2013


Old Crow and five-pound gummy bears.

Wait, this isn't like the vodka-soaked gummy bears thing, is it?
posted by emjaybee at 10:41 PM on November 25, 2013


Bourbon is just godawfull poison. If you're going to drink liquor almost anything else for sale in a western country is less terrible.

Having said that, the fancier versions of Wild Turkey are the way to go.
posted by fshgrl at 12:52 AM on November 26, 2013


When I lived in Phoenix my friends and I all drank Ten High so I'm glad to see an old friend made the list. When I moved to Portland I was introduced to Old Crow, but I've never seen Old Crow Reserve.

Also, what, no Beam's Eight Star?
posted by gucci mane at 2:52 AM on November 26, 2013


Currently, I'm having a wee nip of something slightly on the better side, e.g. Buffalo Trace, then having a Rebel Yell or two. I currently have no complaints about this system.

I was recently introduced to Blanton's...which...well...what can you say? But it's a little rich for my blood.
posted by Fists O'Fury at 3:42 AM on November 26, 2013



I'm surprised no one's mentioned Colonel Kwik-E-Mart's Kentucky Bourbon


Nor do I see my current ( and perhaps forever ) go-to, Old Weller Antique 107 ( Buffalo Trace ). $24.99 a liter. Screw cap FTW.
posted by mikelieman at 4:20 AM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


If I read my websites correctly, Rebel Yell is the only one of these available in Sweden. And a bottle (700 ml) is 399 SEK, which comes to about 61 USD. Now I ask you - is it worth it?
posted by soundofsuburbia at 4:21 AM on November 26, 2013


Rephrased, "If cheap bourbon isn't cheap, is it still cheap bourbon?"

I'm too sober this early in the morning to properly consider existential questions of this significance and magnitude.
posted by mikelieman at 4:26 AM on November 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


I've got a liter of Evan Williams on top of the fridge because it's the only cheap bourbon my local mega wine/liquor store stocks, and I hate the stuff. Luckily, it's time to pull it down again to make pecan pie, but it's awfully hard to go through a liter three tablespoons at a time.

Benchmark is much better at roughly the same price, but count me in the camp that's just too old for this shit and would rather splash for any of the small-batch Beams instead.
posted by uncleozzy at 4:35 AM on November 26, 2013


At my local grocery store (not even liquor store) you can get a plastic 1.75L of Benchmark for $12.49. In New Orleans there literally is no better bang for your buck.

Does it taste like the death of all that is holy and good though? I was so proud of finding a bottle of vodka for 4 euros once; what a bargain! Turned out to to be a failed experiment because the only way you could use that drink was as disinfectant.
posted by ersatz at 5:22 AM on November 26, 2013


I was so proud of finding a bottle of vodka for 4 euros once; what a bargain! Turned out to to be a failed experiment because the only way you could use that drink was as disinfectant.

There may be a fun reason for that.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:28 AM on November 26, 2013


Seconding Trader Joes bourbon. A remarkable buy at $15.

Stop reminding me that TJs sells alcohol in civilized states. Grrr.
posted by octothorpe at 5:29 AM on November 26, 2013 [5 favorites]


Nor do I see my current ( and perhaps forever ) go-to, Old Weller Antique 107 ( Buffalo Trace ). $24.99 a liter. Screw cap FTW.

J.L. Weller, the working man's Pappy Van Winkle.

Here's a family tree of Bourbon, showing which brands belong to which corporate portfolio, and which labels are related.
This chart shows the major distilleries operating in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Indiana, grouped horizontally by corporate owner, then subdivided by distillery. Each tree shows the type of whiskey made, and the various expressions of each style of whiskey or mash bill, in the case of bourbons. For instance, Basil Hayden's is a longer-aged version of Old Grand-Dad, and both are made at the Jim Beam Distillery. Some of this is imprecise. Buffalo Trace has two bourbon mash bills, but it isn't known which of its many brands are made from each, so this is a rough guess based on online commentary.
Pappy Van Winkle's Family Reserve is the reigning King of Bourbon. Low supply and cultlike demand has run prices up to stratospheric levels. If you're interested in how they ended up as the Louis XIV of booze, here's an interview Alton Brown did with Julian Van Winkle. Short version - have a lot of good bourbon that's been sitting around aging for a long time.

Given that you probably can't find PVW, and can't afford it if you could, the Weller label is pretty much the same mash bill as PVW, just not aged as long. I like the W.L. Weller 12 Year - here's a guy who makes “Poor Man's Pappy” by mixing Weller 12 Year and Old Weller Antique in a 60:40 ratio.
posted by zamboni at 5:55 AM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is moonshine still a thing in the US? I've consumed poteen and (really rather a lot of) Forest Star, the Swedish version - now less common as the state stranglehold on booze has been relaxed through far more porous borders - but do people still make and sell the stuff over there? Looking at some of those prices quoted for rotgut bourbon, it doesn't look worth the risk. (Although Forest Star could be exceptionally good, certainly in the premium-plus class. A lot of pride and experience could go into that.)
posted by Devonian at 6:49 AM on November 26, 2013


I was also struck by not including Costco bourbon, which I've heard is quite excellent. I'm convinced that Grantland keeps having this guy vomit up his ideas into listicles because they know how angry it's going to make any rational person, thereby driving commenting and 'engagement'.

Costco bourbon is indeed good. As for the rest of your comment, this is Deadspin, not Grantland; there is a big big difference, and there is no reason to be surprised by a listicle on Deadspin.
posted by inigo2 at 6:56 AM on November 26, 2013


Happy to see Ezra Brooks on that list, even if it was too low. But 75+ comments on Metafilter and nobody else is on board with Ezra? You disappoint me, Blue.

It's no Pappy Van Winkle (which I have a bottle of), but I do have to search for Ezra these days, now that my neighborhood booze boutique stopped carrying it. I found it finally at a place called "Liquor Boy" and promptly bought all 9 bottles they had on the shelf for $13 per. That should hold me for a very long time, but I expect I'll be doing the same exercise again when they're gone.

Newman's Nookie
1 part Ezra Brooks
1 part Newman's Own Country Style Lemonade
Serve over ice
repeat
posted by mcstayinskool at 6:59 AM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Jesus, how do people in Canada get drunk?

We train to become lightweights so that it doesn't cost too much.
posted by asnider at 7:18 AM on November 26, 2013


Stop reminding me that TJs sells alcohol in civilized states.

It's not just civilized states - they sell it here in Kentucky, too.
posted by jbickers at 7:39 AM on November 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


This link isn't working for me on the ancient PC I'm reading from, but is anyone else obsessed with Very Old Barton 100 proof? It's aged 6 years, pretty smooth with an interesting peppery bite, about $13 for 750ml, lives on the bottom shelf, and is my bourbon of choice for mixing or doing shots. Anything nicer than that, and I'm sipping it out of a jam jar.

If you live in Chicago, Very Old Barton will cost you about $16 with tax at Binny's, or you can try a shot for $3 at Longman & Eagle.
posted by Juliet Banana at 8:04 AM on November 26, 2013


I'm glad this is getting circulated, simply because the last time I was at a liquor store that didn't stock Benchmark and I asked for a recommendation, the staff were confused by the entire concept of good, cheap bourbon.

"You want cheap bourbon?" they asked, pointing to the varnish.
"Yes, but not that cheap," I answered.
"You want good bourbon?" they asked, pointing to the $50 bottles.
"Yes, but not that good."

I gave up on having a hot toddy that night.
posted by asperity at 8:26 AM on November 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Pappy Van Winkle (which I have a bottle of)

Where do you live? Just as a data point. Exactly? Your exact address?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:38 AM on November 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


The bottle was given to me two years ago for my 40th birthday. My lovely wife bought it for me after a metro-area wide phone blitz of liquor stores. She found one store that got 12 bottles of it per fiscal quarter, and she reserved one a month or two in advance. I have little doubt that the liquor store no longer gets this much allocated to it, and even if they do there's probably 100x more bourbon-bandwagon hipsters seeking it out.

The bottle is about 7/8 gone, only broken out to enjoy with others who appreciate it.

As for my exact location, my address is WHOOPS MY BOSS JUST WALKED IN CLOSE TAB
posted by mcstayinskool at 9:04 AM on November 26, 2013


Count me in for Old Granddad, especially if you can find the "bottled in bond" expression.

Here's a fun fact: The Beam company makes all its whiskey from two basic mash bills: their main one, which becomes Jim Beam (in all its expressions) but also things like Knob Creek (which is just older); and their "high rye" bill, which is most famous as Old Granddad.

Raymond Hayden first distilled Old Granddad in the 19th century, and put a picture of his grandfather on it.

The best Beam product (by my lights) is Basil Hayden; BH is to OGD as Knob is to Beam, basically. It should not surprise, then, to learn that Raymond's grandfather's name was Basil.
posted by uberchet at 9:06 AM on November 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Good to see Rebel Yell on the list. When I lived in Atlanta in the last century this was consistently one of the cheapest bottles on the shelf. Mixed with enough coke, it's drinkable. Straight up it's a dare.
posted by three blind mice at 10:10 AM on November 26, 2013


I've heard good things about Ancient Age, but my current go-to, non-cheap bourbon is Black Maple Hill, when I can find it.
posted by Ham Snadwich at 10:37 AM on November 26, 2013


A few years back, we went to Las Vegas for a family trip. I don't gamble, so I was going to just hang out with my new 8 month old son, read The Road and drink. We stopped at a liquor store and my wife told me to buy myself a top shelf bottle of whiskey for the room. Instead, I dropped eleven bucks on a bottle of Ancient Age. She just gave me a confused look. But I felt like it. When we got to the hotel, I poured myself some neat and was amazed. It had never occurred to me that the "swill" I used to drink might actually have a great flavor.
Since then, I have found ever more evidence that the value (to me) of a whiskey has very little to do with the price tag. The whole "buy the best you can" thing seems to assume that the set price of a product is somehow tied to it's actual quality. This is not always true.
posted by Seamus at 10:47 AM on November 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


can't wait for this guy to get on to a ranked list of baijus.
posted by mwhybark at 10:51 AM on November 26, 2013


Is moonshine still a thing in the US?

Oh, god yes. It's catching the tail end of the bourbon hype, no less. You can buy everything from the rotgut quart jars from your local green-toothed redneck, to stuff jarred by quality-minded businessmen trading on nostalgia, to avid foodie-grade amateurs doing it at home. I work in a homebrew (that means generally beer, thankyouverymuch) store and I deal equally often with the former and latter types.

That said, while the liquor stores I work at carry a lot of the high end stuff, our biggest seller in bourbon is probably Evan Williams, followed by Makers, and Jack. I don't drink the stuff much these days, but when I do, i pick up Old Grad-dad or Rebel Yell, because I'm broke and those are good enough for both cooking and drinking.

A customer buying Black Velvet always makes me think of Tom Waits.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 11:06 AM on November 26, 2013


Jesus, how do people in Canada get drunk?

We train to become lightweights so that it doesn't cost too much.


So when Rob Ford says he "had a couple too many beers" he literally means that he had two or three too many and ended up acting that way?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:20 AM on November 26, 2013


stuff jarred by quality-minded businessmen trading on nostalgia

I've got a little bottle of the Kings County moonshine at home and ... maybe unaged corn likker just isn't my thing, but that is some truly unpleasant stuff.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:43 PM on November 26, 2013


soundofsuburbia: "If I read my websites correctly, Rebel Yell is the only one of these available in Sweden. And a bottle (700 ml) is 399 SEK, which comes to about 61 USD. Now I ask you - is it worth it?"

Ugh.... you can't get any American whisky otherwise? Or everything else is just even more ridiculously expensive? Because I don't think it's even possible to spend $60 USD on Rebel Yell here, even if you're buying it by the shot at the bar. The entire point of the stuff is that it's $5 for a shot of Rebel and a can of beer, in a city that sees $16 cocktails as not particularly out of the ordinary.

If you are really interested... I would look into courier services. Absurdly, it might end up being cheaper, if not precisely legal. This is how I used to get beverages that were legal in the EU but not in the US...
posted by danny the boy at 12:56 PM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


mcstayinskool: "The bottle was given to me two years ago for my 40th birthday. My lovely wife bought it for me after a metro-area wide phone blitz of liquor stores. She found one store that got 12 bottles of it per fiscal quarter, and she reserved one a month or two in advance. I have little doubt that the liquor store no longer gets this much allocated to it, and even if they do there's probably 100x more bourbon-bandwagon hipsters seeking it out."

Things have changed pretty dramatically over the last two years for sure. I was able to get a few bottles after waiting on a list for a couple of months, two years ago. I've been on a waiting list for a year now, and I doubt I'll see any more for at least another.

But honestly, I would say it is way over hyped. The glass in hand is worth way more than some mystical bottle in the bush.
posted by danny the boy at 1:01 PM on November 26, 2013


So when Rob Ford says he "had a couple too many beers" he literally means that he had two or three too many and ended up acting that way?

No not really... he's more the half a bottle of vodka plus some drugs kinda dude from what's been reported.

"the mayor's former staff members—told Toronto Police that they saw Rob Ford drink 20 ounces of vodka, snort cocaine, smoke weed, and take OxyContin while spending time with a suspected prostitute on St. Patrick's Day last year."

So I'm guessing he's saying "a couple (of two fours) too many beers"
posted by cirhosis at 1:12 PM on November 26, 2013


So I'm guessing he's saying "a couple (of two fours) too many beers"
posted by cirhosis


Epony-tragical?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 1:20 PM on November 26, 2013


Newman's Nookie
1 part Ezra Brooks
1 part Newman's Own Country Style Lemonade
Serve over ice
repeat


I'm going to have to give this a try ( substituting Kool-ade unsweetened pink lemonade and that stevia crap )
posted by mikelieman at 2:31 PM on November 26, 2013


Old Crow. For years I claimed this as my favorite cheap bourbon, and while more comprehensive testing has moved it down a few notches, I still have a soft spot for the alleged house whiskey of U.S. Grant and Mark Twain.

Crow is my cheap liquor of choice, but Rebel Yell honestly is better. I don't buy it though because I don't like glorifying the confederacy. I'll stick with Grant's brand. (Or if it is myth that he drank it, the brand identified with him at least.)
posted by Drinky Die at 3:08 PM on November 26, 2013


So when Rob Ford says he "had a couple too many beers" he literally means that he had two or three too many and ended up acting that way?

He literally means that he had three beers. One is enough. Three is a couple too many.

(Obviously, I'm kidding; we drink a lot, despite the relatively high cost. We're just used to the prices so it doesn't seem expensive to those of us who were raised in the country.)
posted by asnider at 4:34 PM on November 26, 2013


I agree with you Seamus. "Just buy the best you can afford" totally does Bourbon a disservice. Bourbon, even cheap bourbon is still pretty good, and some of it is great. I certainly have found that I don't care for the longer aged bourbons as much anyways. Bourbon isn't scotch, the climate is so very different even for the aging process. Bourbon ages faster and is meant to be drunk sooner by and large and that's ok. Really for those of you dismissing cheap bourbon, do a taste test. I'm sure there will be more variation and less correlation to a price per quality curve line.
posted by Carillon at 11:31 PM on November 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


The best I can afford: G&W Five Star Whiskey. $5.75 for a 750ml bottle. I presume their brand name Bourbon is of similarly high quality.
posted by charlie don't surf at 3:06 PM on November 27, 2013


If he likes Grain Belt premium, and mentions Husker Du and Totino's, then the guy has to be a Minnesotan.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:17 PM on November 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


"I always think of Minnesota as a secretly sexy place"

That sounds like a non-Minnesotan to me. Someone from here would know there is no secret. Clearly, Minnesota is a sexy place. Just think of Bud Grant.

His appreciates Grain Belt because he has a sense of taste.
posted by Area Man at 4:30 AM on November 28, 2013


Area Man: That sounds like a non-Minnesotan to me.

Good work keeping the secret secret, man. Let them keep guessing why Minnesotans put up with those long winters, and the painful proximity to Wisconsin.
posted by wenestvedt at 7:38 AM on November 28, 2013


Or as I like to call them, "America's cheese-production vassals, east of the St. Croix River."
posted by wenestvedt at 8:40 AM on November 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Thanks to this thread I went through nearly 1.75L of Evan Williams over the long thanksgiving weekend...just a hip flask's left, which I managed not to enjoy last night just to assure myself I hadn't gotten hooked on the devil's drink after two months of business trippin' and lots of imbibery.

I got into Scotch whisky as a "lean / sippin' drink" before bourbon but found myself craving bourbon more and more after trying Eagle Rare and having the occasional Beam or super-Beam (Knob Creek)...now I've got a decent stash of Scotch that I'd love to trade in partially for some bourbons.

The EW (black label, $22 / handle) wasn't bad, I couldn't complain at all. I instantly felt like every bottle of Maker's I bought in my youth (I used to just buy bourbon based on "hey this is kind of pricey") was kind of a waste...now I'm trying Wild Turkey 101 and Buffalo Trace because they were decently priced and loving that shit.

I'm lazy and despite having ridiculous access to booze at several nearby giganto-stores, I only stopped at the convenience / liquor store (it's compartmentalized indoors!) by my work thus far, and they didn't really have anything on the list except Old Thompson and Evan Williams, including the 1783 which I'll have to try.

I love how at least in my experience, all decent whiskeys can be enjoyed slowly, but you can push on the gas here and there, and they are free to tear me up real good at night and I feel fine the next day. Not so with beer, perhaps even more problematic with craft and hoppier beers, never with wine, I'll have a hangover before I hit the pillow if I fuck around with reds. And there is so much to explore in many price ranges with bourbons, and you get to learn which whiskeys come from which mashes and distilleries and such and read all of these conflicting opinions and snobbery and anti-snobbery all over the interwebs while sippin' and maxin' and relaxin' all cool
posted by lordaych at 7:56 PM on December 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Note: it is typically better to enjoy a slow constantly maintained sippin' buzz than to get "tore up real good" but I punished myself pretty well a couple of nights ago and the whiskey just kind of whisked me off to bed and I woke up right as rain. YMMV
posted by lordaych at 7:58 PM on December 2, 2013


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