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Welcome to the world of bourbon! I have pasted in your questions below with some recommendations:
1) What are some suggestions you guys can make for the very beginner as far as easily obtainable bourbons are concerned?
a) Try bourbons from all of the major distilleries to get a feel for what you like. Check out their websites to see the bourbons actually bottled by them and avoid any others until you gain more knowledge and experience.
b) Keep the price point under $50 for a year or so until your palate and personal tastes develop. (I actually would be happy to drink only bourbons that cost $50 or less).
c) Understand that the white whale bourbons that cost hundreds or thousands of dollars are no better (and not even as good in some cases) than some of the regularly available bourbons you can always find on the shelves. It is simply a case of marketing, scarcity, and perception.2) Any tips to help enhance my drinking experience?
a) Focus on quality not quantity. Spend some time with a small amount of bourbon in a Glencairn or similar glass and really focus on the aromas and tastes.
b) Add enough water to dial back the burn to the point that your palate gets the most aromas and tastes. Barrel-proof bourbons are popular right now, but drinking them without adding a fair amount of water is a sure way to miss many of the flavors.
3) Do you guys ever sit down with a few different bottles and do things like blind taste test and such?
That is a great way to learn about different styles of bourbons and also how some inexpensive bourbons can be really good (and conversely how some expensive bourbons can be inferior when you strip away your perception of their reputation).
You're welcome. Below are some good bourbons that should give you a feel for the flavor profiles of the major distilleries:
Jim Beam-Knob Creek (both the standard small batch or the single barrel), Jim Beam Black, and Baker's.
Four Roses-Small Batch and Single Barrel.
Maker's Mark-Standard MM and Maker's 46.
Buffalo Trace-Buffalo Trace and Eagle Rare 10 Year Old.
Heaven Hill-Elijah Craig Small Batch (or Single Barrel), Larceny (their wheated mash bill).
Brown Foreman, Shively-Old Forester Signature, Old Forester 1920 Prohibition Style (this is a bit over $50, but it is one of the best bourbons available at any price).
Woodford Reserve-Distiller's Select and Double Oaked.
Wild Turkey-Rare Breed and Russell's Reserve 10 Year Old.
Barton-1792 Small Batch (several other versions are available and all are good).
MGPI-Their bourbon is bought and bottled by other companies, and one of the best of these is Smooth Ambler Old Scout.
Those are also two of my favorites.
@DaFin yeah I agree jack daniels single barrel is fantastic.
there master distiller series bottles are also very good
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