Look, you aren’t getting any Pappy… Or, how I learned to stop worrying and enjoy the tedium of American whiskey. Part 2 of 4

Yesterday I was arguing that Pappy might not be what you think it is and/or that you don’t know what it is. And that there are awesome cheap alternatives. Many people thought I was saying that Pappy is not good but I would counter:

I never said they weren't good, or that I didn't needs the precious

I never said they weren’t good, or that I didn’t needs the precious…

However, it can’t be purchased, let’s move on.  Better yet, let’s role play:

It’s the beautiful holiday season, a time of year that we can drink with our friends, families and even our enemies.  You have gone to the store and asked for a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle 15yr, you are prepared to spend between $60-$100 on American whiskey only to find out you can’t get this gift for your father in-law, boss, poker group, husband, wife or more likely, yourself.  What do you do with that searing hot money in your pocket?  First off, give a couple bucks to that homeless newspaper, probably tax deductible. but after that, choose your destiny:

  1. Big Lots o’ Whiskey
  2. Unknown Underdogs
  3. Hometown Heroes
  4. Next Year’s Pappy

You rolled a “2” and got “Unknown Underdogs.”

Here are 3 that even crafty whisky breathed bartenders forget about.  In general, they are all still at that amazing price point we enjoyed yesterday, but these are a bit harder to find.

you don't always need rye

you don’t always need rye

Buffalo Trace’s Old Weller Antique 107 just sounds good, just sounds like something stenciled on an old wooden crate; it sounds dusty.  It isn’t really.  They say that William L Weller was one of the first bourbon men to use wheat instead of rye in the mashbill, something we call a “wheated bourbon” these days, yet in his day (1850’s) it would have been some new fangled skullduggery.  “Wheated bourbon?” you might ask, well, you already love it, one you likely know is Maker’s Mark, a nice sweet n’ easy bourbon.  Think of Weller 107 as a Maker’s that is high enough proof to growl loud because the 107 stands for “107 proof.”  But behind that high proof roar, you find lion so tame and sophisticated that he could bake scones for a tea party. Less than $30

this is what mature bourbon should taste like

this is what mature bourbon should taste like

KBD’s Pure Kentucky XO is old.  How old?  Nothing going into this bourbon is less than 10 years old.  The “XO” is a reference to cognac and  the Willett family’s French orgins.  With an industry average of 4 years being good for bourbon that 10 year minimum really means something.  Also, mark my words “3 YEAR OLD BOURBON IS THE NEW GIN.”  By which I mean, the young bourbon market is exploding and you can’t swing a cat* without hitting a case of 3 year old bourbon; just like micro distilled gin was 3 years back.  But back to XO, it’s got the sweetness from that well aged whiskey but the spice that Weller left out is back here because this bourbon has rye in it too.  XO drinks a like Harrison Ford, mature, strong & mellow (yes, this is a man crush) but even at an old age, could kick your ass. $40 generally, $35 if you’re lucky.

Everything Wild Turkey does is great, respect the bird

Everything Wild Turkey does is great – respect the bird

Wild Turkey’s Jimmy Russel’s 10 yr Bourbon is what carried me in this year’s Bohrer family billiard tournament.  I hadn’t drank one in years until I saw it in the little sports bar we play in every Thanksgiving.  I enjoyed it so much that after making one tricky shot, I flew the bird at my dad with both hands and 1 boot on the table.  That being said, Russel’s 10 yr is more reserved.   It is a best of, it’s bourbon flavored bourbon, a little spicy but not too spicy, a little sweet but not too sweet, a little nutty…nutty enough to fly the bird to your dad.  Don’t confuse this with Russell’s 6 yr which is the rye (but is also awesome)$45 ish

Hey, Uncle Greg, you still having nightmares about my winning bank shot?

Hey, Uncle Greg, you still having nightmares about my winning bank shot?

Tomorrow we’ll talk on these micro distillers or “Hometown Heroes.”

*Please understand I use “figures of speech,” and “metaphors,” I don’t actually swing cats, but I look forward to your angry comments.

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11 Responses to Look, you aren’t getting any Pappy… Or, how I learned to stop worrying and enjoy the tedium of American whiskey. Part 2 of 4

  1. Daniel Irwin says:

    Really enjoying this. Evan Williams single barrel is my go to. Glad to have some new ones to put on my wish list

  2. ceccotti says:

    Nice to see you writing again

  3. Dan Irving says:

    Russel’s Reserve 6 yr is my favorite rye for making old fashioneds … which I learned how to make by reading your blog! Cheers!

  4. B. Boelts says:

    I would like to put my $24.95 cents worth in and suggest the Old Grand-Dad 114 proof. Cheers!

    • caskstrength says:

      Such a great whiskey, Grand Dad is awesome, though, like Grand Dad, a little rough a round the edges

  5. Pingback: Look, you aren’t getting any Pappy… Or, how I learned to stop worrying and enjoy the tedium of American whiskey. Part 3 of 4 « Caskstrength

  6. Just bought a bottle of Pure Kentucky to try today as a little Christmas gift for myself. I picked mine up for a bargain $30 here in Texas. But a bottle of Stagg? $150. Go figure.

    • caskstrength says:

      Stagg is great but that is double the price from a couple years back, However, remember, with Stagg you are paying for 140 proof, which is 50% more booze than most bourbon

      • This is true. Which is why I wanted to buy it two weeks ago but didn’t have the cajones to lay down the bills straight out. I went back to buy it a couple days ago after I finally realized my error but alas, it was gone. That’s what I get I suppose. . .

  7. Pingback: Look, you aren’t getting any Pappy… Or, how I learned to stop worrying and enjoy the tedium of American whiskey. Part 4 of 4 « Caskstrength

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