Maybe it is time for an editorial, maybe I should just stick to reviews. Otherwise than pushing my skills at home in the kitchen and trying to find the next gem in Indianapolis, I have found another love…Bourbon. Two years ago, it wasn’t on my radar. My wife and I were invited by a group of friends to join them on the Bourbon Trail. We visited Buffalo Trace and Wild Turkey. I found a great amount of appreciation for the tradition of distilling bourbon and the small community that makes it. I have since been to Jim Beam, Heaven Hill and Willett (craft bourbon trail).
I have over 20+ bottles off bourbon in my collection. I tend to gravitate towards the $35 price point and under. To me, bourbon is like wine – a lot of label bias.
My favorite bourbon blog is Bourbon and Banter. Good editorials, reviews and bourbon recipes. What else do you need? If you are just learning about bourbon, this post will bring your right up to speed. http://www.bourbonbanter.com/bourbon-banter/bourbon-rookie/
Wibia’s Picks (in no order):
Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve ($35). Aged: 9 years. Proof: 120. Not for the rookie bourbon drinker. Part of Jim Beam’s Small Batch line. Knob Creek is exceptional on its own, but the Single Barrel Reserve is about as good as it gets. Regular Knob Creek is nothing to shake a stick at either. In fact, I am having a nip as I write this. Cheers!
Elmer T Lee. ($26.) A Buffalo Trace product that is a sleeper. Very affordable every-day drinker that will never let you down. Elmer passed away this year at the age of 93. He started at Stagg (now Buffalo Trace) in 1950 and introduced Blanton’s (the world’s first single barrel bourbon) in 1984. With over 50+ years in the bourbon business, this is the only bottle with his name on it – and it is exceptional.
Wild Turkey All of them are great. My favorite is Rare Breed ($40). Proof: 109. Aging: Combination of 6, 8, 12 year. It is a deep straight/uncut bourbon with no water added and it is best enjoyed cold with no ice. Take it like a man! Russell’s Reserve is a fine bourbon and a great introduction to a smaller batch 10 year bourbon than 81 or 101 and at $25, it is a steal.
Backbone Bourbon: $34. Proof: 114. Age: 4 years. A young and spicy bourbon that also packs a punch. This is another uncut bourbon with no water added, but I enjoy this one ice to let the spices calm down and chill out. This is the one that I buy for most of my friends if they don’t have it already. It is actually made in Indiana in Lawrenceburg (LDI).
Four Roses Single Barrel: $40 Proof: 100, Age: Not sure. Four Roses Yellow Label is a great alternative to Beam at the same price point, but they shine with the Single Barrel. This one has a long finish that will stay with you for a while. One of the few bourbons that wowed me from the first sip and I still enjoy it a lot. You can find it on sale at times for $34 and at that price, your would be hard pressed to find a better bourbon.
Jefferson’s Rye: $34 Aged: 10 years. 94 proof. Not technically Boubon, but whatever. This 100% rye is actually made in Canada, but it deserves a spot on my list. I put a hurt on my friend’s bottle and added one to my own collection. This is a really old rye (most are 6 years or younger) and the extra few years ads a depth that is rarely matched. Possibly my favorite rye.
You have to mention High West. Bourye, Son of Bourye, Double Rye, Rendezvous Rye. Take a pick, all fantastic. Bone Snapper (Backbone’s brother) and Templeton Rye would make a longer list…but my favorite is this sleeper or a pick.
My favorite place to drink bourbon is at Sidebar in Louisville, KY. They have an amazing selection of bourbon, great service and the best burger that I have ever had. Yes, ever! The place is perfect.
In Indianapolis, my favorite place for a bourbon in Indianapolis is Blend Cigar Bar. They have the best selection and a great setting to kick back and live the good life. While you are there, you have to get a sandwich or a deli tray (pic of some fine selections below).
Plat 99 at the Alexander also has some really good bourbon drinks including this gem with Backbone. I love the truffle popcorn as well.