In this age of limited releases, retail lotteries, Pappy mania, declining quality and rising prices, it's good to remember that there is still some great, consistent, affordable whiskey out there. I don't write about these whiskeys as much because, well, it would be boring to write about the same readily available whiskey all the time, but every once in a while, it's good to take some time to be thankful for the stuff that doesn't require hustling your retailer or taking out a second mortgage.
For Thanksgiving, I'm thankful for these great spirits:
- Elijah Craig 12 year old ($30). When I do novice bourbon tastings, I lead people through four or five bourbons and Elijah Craig 12 is almost always the consensus favorite. It's rich, complex and delicious. Yes, the price has gone up about $10 in the past few years, but it's still a great deal.
- George Dickel No. 12 ($23). Oaky, minerally and unique, Dickel is still widely underappreciated, and the 12 is just about perfect. It's great neat and makes an awesome Manhattan. I would easily choose it over the more expensive Barrel Select.
- High West Double Rye ($40). With shortages of almost everything these days, it amazes me that I can almost always find plenty of High West offerings on the shelf. The original Rendezvous Rye is still my favorite of their current line up, but as far as deals go, you can't do much better than Double Rye.
- Smooth Ambler. I haven't been a big fan of their standard brands, but the private barrel picks of MGP bourbon from this West Virginia distiller/bottler are excellent, reasonably priced, and pretty easy to find, like the Faultline Bourbon for K&L.
- Glenfiddich 12 ($27). I've probably had more of this than any other single whiskey. Glenfiddich 12 continues to save me from plonk at airports, hotel bars, conventions, weddings and other booze deserts. It's always there and always good.
- Brandy. I know I've been a broken record about the golden age of brandy we are in, but to my mind, brandy is the best cure for the whiskey doldrums.
Which whiskeys (or other spirits) are you thankful for?