Saturday, November 30, 2013

Cheap Bourbons, Ranked

Because it's Saturday evening and you may (or may not) be sippin' on something.  The best of the worst bourbons, all made in America, all starting with a mash that includes at least 51% corn.  Some made in Kentucky, others not. All available at a price of $15 or less per 750 milliliters in the author's city.

Let's begin by defining bourbon.
To officially qualify as bourbon, a distilled spirit must be American (though, contrary to myth, not necessarily Kentuckian), consist of at least 51 percent corn, and be aged in new charred oak barrels prior to bottling. Whiskey changes, usually for the better, the longer it ages in the barrel, but most of a bourbon's personality comes from the composition of the grain recipe, or mash bill.
Got that part.  What about the other 49 percent?
Damn near everything we eat is half corn anyway, so forget about that part; it's the other stuff that influences the final taste. Once the requisite 51 percent corn is accounted for, you can tweak your mash by adding wheat to make it smooth or rye to make it spicy or chicken paste to make it a McNugget.
This list starts out with number 10, the worst of the worst.  Genuine hobo whiskey.
10. Old Thompson American Whiskey. This mean bastard is a blend of whiskey and neutral grain spirits (i.e., tanker-truck vodka), and it's utterly worthless. OT is the rare American whiskey that doesn't even show off any cheap corn sweetness. It's monotonously evil in a way that's hard to describe other than by noting it's earthy in the bad way, like a shiny mud puddle or a pissed mattress.
And the list ends with number 1, the best of the worst whiskey.

Did you think I'd list the number 1 whiskey after the jump?  Sorry.  But pour two fingers of your favorite into a glass and continue to read.  It's worth it.

Article here.

21 comments:

rcocean said...

I suppose if you're going to have a mint julep, quality bourbon isn't required.

virgil xenophon said...

The guy who wrote that article doesn't know what he's talking about. The absolute worst would be "Colonel Lee" going AWAY! He also omits the cheaper product of the Old Fitz distillers "Cabin Still." I used to drink Rebel Yell in college when it was still produced by the Old Fitz crowd and it REALLY WAS sold only south of the Mason-Dixon line. It is one of the better value for money good tasting bourbons around--it can be found on Trader Joe's shelves for around $10/fifth, iirc.

And don't be confused with the better Old Fitz (Stitzel-Weller) products like their W.L Weller brands and V.O Old Fitz and Old Fitz 1849, etc--all quality bourbons. l

Lem said...

Tmz is reprting Fast and Furious movies actor Paul Walker is dead.

Lem said...

Some tweets believe the report is a hoax.

Revenant said...

I've never seen the appeal of bourbon, personally. I'm probably just too lowbrow. :)

bagoh20 said...

I think that definition would qualify California unleaded gas as a Bourbon, and at about $4/gal pretty damned attractive on a Saturday night.

Take a long sip sweetheart, let's put the peddle to the metal and party a little. I've always loved the way your tail end swings around when you get going.

Michael Haz said...
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bagoh20 said...
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bagoh20 said...

The street that crash happened on is called "Rye Canyon Loop", and it's shaped like a common race track with a hairpin turn at one end and a faster bigger radius at the other. No median, brand new smooth pavement, tree lined. A trap of sorts for some.

Arial view

Evi L. Bloggerlady said...

Even for a mixed drink, don't drink crap. Life is too short for shitty bourbon.

Michael Haz said...

Apologies for the rant at 11:18. It was off topic and I have removed it.

Lem said...

I'm sorry for trolling your post Hazman. I didn't want to make a post out it, but still, it doesn't excuse it. I was discourteous. It wont happen again.

Aridog said...

Damn, I missed a Haz rant. I likes Haz rants :-))

Aridog said...
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Michael Haz said...

Where were we?

ndspinelli said...

The guy who taught me to drink bourbon was Ward Erwin. He was a retired FBI agent who then became a judge in KC. Ward was a man's man. He smoked Lucky Strikes, was quiet but funny, and drank Old Forester. I drink more upscale bourbon but Old Forester WAS Ward Erwin. It's good, unpretentious, affordable whiskey. I drank a lotta Old Forester w/ Ward up until a week or so when he died from lung cancer, w/ dignity and humor.

ndspinelli said...

I mean I sometimes drink more upscale bourbon. But, there's always Old Forester in my cabinet.

Calypso Facto said...

I suppose Jesse James Bourbon was too new to make the list. Did you go to the bottle signing in Kenosha, Haz?

Review I enjoyed here.

Aridog said...

In college (1960's), while I was a first class drinker (and had the DTP arrests to prove it), I favored Old Rebel Yell...that I had to purchase on periodic road trips to Louisville, Lexington, (horse bidness) and Corbin (visit a friend). To my knowledge no one else in Madison, WI, or Detroit, MI, had a ready supply of it.

Any Bourbon (or any whiskey or whisky or Cognac, etc.) worth spit should be drunk "neat", with a side of what was once called "branch water" ... or just a good beer on the side. I used to keep some bottom shelf crap in front at my home bar for the fools who'd pour say aged Old Fitz, or a VSOP or XO Cognac, in to a Pepsi or Squirt. Amazing thing is that the drink made of half Courvoisier VSOP and half Pepsi-Cola was popular here in the early 80's. Gag a maggot combo fer sur....and near criminal.

The best bourbon I ever had was a fairly rare bottle of very old Old Fitzgerald, 18 or more years old, 90 or 100 proof, in the early 1970's that was smooth as silk, high proof and all...made my de rigueur by then Old Grand Dad and Old Taylor seem shameful. In those days I considered Wild Turkey and Jack Daniels harsh nasty "rot gut" and still do....proof that you really can sell panther piss for a high price with great marketing. In the 80's I had moved on to Canadian and Irish (most, but not all, of it is nasty too) stuff, before I quit drinking on any serious level.

Now I know I've just insulted somebody's favorite brand(s). Sorry. :)

Michael Haz said...

@Calypso - Bottle signing in Kenosha? Didn't know of it. Probably wouldn't have gone, anyway. I'm not that much a fan to want an autograph.

Besides, the whole Full Throttle Saloon thing is off my radar. Combining drinking and motorcycling isn't a thing I do.

Calypso Facto said...

Teasing about the star-struck bottle autograph seeking, Haz. But I totally agree about drinking and riding; bad combo.