So you want to start a whiskey collection, eh? There are five rules I like to suggest to people when wanting to dive further into whatever type of whiskey they like.
Rule 1: Stay on budget. I talk about budget a lot because this is a hobby people can get seriously wrapped up in. I have known people who maxed out credit cards, cashed in stock options, or live paycheck to paycheck just so they can buy whiskey. Have an extra few bucks a paycheck that you can just toss around? Decide on whether you want to save up and buy higher end bottles or more expensive allocated releases / limited editions. The number one thing I suggest not doing - buying secondary, DO NOT BUY SECONDARY!
Rule 2: Find a distillery you enjoy. In terms of bourbon, think of a brand you really want to get behind. (And might I suggest that it is not Buffalo Trace, just understand that you wont be getting far with that one on a regular basis) I myself enjoy several distilleries and love having several different types from each one. Brands like Jim Beam and Wild Turkey offer up higher age stock for a very good value, while someone like Heaven Hill offers up several bottled in bond bottles that are great for any occasion. You just need to home in on what it is you personally want.
Rule 3: Buy some damn store picks! Nothing shows your local store you appreciate them better than buying store picks. Find a couple of stores who pick really good barrels or brands you enjoy sipping. I am a huge sucker for Russell’s Reserve and Knob Creek Picks. Why you ask? Because I can walk into almost any store in America and buy one of those two store picks knowing that I’m getting no less than 8 years and 110 proof or 9 years and 120 proof, respectively, for no more than about $60 on average.
Rule 4: Trade your bottles. Have a friend who really wants a Blanton’s while you are sitting on half a pallets worth? Trade them. You never know what you might get in return down the line. Bourbon karma is real and I’ve experienced first hand myself. This is a hobby, everything about it is for fun and should be made fun. Help someone complete their vertical, help someone land their first allocation, help someone share your passion. After all, someone probably got you interested in this first, so pay it forward.
Rule 5: Open your bottles, share them with friends, and have fun. This is the most important rule of all. If you want to spend your money on brown water trophy pieces, go for it - I’m not tied to our bank account. This should be something that is made fun for you and you make fun for others. I know I have been on the receiving end of some amazing sample swaps an trades because of the kindness of someone else wanting to help me out. If you can’t enjoy your bottles then what has all of the hard work been for?
Expect more to come as I break down the fun parts of getting personal with a few people in the bourbon community. I plan to interview a few friends I have met through Instagram and learn more about their collecting do’s and don’ts.
For more whiskey related content or if you just want to chat, feel free to reach out to me @mydailybourbon on instagram