Bottom shelf bourbons

I investigated a few of these bourbon ranking lists last year which introduced me to Benchmark. A respectable bottle of whiskey taste wise, but I must admit that I thought every whiskey gave you a headache if you drank enough, but after trying some other bourbons in excess it turns out Benchmark was giving me headaches. So long $9 (Ohio prices) bourbon!

This most recent list made me explore a few other cheap bourbons. I just returned from buying some Rebel Yell.

Cheap Bourbons, Ranked

Now I drink my bourbon mixed with Sierra Mist (since it’s made with sugar). My dad will deny it, but I’ve been drinking whiskey highballs since I was like six. I grew up and threw up on bourbon. For a good many years (fairly recently) I couldn’t even drink it. So needless to say I’ve been around the block with bourbon, especially cheap bourbons in my day. A few on that list (especially Old Crow) gives me terrible flashbacks of my days watching Packers football in a dive bar. Being piss drunk on less than $10 was rough. Evan Williams is respectable I guess. I almost purchased Ezra Brooks ($12) since it’s 90 proof, but settled for the Rebel Yell, despite being more expensive ($14).

What piqued my interest about Rebel Yell had nothing to do with Billy Idol, but the fact that it’s a higher wheat blend like Maker’s Mark. I’d like to try it side by side sometime but even though I knew bourbons had to be 51% corn by law , I wasn’t aware that there were higher rye blends and higher wheat blends with bourbons. Most bourbons have a higher rye blend, but a few like Maker’s and Rebel Yell have a higher wheat content. So far I like how it’s sweet, and more carmel-ly, but it still doesn’t quite have the bite as the ryes do (which for most is a good thing).

Speaking of bite, my new found bourbon expert, Ginny Tonic who I met in a brewery, gave me her take on bottom shelf bourbons. Her go to is Ancient Age ($10). I tried it last week, and I liked it. It was still too soft (missing that bite). No headaches will bring me back to it though.

Admittedly at the moment I’m not going to use any fancy words until I get schooled on bourbon, but when I do in a month (via Ginny Tonic!) I hope to be able to identify the beautiful subtleties of bourbon.

Till then my special occasion favorite is Bulleit. I STILL haven’t tried Four Roses. My dad still drinks Calvert.

Off to get another drink!


About jeffbedel

Indiana native that moved to Cincinnati in January 2012. Former trivia host, beer snob, foodie, non-conformist.

Posted on January 18, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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