Starting A Whiskey Collection

Sampling Jameson whiskey - pikalily food blog

While we live in Ireland and have an abundance of wonderful whiskies on our doorstep, we’re actually more fond of whiskies from the other side of the Atlantic. US based whiskies are better known as bourbon’s, and two bourbons we are fans of are Jim Beam and Blanton’s Gold. These are both famous bourbon’s from Kentucky, a state that is home to around 95% of the bourbons in the US (according to the Kentucky Distillers’ Association).

In fact, the state of Kentucky is home to more barrels of bourbon than residents? Since its creation in the 18th Century, bourbon whiskey has grown to become one of the most popular tipples around the world.

Used in numerous cocktails and enjoyed on the rocks, its rich taste is adored by whiskey enthusiasts. Bourbon developed a reputation as only being consumed by older men, but, over the last few years due to its use in cocktails, more millennials are starting to grow an appreciation for it.

Barley, Rye and Wheat

Made with barley, rye and wheat (as well as corn – which adds a sweet flavour), bourbon has an extensive creation process that involves fully fermenting the grains before distilling them and putting them into charred oak barrels. Sitting for years to age, its flavour intensifies.

The title of bourbon is taken from the French royal family – the House of Bourbon from the 16th Century, that ruled over a number of European countries and cities.

A great drink to enjoy in the evening after a long and busy day, when you are with your friends or by a log fire in the winter months, bourbon is a delicious drink that you can keep in the cupboard for years, without the worry that it will go off in an instant – like other popular tipples (if it isn’t open of course) such as wine.

If you’re wanting to start your own whiskey collection at home and you’re a whiskey enthusiast, you may want to invest in a premium brand that you can enjoy on special occasions. Even though it may initially seem a little expensive, a fabulous thing about whiskey is that you don’t have to drink it all at once – it’s a slow drink that is all about appreciation of taste and texture.

Jameson distillery tour barrels - pikalily blog

Picking a Bourbon

Blanton’s Gold Edition is often praised as one of the most delicious, smooth and rounded bourbons on the market, but can set you back a bit as it’s priced from over £70 a bottle. Aged for between 6-8 years and bottled in Kentucky, it has a strength of 51.5% and is a single barrel bourbon.

Smooth with initial tobacco notes, caramel and honey Blanton’s drinkers appreciate the complex taste. Featuring a quirky lid and packaging, each bottle is individually numbered. Making a great stand out piece in your liquor cupboard, it’s a fabulous start to your premium bourbon whiskey collection.

When searching for ‘Blanton’s Gold for sale’ online, many glowing reviews will come up. As a recipient of numerous awards, including the best “Original Single Barrel Bourbon” (between 1999-2004) at the International Wine & Spirits Competition, its popularity is undeniable.

Another of our favourite bourbon’s is Jim Beam, and if you want to try a vintage Jim Beam look no further than the Jim Beam Single Barrel which is available for around £35 a bottle.

Starting your own bourbon whiskey collection may seem a daunting task. Before you start purchasing them, however, make sure that you do your research, and if you can, go to a bourbon whiskey tasting. Websites like The Whiskey Exchange and the Master of Malt are also worth checking out as they have a wealth of knowledge on picking bourbon’s and other whiskies.

Over the past few years, whiskey investment has become more and more popular. As any good connoisseur knows, the longer you have the premium whiskey, the more it will be worth – especially for the more rare brands. Indeed, Irish whiskey has recently broke through the $1 billion mark on annual sales in the US, something Conor McGregor and his Proper 12 Irish Whiskey seem to be seeking a bit of recognition for 🙂

How Do You Store Whiskey?

Even though, generally, whiskey is thought to not go bad after a few years, if it is not stored in the correct conditions – it may go off. If you frequently open the bottle, place it in direct sunlight and store it at room temperature, it could result in oxidation – spoiling the whiskey.

It’s also important to store your whiskey upright so that it doesn’t have contact with the cork – this may cause it to react and make the whiskey taste horrible.

The second the bottle is opened, not only does its lifetime decrease to about a year but it will also drastically decrease in worth – so for the more premium whiskies, maybe make sure that you are only opening them on special occasions!

Having said that, you don’t want your investment to go to waste. As long as you drink sensibly, it’s good to share your whisky with friends.

A Few Handy Tips

You don’t have to go out and buy 10 bottles of premium bourbon at once. As time goes on your collection can grow – as you work out what you like. For those real whiskey fans, you can invest in glasses that are specially designed for the spirit. These won’t take any of the flavours away and can even maximise the smell of the bourbon.

It’s also good to have a varied selection. Now, this is easier said than done – especially once you know what you like. But, by having a variety of malts and brands, you can pair them with different foods, enjoy them in more premium cocktails and indulge in them on a variety of occasions.

Once you have worked out your budget for each whiskey, made a list of what whiskies you want in your collection, done your online research and been on a bourbon whiskey tasting (crucial to understanding the process and the different types of bourbons available), your collection can start to really take shape.

With Blanton’s Gold Edition as a good starting point, it can develop to be a collection that you’re proud of and that you can enjoy throughout the years.

Got Something to Add?

While we’re far from whiskey connoisseur’s, we are starting to gather up a bit of a collection and look forward to growing this over the coming years with our favourite bourbon’s, Irish whiskey and Scotch whisky.

Have you got a favourite whiskey? Comment below to let us know your favourite tipple.

Until next time, thanks for reading.

Helen, Nial and Lewis.


Welcome to Pikalily, an award-winning food, travel and lifestyle blog. We are Nial and Helen, a happily married couple from Northern Ireland, who share a passion for food and travel among many things. We became parents to our beautiful boy Lewis in 2017. Follow our adventures through the blog.

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