Old Grand-Dad Bonded Bourbon

One of the things I find interesting with regards to alcohol are the numerous lists of recommendations. People feel strongly about their favorites. When patterns form and particular bottles show up time and time again, it makes one curious.

Old Grand Dad shows up on LOTS of lists. Particularly the Bottled-in-Bond (I’ll have to add a post about BiB) version. Evan Williams Bottled-in-Bond was a winner for me, so I figured there was something to this.

And wouldn’t you know it, NC ABC had listed on sale for $20! So it was time to try my first bourbon that was listed as having a higher rye content than bourbons I’d tried before. Rye gives bourbon a spicy flavor in addition to the corn and oak that is usually found in bourbon.

It turns out I like this as much, if not more than, the Evan Williams BiB!

Age: At least 4 years

Proof: 100 (50% ABV)

Price: $20 for 750ml (on sale), normally $24

Buy Again: Yes (Absolutely)

Sip Bourbon? You can do that?

After a little progress trying to sip rums neat, I thought I’d revisit Bourbon. Now, mind you, I NEVER thought I’d be traveling towards this crossroads again, waiting for the devil to appear at midnight.

But dark rum and I are now friends and dark rum has some of the same characteristics of my mortal enemy of old, whiskey.

After one too many YouTube videos proclaiming how sweet and smooth various bourbons were, I decided to make a great sacrifice and try some.

I already have one, Evan Williams 1783, that I bought for mixing. But the purpose of this endeavor was to find something I could sip straight or over ice. To be fair, I hadn’t tried the Evan Williams straight. I also had a miniature of Larceny that was attached to a full size bottle of something else.

At my last visit to the ABC store, I asked the manager what he recommended. Without hesitation he said, “Maker’s Mark“.

I had learned that Maker’s was a wheated bourbon and that was supposed to yield a sweeter spirit.

Back to the web. I ended up with a list, and on the next trip, picked up miniatures of Knob Creek, Maker’s Mark, and Woodford Reserve. To be clear, Knob Creek and Woodford aren’t wheated, but they are popular bourbons in their price range.

Did I mention that bourbons seem to be pricey? A 750ml bottle of anything above the bottom shelf goes for $30 and up! Even the three miniatures ran me $12 and change!

My goal was to only sample each, so I poured 1/4 oz of each into separate glasses. I let them sit for a couple of minutes. I took in the aroma from each and tried to see what I could take away.

The aroma of all of the samples was sweet. Not surprisingly, corn. And some alcohol. Maybe a bit of oak. I’m not one who can start listing all of the fruits and spices. I get corn and some oak.

So, let the sipping begin! Again I find that the alcohol overwhelms my taste buds before I can get much. I had read to add a few drops of water and to let it sit. Doing so does  allow me to taste more than the alcohol, but I’m back to some sweetness, some corn and some oak. Not bad, since corn and oak should be in a bourbon.

I also read that being careful not to breath in helps with the alcohol burn. True, but even with these steps, I can only take a couple of sips before my tongue is numb. A few minutes later, try, try again.

With Evan Williams 1783 in the comparison, I learned some good news about my lack of sophistication. I can buy cheap bourbon and it tastes the same to me as something twice the price!

Along the same lines as my rum, I tried each with Coca Cola.

Makers, more burn, even with the cola. 1783 was quite good, with the oak forward. The Knob Creek and Woodford both added a peppery spice kick.

Larceny Bourbon

The clever label with the old style key and keyhole are a good match for the Larceny name.

Haven’t tasted it yet. The reviews are decent for a bourbon with a shelf price in mid $20 range (for a 750ml). I’ll have more to say after I give it a try.

Proof: 92 (46% ABV)

Price: Free 50ml promotional ‘collar’ on a full size bottle of another product

Buy again: Maybe (didn’t buy it the first time!)

Fireball Cinnamon Whisky

I like candy as much as most overgrown kids, but this may be taking it a bit too far. Think Atomic Fireballs in an unholy alliance with whiskey. The taste is very reminiscent of Goldschlager, which I had taken a sip of many years ago.

No.

I bought it out of curiosity, and now my curiosity has been satisfied. I believe I will find myself less curious in the future!

Proof: 66 (33% ABV)

Price: $1 for 50ml

Buy again: No

Evan Williams 1783 Bourbon

This was a tough one. While making some cocktails with my son and his girlfriend, my son asked what kind of whiskey I had.

There was no whiskey in the cabinet, and until that point, I never intended to have whiskey anywhere near me. (If you haven’t read the intro page, now is a good time).

By this time, I had tried the Meyers’s rum, and it had reminded me of whiskey, but perhaps because of the presentation, had not turned me off to the taste.

So I went down the rabbit hole of reviews and a visit to the ABC store to snap pictures of the entire wall of whiskey, focusing (no pun intended) on the middle shelf. At this point, I discovered just how high-end whiskey had become. So, I also snapped away at the bottom shelf for reference.

I’m not a whiskey drinker, and my intention was to ALWAYS mix it. Even then, I didn’t want to settle for the bottom shelf. Strangely enough, there appears to be a fairly good opinion of some of the bottom shelf whiskey when it comes to mixing.

I finally settled on Evan Williams. Then the challenge became a choice between the lower end Evan Williams products, and the lower middle shelf.

The online consensus was that even the bottom shelf Evan Williams bottles would work in a cocktail. But in the end I decided to go one step up to the Evan Williams 1783 Bourbon.

Proof: 86 (43% ABV)

Paid: $17 for 750ml

Buy Again: Yes