#153 – Whiskey Talk with Robert Santana
Matt and Scott take a break from programming to revisit a cherished subject — whiskey. Frequent guest and fellow whiskey connoisseur Robert Santana returns to offer his opinions. We’ll be hearing more from “Bobtana” in the future on training supplements, but today we turn to the more universal supplement of whiskey. The group discusses their current favorite whiskeys, old standbys, and which bottles have stood the test of time after years of exploration and experimentation.
The Go-To Whiskeys
- Santana: Rhetoric, McKenna 10yr, Woodford Double Oaked, Little Book
- Reynolds: Elijah Craig Barrel-Proof, Weller 12 (or Weller 107), Rhetoric, Willett (for rye)
- Hambrick: Weller Antique 107, McKenna 10, Elijah Craig Barrel-Proof, Knob Creek Cask Strength Rye (115 proof)
Many of these bottles can be had fairly cheap, under $50. These bottles have stood the test of time and consistently deliver a good experience, even after tasting the top shelf stuff.
Hambrick notes that you’ll see a couple different versions of Elijah Craig that look very similar. You want the “barrel-proof,” NOT the small batch.
For rye whiskey, Reynolds also likes anything by High West: Midwinter Night’s Dram, Rendezvouz Rye, Double Rye!, Bourye.
The Affordable Whiskeys
If the $50 price point is too much, these are some good bottles to get you started on a budget:
- Old Grandad 114 (make sure it’s the 114)
- McKenna 10
- Weller Special Reserve
- Eagle Rare
- Sazerac Rye
Hambrick has recommended Buffalo Trace in the past, but nowadays leans toward any of the above bottles instead.
The #1 Whiskey
- Santana: Pappy 23 — the 23yr is unique among the Pappy family being sweet and oaky at the same time
- Reynolds: Black Maple Hill 23 (with Heaven Hill 27 a close second and honorable mention to Pappy 15)
- Hambrick: 2015 William Larue Weller — super high proof (nearly 70% ABV), no surface tension, an experience, not a flavor
Reynolds and Hambrick agree that the alcohol in high proof whiskeys pull flavor out of the barrel in a way that lower proof distills cannot. As always, according to Hambrick’s rule just about anything over 120 proof is worth buying. If it’s 140 proof or over, Reynolds says you HAVE to buy it. It’s not a guarantee, but it might as well be.
What about Scotch?
Hambrick would “kick over a bottle of scotch” to get to any of the above whiskeys, but he does have some scotches they like. Reynolds points out that the low-end scotches are generally better than low-end bourbons. Some affordable scotches worth mentioning:
- Macallan 12
- Producer Trent likes Balvenie Doublewood 12 or Springbank 10 for an inexpensive bottle