It’s fall again and that means that the big distilleries are releasing some of their prized possessions. These elusive unicorns that everyone reads about it very rarely see out in the wild. The large distilleries release limited additions that everyone is trying to get their hand on. Recently, I was talking to a friend, and he’s changed my mind and what we should be hunting for.

The conversation started by him telling me that his brother was driving through Kentucky. He gave his brother a mission To purchase as much bourbon as possible for $100. What my friend was looking for was a new daily drink. You see his everyday drink could have been picked up for $40 bottle about three years ago and now cost over $120 a bottle on the secondary market; when he can find it. It was time for him to find something new. 

His brother arrived with 4 to 5 bottles in a couple of large boxes. My friend was hoping for the holy grail in one of those bottles. It took him a couple of weeks to sample each of the bottles, and he started sharing some results that he had experienced. Out of everything that his brother bought for him, there was one or two that piqued his interest. As he was describing some tasting notes to me and finally told me the name of the one bottle that stood out, I realized rapidly that I had just read an article about such a bottom shelf bourbon.

The industry is full of articles about the best bottles of bourbon to buy under $50, Great values for under $25, or these are the top 10 bourbons you should buy based on your bartenders recommendation. I often scan through these articles but do not see anything it seems to be a value to me; until today.

In two of the three articles, there was one bourbon that stood out. JTS Brown.  This Heaven Hill product has been around for a long time and usually sits on the bottom shelf. What my friend seem to have discovered is there a lot of value out there that people are overlooking.

I discovered the same thing in a bar in Chicago. As I was enjoying one of my favorite drinks, an old-fashioned, I asked the bartender what whiskey he chose to use for his old fashions. He indicated it was Benchmark Bourbon; a buffalo trace product. Keep in mind this was a $15 drink, I thought for sure that it would be a more expensive bourbon. What I found out was that Benchmark Bourbon was Buffalo Trace’s little brother that I’ve never grown up. Maybe not good enough to drink straight but it certainly was good enough to make a $15 old-fashioned. My palate may not have ever known the difference between the two.

Between my friends experience in my one unique encounter in a Chicago bar, I’ve come to realize that there are great values still out in the marketplace. We don’t always have to go looking for the most elusive when there’s so many choices out there. Just takes a little time and a little perseverance  to find a new friend to drink with every day.