Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

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bltkmt
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by bltkmt » Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:32 am

You may need to look on higher shelves. :D

Fresh Air
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by Fresh Air » Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:35 am

GoldStar wrote:
Thu May 31, 2018 3:44 pm
But, why spend more than you need to, if you like it, then drink it - no sense to spend extra money.
Nailed it. Everyone's tastes are unique. If you can't tell the difference, who cares what is "top shelf" or "bottom shelf" - you're paying for something that brings you no extra enjoyment.

I'm a scotch/bourbon guy, and will spend more on specific brands because I like how they taste. Wine - I couldn't tell you the difference between most $15 and $50 bottles - so we always buy the cheaper ones if we're in the mood. We'll get the same enjoyment level - who cares what's on the label.

If you like the cheaper stuff better, so does your wallet. Save a few bucks and splurge on life activities where the differences are noticeable to you.

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Pete12
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by Pete12 » Fri Jun 01, 2018 10:16 am

All that matters is whether YOU enjoy a particular product. If it costs $10, or $100 then so what as long as you enjoy it!

Currently I like Beefeater Gin or Tito's vodka in a Martini. Both delicious and reasonably priced.

At home I have a bottle of Macallan 12 that I bought, and a bottle of Macallan 18 that someone bought me as a gift. I can taste the difference but I enjoy both equally. Would I buy the 12 again? Probably. The 18? Probably not.
:sharebeer

mrgeeze
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by mrgeeze » Fri Jun 01, 2018 10:53 am

BVRFC wrote:
Thu May 31, 2018 4:01 pm
Liquor is overrated.
Blasphemy!

Personally some better booze works better for me.
A Hendricks Martini just tastes smoother than one with Bombay Sapphire.
Blanton's over a cube tastes better to me than Makers Mark

I'm a little less picky on a mixed drink but one can notice the difference.
Maybe I've spent more time testing the difference.

I don't like paying 40 or 50 a bottle.

Sometimes I think quality keeps me from drinking quantity.

Maybe not.

I could go for a Gin & Tonic right now... its almost noon.

Alf 101
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by Alf 101 » Fri Jun 01, 2018 11:33 am

I've always found some challenges to exploring this question:

1. How much side-by-side testing can you do? Let's say I want to decide which tequila I like the best. I buy four bottles and compare them. Now I have more than a half-gallon of tequila, which will last some time. So while I want to be a scientific, I also don't want my wife to schedule an intervention either.

2. The other problem is purchase cost. I believe people gravitate to the mid-range price, because many are only willing to spend so much to see if they like something -- their R&D budget is lower. Perhaps I would enjoy a $250 bottle of Scotch, but perhaps I wouldn't, and now I'm out $250. One might be more willing to try a new beer, or chocolate bar, as the cost to experiment is lower.

3. Most of the liquor I purchase is to provide to guest for various gatherings. In most every case, I'm mixing it (e.g., gin and tonic, margarita, etc.). And while I like the people I invite to my house, I'm not going top shelf for a party. Sorry.

Luckily, there is this thing called the Internet, and there are plenty of reviews available online. Also the BH "Personal Consumer Issues" site is a good place for these kind of threads, as ultimately it's a question of value, and we can learn much from others.

new2bogle
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by new2bogle » Fri Jun 01, 2018 11:44 am

One Ping wrote:
Thu May 31, 2018 8:41 pm
I can tell the difference too, and agree ... age is not necessarily better.

Talisker 10
Lagavulin 16
Macallan 18
Aberlour A'Bunadh

All good as far as I'm concerned.

One Ping
Did you steal my liquor cabinet! Great taste you have there :sharebeer

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bottlecap
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by bottlecap » Fri Jun 01, 2018 12:01 pm

3funder wrote:
Thu May 31, 2018 5:51 pm
Water is free, and it hydrates you. Liquor costs money, and it is only useful in a social sense (sometimes not even). Sorry for raining on everyone's parade.
Well, if it’s free, then you can keep it. It ain’t good enough for me!

I also wonder why I pay a water bill every month.

JT

MJS
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by MJS » Fri Jun 01, 2018 12:07 pm

Alf 101 wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 11:33 am
I've always found some challenges to exploring this question:
1. How much side-by-side testing can you do? Let's say I want to decide which tequila I like the best. I buy four bottles and compare them. Now I have more than a half-gallon of tequila, which will last some time.
One can go to a bar that specializes in X, and request a tasting flight that starts with your favorite X then offers 3 similar* but better-in-the-expert's-opinion Xs. More expensive per drink, but education is often costly. Also, your spouse won't have to deal with gallons of weird booze cluttering the house.

* Age, grain mix, gin style, filtration type, roasting method ...

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rob
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by rob » Fri Jun 01, 2018 12:22 pm

I could never tell the difference between Vodka. Scotch I have some fav's but that is more likely style/type over price specifically.... I don't drink a lot of spirits, so likely it's just a few that I like and tripped over early on - if you drink with coke or something I have no doubt brand is irrelevant.

Port more-so and wine less-so... I have spent a lot more time with... but again it's more style of the wine as I likely cannot pick a higher price over cheaper end in a true blind test... I have some $10-15 red's that I love and some $50-100 that I love.... but a lot less because I'm basically cheap :-)
| Rob | Its a dangerous business going out your front door. - J.R.R.Tolkien

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rob
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by rob » Fri Jun 01, 2018 12:23 pm

MJS wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 12:07 pm
Alf 101 wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 11:33 am
I've always found some challenges to exploring this question:
1. How much side-by-side testing can you do? Let's say I want to decide which tequila I like the best. I buy four bottles and compare them. Now I have more than a half-gallon of tequila, which will last some time.
One can go to a bar that specializes in X, and request a tasting flight that starts with your favorite X then offers 3 similar* but better-in-the-expert's-opinion Xs. More expensive per drink, but education is often costly. Also, your spouse won't have to deal with gallons of weird booze cluttering the house.

* Age, grain mix, gin style, filtration type, roasting method ...
Now and then I go to a shop and look in those tiny bottle isles (you know the ones you get on planes)... sometime you can buy a slightly larger but still small as the tiny bottle are more limited in variety.
| Rob | Its a dangerous business going out your front door. - J.R.R.Tolkien

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One Ping
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by One Ping » Fri Jun 01, 2018 12:27 pm

new2bogle wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 11:44 am
One Ping wrote:
Thu May 31, 2018 8:41 pm
I can tell the difference too, and agree ... age is not necessarily better.

Talisker 10
Lagavulin 16
Macallan 18
Aberlour A'Bunadh

All good as far as I'm concerned.

One Ping
Did you steal my liquor cabinet! Great taste you have there :sharebeer
Sláinte :beer
"Re-verify our range to target ... one ping only."

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Epsilon Delta
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by Epsilon Delta » Fri Jun 01, 2018 12:41 pm

The Wizard wrote:
Thu May 31, 2018 3:33 pm
Alexa9 wrote:
Thu May 31, 2018 3:29 pm
Interesting. I see it's more of a placebo effect when you are drinking top shelf liquor. Certainly there are some cases where the more expensive bottle might be better but is it worth the price they are asking?
The answer probably depends a bit on how much excess discretionary income one has along with whether one can truly discern an improved flavor...
Depends what you mean by "truly discern". Placebo effects are quite real. If the top shelf tastes better only because you are hallucinating, it still tastes better because you are hallucinating. Whether the increment is worth the price is different matter.

This is on my mind because the goto fathers day present is a bottle of the good stuff. A few years ago dad went on a bourbon tour and concluded that he could not tell the difference, which suggests getting the bucket of hooch. But a few months later he was sipping Makers Mark and spontaneously commenting how smooth it was. Decisions, decisions.

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Flymore
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by Flymore » Fri Jun 01, 2018 1:04 pm

Around the last day of a cruise, usually, there's a huge sale on liquor, 30% off this 24% off that.
I say, where's the Maker's Mark they say "over there, but it's not on sale. Maker's Mark never goes on sale".

I buy it anyway duty-free saves a little. :D

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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by wfrobinette » Fri Jun 01, 2018 1:05 pm

Alexa9 wrote:
Thu May 31, 2018 3:05 pm
I’ve been comparing:
Gordon’s Gin to Blue Sapphire
Evan Williams Bourbon to Maker’s Mark
Smirnoff Vodka to Grey Goose
Kirkland Canadian Whiskey to Crowne Royale
Kirkland Cognac to Remy Martin
In most of these examples a half gallon is the same price as a fifth of the more expensive liquor. They are significantly cheaper and I can’t justify paying more for the alleged higher quality after taste tests. Anyone else experience similar good values?
Evan Williams is a great bourbon for the cost. They also have(had) a single barrel variety that is reasonably priced.

Grey Goose is so over rated and over priced. Smirnoff is good. I split the middle with Tito's. Hands down the best vodka for the price.

If i'm drinking Gin neat or in a martini its gotta be Hendricks otherwise I prefer Gilby's for gin and tonics.

Tequila and Mezcal are another story and there was a thread on that a couple of months ago.

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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by wfrobinette » Fri Jun 01, 2018 1:09 pm

audioaxes wrote:
Thu May 31, 2018 3:54 pm
Im no drinking connoisseur by any means I can easily taste a difference with Evan Williams even when mixed with a 1:6 ratio of Cola compared with Jack, Crown Royal, etc
You should taste a difference between bourbon, Tennessee whiskey and Canadian Whisky

rbaldini
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by rbaldini » Fri Jun 01, 2018 1:14 pm

I doubt most drinkers really get *that* much more enjoyment out of the liquor to justify the price. Conspicuous consumption and placebo are powerful things, though.

I'd say have your friends set up a double-blind taste test.

(EDIT) Sounds like you've already done some of the taste testing yourself, and can't tell the difference. What should it matter if other people can? You have your answer.

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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by wfrobinette » Fri Jun 01, 2018 1:16 pm

Dead Man Walking wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 12:35 am
Once a brand becomes "the latest and the greatest" the quality is sure to suffer. A recent example in my experience is Angel's Envy bourbon, which is aged in port wine barrels. I received a bottle as a gift a few years ago and found it to be a pleasant bourbon to drink neat. According to my local liquor store manager, it was unavailable for awhile. When it became available, I bought a bottle and discovered that it was a typical wholesale bourbon sold by many distilleries to commercial bottlers. There are many more labels for booze than there are distilleries.

DMW
+1. 80% or more of the the Rye whisky sold in this country is distilled in Lawranceville, IN

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whodidntante
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by whodidntante » Fri Jun 01, 2018 1:16 pm

Pajamas wrote:
Thu May 31, 2018 8:19 pm
It depends on what type of liquor and what you're using it for.

I have confessed here before that I used to routinely refill an Absolut bottle with whatever was the cheapest vodka on the shelf:

viewtopic.php?t=245073#p3847299

Of course I wouldn't have done that with whiskey because there would be a noticeable difference.
I suspect that a lot of bar owners do that. The temptation is great and they'll almost certainly get away with it for the life of the bar.

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Doom&Gloom
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by Doom&Gloom » Fri Jun 01, 2018 1:41 pm

We are on a family vacation with our two "grown" kids and their SOs. A few nights ago we went out to dinner, where I was generally expected to pick up the check (through no fault of my own). At the conclusion of dinner my son-in-law ordered a double-shot of tequila (to "shoot", not sip). When the waiter asked what brand, his deer-caught-in-the-headlights look was apparent until he stumbled upon "top shelf" to fill the awkward silence without asking what, how much or anything else. My inner Boglehead was so enraged that I still do not understand how I didn't make a scene.

No real point to this episode except that I would bet my entire net worth that SIL could not tell the difference between "top shelf" from the next-to-the-bottom brand the restaurant stocked. And, yes, I picked up the tab, and, no, I didn't look at how much that drink cost. I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I just looked at the total, added the tip, and paid it.

As for myself, "top shelf" has never held my interest. Mid-range or lower has always been sufficient. However, I do tend to snicker at a few of my friends who rave about their preferences for certain "top shelf" liquors even though the liquor cabinets in their homes rarely contain any.

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packet
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by packet » Fri Jun 01, 2018 2:15 pm

IMHO... vodkas in mixed drinks won't make a big difference in taste (tho it is there, just not big). However, my personal measuring stick happens the next morning. For me, Grey Goose is smooth on the psyche the next morn... :)

:beer Cheers,
packet
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CWhea1775
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by CWhea1775 » Fri Jun 01, 2018 2:26 pm

The NPR podcast on vodka was an absolute hoot! thanks for posting, we have a friend who has to drink Gray Goose and I can't wait to share it with her. For those commenters on wine specifically, there is a pretty empirical test to at least prove that there is a discernable difference in taste in wines - the master sommelier test requires that you taste wines from around the world blind. You must be able to distinguish vintage, grape varietal, wine growing region, etc. It is incredibly difficult, but it can be done. Whether the differences are "worth it" in price is entirely your own judgement. Sadly, I find that with age my palate is deteriorating and I can't really tell that much difference between a $20 and a $100 bottle of Oregon pinot noir - saves me a lot of money compared to past years.

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Doom&Gloom
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by Doom&Gloom » Fri Jun 01, 2018 2:33 pm

Regarding wines, I can discern a noticeable difference as prices increase. However, I have employed a LBYM mentality and sampled wines above a certain price-point only sparingly. What I don't know doesn't hurt me :beer

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Pajamas
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by Pajamas » Fri Jun 01, 2018 5:20 pm

whodidntante wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 1:16 pm
Pajamas wrote:
Thu May 31, 2018 8:19 pm
It depends on what type of liquor and what you're using it for.

I have confessed here before that I used to routinely refill an Absolut bottle with whatever was the cheapest vodka on the shelf:

viewtopic.php?t=245073#p3847299

Of course I wouldn't have done that with whiskey because there would be a noticeable difference.
I suspect that a lot of bar owners do that. The temptation is great and they'll almost certainly get away with it for the life of the bar.
Yes, I have been told by people who work in bars that it happens. I have also been at dinner a couple of times when the table ordered bottled water and the seal had already been broken when it was brought to the table, so they were presumably refilling water bottles. I also know of a restaurant in which the bartender turned the empty and near-empty bottles of all kinds of liquor into a five gallon bucket to drain and then used that to make a couple of the fancy fruit punch drinks listed on the menu.

megabad
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by megabad » Fri Jun 01, 2018 6:16 pm

To me it depends on your definition of top shelf and I would add that I don't do mixed drinks. For me Jack Daniels Sinatra is incomparable in non bourbon whiskey (I don't drink Scotch). I think Woodford Reserve is a fine bourbon to sip and an ok value but some consider that top shelf. For tequila, I like Patron as much as the next guy but I am fine with El Jimador and I think it is a great value (definitely not top shelf). For Vodka, once I get to Smirnoff/Eristoff level, I can't tell much difference, but Burnett's/McCormicks is just undrinkable.

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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by j0nnyg1984 » Fri Jun 01, 2018 11:07 pm

wfrobinette wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 1:16 pm
Dead Man Walking wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 12:35 am
Once a brand becomes "the latest and the greatest" the quality is sure to suffer. A recent example in my experience is Angel's Envy bourbon, which is aged in port wine barrels. I received a bottle as a gift a few years ago and found it to be a pleasant bourbon to drink neat. According to my local liquor store manager, it was unavailable for awhile. When it became available, I bought a bottle and discovered that it was a typical wholesale bourbon sold by many distilleries to commercial bottlers. There are many more labels for booze than there are distilleries.

DMW
+1. 80% or more of the the Rye whisky sold in this country is distilled in Lawranceville, IN
MGP makes some excellent liquor, lets not trash them for no reason. The fault lies with the companies who buy their liquor and put a BS story on the bottle with a huge price tag.

mancich
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by mancich » Sat Jun 02, 2018 5:14 am

I think it depends. if you drink certain beverages neat, you may very well notice a difference. If you mix with something else (tonic, cranberry, in the case of vodka), as many people do, I would say it doesn't make much difference.

Hypothetical taste test: line up 5 small vodka and cranberries. Have someone who extols the virtue of Grey Goose, Ketel One, or any other highly marketed vodka try a few sips from each one.

I'll bet my next paycheck they can't consistently pick out their favorite prestige brand. But it'll be a fun experiment! :sharebeer

Alf 101
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by Alf 101 » Sat Jun 02, 2018 12:16 pm

As for myself, across the board I take a mid-shelf approach; or it could be debated a low-mid one instead. Am I missing out? Maybe, but here's what I've gone with:

1. For vodka, after trying Skyy and Absolut, I've settled in for Luksusowa. It's Polish, made from potatoes, and the price was right.

2. For gin it was Bombay Sapphire or Tanqueray. The last time I went for the Bombay London Gin (non-Sapphire). This works for many cocktails.

3. For tequila I went with Olmeca Altos for the Plata, and Hornitos for the Reposado. This work for margaritas.

4. For rum I went with Gosling's for the dark, and Don Q for the light.

5. For Irish Whiskey I got Tullamore Dew. It was on sale. This comes out maybe once a year.

6. Scotch is never on sale, a factor which has driven many of my choices. Not sure if there's an entry level value in this niche.

7. Bourbon is the only thing that I don't mix. I like Knob Creek -- it's assertive. Buffalo Trace I also found good. Bulleit has been on sale, and was decent enough. While not a bourbon, but in that same sipping tradition, George Dickel whiskey I thought was very good for the price.

You see I've mentioned price a lot, as I selected most of these as they were on deep sales. I'm curious how mid-range this ranks to Bogleheads' tastes...

gouverneur
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by gouverneur » Sat Jun 02, 2018 1:15 pm

wfrobinette wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 1:16 pm
Dead Man Walking wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 12:35 am
Once a brand becomes "the latest and the greatest" the quality is sure to suffer. A recent example in my experience is Angel's Envy bourbon, which is aged in port wine barrels. I received a bottle as a gift a few years ago and found it to be a pleasant bourbon to drink neat. According to my local liquor store manager, it was unavailable for awhile. When it became available, I bought a bottle and discovered that it was a typical wholesale bourbon sold by many distilleries to commercial bottlers. There are many more labels for booze than there are distilleries.

DMW
+1. 80% or more of the the Rye whisky sold in this country is distilled in Lawranceville, IN
Big whisk(e)y fan here, and this is correct but a bit incomplete. It is true that the vast majority of rye, and also a lot of bourbons, come from MGP distillery (formerly known as LDI, it was once a Seagram’s producer).

Different bottlers pick out barrels from MGP and release them under their own brand/label. Most of the time, this is going to be overpriced because it has the veneer of a “craft” or “micro” distiller but may not have the quality to back it up.

That being said, a few bottlers have really discerning selection teams that pick out great barrels from MGP, and then there is significant value in their selections. Belle Meade single barrel selections and Smooth Ambler Old Scout are two such examples. Those are $60-80 and are a clear cut above solid $50-60 bottles like Blanton’s, IMHO.

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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by h82goslw » Sat Jun 02, 2018 5:19 pm

I buy Gilbeys gin and Luksosowa vodka...both very reasonably priced and good taste. One thing I splurge on is vermouth....Antica Formula is by far the best vermouth for manhattans (with Maker’s Mark bourbon). It costs 3 times as much as the popular Martini Rosso vermouth many places use, but tastes infinitely better.

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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by ChowYunPhat » Sat Jun 02, 2018 7:46 pm

We tend to buy the cheap stuff with a few exceptions.

One of our few indulgences is Laphroig scotch. There is an excellent 10 year bottle which is good value typically priced in the $40-$50 range....really peaty and a distinct flavor unlike most of the scotch I've tried.

Buy and drink what you like, and drink it how you like to drink it. Don't let anyone tell you what you drink. However, bear in mind most vodka is just ethanol with water made by a handful of manufacturers (think ADM, etc..) :wink:
A wise man and his money are friends forever...

michaeljc70
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by michaeljc70 » Sat Jun 02, 2018 8:39 pm

I think the other posters have hit on the key points.

Vodka, which I drink more than any other liquor, is pretty standard. Though I would disagree with those that say the cheapest is the same as anything better. I buy the Costco brands (they have 2) and they are perfectly adequate. Just don't but the wino jug at the drugstore.

When you get into most other liquors, especially ones that are not mixed, the variations grow. I think Scotch in particular has huge variations.

Wine there are definitely variations depending on price. After being a $5-$6-$7 kind of guy, after having better wines, you do get used to them and shun the cheaper ones. That doesn't mean you need to go crazy. I've found the Costco Kirkland wines to be good values. I've also found a local liquor store that buys closeouts and the wines on closeout and they tend to be around 40% less than elsewhere. I Google what they have to see if the discount is real vs. them just playing games.

People that order things like a Belvedere and cranberry are just caught up on brand names and marketing.

We do make some drinks with triple sec though and I do notice a difference between the cheap stuff and better stuff even if it is only 10-15% of the drink.

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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by AerialWombat » Sun Jun 03, 2018 1:08 am

ChowYunPhat wrote:
Sat Jun 02, 2018 7:46 pm
One of our few indulgences is Laphroig scotch. There is an excellent 10 year bottle which is good value typically priced in the $40-$50 range....really peaty and a distinct flavor unlike most of the scotch I've tried.
Glad to see another Laphoaig fan! Best of the Islays. And while I much prefer, and occasionally splurge for, the Triple Wood, their 10 year is, in my opinion, the best Scotch you can buy in it’s price range.

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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by HongKonger » Sun Jun 03, 2018 3:02 am

Single malts - worth it (a Cardhu or Macallan 21 please and I'm not a whisky drinker)
Higher end champagne, cognac, port (and wines in general) - worth it.
Gin drinkers have their own particular favourites.

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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by lazydavid » Sun Jun 03, 2018 6:28 am

rob wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 12:22 pm
I could never tell the difference between Vodka.
This is the way it should be. Vodka is a neutral spirit, which means it's supposed to be distilled pure alcohol, cut with purified water. If you can taste a difference between them, that means one or more is bad (poorly made).

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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by ChowYunPhat » Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:12 am

AerialWombat wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 1:08 am
Glad to see another Laphoaig fan! Best of the Islays. And while I much prefer, and occasionally splurge for, the Triple Wood, their 10 year is, in my opinion, the best Scotch you can buy in it’s price range.
You are clearly a refined individual AerialWombat :D ! Triple Wood is also excellent as well as the Cask Strength. I've tried the 18 but tend to gravitate towards the 10 year. :sharebeer
A wise man and his money are friends forever...

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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by AerialWombat » Sun Jun 03, 2018 2:20 pm

ChowYunPhat wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:12 am
You are clearly a refined individual AerialWombat :D ! Triple Wood is also excellent as well as the Cask Strength. I've tried the 18 but tend to gravitate towards the 10 year. :sharebeer
LOL. "Refined" is not a word people ever use to describe me. :)

You'll find there is a wide gulf between the Triple Wood and Cask Strength fans. It's an interesting dichotomy between the two. Do a side-by-side taste test if you ever get the chance.

10 vs 18... I just don't think the 18 is worth the extra money. Sure, it's slightly better Scotch, but if I'm going to pay the extra for 18, I'd prefer paying just a little bit more and getting Triple Wood. The good ol' 10 year is a perfectly fine Scotch, whether it's at 10am to get through the work day, or a 10pm nightcap. :sharebeer

Dead Man Walking
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by Dead Man Walking » Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:50 pm

One thing that I have noticed is that the quality of the liquor can vary from one bottle of a brand to the next bottle of the same brand. I drink Irish whiskey neat and have bought Bushmills, Jameson, and Tullamore Dew to indulge my habit. I've noticed variations in the quality from bottle to bottle within all three brands. Every now and then I'll get a bottle that is a little harsher than the average bottle of each of these brands.

DMW

ImaBeginner
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by ImaBeginner » Sun Jun 03, 2018 9:01 pm

I have noticeable difference in level of hung over I get from certain bottom shelf liquors. My experimentation includes first a taste test one night, then later a night of each to see if I have a wicked hangover.
Obviously this has to be repeated multiple times for each to overcome likely compounding factors. Generally speaking, going slightly over the lowest bar protects me. The rest I do choose based on taste, and just get what was the best tasting.

I think I should make an educational course for you all to spend 529 moneys on.

investingdad
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by investingdad » Mon Jun 04, 2018 5:51 am

Not a liquor drinker, but I will confidently tell you there's a reason Bud is $20 for a 30 pack while many of the tastier brews can run $20 or more for a 4 pack (e.g. Chimay).

Alf 101
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by Alf 101 » Mon Jun 04, 2018 8:56 am

Ah yes, this is true. I would say, however, that why we have a Personal Consumer category on an obstensibly financial oriented site, is that we're all interested in value. Many here are doing quite well, and could afford spending more, but unsure if and where it's worth it.

When looking specifically at liquor, if you've personally tried everything you either have a problem, an amazing constitution, and have to be pretty old. So I, and others, enjoy reading discussions about value opportunities to explore.

I can couch this in more specifics relating to the topic:

1. I have never purchased a bottle of Scotch. I've felt the price of admission to be too high, that there's no entry-level value. I know people attending $300-400 a head Scotch tasting parties, which seems a bit rich for me.

2. If you plant mint, it grows like a weed. I bought Don Q for mojitos. Is this too cheap? In this case, I have no evidence or sense that a higher price option would make a difference. And I don't want to buy a variety of different white runs to test this. I have occasional thirsty guests, but they're not that thirsty.

3. I never go higher than Knob Creek for bourbon. Perhaps I need to go on vacation in Kentucky to explore this more, but that's not in the cards anytime soon, though it's a perfectly nice enough state. My R&D budget is about $30; I need to build a case to go beyond that.

Not that I want to blow a lot of money on liquor, but I'm always interested in learning more.

wfrobinette
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by wfrobinette » Mon Jun 04, 2018 1:09 pm

j0nnyg1984 wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 11:07 pm
wfrobinette wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 1:16 pm
Dead Man Walking wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 12:35 am
Once a brand becomes "the latest and the greatest" the quality is sure to suffer. A recent example in my experience is Angel's Envy bourbon, which is aged in port wine barrels. I received a bottle as a gift a few years ago and found it to be a pleasant bourbon to drink neat. According to my local liquor store manager, it was unavailable for awhile. When it became available, I bought a bottle and discovered that it was a typical wholesale bourbon sold by many distilleries to commercial bottlers. There are many more labels for booze than there are distilleries.

DMW
+1. 80% or more of the the Rye whisky sold in this country is distilled in Lawranceville, IN
MGP makes some excellent liquor, lets not trash them for no reason. The fault lies with the companies who buy their liquor and put a BS story on the bottle with a huge price tag.
Wasn't meaning to trash. Just confirming the previous point.

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Alexa9
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by Alexa9 » Mon Jun 04, 2018 1:20 pm

I admit that top shelf liquor can definitely be better but at what cost, especially for an everyday drink or for a large get together. Many people mentioned scotch as one of the liquors that is worth the premium but is it really 10X better? What you drink says something about you I suppose and I guess that's why some people go for the top shelf just like they would choose a luxury vehicle or designer clothes. And then the problem is once you've had a Mercedes or a 15 year old Scotch it's hard to go back. If you can easily afford it, then I don't see a problem but personally I'd rather spend my money on premium gear for other hobbies (musical instruments, TV, outdoors, electronics, travel) especially as someone that drinks a fair amount (I'm not that ashamed 8-) ).

mxs
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by mxs » Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:39 pm

Vodka shouldn't matter much with price variations, unless it is a bad vodka. I really enjoy a flavored vodka, Zubrowka Bison Grass.

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meowcat
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by meowcat » Mon Jun 04, 2018 4:15 pm

Dead Man Walking wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 12:35 am
Once a brand becomes "the latest and the greatest" the quality is sure to suffer. A recent example in my experience is Angel's Envy bourbon, which is aged in port wine barrels. I received a bottle as a gift a few years ago and found it to be a pleasant bourbon to drink neat. According to my local liquor store manager, it was unavailable for awhile. When it became available, I bought a bottle and discovered that it was a typical wholesale bourbon sold by many distilleries to commercial bottlers. There are many more labels for booze than there are distilleries.

DMW
Something terribly wrong, there. To legally be labeled "bourbon" the mash cannot be aged in anything but new oak barrels. That's the law.
More people should learn to tell their dollars where to go instead of asking them where they went. | -Roger Babson

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Pajamas
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by Pajamas » Mon Jun 04, 2018 4:19 pm

meowcat wrote:
Mon Jun 04, 2018 4:15 pm
Something terribly wrong, there. To legally be labeled "bourbon" the mash cannot be aged in anything but new oak barrels. That's the law.
Looks like it is bourbon that is then "finished" in port wine casks:

https://www.angelsenvy.com/whiskey/port-finish/

FireProof
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by FireProof » Mon Jun 04, 2018 4:22 pm

In blind tests, even noted experts have proven time and time again not to be able to tell the difference.

Frank Grimes
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by Frank Grimes » Mon Jun 04, 2018 4:26 pm

FireProof wrote:
Mon Jun 04, 2018 4:22 pm
In blind tests, even noted experts have proven time and time again not to be able to tell the difference.
The difference between good stuff and bottom shelf rotgut? I can believe that with something like vodka but no way with bourbon or scotch.

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White Coat Investor
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by White Coat Investor » Mon Jun 04, 2018 4:30 pm

Nicolas wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:23 am
barnaclebob wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:16 am
Dead Man Walking wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 12:35 am
I bought a bottle and discovered that it was a typical wholesale bourbon sold by many distilleries to commercial bottlers. There are many more labels for booze than there are distilleries.

DMW
Yes, this is a huge trap to watch out for. Always read the label of a new bottle you are buying, especially whiskey. One bottle had some BS story about how they scour the country for "lost" barrels then blend them together to create something special and slap a $49.98 price tag on it. Others say something like "distilled in Indianapolis Indiana, aged in Washington state in the finest french sherry barrels in an abandoned salt mine near some special crystals for 4-6 months...$58.99" Thats gonna be a pass for me.
One can avoid this sort of trap by consulting reliable online whiskey review sites when considering a purchase. My favorite is http://thewhiskeyjug.com
You should read his review of Templeton Rye, it's an eye-opener.
Wow. That dude gets fired up about his whiskey. I wonder how much he drank before writing that review!
1) Invest you must 2) Time is your friend 3) Impulse is your enemy | 4) Basic arithmetic works 5) Stick to simplicity 6) Stay the course

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inittowinit
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by inittowinit » Mon Jun 04, 2018 4:34 pm

I am willing to pay the premium for top shelf single malt scotch (Caol Ila, Lgavulin, Talisker, etc.). For bourbon and most other whiskey I do not notice enough of a difference between mid- and top-shelf to pay the extra money.

One exception is Johnnie Walker Black, which continues to hit my sweet spot for quality and affordability. I have yet to find an off-brand blended scotch alternative that tastes as good but costs less. Buying it in bulk (1.75L) at Costco is the best option I've found (when available).

MJS
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by MJS » Mon Jun 04, 2018 6:37 pm

Vodka is 60% water, and some waters are _much_ better tasting than others. Multiple filterings and really good limestone spring water makes for better vodka, although whether $20 worth... I've never tried the Brita filtering trick, but it is reported to help with the really bottom shelf brands.

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