Who’s Your Pappy?


by Job Abraria

Being unable to track down a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle for my birthday, my girlfriend put together a collection of the best American whiskeys that are obtainable and more reasonably priced.

Bourbon is like Scotch in that you want it to have a little harshness to it. You don’t want it to be too clean or have too much of a caramel taste to it. A little kick and a little bite.  All of the ones on this list are strong, solid bourbons. You really can’t go wrong with any of them, it’s just a matter of what you’re looking for in your bourbon. I tend to grab the Old Overholt the most often. My second favorite is a tie between the Rittenhouse and Templeton Small Batch.

Rittenhouse Straight Rye Whiskey (100 proof) is bottled by Continental Distilling Co. in Bardstown, Kentucky. This is a hard bourbon. It tastes like the kind of bourbon you would expect to shoot down before getting into a bar fight with Sam Elliott. It is priced around $24-$30.

Eagle Rare 10 Year Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey (90 proof) is bottled by Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky. This almost smells like a scotch. It is more like good alcohol than it does bourbon. It’s great, smooth, and easy – I would call this one a soft and gentle bourbon. It sells for around $30.

Old Overholt Straight Rye Whiskey (80 proof) is bottled by A. Overholt & Co. in Clermont, Kentucky. This is a traditional bourbon with a mild and clean taste. It’s one of the cheaper bourbons we tried, but surprisingly good. It generally ranges in price from $15-$20, but has a cooler presence than some of the better known bottle shelf bourbons.

Wild Turkey Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey (101 proof) is bottled by the Autsin, Nichols Distilling Company in Lawrencburg, Kentucky. This seems almost too clean but has the harshness you’d expect from a 101 proof. It’s priced around $25 a bottle and if you haven’t formed any negative associations with Wild Turkey, it’s certainly worth trying.

Templeton Rye Small Batch Rye Whiskey Prohibition Era Recipe (80 proof) is bottled by Templeton Rye Spirits, LLC in Templeton, Iowa.  This is smooth bourbon that claims to have been Al Capone’s favorite. What I like most about Templeton Rye is that blends well with whatever else you have going on.  It ranges from $40- $50 per bottle.