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Bourbon lovers come in here


lostone
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59 minutes ago, JD dirtybird21 said:

I like liquors that are all about bang for your buck. It’s not about the top shelf because I often think that’s overpriced and overrated. IMO this is best stuff for its price and quality 

Vodka: Tito’s or Costco brand

Bourbon/Whiskey: Buffalo Trace

Rum: Sailor Jerry’s

Tequila: Espolon Anejo, sip that neat with a little lime juice, the best

 

Not personally a fan of Tito's & the few times when I've done blind taste tests, it regularly lost out to other vodkas. Funny thing is Grey Goose (which I think is made by the same folks who make the Costco Kirkland vodka didn't finish very high as well. To me, they both have a bit of an astringent almost bug spray taste when you drink them neat, and it's kinda pungent & has a nasty underlying taste unless it's absolutely buried with a mixer. I much prefer Kettle One if I'm going for something nicer. For budget stuff, Luksusowa potato vodka is hard to beat.

Agree 100% on Buffalo Trace, but it's becoming near impossible to find anymore in a lot of places.

I've gotten waaaaay into drinking good (dark) rum in recent years & there's some really, really, really good stuff out there which is is similar to drinking slightly sweeter bourbon without so much burn. The 5yr old Baccoo is a steal at $20. Bumbu is a little more at like $35, but it's pretty amazing... imagine an incredibly smooth bourbon that tastes like chocolate covered bananas and that's getting close to the experience. Plantation Grand Reserve is about $25 and really delicious. Flor De Cana 7yr Gran Reserve ain't bad at all for the price either. I've got a bottle of Brugal 1888 right now & that might be the most bourbon-like rum Ive ever had. Some other slightly pricier options that are amazing are the Ron Anejo Pampero Aniversario and the Ron Zacapa 23yr. Zaya is alright, but there are better things at the price point. Same with Appleton Estate and Kirk & Sweeney.

When I need a break from bourbon or rum, I love sipping on a glass of anejo tequila, so I'm with you on the Espolon. Really hard to beat at that price point. I absolutely LOVE the Casamigos anejo, but that is pretty expensive. I recently picked up a bottle of Cazadores anejo & once it opened up a bit, it was fantastic. Not super into the Corralejo anejo, but their reposed is nice. I had some super fancy Don Julio anejo a while back, pretty sure it was the 1942, and it was amazing but way too expensive.

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45 minutes ago, Scrunchomarx said:

Most whiskeys are pretty harsh and undrinkable to me. Except crown royal that stuff I can drink and I been training butt self sipping it to see if I can acquire the taste. Still pretty hard though. What’s your favorite tequila? The Smokey was of the gold tequila kills it for me. 

Do you enjoy hiballs at all? Bourbon & Coke, Bourbon & Ginger Ale, etc.?

I think for some folks who enjoy those, but are interested in exploring the wonderful world of drinking bourbon or whiskey neat, the key is to work toward it rather than trying to dive in all the way.

Like, start using less & less & less mixer in those highballs until you're at a point where there's hardly any mixer being used. Then sub out the mixer completely and start trying to drink the whiskey/bourbon on the rocks and/or with some water. Over time, you'll likely become more & more acclimated to the taste.

Once you begin developing your palate & a taste for bourbon, you'll quickly be able to pick up on all the flavors & smells... vanilla, caramel, cherry, toffee, orange, chocolate, cinnamon, spice, peanuts, oak, smoke, etc... which you were missing out on previously when the alcohol burn was all you tasted.

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12 minutes ago, lostone said:

Haven’t been able to buy liquor in weeks... main liquor store is too full

Not surprising. 

My wife is a wine drinker, I've never found much I like. But I did come across MANISCHEWITZ CONCORD GRAPE wine, I believe it was Ted Kennedy's drink of choice, now I see why.

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9 hours ago, Scrunchomarx said:

Most whiskeys are pretty harsh and undrinkable to me. Except crown royal that stuff I can drink and I been training butt self sipping it to see if I can acquire the taste. Still pretty hard though. What’s your favorite tequila? The Smokey was of the gold tequila kills it for me. 

This stuff is my favorite. Reasonably priced, very smooth. You can drink it with a little lime juice or just neat with nothing. But if you’re gonna make a margarita, might as well just buy cheap silver tequila. That’s what restaurants use at least lol. 

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8 hours ago, k-train said:

Not personally a fan of Tito's & the few times when I've done blind taste tests, it regularly lost out to other vodkas. Funny thing is Grey Goose (which I think is made by the same folks who make the Costco Kirkland vodka didn't finish very high as well. To me, they both have a bit of an astringent almost bug spray taste when you drink them neat, and it's kinda pungent & has a nasty underlying taste unless it's absolutely buried with a mixer. I much prefer Kettle One if I'm going for something nicer. For budget stuff, Luksusowa potato vodka is hard to beat.

Agree 100% on Buffalo Trace, but it's becoming near impossible to find anymore in a lot of places.

I've gotten waaaaay into drinking good (dark) rum in recent years & there's some really, really, really good stuff out there which is is similar to drinking slightly sweeter bourbon without so much burn. The 5yr old Baccoo is a steal at $20. Bumbu is a little more at like $35, but it's pretty amazing... imagine an incredibly smooth bourbon that tastes like chocolate covered bananas and that's getting close to the experience. Plantation Grand Reserve is about $25 and really delicious. Flor De Cana 7yr Gran Reserve ain't bad at all for the price either. I've got a bottle of Brugal 1888 right now & that might be the most bourbon-like rum Ive ever had. Some other slightly pricier options that are amazing are the Ron Anejo Pampero Aniversario and the Ron Zacapa 23yr. Zaya is alright, but there are better things at the price point. Same with Appleton Estate and Kirk & Sweeney.

When I need a break from bourbon or rum, I love sipping on a glass of anejo tequila, so I'm with you on the Espolon. Really hard to beat at that price point. I absolutely LOVE the Casamigos anejo, but that is pretty expensive. I recently picked up a bottle of Cazadores anejo & once it opened up a bit, it was fantastic. Not super into the Corralejo anejo, but their reposed is nice. I had some super fancy Don Julio anejo a while back, pretty sure it was the 1942, and it was amazing but way too expensive.

Interesting take on vodka. I’ll definitely check it out. I never drink vodka neat. Usually do vodka sodas.

Don Julio anejo is very good but also very expensive. I’d rather get the espolon as IMO you can’t tell the difference that much but it’s like 40 bucks cheaper 

I went to the Dominican Republic with my wife 5 years ago and had Brugal rum the whole time I was there. It was amazing 

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19 minutes ago, JD dirtybird21 said:

Interesting take on vodka. I’ll definitely check it out. I never drink vodka neat. Usually do vodka sodas.

Don Julio anejo is very good but also very expensive. I’d rather get the espolon as IMO you can’t tell the difference that much but it’s like 40 bucks cheaper 

I went to the Dominican Republic with my wife 5 years ago and had Brugal rum the whole time I was there. It was amazing 

Vodka gives me headaches, but I'll have to give that Don Julio a try.

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Curious to hear the pros & cons of the liquor stores in your areas.

I'm in Durham, NC.

North Carolina is one of 18 states that only allows the sale of liquor at state-licensed stores (ABC stores). This means there are no independent liquor stores, and you can't find liquor in grocery stores, Costco, etc. Additionally, it's technically illegal to order liquor by mail and have it sent to NC, but based on things I've read online, there's still a decent amount of people that take their chances and choose to go that route.

The good thing about these state-controlled stores is that it eliminates the secondary market & price gouging. That means that you pay pretty much the proper retail amount for a bottle, no matter how rare it has become. So if a bottle of Elmer T. Lee shows up, you're paying $45 for it, not $150. That Stagg Jr. is gonna be $50, not $90. Etc., etc.

The bad thing is, there's only a certain number of things bought for the entire state... which can limit what you'll find when you walk in to a store. Granted, they can do a special order for just about anything you want, but that can be a pain in the rear & usually takes up to 2 months for your order to be fulfilled.

It also means there's no way for stores here to have barrel picks, which allow stores to get select barrels of bourbon directly from the distiller which are exclusive to that store... thus providing a truly unique drinking experience.

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21 minutes ago, k-train said:

Curious to hear the pros & cons of the liquor stores in your areas.

I'm in Durham, NC.

North Carolina is one of 18 states that only allows the sale of liquor at state-listened stores (ABC stores). This means there are no independent liquor stores, and you can't find liquor in grocery stores, Costco, etc. Additionally, it's technically illegal to order liquor by mail and have it sent to NC, but based on things I've read online, there's still a decent amount of people that take their chances and choose to go that route.

The good thing about these state-controlled stores is that it eliminates the secondary market & price gouging. That means that you pay pretty much the proper retail amount for a bottle, no matter how rare it has become. So if a bottle of Elmer T. Lee shows up, you're paying $45 for it, not $150. That Stagg Jr. is gonna be $50, not $90. Etc., etc.

The bad thing is, there's only a certain number of things bought for the entire state... which can limit what you'll find when you walk in to a store. Granted, they can do a special order for just about anything you want, but that can be a pain in the rear & usually takes up to 2 months for your order to be fulfilled.

It also means there's no way for stores here to have barrel picks, which allow stores to get select barrels of bourbon directly from the distiller which are exclusive to that store... thus providing a truly unique drinking experience.

Hey! I'm in Fuquay-Varina.

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I'm getting pretty close to being 'over' bourbon.

It's by far my favorite spirit, but I'm just sick of how unavailable everything is, and how expensive everything has become. For years, my go-to was Elmer T. Lee at $28/bottle. Then everyone stopped being able to get it. Then it came back in ultra 'limited' runs, at $40/bottle. Then you could only get it from stores that held their allotment for long time customers, at $55/bottle. Sorry...I'm out.

The same thing has happened to Weller, and it's happening to Buffalo Trace. Every time there's a decent bourbon for less than $40, it disappears and then becomes super 'limited' and 'prized'. It's ridiculous.

Lately, I've just been buying handles of Larceny for $45 and cursing the bourbon industry. It's good enough, and I don't have to play weird economic games just for the 'privilege' of paying $55 for something that used to cost $28.

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9 minutes ago, eatcorn said:

I'm getting pretty close to being 'over' bourbon.

It's by far my favorite spirit, but I'm just sick of how unavailable everything is, and how expensive everything has become. For years, my go-to was Elmer T. Lee at $28/bottle. Then everyone stopped being able to get it. Then it came back in ultra 'limited' runs, at $40/bottle. Then you could only get it from stores that held their allotment for long time customers, at $55/bottle. Sorry...I'm out.

The same thing has happened to Weller, and it's happening to Buffalo Trace. Every time there's a decent bourbon for less than $40, it disappears and then becomes super 'limited' and 'prized'. It's ridiculous.

Lately, I've just been buying handles of Larceny for $45 and cursing the bourbon industry. It's good enough, and I don't have to play weird economic games just for the 'privilege' of paying $55 for something that used to cost $28.

I'm almost certain you are the one who turned me on to Elmer T. Lee several years ago. I couldn't ever find it up here & ended up getting a bottle when my band was in Athens recording. It was really nice & I've long wanted to try it again... but you nailed it.

It has seriously become  ridiculous to try to get ANYTHING made by Buffalo Trace Distillery . Whenever the ABC stores here do get Eagle Rare or Buffalo Trace, they almost always have to put a one-per-customer limit on them, and even then they are gone almost immediately. Just yesterday, I was at the tiny store near my house & I was kinda surprised to see two bottles of Eagle Rare on a shelf right when we walked in. No sooner than I pointed it out to my wife that they actually had it there for once, the guy behind us swooped in and quickly grabbed both bottles as if they were the last Wonka Bars on Earth and there was still one more Golden ticket to be discovered. It's ridiculous.

Seeing that they started making Elmer T. Lee a limited release was a huge bummer, and honestly just feels like a cash grab by Buffalo Trace. Same thing with what's happening with all the Weller bourbons.

It already happened with Blanton's a few years back.

I mean, it's all very, very, very good bourbon, but it's gotten out of hand.

What next? $40 for a bottle of Ancient Age just because it's also made by Buffalo Trace?

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3 hours ago, Statick said:

Hey! I'm in Fuquay-Varina.

Right on.

So you're fully aware of what it's like to be at the mercy of the person in charge of ordering for the state & whatever they've decided to send to the ABC store(s) in your area.

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6 hours ago, k-train said:

Curious to hear the pros & cons of the liquor stores in your areas.

I'm in Durham, NC.

North Carolina is one of 18 states that only allows the sale of liquor at state-listened stores (ABC stores). This means there are no independent liquor stores, and you can't find liquor in grocery stores, Costco, etc. Additionally, it's technically illegal to order liquor by mail and have it sent to NC, but based on things I've read online, there's still a decent amount of people that take their chances and choose to go that route.

The good thing about these state-controlled stores is that it eliminates the secondary market & price gouging. That means that you pay pretty much the proper retail amount for a bottle, no matter how rare it has become. So if a bottle of Elmer T. Lee shows up, you're paying $45 for it, not $150. That Stagg Jr. is gonna be $50, not $90. Etc., etc.

The bad thing is, there's only a certain number of things bought for the entire state... which can limit what you'll find when you walk in to a store. Granted, they can do a special order for just about anything you want, but that can be a pain in the rear & usually takes up to 2 months for your order to be fulfilled.

It also means there's no way for stores here to have barrel picks, which allow stores to get select barrels of bourbon directly from the distiller which are exclusive to that store... thus providing a truly unique drinking experience.

I hated ABC stores when I lived in Alabama. They were always more expensive than the private stores across the River in Georgia, but that was mostly due to the “sin tax” in Alabama. 

We have a huge local new store a guy I know opened a few years ago. It’s absolutely incredible. They buy in bulk so they have the cheapest prices in town by far, plus they get all the nice stuff. 

5 hours ago, eatcorn said:

I'm getting pretty close to being 'over' bourbon.

It's by far my favorite spirit, but I'm just sick of how unavailable everything is, and how expensive everything has become. For years, my go-to was Elmer T. Lee at $28/bottle. Then everyone stopped being able to get it. Then it came back in ultra 'limited' runs, at $40/bottle. Then you could only get it from stores that held their allotment for long time customers, at $55/bottle. Sorry...I'm out.

The same thing has happened to Weller, and it's happening to Buffalo Trace. Every time there's a decent bourbon for less than $40, it disappears and then becomes super 'limited' and 'prized'. It's ridiculous.

Lately, I've just been buying handles of Larceny for $45 and cursing the bourbon industry. It's good enough, and I don't have to play weird economic games just for the 'privilege' of paying $55 for something that used to cost $28.

I really only started “drinking” bourbon last year. I drank super cheap stuff mixed with ginger ale while watching football, but for sipping I preferred scotch. I started sipping bourbon on the rocks last year. The good stuff is obviously good, but it doesn’t taste good enough for my pallet to justify the price. I typically keep either Evan Williams Black Label or 1783 as an everyday sipper. Uncomplicated, but pleasant. 

Recently tried Ezra Brooks. ******* HATED it. 

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25 minutes ago, Mr. Hoopah! said:

I hated ABC stores when I lived in Alabama. They were always more expensive than the private stores across the River in Georgia, but that was mostly due to the “sin tax” in Alabama. 

We have a huge local new store a guy I know opened a few years ago. It’s absolutely incredible. They buy in bulk so they have the cheapest prices in town by far, plus they get all the nice stuff. 

I really only started “drinking” bourbon last year. I drank super cheap stuff mixed with ginger ale while watching football, but for sipping I preferred scotch. I started sipping bourbon on the rocks last year. The good stuff is obviously good, but it doesn’t taste good enough for my pallet to justify the price. I typically keep either Evan Williams Black Label or 1783 as an everyday sipper. Uncomplicated, but pleasant. 

Recently tried Ezra Brooks. ******* HATED it. 

During football I drink beer. And I live in the PNW which is IPA central. Micro brews everywhere. I’m a total snob. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I had some extra $ after I sold some framed photo prints the other day, so I took a trip to the ABC store this afternoon.0-1.jpeg.f09304712603abb98eff751a946060f4.jpeg
Stuff I already had:
Brugal 1888
This is a double-aged dark rum that drinks kinda like a sweet bourbon. Thought it was pretty good when I first got it about 3 weeks ago, but now that it's had some time to sit with some air in the bottle, it's really started to shine.

Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve
I talked about this one earlier in the thread, but as 120 proof, this is really, really close to being barrel proof. Has many of the same characteristics as Booker's but for about $30 less. I absolutely love this bourbon.

Evan Williams Bottled in Bond
Nothing fancy here, just a rock solid bourbon that's absolutely perfect for cocktails & hi balls. Seriously might be the best bargain out there in terms of getting a bonded bourbon of this quality at this price (just $15).

Cynar
Cynar is an Italian digestif (kinda like Campari, Fernet, Aperol, etc.) that is made from artichokes & herbs. No, it doesn't taste anything like artichokes, and in fact, It's crazy delicious. I love it on the rocks, and my wife, who has years of experience bartending & as a bar manager/beverage director for several restaurants & bars, loves to use it in a Boulevardier in place of the Campari. It's also pretty great in a Negroni.

Ouzo Plomari
Ouzo is a dry anise-flavoured aperitif that is widely consumed in Greece and Cyprus. It's a clear alcohol, typically served in a skinny glass (sort of like a Collins glass). You put a shot of ouzo in the glass, toss a few ice cubes in, then fill the glass with water. The addition of the water causes the clear liquid to turn cloudy white. It's very similar to Raki (Turkey) & Sambuca (Italy), and not far off from Pastis and Absinthe (France).

Stuff I added today:
Angel's Envy
This is one that's been on my list to try forever, but it's become hard to find in recent years. Truth be told, I had no intention of getting this when I went to the store today... I was actually planning on picking up a bottle of the Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch B520, but it wasn't in stock. I happened to walk over to where a bunch of the ridiculously priced bottles were & there just happened to be one bottle of Angel's Envy sitting there. I was planning on spending $60 for the ECBP, so when I saw this there at $55 it was a no-brainer. I haven't opened it up yet, but as really looking forward to checking it out at long last.

Elijah Craig Small Batch
I figured since I couldn't get the Barrel Proof I'd grab a bottle of the good ol' ECSB. It's been a long time since I had a bottle, and have been meaning to give it another go. Just so happened that it was on sale for $25 and even came w/ a free mini-bottle of Deep Eddy vodka. I cracked open the ECSB this evening & quickly remembered how good it is, especially at that price point. It's not a high-proof, flavor explosion like the Elijah Craig Barrel proof, but for half the price you get an incredibly flavorful, easy-drinking bourbon with a nice finish & just enough spice. I seriously think this may be the best $30 & under bourbon out here, and I'm kinda ashamed it took me so long to get back to it. It's probably going to be a staple from now on.

Bacoo 5-year Dark Rum
This is a staple on my shelf. I LOVE this stuff & have gone through numerous bottles at this point. This is a dark rum from the Dominican Republic which is aged in used bourbon barrels. It is ridiculously delicious, like liquid dessert, and sooooo easy to drink neat. It's absurdly inexpensive to boot, typically right at $20 around here, but was on sale for $17 right now. They also make an 8-year & a 12-year, but I can never seem to move past this one to try those others, because I like this so much.

Yeni Raki
This is pretty much the same as the ouzo listed above, except it's the Turkish version of an extremely similar spirit. This isn't available here normally, and my wife actually had the ABC store do a special order so she could get a couple bottles as a birthday present for me. I grew up in Turkey & it left a wonderful impression on me, so she thought it'd be a great surprise... and it was! She picked up that ouzo I listed above a few weeks ago for my actual birthday, because these bottles of raki hadn't arrived yet, figuring it's be a decent substitute until the real thing arrived. Raki definitely has a unique taste, but once you grow accustomed to it, it's truly magical. The buzz you get from drinking raki is nothing like I've ever gotten from any other alcohol, and is more akin to what you'd feel like hanging out in an opium den... just a warm, light feeling and a nonstop smile on your face. It rules!

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0-2.jpeg.75f25a81b5da05e93084e966cd98b0d0.jpeg
Also picked these up today:

Luksusowa
Incredibly versatile & affordable ($13) vodka from Poland made from potatoes (no, it doesn't taste anything like potatoes). It's super smooth with none of the astringent things that appear in things like Tito's, Absolut, Grey Goose, etc. This is like the Evan Williams Bottled in Bond, just a great spirit for mixing at a ridiculous price point for how good it is, especially compared to other higher priced/more popular vodkas.

Lunazul Blanco
This also falls into that great value for mixing category. Not a tequila I'd drink neat, but it's really nice in a real, house-made margarita. At just $16, it's hard to find anything that compares at that price point.

Mi Campo Reposado
This is a new one for me, and a relatively new one in general, having only been introduced in the U.S. in late 2018. I normally just drink nice anejo tequilas (Casamigos, Cazadores, Don Julio, etc.) neat, but occasionally some reposados can be really flavorful & smooth; and come close to that anejo profile. After reading a ton of favorable reviews on this one, I decided to give it a shot, and sooo glad I did. It's a 100% blue agave tequila made by the same distillery that make Casa Noble, and they actually finish the Mi Campo tequilas in Napa Valley wine barrels... Chardonnay for their blanco; Cabernet Sauvignon & Pinot Noir for this reposado. I opened it up & tasted it for the first time just a bit ago & was very pleased. Lots of agave present, with tons of vanilla & oak. It's super smooth and easy to drink neat, and would probably make a great cocktail as well. It's steal at just $25, and now I'm eating to check out their blanco.

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2 minutes ago, lostone said:

I haven’t been to the liquor store since the pandemic started... need to make a run

The ABC stores here in NC are basically serve yourself now... kinda like the grocery self-checkout has been for years.

You just go in, grab what you want, then scan the barcode on the bottle yourself, place it in those brown paper bags yourself, and pay with your card.

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5 hours ago, k-train said:

The ABC stores here in NC are basically serve yourself now... kinda like the grocery self-checkout has been for years.

You just go in, grab what you want, then scan the barcode on the bottle yourself, place it in those brown paper bags yourself, and pay with your card.

Dude, how do they check IDs on certain patrons? 

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