Surprise Contender Emerges in $15 Bourbon Blind Live Taste-off Challenge


July 23, 2020

By Kevin Gibson

Fred Minnick knows his bourbon, top to bottom. For his most recent live tasting, he focused on the bottom – financially speaking – as he hit Liquor Barn and picked up 11 bourbons at or below the $15 mark.

“We’re all changing how we spend money,” Fred said, noting that even he has reduced his bourbon budget since the beginning of the pandemic. Because of this, he’s been more frequently reaching for the less expensive whiskey when the urge hits.

Fred added, “The whole point of this exercise is to show you don’t have to spend a shit-ton of money to get good bourbon.”

He then proceeded to do a blind tasting to decide which one is the best value for the $10 and $5 bills he plunked down to get it, providing insight to other bourbon drinkers looking to find a good value for every day sipping.

Here’s what he bought: Ancient Age, Benchmark, Evan Williams Black Label, Old Crow, Heaven Hill 6 year (Green Label), Heaven Hill 80 Proof, Cabin Still, Henry McKenna, Very Old Barton and Old Charter. Along the way, you get to hear Fred rant about Old Crow and throw some subtle shade at Woodford Reserve. And get ready for a surprise ending in which Fred has to, er, eat a little crow.

Five of the $15 bourbons didn’t make the cut. It was a close call in some spots, but here’s how the Top 6 played out:

1. Heaven Hill 6 Year

2. Henry McKenna

3. Old Crow

4. Old Charter

5. Very Old Barton

6. Evan Williams Black Label

The winner of the tasting then squared off against Old Tub Bottled in Bond in a members-only taste-off. To become a member and find out the results of that one, click the “Join” button just below the video on YouTube.