Exploring the Bottom Shelf

Bottom ShelfThere are a lot of whiskeys out there.  What makes the difference between a $12 bottle and a $200 bottle?  Sometimes it is a lot less than you think.  There are gems in the weeds, and the only way to find them is to get in there and hunt for them.  I have found some average stuff, and I have found some surprisingly good stuff.  I will eventually review it all.  I have already reviewed a couple of them, the Jim Beam White Label that was exceedingly average, and the Evan Williams Black Label that was quite tasty.  There are a lot of lower shelf products to go and I have picked up three of them this week that will all be reviewed in time.  I will begin with the cheapest of the three.  $5 for a 350ml bottle and for what you pay I’d say not bad…

Ten HighThis version of Ten High was a good find these days.  This is the old 80 proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey version.  This is getting harder to find because the makers of Ten High, Barton Distilling, have decided to make it into a blend.  This means it is no longer straight or pure bourbon.  A blend takes part straight bourbon (24%), and part Grain Neutral Spirits (75%) that has been watered down to Vodka.  Thus the blend is only about 1/4 actual bourbon.  Fortunately I was able to find a non-blended version, before they are all gone. The nose on this bourbon is mild and has a lot of barrel char and oak.  The flavor is initially sweet, and kind of non-descript maybe honey, then turns peppery and has a lot of char and oak in the finish.  Not a bad flavor for the price.  Where it shows is in the body and structure of the whiskey.  The mouth feel is watery with a dry finish.


Decent flavor as described, a small finish of maybe 10 secoonds, and no burn.

On the Rocks

The burn is gone, the finish is gone, and the flavor is there, but the slightly sweet flavor that was there neat is gone, and all that remains is just barrel char.

With a Splash

Don’t do it!  Bourbon flavored Cool Aid!  My Sister lives in France and her kids would drink stronger stuff out of their sippy cups.

Ten High was initially distilled in Peoria, Illinois at the largest distillery in the US after prohibition.  So this is historical juice, but nostalgia isn’t enough to get my thumbs up.  I must say I probably won’t buy this again, although in my research there is a lot of heartburn over the fact that they have decided to blend this whiskey.  So it has its following, but to me there are better choices on the lower shelf…more to come..


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Categories: Whiskey

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3 Comments on “Exploring the Bottom Shelf”

  1. October 15, 2009 at 1:29 am #

    I wish I knew more about this drink. I see a plastic Super 8 cup is good for the bottom shelf stuff? 🙂

    • Don
      October 15, 2009 at 1:37 am #

      When in Rome… I didn’t think forward enough to bring along some appropriate bar ware!

    • Don
      October 15, 2009 at 1:38 am #


      Also, come back often, and get educated! Try one. If you are curious ask me. I can point you in an appropriate direction.

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