Bourbonr: Best Whiskey Release of 2015 – Voting

With only a few days remaining in 2015 it’s time to reflect on the year in bourbon. While price increases continue to be the norm we also lost some good whiskey: Four Roses discontinues their Single Barrel Limited EditionSmooth Ambler announces a shortage of rye whiskey and subsequent freeze on their Old Scout Rye. Buffalo Trace continues to talk about shortages but also officially recognized the secondary as an issue.

In 2015 I was reminded that not all good bourbon comes from Kentuky. And, not all good bourbon is hard to find. If you can’t find the bourbon you want, try blending your own.

That brings us to our final item. It’s time to vote on the Bourbonr Whiskey Of The Year. What was your favorite release of 2015?


    It would be interesting to fill out the list (like a checklist) according to what you’ve actually tried, to increase validity of the results. After all, these are all uncommon or rare items. Would be surprised how many respondents have actually tried all of the items on the list.

    It is certainly true that most of us will not get to try 95 percent of the list. The only one I could find and stock was Stagg Jr so it’s definitely my favorite. One not on the list is bib and tucker. I really enjoyed the different taste it offered. I have a few other bottles but while I could only find one I didn’t want to open… Eh Taylor straight rye Elmer T Lee I have 3 bottles unfortunately my first bottle tasted like a bail of hay strong grass, still looking forward to opening another.
    This has been a rambling post but I love bourbon and R none the less… A few lesser priced items that were yummy were corner creek reserve and straight edge. Enjoy folks……..

    Many of these are rare enough that unless I was lucky enough to obtain 2 bottles, I didn’t want to try. Aside from the Pappy’s, I tended to prefer the wheated bourbons.

    Lol, who saw any of those retail? Most can only be seen displayed as trophies on Instagram and Twitter alongside pix of fast casual food and cheap cigars. Those of you who did not have inside connections to get even one bottle of your choice at retail, don’t worry, you can always turn to sites like Bottlespot, CL and FB. They are more than happy to help. They will connect you with sellers who have endless supplies of whatever you want at prices no one will pay.

    I voted, but did enough hard work to try a handful. Maybe a point system of the ones we’ve tried 1-5 or something like that?

    Maybe a way to allow up to 3 votes (or two, or four or whatever you thought)…?

    I had a clear 1, 2 than a fall off to 3 for instance.

    Anyway, neat poll. The interactive stuff and comments on the site seems to be increasing which is very cool…

    Ha ha, one local bar charging $200 2oz Stagg and $300 John Fitz. The bar tender poured himself a sample of Stagg then started boasting about making 800% on his $35k bourbon investment this year. I was like yeah sure pal, if you’re such a big player why you working an empty bar peeling lemons for beer money? Geez! Needless to say I’ll be visiting other bars. Anyway I bet Stagg and WLW will be voted top by most — even tho I haven’t tried this yrs — they are always great. I have tried Cured Oak and Master’s Keep and say without a doubt that they are the WORST bourbon I tasted this year. My $200 gift shop EC18 is still unopened. With so many fine releases, I’m eager to see how the votes fall ?

    That’s ridiculous. I wouldn’t buy as much as a bud lite from there ever again. I never understood why someone would brag to a customer about how they rip them off.

    What a tool. I wonder if he understands that in order to realize those returns you have to actually sell the product. I hope he ends up drinking it all by himself and gets no return.

    Havent opened my cured oak yet. Heard mixed things, seems as if everyone either loves or hates.

    The masters keep I thought was blah. Not bad but nothing special for that pricepoint…

    Worse thing I tried this year was Hudson Baby double char. Expensive way to eat a burnt piece of wood. Close second was the woodford reserve 1838. Had a few and than gave the bottle to a buddy who liked it better…

    Very funny, but very true….smdh. I think the majority of these premium bottles are never tasted/drank…they’re suspended in a perpetual state of flip! The only people who REALLY know what they taste like are TRUE and FEW bourbonr’s who actually DRINK them and the rich guys/gals who can’t be bothered with a profit margin of a few hundred dollars to bank off of their flipped”investments” and view it as a complete waste of time and energy to do so.

    I just found two bottles of 18 yr Elijah Craig on the shelf in North Carolina on vacation for 129.99 and was so amazed and just lucky as I never see any allocated bottles in Ohio near the Columbus area. I have yet to try it, saving it for my new years toast. So anyway, it gets my vote since it was the only one I’ve seen and been able to purchase.

    I was surprised that Jefferson’s Reserve, Groth Reserve Cask Finish was not on your list. That was, by far, the best bourbon I had in 2015. My bourbon collection includes Pappy 15 year old, E. H. Taylor Cured Oak, Michner’s Toasted Barrel, Rhetoric Orphan Barrel and 1792 Port Finish just to name a few.

    Best this year. In order of preference.

    Elija Craig 23
    Elija Craig 18
    Pappy 20
    Elmer T Lee
    Old Medley 12 yo
    Woodford Double Oak Single Barrel
    Elija Craig 12
    Eagle Rare 10

    Nice, but maybe we should have kept it a secrete LOL.
    What about Woodford Reserve Master Collection – “1838 Style White Corn” ?
    or the later releases (2015?) of Jim Beam Signature Craft Harvest Collection(s)?

    Having tried most of this year’s list. I think that the Smooth Ambler 10 year rye gift-shop only barrel proof #214 should be considered. Although it was extremely limited I rank it up there with any of the recent rye releases including the WFE stuff and close to the Michter’s 10 year BP straight ryes that JVW picked and released around 2010’s under that label. By far the complex flavor profile all while still maintaining that classic MGP straight rye that made it legendary. A truly remarkable barrel especially considering the recent boom / shortages.

    I voted for the BTAC “William Larue Weller”. I was lucky enough to get my paws on a few bottles this year….No words are needed to describe it “awesomeness”….so, I won’t. If you haven’t tried it in the comfort of your home, like Blake has suggested so many times , go to a “quality” whiskey bar and order yourself a glass….you *probably* deserve it… is worth it…..NOW….. I’ve tried the “Woodford Reserve” rye and it ain’t no slouch either ….always keep a bottle on my rotation because I love it! I’ve seen it at $42.99-$49.99 @it’s highest…which is fair. Another one i LOVE, but didn’ make “the list” is “Belle Meade bourbon”..a high rye….oooohweeee is it good! I only recently picked up a bottle, but man, am I *happy* I did! Sweet, spicy and VERY smooth all in one bottle , NO burn from this one! Licked my lips after every sip! LOL! 90.4 proof and small batch…4 hand selected barrels for each batch….not too bad. Very glad i decided to give it a try. This is a new favorite of mine, and I will keep it well stocked in my cabinet before it becomes a “mythical hard to find unicorn”.

    Only ones I even got to taste were OFBB and MM46CS. Both were excellent. Try as I may, I couldn’t get a bottle of the Birthday Bourbon, or any other LE this year, except 2 bottles of the MM46CS that I picked up in the Maker’s gift shop when I happened to be visiting the area the day it was released. It is delicious stuff! Very sweet on my palate, and smells like birthday cake. Just wish I could’ve gotten my hands on a bottle of WLW. I know… and a million other guys wish that.

    I managed to get 16 of the bottles on your list this year, all at or near retail (I won’t pay secondary prices). Passed up a couple more – couldn’t bring myself to pay the current freight for EC18 knowing what I spent for that bottle just a couple of years ago. Also passed on the Jefferson’s Groth finished, although some of you are making me reconsider, and I know where I can still find some. Haven’t opened them all . . . yet. But of those I have tried, WLW is the standout. Just a superb bottle of whiskey.

    Well Cats & Kittens, the season is a windin’ down. Not the raging success I planned but not bad.
    ORVW10, VW RYE, ER17, & a Handy. You know, I noticed something new over the last few years. We go thru 2 levels of anxiety when hunting. 1 – IF the store has the stuff (We certainly get excited when they pulls out thems bottles, don’t we!!) & 2 – Then we have to ask the price ( We certainly get annoyed whens they tells us $400.00 for a ORVW10!!). With this years “ALLEGED” loss to the angels & more & more “Bourbon Bars” opening up sucking up our Whiskey it seems to be getting harder not better. Stopped by one shop last night (one of my regulars), he was kind enough to hold a Handy for me (Don’t be dirty!! – Perverts! :)). THEN he says he’s thinking of getting into the “collecting” side of this — bastard had a VW RYE he kept for himself!! He asks me what I think of that stuff (Gave my honest opinion – Good. But I find Rittenhouse & Pikesville more complex &
    satisfying). The I offered a very good price to purchase the VW RYE off him — he wouldn’t budge. Can’t blame him. But, fortune favors the bold! Till next year!!

    I Picked up a bottle of the Pikesville Rye on Christmas eve…didn’t try it yet tho….the manager at the store told me it was pretty tasty stuff … Like regular Rittenhouse BiB, only on steroids! I already LOVE the Rittenhouse BiB, so I’m not worried. It wasn’t shelved in the store…I just threw it out there if they had any and the manager told me she had ONE left…..a customer never picked it up…so….

    Hey Blake,
    any chance to put a post up about interesting stories on the hunt for bourbon? This year i was visiting Athens Ga, and found a bottle of Angels Envy Cask Strength in a liquor store that wanted $300 for it. A week later i have now seen it in 5 different stores in Nashville and all for $180 whis is just about the suggested retail of $180. Interesting to see the mark ups and that you can find some of these at retail. Also found a bottle of 18 yr Elijah Craig this year for $138 which has to be close to retail as well.

    High West came out swinging with 2015 A Midwinter Nights Dram act 3. Definitely in my top 5 this year.
    My usual score was down in 2015 as our state opened their lottery to everyone… I anticipate this will change next year as the locals outrage was intense.
    Pay retail in 2016…. F*CK the flippers and gougers Happy New Year!!

    Thinking about buying a bottle of the “Midwinter night dram” off of “bottlespot” to try. Heard only good reviews on it. Have yet to hear anything negative about it.

    I have to admit I was intrigued by the posts about the “Jeffersons Reserve Groth Cask Finish”….so, as nature and my uncontrollable curiosity would have it, I seeked it out….found some…bought 2 @ $77.91 plus tax for each bottle….I must say you guys were spot on with this one! Great juice! Delicious! Definitely not an everyday pour at its price point, but geez… I can’t seem to put the damn bottle down! I will undoubtedly be making another trip to the “Ol watering hole” to pick up another by tuesday! Ha!

    Hey Blake, if you’ve tried the “Jefferson Reserve groth cask finish” would you please review it for the board? I have almost gone through 2 bottles of this since discovering it this month….has anyone else enjoyed this new offering as well? Although it is a bit overpriced…I will be stocking up on it when I can…it’s easily obtainable in VA.

    Russell’s Reserve 1998. Stomped all over PVW15 in my own blind side-by-side and edged out American Sprit by a good margin. It’s the best bourbon I’ve personally had in the past 3-4 years.

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