Yesterday, I went by Hokus Pokus to pick up a couple of bottles, and was told again by the folks there that people still come by the store and ask “What’s Drell Drinking?” as they are readers of my blog. So, I spent some time looking at their shelves and making recommendations, and decided to write a blog piece on some of the bourbons I recommend that they have in stock.
I review a lot of rare and hard to get bourbons. But, with the bourbon boom it is actually difficult to get daily drinkers. I have a hard time getting my main go to bourbon, Buffalo Trace, but Hokus does its dead level best to have it in stock, and they usually do. So, I am going to recommend some very good and still available bourbons, but that most folks may not think of buying. So, standards like Woodford Reserve, Knob Creek, and so on are not on the list. Also, things that are difficult to get (and there is more and more of that because of so much increased demand for bourbon), like Booker’s, Stagg Jr., E.H. Taylor and so on are not on list either.
(Picture of yesterday’s haul with a bottle of Woodford Double Oaked I already had)
Woodford Reserve Double Oaked Bourbon – Hokus Pokus Barrel Selection – Yes, they still have some of this barrel pick in stock. This year’s barrel is truly great with a flavor profile that is on part with Diageo’s Orphan Barrel collection. While not age stated, it is said to be aged eight years in the first barrel (generally the same as regular Woodford Reserve) but then aged two years in a highly toasted barrel, with both barrels being freshly charred. This is truly great bourbon, and the Hokus Pokus selections are always excellent. At 90 proof, this isn’t the high proof bourbons I often recommend and drink at this price level, but the flavor profile is awesome.
Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel and Single Barrel Barrel Proof – Hokus is generally able to get these and keep them on the shelves. Jack Daniel’s has many devotees for whom the black label is their drink and the eschew trying anything new. Many bourbon folks left Jack Daniel’s behind long ago in favor of “better” stuff, me included. However, their 100 proof single barrel and barrel proof releases are truly excellent whiskies that I highly recommend. Also, not a lot of people know this, but Jack Daniel’s is owned by Brown Forman, who also makes Woodford Reserve and Old Forester.
Noah’s Mill – Willett’s high proof bourbon sourced I think from Heaven Hill. Wonderful notes of leather, tobacco, caramel, vanilla, this bourbon is perfect to have with a cigar. At $40, its a bargain. I sampled the latest release last night and it was really good; it had to much oak and char for Catherine’s taste, but for me this is feature, not a bug.
Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel – I am convinced that chill filtering ruins the great bourbon Wild Turkey makes. This non-chill filtered 110 proof bourbon is a stunner. Cherry pie with Graham Cracker crust…mmmmmm.
1792 Bottled in Bond – Hokus generally keeps all or almost all of the 1792 expressions in stock. I believe the bottled in bond to be the best of them all. This was a part of the tasting I did recently, and the person who won the tasting at the school auction called me and asked where he could pick it up, as it was his favorite of them all. At under $40, it’s a great value as well.
I even have two lower shelf recommendations for people on a budget.
Old Grand Dad 114 – most people don’t know that this is the same mashbill as Basil Hayden’s. If you like that flavor profile, this is higher proof and under $30.
Evan Williams White Label 100 Proof Bottled in Bourbon – at $30 a handle (1.75 liter bottle) this is a great value bourbon. Very tasty, it is perfect for whipping up mint juleps for a crowd. When I was a younger lawyer on a budget, this was my go to bourbon.
I hope my readers and the folks at Hokus in Alexandria find this list helpful. Slainte.