Ken Gargett

"high roller bourbons"

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another of those lists. they have talked to somms etc, to compile it. 

The Best High-Roller Bourbon

Contributed by Liquor.com

Posted on Nov 29, 2018

 

You know who knows best which bottles to buy? The people who pour and sell drinks—that’s who. We asked dozens of top bartending and spirits industry professionals to tell us which bottles they love and why.

Heads up: The numerical order below is not organized by importance or quality; it’s an alphabetical list, not a ranking. Prices are averages and can vary from state to state.

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1: Blanton’s ($70)

 

“For true bourbon lovers, this is the first mass-produced single-barrel bourbon—vanilla, caramel, tobacco and toffee notes and a dry, medium finish. Collect all of the Blanton’s horse corks. They spell out “Blanton’s” and depict the horse and jockey in eight different scenes of a horse race.”—Jung Park, founder of Philadelphia's Cocktail Culture Co.

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2: Booker’s ($74)

 

“It’s ready when it’s ready, and if you don’t like it, go kick rocks. This is one of the whiskeys that aren’t watered down for flavor. Raw, uncut and unfiltered, this bourbon is bad to the bone. You have to add a splash of water to it, though—whatever your desired amount is.”—Park

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“This bourbon will never let you down—a real crowd-pleaser. Coming out of the Buffalo Trace distillery and bottled in bond at 100 proof, it drinks super easy and is loaded with toasted vanilla bean, caramel, creamed corn and a nice oaky spice to back things up. No regrets here.”—Jordan Joseph, bar manager at Raleigh, N.C.'s Centro and Gallo Pelón

Slide 5

“Wow, this is the ‘smelling salts’ of bourbon.”—Adam Fortuna, assistant general manager and sommelier at Grand Rapids, Mich.'s Reserve Wine & Food

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“I wish there was more of this to go around. It’s one of the best special releases from Four Roses in recent memory.”—Fortuna

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6: George T. Stagg ($750)

 

“Why buy Pappy Van Winkle when you can get high-proof, beautiful and flavourful beyond belief.”—Nathaniel David Smith, bartender at St. Paul, Minn.'s Hodges Bend and ambassador for Teeling Irish whiskey

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7: Hillrock Solera Aged ($90)

 

“The regular is fantastic, and the cabernet finish is like a Manhattan cocktail all unto itself.”—Patrick Marran, bartender at New York City's On the Rocks

Slide 9

8: Hudson Baby ($52)

 

“This one is so unique because of its copper-still nuances. There’s a sharp finish on the palate indicative of rye.”—Lucinda Sterling, managing partner and bartender at New York City's Middle Branch

Slide 10

“A whiskey made to honor Old Blue Eyes, this whiskey takes the familiar lovely taste of Jack Daniel’s No. 7 to another level of richness.”—Cari Hah, bar manager at Los Angeles' Big Bar

Slide 11

10: Jefferson’s Ocean ($85)

 

“Any of the Voyages you can get your hands on are worth comparing back-to-back with your home bourbon just because of how Jefferson’s is exploring the ways to age and utilize the barrel itself in the whiskey flavor.”—Marran

Slide 12

“I'm always surprised by how much I enjoy this whiskey.”—Fortuna

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12: Murray Hill Club ($100)

 

“It’s a blend of whiskeys from nine to 18 years old. The packaging is gorgeous, and the whiskey inside is delicious with good viscosity—a trait that I look for and love in my bourbon. I've yet to be disappointed with any bottle coming from this distillery.”—Jamie Boudreau, owner of and bartender at Seattle's Canon

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13: Noah's Mill ($55)

 

“Drinking this muscular 114-proof bourbon is like your granny's pecan pie rising up to smack your palate into deliriously happy submission. This spicy blend of whiskeys from four to 20 years old marries dried fruits and nuts beautifully, with just a hint of gingerbread and cut grass to remind you of the rye in the mash bill.”—Joaquín Simó, partner at New York City's Pouring Ribbons

Slide 15

“High proof, with distinct rich flavors, it can be sipped with a drop or two of water. Or try it in a Manhattan, with a deep sweet vermouth, such as Punt e Mes.”—Mike Strohm, lead bartender at Kansas City, Mo.'s The W

Slide 16

“It’s one of the best expressions of Birthday bourbon—smooth and lots of flavor.”—Jose Medina Camacho, bar manager at Birmingham, Ala.'s Marble Ring

Slide 17

16: Old Weller Antique ($100)

 

“It has all the richness of other wheated bourbons but with that extra bit of alcohol.”—Fortuna

Slide 18

“This one is so rarely available, and if it is, its pricey. Notes of caramel and a peppery nose might make this a good fireside chat.”—Sterling

Slide 19

“Everything a bourbon should be, it has notes of buttered popcorn, vanilla cream and charred oak, with a gentle smokiness, and finishes with rich red fruit.”—Brian Means, bartender at San Francisco's Pacific Cocktail Haven

Slide 20

19: Stagg Jr. ($90)

 

“The kid brother to the legendarily hard-to-source overproof kingpin of the Antique Collection, this one proves that younger siblings are not to be ignored. Usually clocking in well over 130 proof, this spice bomb is somehow perfectly sippable even neat. Cigar box, cherry pie and vanilla all round out gorgeously integrated oak and varnish notes.”—Simó

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20: Vintage Bourbon 17 Year ($950)

 

“This bourbon is everything an older bourbon should be—rich, deep, warm and yet not overly oaked.”—Hah

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21: Wild Turkey Decades ($140)

 

“Everything is perfect about this bourbon. Nose, flavor, mouthfeel—all of it is exquisite.”—Hah

Slide 23

22: Wild Turkey Rare Breed ($54)

 

“This cask-strength bourbon shows a surprisingly elegant side to Wild Turkey. Toasty pecans, orange madeleines, black pepper and tobacco notes display an extraordinary integration of oak and grain in this masterful blend of bourbons aged between six and 12 years.”—Simó

Slide 24

23: Woodford Double Oaked ($57)

 

“It’s a scotch drinker's bourbon—a nice and toasty, strong woody kick.”—Marran

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Blanton's is such a nice, easy sipper.  The EC BP is my personal fave.  Glad my shelves are stocked with both.  Really all I need in regards to bourbons, but some of the others are good, too.

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Wow those prices are insane, I am an avid bourbon connoisseur. Here in the states particularly Kansas most liquor stores don’t up charge for the seasonal bourbons that come out every year. You just have to wait in line for several hours to get some, lol. Picked up George T. Stagg for $85 and most others under $70 like blantons, and I picked up weller antique for $35. And Eagle Rare goes for about $40 and is usually stocked all the time now. I have about 10 bottles (you know, just in case) lmao. 

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There's only a few on this list I don't have. Not sure if that's good or bad haha.

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Some of those are definitely inflated. Blantons and Colonel Taylor are $50 around here. I just paid $70 for the Elijah Craig barrel proof. High octane stuff there but a good sipper.

I'd like to try Stagg and Stagg Jr. I've been on Bibb and Tucker lately.  

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Can’t go wrong with knob creek or Elijah Craig barrel reserves but bookers is up there become a very popular bourbon .

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The FR Elliott Select is a strange pick. There are much better limited edition Four Roses over the last few yrs (including the 2018 batch). Some good juice in the list. It’s a shame the markets so inflated right now with some ridiculous prices...

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1 hour ago, Outdoorguy84 said:

Wow those prices are insane, I am an avid bourbon connoisseur. Here in the states particularly Kansas most liquor stores don’t up charge for the seasonal bourbons that come out every year. You just have to wait in line for several hours to get some, lol. Picked up George T. Stagg for $85 and most others under $70 like blantons, and I picked up weller antique for $35. And Eagle Rare goes for about $40 and is usually stocked all the time now. I have about 10 bottles (you know, just in case) lmao. 

Some of these prices have gotten out of control after being ranked on top lists around the world. Blantons was my go to "high end" bottle when I had the money in college. I could pick it up at any ABC store in North Carolina for around $45. Now the price has shot up and it's difficult to find even in Chicago. 

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I wish I could find Blanton's for $70. The two places I've seen it want $150 for it. No thanks at that price.

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6 minutes ago, FatherOfPugs said:

I wish I could find Blanton's for $70. The two places I've seen it want $150 for it. No thanks at that price.

In Texas of all places (and Weller Disney land) you can’t find Blantons? 

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Just now, Duxnutz said:

In Texas of all places (and Weller Disney land) you can’t find Blantons? 

I can find it, sitting on the shelf at $150. People don't seem to eager to buy it at that price. I have yet to find it for a reasonable price. Plenty of Weller to go around as of late, and regular old Buffalo Trace as well. Not as scarce as they once were for a while.

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Blanton's flies off the shelf in PA for 70... but they never have it.....  I enjoy regular Woodford reserve.. and am right now.

 

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I’m going the other direction- “low roller” bourbons. Bought some Old Grand Dad Bottled in Bond for $21 the other day to go with my huge bottle of Larceny I got for $44.  Can’t find any of the high roller stuff in PA so this is the new plan. 

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37 minutes ago, Cayman17 said:

I’m going the other direction- “low roller” bourbons. Bought some Old Grand Dad Bottled in Bond for $21 the other day to go with my huge bottle of Larceny I got for $44.  Can’t find any of the high roller stuff in PA so this is the new plan. 

1.75s of Woodford Reserve are on sale right now by the Peoples Republic of Pennsylvania for $ 63.99.... I bought a case....

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39 minutes ago, Cayman17 said:

Old Grand Dad Bottled in Bond

Great stuff.  Give the Old Grand Dad 114 a try.  OGD bonded and 114 are the best value on the shelf in my eyes.  I love the high rye mash bill.

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Ive been fortune enough to amass a few bottles of these (Elijah barrel, Stagg jr, older WT rare breed bottlings) from rare encounters when I’ve found them for standard pricing, but I’m no high roller so I can’t keep up with the madness anymore. Lately though I’ve been buying as much old Armagnac as I can get my hands on  and most of my bourbons have been collecting dust. Sure, it’s not the same, but it has enough complexity and richness to remind me of the older bourbon I used to be able to buy. I’ll always keep a bottle of WT 101 and a single barrel around though because they always make me smile. 

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I don't understand the pricing on some of these bottles.  Most of the list is relatively spot on, but the E.H. Taylor is not accurate to my area and Weller Antique is grossly inflated.  I can find the E.H Taylor small batch routinely for just under $40, and Weller Antique for $30.  When I can find Weller Antique in 1.75L it is $55 although it is much more difficult to find than 750ml bottles.  Blanton's is $60 in my area when you can find it, but finding it is a whole different story.  

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I’d be curious to know exactly how they got these numbers as well. As many of us have experienced, in most areas many of these bottles are either not available, sell out instantly, or they remain on shelves only if the retailer sells them at the inflated secondary prices. I would imagine these prices reflect what you can actually ‘find’ the bottle at with regularity. For example, here in Los Angeles, I can purchase Weller Antique at normal retail price only when I’m diligent and lucky, but it’s always available at a nearby shop for about $100.

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Ironically this came today to my wife's email.5d6a84691e685c9b6634e5a3e6f84aca.jpg

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I'd ad these to the list hahaha. I'm going to enter but there aren't many bottles. Like 13 and 5 for the entire state of Virginia. 0fa6a49e26933dcd21c780982a57125d.jpg6f16d108b2e2431e4bcc601c523e3810.jpg

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Stagg Jr. is a hot mess IMO. Bookers is a winner across the board.

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The Henry McKenna 10 year should be on this list as well


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The Henry McKenna 10 year should be on this list as well


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I wouldn't consider a $25 bourbon "high roller"...

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18 hours ago, prodigy said:

I wouldn't consider a $25 bourbon "high roller"...

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Agree. McKenna is not that good either, just a lot of publicity since the gold medal at the whiskey championships.....which is debatable. It used to just sit on shelves around here, now you can't find one for less than $60. Not even close to being more than a $25 bottle imho.

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