This month I changed the format. We discuss our bourbon without really thinking too much about what it’s worth vs what it costs. For this meeting, I bought some whiskeys and kept them hidden. I poured each drink in a room separate from where the club was sitting and then presented each drink in order.

As always, we tasted, wrote notes, and discussed the whiskey. The new addition to our notes included a price point where the taster was expected to guess how much the whiskey cost. The only information I divulged before tasting each whiskey is the alcohol content. I felt this was important so the tasters could better track how much they actually drank and brace for the harsher whiskeys.

Here is the aggregation of our unbiased notes, how much we felt each whiskey was worth, and what each one cost.

Wellers Special Reserve – Overall – 6.75/10 – burn – 5.25/10

(Specs) age N/A| 45% or 90 proof | 750 ML $25.99

(Distiller) Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort, Kentucky

(Notes) The majority enjoyed this but agreed that it was really good but probably not the best quality whiskey we’ve had. It’s really sweet and missing something in the way of complexity. Some notes included the following:

deep cherry, apple cider, sweet caramel, light oak, walnut, sweet vanilla

(Aftertaste) oakey, lingering but not strong, light citrus

(Value) Average of prices guessed within our group is $31.43, $5.44 more than the actual selling price. This is a well-priced whiskey.

Knob Creek Small Batch – Overall – 5.5/10 – burn – 6.13/10

(Specs) age N/A| 50% or 100 proof | 750 ML $34.99

(Distiller) Knob Creek Distillery, Clermont, KY

(Notes) Several people upon tasting this one said they were going to guess that it was priced higher than they believed it should be and guessed higher than they were willing to pay. It’s a little contrary to how I requested they guess the price, but it happened nonetheless. The range of guesses spanned $35-$45 and nobody said they would buy it. Among the notes were –

like a campfire but without smoke, smells better than it tastes, spicy chili, sweet oak, vanilla, almond scotch, earthy, peanuts, cashews, pine-needles

(Aftertaste) burnt fruit, peaty, oaky, lingering

(Value) Average of prices guessed within our group is $35.71, $0.71 more than the actual selling price. This is probably the right price for this bottle.

Bird Dog Small Batch – Overall – 6.67/10 – burn – 5.67/10

(Specs) age N/A | 43% or 86 proof | 750 ML $26.95

(Distiller) Western Spirits, Bowling Green, KY

(Notes) This whiskey  is the winner. Everyone liked this and when they found out the price they liked it even more. In fact, at least one member always has a bottle of that at his house now. It’s his go-to whiskey. If you don’t enjoy a sweet whiskey, you’re probably going to hate it. Some of the notes included –

*sweet, floral, caramel, vanilla, cotton candy, smokey candy shop, brown sugar, sour green apple, sweet tea

(Aftertaste) bland, oak barrels, tart, feel it on the roof of your mouth, maple

(Value) Average of prices guessed within our group is $35.57, $8.62 more than the actual selling price. This bottle is a great value.

Booker’s Bourbon – Overall – 6.43/10 – burn – 7.29/10

(Specs) age N/A | 62.95% or 125.9 proof | 750 ML $74.95

(Distiller) James B. Beam Distilling Co., Clermont, KY

(Notes) Booker’s is exactly what it is when it comes out of the barrel. It’s a master work of bourbon. Check out their site, they say it themselves. Some people who are new to bourbon probably won’t like it. It’s hot, intense, and spicy. I think it was a little too much for our group given that a lot of our tasters are fairly new to whiskey. Following the sweeter, less complex whiskeys we had made this one seem even more bold. That said, here’s what they said it tasted like –

several counts of peanuts and brown sugar;  candy apple, buttery, rich like an apple pie, pine, oak, caramel

(Aftertaste) honeydew, vanilla

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