We get asked a lot what is a good starter bourbon. What that person asking usually means is, what is one that is a good representation of what a good bourbon should taste like, without breaking the bank.
We have come up with three. These all can be found for under $30.00 and we believe represent a good cross section. We both highly recommend you buy all three, so you can taste the differences side to side. I know that sucks if you are on a budget. But buying one and drinking it until gone then purchasing the next, makes it hard to detect the subtle differences in the flavor profile.
We are not going to rate these three today, this is just a recommendation for a few bottles to start your bourbon cabinet, and to determine what style you might prefer.
Todd: I like to taste just a very small amount neat, or straight. By this I mean just a very small sip. I then add some water, depending on proof, sometimes just a few drops, taste again. I then add some ice.
Ron: I pour a shot and like to drink the whole thing straight at room temperature. I can then determine what it needs, if anything, for the next time I have that particular one.
That is our way, you can decide yours. As always we are open to suggestion.
We would recommend Elijah Craig 12 year old. This is a favorite of both of ours. This has what we call a classic bourbon taste.
Second, Bulliet rye, or their green label, as the name implies, this is a rye, meaning it has over 50% rye as opposed to corn. This is a great rye at any price, but a real bargain under $30.00.
And finally Weller’s Antique or Special Reserve. These are wheated bourbons, meaning they replace the rye with wheat. If you cannot find either of these two, try Larceny.
Would love to know what you think of these, or if you have another one to add to the list.