Bourbon - Need advice

What to get a bottle of Bourbon for my friend’s upcoming birthday. He drinks Woodford Reserve as a daily drinker. Anything suggestions for something similar for special occasions in the $200-$400 range?

A couple thoughts…Woodford Reserve is the official Bourbon of the Kentucky Derby. They make a limited release of 1L bottles every year for the Kentucky Derby. With this year being the ONLY year that they’ve ever moved the Kentucky Derby…I have to think that a bottle of their
Woodford Reserve Kentucky Derby 146 Limited Edition Bourbon Whiskey would be a pretty good gift for someone that likes Woodford Reserve.

It’s about $55/bottle.

On the upper end of your range Dale, Old Fitzgerald 13 yr BiB Bourbon is phenomenal.

Bourbon can be tough these days, and you’d be best off going through a local liquor store to see what they can get you. Retail pricing can vary greatly from release pricing, so that $200-400 might get you a bottle with a suggested retail around $100, but a liquor store might hook you up without gouging you. Another problem is that many of the big names (i.e. Pappy van Winkle) release in winter so by this time of year even a liquor store won’t have any access. I’d suggest posting in the beer and spirits forum if you haven’t.

As for actual suggestions, if you can get any of the single barrel, age designated Willett bottlings they are quite good. Old Forester Birthday Bourbon is another good one, but W-S shows pricing at many multiples of release price (lowest price of $500 vs $130 suggested retail). Personally I’m a big fan of 4 Roses, and their SBLE (small batch limited edition) is very good if you can find it. Pappy van Winkle is an obvious answer but will be hard to find. The Buffalo Trace Antique Collection has several excellent offerings. Frankly these are all excellent, and well worth their suggested prices. Any would make great gifts, but I have a hard time suggesting anyone participate in the secondary bourbon market.

How about the batch proof from Woodford? I’ve never had it, but I’m a fan of gift giving what people like and if he likes Woodford then maybe he hasn’t had or splurged for the barrel proof? If I remember they also did some different cask finishes awhile ago but I’m not sure if they are around anymore.

Blanton’s and Woodford Select are our go-to bourbons. The special Woodfords are great as well, and overall not that expensive $50 to $75). Edit: Blanton’s gold is about $130 about the same as Four Roses $140 – both about the limit of what I’d spend on a bourbon.

The really high end stuff can be hard to find (in VA, PVW is done by lottery), and honestly, I can’t seem to justify the money on them. I can justify a $200 bottle of wine over a $50 (or a $50 over a $15) because I can usually taste and smell a difference, balance, better overall character. I just don’t get that subtlety with the high end bourbon over the mid-tier. But that’s just me, I have friends that say the same thing about my wine rationalizations :slight_smile:

Edit, added prices and a note on the Woodford and Blanton’s Gold.

$60-$80 if you can find it. You may have to ask for it. A lot of times the liquor store may have it, but it is not on display.

Thanks everyone. Heading to a local store later today that was a large bourbon selection.

I’ll take a bottle of Blanton’s Gold for $130. Heck, I’ll take a case at that price. Sign me up. It’s on the NC ABC website, but it will never see the light of day in Charlotte.

Michael P. is right. The bourbon market is beyond scorching with the secondary market the most likely source for limited editions and obscene prices. Perhaps a local Colorado liquor store owner can point you in the right direction or get you in contact with a local collector that might be willing to make a deal on a special bottle. If your friend likes higher octane bourbons, the recent releases of Stagg JR and Elijah Craig BP have received high praise. Both should retail around $50-65.

Unless you are connected, all of the BTAC and PVW bottles will exceed $400 on the secondary market. I’m uncertain if it’s available in Colorado, but I really enjoy the MGP single barrel expressions from Smooth Ambler called Old Scout. I have a few 11 year and 13 year Smooth Ambler Old Scouts at home. Nice bottles that retail around $120-150 and can sometimes be found online at decent prices.

Good luck with your search.


You can often find GTS for 400.

Blanton gold isn’t super hard to source around 150 if you look around. I just don’t find SFTB or gold that much better than the regular Blantons.

I got those prices from the Virginia ABC site. No idea on inventory. A bit of a hike from Charlotte, but if you’re even driving north you can check inventory at individual stores on their website as well. Sadly they don’t have the Woodford Derby bottles, I usually get those from my wife’s uncle who lives in Louisville.

Michael, thanks for your response. If you want to point me in the direction of Blanton’s Gold, I would be very appreciative. Like most folks, I haven’t invested in Wine Searcher Pro, so I can only see Blanton’s Gold for $295.

Funny, I was going to mention in my post that the 2019 Stagg was hovering around $400, but add shipping and/or buyer’s fee at auction and it’s over $400. Once again, I’m probably not seeing the best available price and I’m not really connected to the underground bourbon groups, so there’s probably a little better price available somewhere.


Anthony, thanks for your response. I grew up on the border of Virginia in Tennessee, so I’m in the area sometimes. Although Blanton’s Gold is on the Virginia ABC website, it’s not available in any store per my quick search. If I’m not mistaken, Virginia does a good job of posting most limited bourbons as lottery items for Virginia residents only (which is how it should be). Mecklenburg County’s lottery is available for anyone alive. I encourage everyone to sign up.


Blanton gold isn’t sold in stores in the US except on a secondary market basis. I doubt the abc would have it. There are several sellers here who often have it for sale for 150-200. You can search cc.

Blanton’s Gold has been released in the US. Hence the listings on the NC and VA ABC websites.

as of this summer it’s releasing in the US. I guess they finally figured out the rights distribution issue

Most of the ones currently listed for sale are euro; I imagine the US release will be 750 mL as I don’t think you’re allowed to sell 0.7L domestically.

Per the NC and VA ABC websites, the recent or imminent US release of Blanton’s Gold will be 750 mL. The current available bottles from the US on Wine Searcher are 750 mL.

Is it crystal?

I see a bunch of ws pro that are 700, but there are a few that are 750. All of mine are 700.

Fair enough. The 4 best returns in the US on Wine Searcher are all listed as 750 mL, but appear to be mostly 700’s on the merchant website. It’s easy to check on the ABC websites that it will be 750 mL. Probably a little ahead of the actual release.