Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

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michaeljc70
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by michaeljc70 » Mon Jun 04, 2018 6:44 pm

MJS wrote:
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.
I forgot about that trick. I used to do that. I never bought the cheapest vodka though. Now I buy the Costco vodka and it is perfectly fine and cheap. Sometimes I "splurge" and buy the $20 one made in France (supposedly by the Grey Goose factory) instead of the domestic $13 one. I mean, if $13 for 1.75L isn't cheap enough....

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Nicolas
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by Nicolas » Mon Jun 04, 2018 10:42 pm

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Last edited by Nicolas on Wed Sep 05, 2018 9:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.
De gustibus non est disputandum.

new2bogle
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by new2bogle » Tue Jun 05, 2018 10:45 am

AerialWombat wrote:
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
I like the 10 yo just fine!

I've been looking for a place that sells the Four Oak, haven't found one yet. Any suggestions? Unfortunately I don't think I can mail order this.

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dumbbunny
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by dumbbunny » Tue Jun 05, 2018 11:20 am

IMO, yes. I won big at the craps table one night and decided to treat my friends to a bottle of Bookers Small Batch - comes in a wood case - for around $75. All agreed it was like swallowing a furnace and also agreed that less expensive bourbons tasted much, much smoother. I used the remainder of the Bookers in Whiskey Presses and in a BBQ sauce.
“It’s the curse of old men to realize that in the end we control nothing." "Homeland" episode, "Gerontion"

The Wizard
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by The Wizard » Tue Jun 05, 2018 12:13 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.
No they haven't...
Attempted new signature...

Frank Grimes
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by Frank Grimes » Tue Jun 05, 2018 12:40 pm

dumbbunny wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 11:20 am
IMO, yes. I won big at the craps table one night and decided to treat my friends to a bottle of Bookers Small Batch - comes in a wood case - for around $75. All agreed it was like swallowing a furnace and also agreed that less expensive bourbons tasted much, much smoother. I used the remainder of the Bookers in Whiskey Presses and in a BBQ sauce.
Bookers is barrel proof so instead of the 80 proof stuff to which you were likely accustomed, it was more like 135 proof. Way higher alcohol level as it is uncut with water.

However, higher proof = higher flavor concentration. So once you get used to the alcohol part it can be really enjoyable.

barnaclebob
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by barnaclebob » Tue Jun 05, 2018 12:43 pm

dumbbunny wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 11:20 am
IMO, yes. I won big at the craps table one night and decided to treat my friends to a bottle of Bookers Small Batch - comes in a wood case - for around $75. All agreed it was like swallowing a furnace and also agreed that less expensive bourbons tasted much, much smoother. I used the remainder of the Bookers in Whiskey Presses and in a BBQ sauce.
Thats like buying a performance car and saying its worthless it because you don't know how to drive it right and always spin it in corners.

sid hartha
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by sid hartha » Tue Jun 05, 2018 1:35 pm

Reading this I started to feel unlucky because I can very often taste the diff in liquor. Especially Scotch. That said price is not always the best indicator of what you will find appealing. Happy drinking.

Alf 101
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by Alf 101 » Wed Jun 06, 2018 7:52 am

Reading through and seeing this thread still around, I thought I'd chime in again. A question occurred to me -- how do people start drinking top shelf liquor?

Certainly the liquor many of us first enjoyed earlier in life was no high end. An earlier post shared a story where his son-in-law, clearly not knowing much about spirits, ordered a top shelf tequila. Whether this was because he wanted to appear cultured, or some strong sense of conspicuous consumption, who knows? But there must be other, more honest, motivations for people who like the "good stuff".

It seems the people who have stated that the top shelf is worth it, have to a large extent used Scotch for their example. I find it hard to imagine many people are drinking Scotch at age 21, but I'm open to being surprised. How did you get to the point where you'd drop $100 (+/-) on a bottle of booze?

I am not a Scotch drinker, not that I would be opposed, other than it's a fairly expensive liquor, and that same dollar amount would buy a lot of beer. This may be an uncouth opinion though, and honestly I wouldn't know where to start if I wanted to get into Scotch. Maybe it takes a trip to Scotland for it to all to come into focus...

Nowizard
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by Nowizard » Wed Jun 06, 2018 8:03 am

Definitely over rated, as are many items positioned as luxury items, such as watches, automobiles, homes, etc. They are not functionally superior than less expensive items in most cases. However, function often takes second place to perception, and the psychological response to similar items may result in a more expensive one being more satisfying overall.

Tim

Frank Grimes
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by Frank Grimes » Wed Jun 06, 2018 9:12 am

Nowizard wrote:
Wed Jun 06, 2018 8:03 am
Definitely over rated, as are many items positioned as luxury items, such as watches, automobiles, homes, etc. They are not functionally superior than less expensive items in most cases. However, function often takes second place to perception, and the psychological response to similar items may result in a more expensive one being more satisfying overall.

Tim
I mean, it tastes better. That's not just a psychological response to a luxury item.

barnaclebob
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by barnaclebob » Wed Jun 06, 2018 9:13 am

Alf 101 wrote:
Wed Jun 06, 2018 7:52 am
Reading through and seeing this thread still around, I thought I'd chime in again. A question occurred to me -- how do people start drinking top shelf liquor?

Certainly the liquor many of us first enjoyed earlier in life was no high end. An earlier post shared a story where his son-in-law, clearly not knowing much about spirits, ordered a top shelf tequila. Whether this was because he wanted to appear cultured, or some strong sense of conspicuous consumption, who knows? But there must be other, more honest, motivations for people who like the "good stuff".

It seems the people who have stated that the top shelf is worth it, have to a large extent used Scotch for their example. I find it hard to imagine many people are drinking Scotch at age 21, but I'm open to being surprised. How did you get to the point where you'd drop $100 (+/-) on a bottle of booze?

I am not a Scotch drinker, not that I would be opposed, other than it's a fairly expensive liquor, and that same dollar amount would buy a lot of beer. This may be an uncouth opinion though, and honestly I wouldn't know where to start if I wanted to get into Scotch. Maybe it takes a trip to Scotland for it to all to come into focus...
When I turned 21 the highest shelf I went was Jack, Makers Mark, or Wild Turkey. They were definitely better tasting than the well whiskey (belmont, old crow, ten high) at the bars. Higher quality name brand higher end tequila like Patron or Don Julio would be smoother when taking a shot and the flavor didn't turn my stomach.

Later my wife got me a scotch/whiskey advent calendar from Masters of Malt for Christmas which cost about $250 for the equivalent amount liquid as a fifth. The quality of the samples ranged from Jamison to Hibiki 17, a couple 18+ year and rare scotches that went for a few hundred a bottle, and a sample of a "hand picked 50 year barrel". The main lesson from that is that I liked most scotches and spending more than about $100 for a bottle didn't make it taste better.

This: https://www.masterofmalt.com/whiskies/d ... -calendar/
or this: https://www.masterofmalt.com/whiskies/d ... -calendar/
are probably worth it for educational purposes. This is based out of the UK so shipping may be pricey on top of this.
EDIT, apparently AB Inbev bought them out earlier this year and don't allow them to ship to the US anymore, what a shame. Or there are new complexities with fedex/UPS
Last edited by barnaclebob on Wed Jun 06, 2018 10:40 am, edited 4 times in total.

new2bogle
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by new2bogle » Wed Jun 06, 2018 10:21 am

Alf 101 wrote:
Wed Jun 06, 2018 7:52 am
Reading through and seeing this thread still around, I thought I'd chime in again. A question occurred to me -- how do people start drinking top shelf liquor?

Certainly the liquor many of us first enjoyed earlier in life was no high end. An earlier post shared a story where his son-in-law, clearly not knowing much about spirits, ordered a top shelf tequila. Whether this was because he wanted to appear cultured, or some strong sense of conspicuous consumption, who knows? But there must be other, more honest, motivations for people who like the "good stuff".

It seems the people who have stated that the top shelf is worth it, have to a large extent used Scotch for their example. I find it hard to imagine many people are drinking Scotch at age 21, but I'm open to being surprised. How did you get to the point where you'd drop $100 (+/-) on a bottle of booze?

I am not a Scotch drinker, not that I would be opposed, other than it's a fairly expensive liquor, and that same dollar amount would buy a lot of beer. This may be an uncouth opinion though, and honestly I wouldn't know where to start if I wanted to get into Scotch. Maybe it takes a trip to Scotland for it to all to come into focus...
If your end goal is to get drunk, then by all means purchase the cheapest liquor there is. The brand of vodka used in most drinks just does not matter that much. Same for tequila or rum in mixed, or dare I even say frozen!, drinks. For straight shots of tequila there is a marked difference in taste and "smoothness" when comparing bottom shelf to something a bit more expensive (but does not need to be at the Patron level). There is a fair bit of marketing too in the expensive spirits.

If you want to get drunk on whiskey then it probably doesn't matter which priced poison you choose. If your goal is to relax/unwind with something that suits your palate, then in this case the type of Scotch indeed makes a huge difference. Usually the best tasting ones are at least $50/bottle and almost never greater than $100/bottle. I have purchased cheap scotch before (Glen Ness comes to mind) and it just does not have the flavor profile of a Glen Livet or Glen Morangie (which are my go to "cheap" scotches).

zuzimb
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by zuzimb » Wed Jun 06, 2018 10:50 am

Alf 101 wrote:
Wed Jun 06, 2018 7:52 am
Reading through and seeing this thread still around, I thought I'd chime in again. A question occurred to me -- how do people start drinking top shelf liquor?

Certainly the liquor many of us first enjoyed earlier in life was no high end. An earlier post shared a story where his son-in-law, clearly not knowing much about spirits, ordered a top shelf tequila. Whether this was because he wanted to appear cultured, or some strong sense of conspicuous consumption, who knows? But there must be other, more honest, motivations for people who like the "good stuff".

It seems the people who have stated that the top shelf is worth it, have to a large extent used Scotch for their example. I find it hard to imagine many people are drinking Scotch at age 21, but I'm open to being surprised. How did you get to the point where you'd drop $100 (+/-) on a bottle of booze?
I had other people buy the expensive stuff that I would try. I have a friend that grew up around cigars and scotch, so he introduced me to the stuff in college. Between whiskey tasting events and my friends stash I've spent very little trying out some Mid/upper/top shelf stuff. Price of admission for some events was purchasing $25 worth of cigars I would have bought anyways. Was able to try some Scotch that would go for $60/ounce retail, unfortunately I don't remember the name(s). It was also done as a blind taste test, told what were could expect to taste and then try to line up taste with bottle and price.

I find the more expensive stuff I've tried to be better than the lower quality stuff... but I purchase mid/bottom tier for myself since I'm not in a position to be buying the "good" stuff yet and it's good enough. Things I'll sip are higher quality (bourbon mainly), and things I mix (just about everything else) is lower quality. I don't buy myself scotch because of the high cost for decent quality stuff.

It'll be a number of years before I'm willing to drop triple digits on a bottle or anything. Luckily bourbon is my favorite, and good stuff comes relatively cheap.
Last edited by zuzimb on Wed Jun 06, 2018 11:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

MJW
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by MJW » Wed Jun 06, 2018 11:00 am

Nowizard wrote:
Wed Jun 06, 2018 8:03 am
Definitely over rated, as are many items positioned as luxury items, such as watches, automobiles, homes, etc. They are not functionally superior than less expensive items in most cases. However, function often takes second place to perception, and the psychological response to similar items may result in a more expensive one being more satisfying overall.

Tim
What does "function" mean to you in the context of the thread topic?

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dumbbunny
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by dumbbunny » Wed Jun 06, 2018 11:05 am

barnaclebob wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 12:43 pm
dumbbunny wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 11:20 am
IMO, yes. I won big at the craps table one night and decided to treat my friends to a bottle of Bookers Small Batch - comes in a wood case - for around $75. All agreed it was like swallowing a furnace and also agreed that less expensive bourbons tasted much, much smoother. I used the remainder of the Bookers in Whiskey Presses and in a BBQ sauce.
Thats like buying a performance car and saying its worthless it because you don't know how to drive it right and always spin it in corners.
Guilty as charged.
“It’s the curse of old men to realize that in the end we control nothing." "Homeland" episode, "Gerontion"

mak1277
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by mak1277 » Wed Jun 06, 2018 12:06 pm

Alf 101 wrote:
Wed Jun 06, 2018 7:52 am
Reading through and seeing this thread still around, I thought I'd chime in again. A question occurred to me -- how do people start drinking top shelf liquor?

Certainly the liquor many of us first enjoyed earlier in life was no high end. An earlier post shared a story where his son-in-law, clearly not knowing much about spirits, ordered a top shelf tequila. Whether this was because he wanted to appear cultured, or some strong sense of conspicuous consumption, who knows? But there must be other, more honest, motivations for people who like the "good stuff".

It seems the people who have stated that the top shelf is worth it, have to a large extent used Scotch for their example. I find it hard to imagine many people are drinking Scotch at age 21, but I'm open to being surprised. How did you get to the point where you'd drop $100 (+/-) on a bottle of booze?

I am not a Scotch drinker, not that I would be opposed, other than it's a fairly expensive liquor, and that same dollar amount would buy a lot of beer. This may be an uncouth opinion though, and honestly I wouldn't know where to start if I wanted to get into Scotch. Maybe it takes a trip to Scotland for it to all to come into focus...
I started drinking "higher end" bourbon because I like bourbon. I started with Jim Beam in college and still get a bottle of that now and again. But I wanted to start trying different things, so every other bottle I buy is something I've never tried before. Some of the higher end stuff I really like, some doesn't do it for me, but I definitely can tell the difference between something I like and something I don't.

feh
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by feh » Wed Jun 06, 2018 3:33 pm

I always buy middle shelf instead of top shelf. Half the price and equally (or at least almost) as good.

People with really refined palates may be able to appreciate the difference, but even then, you have to ask if it's worth the increased cost.

Big Dutch
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by Big Dutch » Wed Jun 06, 2018 4:58 pm

The Wizard wrote:
Thu May 31, 2018 4:00 pm
And in case some folks think it's all an illusionary placebo effect in which you presume the 2x$ bottle should taste better, so therefore it does, allow me to disagree.

Go in the opposite direction and buy the cheapest bottles of generic gin or rum you can find and you may likely find they are UNDENIABLY worse in some ways than a decent midpriced brand.
I can easily tell this, any day of the week, double blindfolded.

As others mentioned, higher end brands may have subtle differences that some folks may not even detect or may even not prefer...
+1 :sharebeer

dbr
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by dbr » Wed Jun 06, 2018 5:08 pm

As far as the scotch department is concerned I would say choosing an expensive bottle has little to do with being "better" than just being something that one finds one likes. I have done that occasionally (choose a really pricey bottle), but don't drink a lot in the first place and generally am easy to please.

I would argue that in general it is about what one likes and not what is "better."

VinhoVerde
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by VinhoVerde » Thu Jun 07, 2018 1:45 am

I'm surprised I didn't see this thread earlier. 42 years of retail "adult beverage" experience here, mainly in wine but I've also sampled enough liquor to have a professional opinion. I've always tried to get the best quality for the money instead of the very very best. This translates into 95% quality of the top drawer at a lower price.
Example: instead of Roederer Cristal Champagne or Dom Perignon, I purchase the vintage Champagne versions of Moët Chandon or Roederer. They are about 1/3 the price of the prestige cuvees with 95% of the quality and a definite step up from non-vintage Champagne.
This philosophy applied to other wines:
Chardonnay: A good Premier Cru Chablis from France will run $25-$35.
Sauvignon Blanc: Claude Riffault Sancerre for $25+ or -
Cabernet Sauvignon:Phelps Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon for around $60. You could spend $100's of dollars in this space and not find anything significantly better.
Pinot Noir: Calera Central Coast. It sells for around $30 and can take on Pinots that retail for 2-4 times as much.
As for liquor:
Bourbon: McKenna 10 year old Bottled in Bond. This is made by Heaven Hill and runs for about $30-$35 per bottle. Also Weller 12 year old Boubon. Purportedly the same as Pappy Von Winkle but from less desirable places of the storage facilities. It's hard to find but is far less in price than "Pappy."
Vodka: The duty of Vodka is to be clean and virtually tasteless. Titos or Findlandia does the job at a reasonable price
Cognac: This is a passion of mine. Delamain XO Cognac is around $85 a bottle and is one of the best at any price. Elegant, light, and drier than most of its competitors.
Scotch- I don't like " peat monsters" so this selection may be controversial. Try Auchentoshen 12 year old. It's a lowland single malt and is triple distilled like Irish whiskey. Modest smooth peat character with complex fruit flavors.
Gin: Bombay Sapphire
Tequila:Patron
VinhoVerde

MattE
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by MattE » Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:34 am

meowcat wrote:
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.
I'll also point out that the original comment about Angel's Envy is factually incorrect. It was their rye line that they were sued over and is (or at least was several years ago) an MGP-manufactured product. They've never been accused of their bourbon product (which I personally enjoy quite a bit) being anything other than what it's claimed as.

feh
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by feh » Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:40 am

VinhoVerde wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 1:45 am
I'm surprised I didn't see this thread earlier. 42 years of retail "adult beverage" experience here, mainly in wine but I've also sampled enough liquor to have a professional opinion. I've always tried to get the best quality for the money instead of the very very best. This translates into 95% quality of the top drawer at a lower price.
Example: instead of Roederer Cristal Champagne or Dom Perignon, I purchase the vintage Champagne versions of Moët Chandon or Roederer. They are about 1/3 the price of the prestige cuvees with 95% of the quality and a definite step up from non-vintage Champagne.
This philosophy applied to other wines:
Chardonnay: A good Premier Cru Chablis from France will run $25-$35.
Sauvignon Blanc: Claude Riffault Sancerre for $25+ or -
Cabernet Sauvignon:Phelps Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon for around $60. You could spend $100's of dollars in this space and not find anything significantly better.
Pinot Noir: Calera Central Coast. It sells for around $30 and can take on Pinots that retail for 2-4 times as much.
As for liquor:
Bourbon: McKenna 10 year old Bottled in Bond. This is made by Heaven Hill and runs for about $30-$35 per bottle. Also Weller 12 year old Boubon. Purportedly the same as Pappy Von Winkle but from less desirable places of the storage facilities. It's hard to find but is far less in price than "Pappy."
Vodka: The duty of Vodka is to be clean and virtually tasteless. Titos or Findlandia does the job at a reasonable price
Cognac: This is a passion of mine. Delamain XO Cognac is around $85 a bottle and is one of the best at any price. Elegant, light, and drier than most of its competitors.
Scotch- I don't like " peat monsters" so this selection may be controversial. Try Auchentoshen 12 year old. It's a lowland single malt and is triple distilled like Irish whiskey. Modest smooth peat character with complex fruit flavors.
Gin: Bombay Sapphire
Tequila:Patron
VinhoVerde
Interesting perspectives in this thread. Your "reasonable" prices are my "no way in h*ll" prices. :happy

Alf 101
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by Alf 101 » Thu Jun 07, 2018 11:43 am

Well the vodka (Tito's or Finlandia) and gin (Bombay Sapphire) may be in my price range... :happy

It's interesting to see the range of opinions. In general it's likely fair to say that those on the Bogleheads site are generally more financially well off than average, but there's a range of tastes, interests, and consumer attitudes.

I will say that my wife handles all the wine shopping, and generally comes back with something that costs about $12 and has a bird on the label. With that as our baseline, fine wine may be wasted on us.

Like many, I do like bourbon, settling in at the Buffalo Trace or Knob Creek price level. Given that I started with Old Crow, this at least suggests some positive trajectory in taste. This is where I'm always looking for new recommendations. Practically everything else in the liquor cabinet is for mixing.

Scotch just seems to have the highest cost of admission to the party. What if I spend $40-50 for the Scotch equivalent of Old Crow (no offense its fans, but you know what I mean). I'd feel hoodwinked. Because I aspire to open-mindedness, I did take a quick look at the various stores and sales. I see Cardhu, Glenfiddich 12-yr, Glenmorangie 10-yr, Laphroaig 10-year, and Glenlivet 12-yr in that $40-45 range (tax included). Yet I know not enough whether any of these are the MD 20/20 of Scotch...

barnaclebob
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by barnaclebob » Thu Jun 07, 2018 11:50 am

Alf 101 wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 11:43 am
I see Cardhu, Glenfiddich 12-yr, Glenmorangie 10-yr, Laphroaig 10-year, and Glenlivet 12-yr in that $40-45 range (tax included). Yet I know not enough whether any of these are the MD 20/20 of Scotch...
The only one of those I haven't tried is Cardhu and they are all fine scotches. Can't go wrong with the Glenfiddich 12, it tastes just enough better than Glenlivet IMO to justify the $3-5 extra that it costs here. Laphroig is peaty so if you aren't ready for that it can be a big surprise.

MattE
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by MattE » Thu Jun 07, 2018 12:01 pm

Alf 101 wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 11:43 am
I see Cardhu, Glenfiddich 12-yr, Glenmorangie 10-yr, Laphroaig 10-year, and Glenlivet 12-yr in that $40-45 range (tax included). Yet I know not enough whether any of these are the MD 20/20 of Scotch...
Pretty much everything you listed is firmly in the "this is perfectly acceptable but not particularly distinguishable" category. With the exception of maybe Laphroaig which is known for being a bit more heavy-handed on the smoky\sea-salty flavors, you can drink all of those neat and go "Yep, this is scotch" without being offended, thrown off by harsh notes, or particularly wowed by any interesting\noteworthy flavor profiles. I personally keep a bottle of Glenfiddich 12 around for common consumption when I have friends over that enjoy scotch for card games\BBQs\etc. and a bottle of something nicer that's just for my own use.

Nowizard
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by Nowizard » Mon Jun 11, 2018 6:01 pm

MJW: "Function" just relates to what the object in question means to the individual. If its "function" is to provide a feeling of quality based on some comparison of various products, then top shelf may be meaningful. If "function" means having a cocktail with family or friends, then top shelf may be meaningless or saved for special occasions. The stories of how alcohol has been repositioned as top shelf are legendary. Maker's Mark is an example, and some articles have stated that there is an inverse correlation between top shelf Scotch and the cost of its production. Wonderful if a particular brand serves a significant function for an individual, of course, though the perception of what is top shelf and what is not is quite variable.

Tim

Nowizard
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by Nowizard » Mon Jun 11, 2018 6:05 pm

Frank: "Tasting better" is a personal preference, as various food preferences internationally indicate. What is a preferred taste for someone is not for another. That is a primary reason why there are so many different alcohol choices. We all, I suspect, look for food items that "taste better" to us, though cost, since "top shelf" is highly correlated with cost, is not necessarily an indicator of which items fall in what category.

Tim

reisner
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by reisner » Mon Jun 11, 2018 6:21 pm

On a NYT martini test, Hendricks came in first and Seagrams second; they never addressed what a good vermouth, like Dolin or Boissiere, can do for the drink.

I prefer Jim Beam to Maker's Mark and to many Irish labels.

Dewar's is a fine everyday Scotch. I find the Highland malts overrated, but after my first taste of Lagavullin 16 I asked, "How long has this been going on?"

I was once asked to help finish a bottle of Midleton Rare (Irish, $160). It was heavenly.

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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by queso » Tue Jun 12, 2018 8:38 am

Picked up some Laphroaig based on this thread. Holy cow is that peaty. Felt like drinking a camp fire. :happy Hopefully I'll warm up to it, but right now I much prefer Oban 14, Macallan 10 and Talisker 10. Still have the Ardbeg on my list to try.

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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by bottlecap » Tue Jun 12, 2018 8:48 am

queso wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 8:38 am
Picked up some Laphroaig based on this thread. Holy cow is that peaty. Felt like drinking a camp fire. :happy Hopefully I'll warm up to it, but right now I much prefer Oban 14, Macallan 10 and Talisker 10. Still have the Ardbeg on my list to try.
I actually happened to have Laphroaig that was offered at a gathering this weekend. I agree with you. It was good, but quite a bit too peaty for my taste. Perhaps that's why I've switched mostly to rye and bourbons over the years. I'm still willing to have more if someone else is buying, though...

JT

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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by barnaclebob » Tue Jun 12, 2018 9:00 am

queso wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 8:38 am
Picked up some Laphroaig based on this thread. Holy cow is that peaty. Felt like drinking a camp fire. :happy Hopefully I'll warm up to it, but right now I much prefer Oban 14, Macallan 10 and Talisker 10. Still have the Ardbeg on my list to try.
I bet by the end of the bottle you'll be loving it. Just have a little bit every couple of weeks.

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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by queso » Tue Jun 12, 2018 9:03 am

barnaclebob wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 9:00 am
queso wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 8:38 am
Picked up some Laphroaig based on this thread. Holy cow is that peaty. Felt like drinking a camp fire. :happy Hopefully I'll warm up to it, but right now I much prefer Oban 14, Macallan 10 and Talisker 10. Still have the Ardbeg on my list to try.
I bet by the end of the bottle you'll be loving it. Just have a little bit every couple of weeks.
I can probably go 50/50 Laphroaig and water and make my own BH version of Oban that lasts twice as long. :happy

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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by Frank Grimes » Tue Jun 12, 2018 9:28 am

Nowizard wrote:
Mon Jun 11, 2018 6:05 pm
Frank: "Tasting better" is a personal preference, as various food preferences internationally indicate. What is a preferred taste for someone is not for another. That is a primary reason why there are so many different alcohol choices. We all, I suspect, look for food items that "taste better" to us, though cost, since "top shelf" is highly correlated with cost, is not necessarily an indicator of which items fall in what category.

Tim
Ok no complaints there. Agreed. That is a big walk back from your previous comment which stated "Definitely over rated, as are many items positioned as luxury items, such as watches, automobiles, homes, etc. They are not functionally superior than less expensive items in most cases. However, function often takes second place to perception, and the psychological response to similar items may result in a more expensive one being more satisfying overall."

This seemed to belittle someone's "preferred tastes" as psychological responses to a perceived luxury good. I enjoy my $35 bottle of bourbon because it tastes good, even though it'll get me equally as hammered as that $7 bottle down on the bottom shelf.

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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by new2bogle » Tue Jun 12, 2018 9:33 am

queso wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 8:38 am
Picked up some Laphroaig based on this thread. Holy cow is that peaty. Felt like drinking a camp fire. :happy Hopefully I'll warm up to it, but right now I much prefer Oban 14, Macallan 10 and Talisker 10. Still have the Ardbeg on my list to try.
I'm surprised you like the Talisker 10 but find the Laphroaig too peaty. I do love both. Try some Glenmorangie - it's easier on the wallet and is an excellent every day drink.

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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by queso » Tue Jun 12, 2018 9:36 am

new2bogle wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 9:33 am
queso wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 8:38 am
Picked up some Laphroaig based on this thread. Holy cow is that peaty. Felt like drinking a camp fire. :happy Hopefully I'll warm up to it, but right now I much prefer Oban 14, Macallan 10 and Talisker 10. Still have the Ardbeg on my list to try.
I'm surprised you like the Talisker 10 but find the Laphroaig too peaty. I do love both. Try some Glenmorangie - it's easier on the wallet and is an excellent every day drink.
I like the Oban and Macallan better. The Talisker to me is between those and Laphroaig. I think I'll drink more of the Talisker and then try the Laphroaig again. Maybe I need to work up to the power of the Laphroaig. :happy

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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by new2bogle » Tue Jun 12, 2018 9:42 am

queso wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 9:36 am
new2bogle wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 9:33 am
queso wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 8:38 am
Picked up some Laphroaig based on this thread. Holy cow is that peaty. Felt like drinking a camp fire. :happy Hopefully I'll warm up to it, but right now I much prefer Oban 14, Macallan 10 and Talisker 10. Still have the Ardbeg on my list to try.
I'm surprised you like the Talisker 10 but find the Laphroaig too peaty. I do love both. Try some Glenmorangie - it's easier on the wallet and is an excellent every day drink.
I like the Oban and Macallan better. The Talisker to me is between those and Laphroaig. I think I'll drink more of the Talisker and then try the Laphroaig again. Maybe I need to work up to the power of the Laphroaig. :happy
Beauty of Scotch is the many excellent choices!

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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by dbr » Tue Jun 12, 2018 10:04 am

new2bogle wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 9:42 am
queso wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 9:36 am
new2bogle wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 9:33 am
queso wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 8:38 am
Picked up some Laphroaig based on this thread. Holy cow is that peaty. Felt like drinking a camp fire. :happy Hopefully I'll warm up to it, but right now I much prefer Oban 14, Macallan 10 and Talisker 10. Still have the Ardbeg on my list to try.
I'm surprised you like the Talisker 10 but find the Laphroaig too peaty. I do love both. Try some Glenmorangie - it's easier on the wallet and is an excellent every day drink.
I like the Oban and Macallan better. The Talisker to me is between those and Laphroaig. I think I'll drink more of the Talisker and then try the Laphroaig again. Maybe I need to work up to the power of the Laphroaig. :happy
Beauty of Scotch is the many excellent choices!
Which, of course, means the issue is preference and not "better." I like Talisker and I like Lagavullen, which is costly, and I really liked Scapa 16 year old, which is now discontinued. That was not a peaty whiskey but really something of its own, but I Iiked it and it was a bit costly. I don't think that has anything to do with top shelf.

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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by TonyDAntonio » Tue Jun 12, 2018 10:13 am

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
I did not like Evan Williams on my limited search for cheap bourbon. Makers Mark and, surprisingly, Trader Joe's bourbon work for me. I'm sure I could like more expensive stuff but not worth it for me. Drink what you like and if value plays a role...so be it.

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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by imareal1 » Tue Jun 12, 2018 10:15 am

Anyone try Johnny Walker Red Label? It's absolutely disgusting.

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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by MJW » Tue Jun 12, 2018 10:45 am

imareal1 wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 10:15 am
Anyone try Johnny Walker Red Label? It's absolutely disgusting.
I think most people that purchase it use it for mixing.

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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by Carefreeap » Tue Jun 12, 2018 5:47 pm

Thought this article about Aldi's $17.50 whisky was appropriate:
http://www.msn.com/en-us/foodanddrink/b ... li=BBnb7Kz

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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by lazydavid » Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:27 am

MJW wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 10:45 am
imareal1 wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 10:15 am
Anyone try Johnny Walker Red Label? It's absolutely disgusting.
I think most people that purchase it use it for mixing.
This. It is intended to be mixed with cola. Black is the lowest level JW that is drinkable straight.

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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by NextMil » Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:35 am

lazydavid wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:27 am
MJW wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 10:45 am
imareal1 wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 10:15 am
Anyone try Johnny Walker Red Label? It's absolutely disgusting.
I think most people that purchase it use it for mixing.
This. It is intended to be mixed with cola. Black is the lowest level JW that is drinkable straight.
The strange thing is that at that price point there are so many better non-blended scotch’s available too. I would never consider JW top shelf, but if someone did, then I could maybe understand OP.

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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by blaugranamd » Wed Jun 13, 2018 5:23 am

double post
Last edited by blaugranamd on Wed Jun 13, 2018 5:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by blaugranamd » Wed Jun 13, 2018 5:26 am

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?
You're comparing bargain to big name national brand, not necessarily high end. Try something like Hendricks or Aviator Gin, Eagle Rare, Blanton's, or Balcones bourbon. Dunno good options for the others.
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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by JDP » Wed Jun 13, 2018 7:59 am

Google "Aldi's Whiskey." There have been numerous articles over the last few days talking about how a couple of their whiskies were recently rated "the best in the world."

The two are: Highland Black Scotch Whisky for $17.37 and Glen Marnoch Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky for $23.39.

I plan on buying them.

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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by Nowizard » Wed Jun 13, 2018 8:04 am

Frank Grimes: My apologies if the last sentence of the initial response did not clearly convey both functional and perceptual issues were influential. The intent was to simply state that multiple factors influence preferences, some functional, some psychological, both being very justifiable with one or the other being primary for different people.

Tim

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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by BigoteGato » Wed Jun 13, 2018 6:49 pm

dbr wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 10:04 am
new2bogle wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 9:42 am
queso wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 9:36 am
new2bogle wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 9:33 am
queso wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 8:38 am
Picked up some Laphroaig based on this thread. Holy cow is that peaty. Felt like drinking a camp fire. :happy Hopefully I'll warm up to it, but right now I much prefer Oban 14, Macallan 10 and Talisker 10. Still have the Ardbeg on my list to try.
I'm surprised you like the Talisker 10 but find the Laphroaig too peaty. I do love both. Try some Glenmorangie - it's easier on the wallet and is an excellent every day drink.
I like the Oban and Macallan better. The Talisker to me is between those and Laphroaig. I think I'll drink more of the Talisker and then try the Laphroaig again. Maybe I need to work up to the power of the Laphroaig. :happy
Beauty of Scotch is the many excellent choices!
Which, of course, means the issue is preference and not "better." I like Talisker and I like Lagavullen, which is costly, and I really liked Scapa 16 year old, which is now discontinued. That was not a peaty whiskey but really something of its own, but I Iiked it and it was a bit costly. I don't think that has anything to do with top shelf.
Laphroigh is very much an acquired taste. Hated my first sip but ended up living it. I prefer Lagavulin 16 over it by a bit but it’s a lot pricier. Ardbeg is very similar and tastes wonderful. Current favorite is Carol Illa. Also from Islay and great tasting (surprised only one person mentioned it).
Blends are nothing to sneeze at. Not a big fan of Johnny Walker Blue, but very much like the Green (vatted blend; Caol Illa is blended in it). Favorite would be Hibiki (though too pricey after Japanese whiskeys became popular).

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Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Post by William55 » Thu Jun 14, 2018 3:54 pm

I will say that I do enjoy the taste of good wine but have learned that there are plenty of 20-30 bottles that taste just as good if not better than a 100+ bottle.

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