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The Best Bourbons Of The Year, According To The 2021 ‘Whisky Bible’

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In our desire to highlight the best bourbons for you to spend your hard-earned money on, we often look to awarding bodies and experts. You know, the sorts of folks who get paid to pick the “best bottles.” Do we believe that the experts and judges are always right in their selections? Of course not. But they do often lead to at least some cool finds for aficionados seeking out new drams to love.

For years now, the fall whiskey season has kicked off with the release of the Jim Murray Whisky Bible. The book has grown considerably over the years, with 4,500 reviews from Murray on whiskeys from all over the world. This year’s Whisky Bible added another 1,000+ bottles to the list as the world of whiskey expands even further.

Does that make Murray the be-all-and-end-all of the whiskey reviewing world? No. No one is. The industry is rapidly changing and growing with more diverse voices than ever before. Murray — while being a big part of the growth of whiskey over the last decades — is failable. In fact, he’s particularly embattled this year, over allegations of sexism. He’s also prone to palate exhaustion, just like other whisk(e)y tasters (myself included). Still, the man has tasted over 20,000 drams — that’s a whole lot of context to bring to the table.

The eight bottles of bourbon below are the ones that Jim Murray called out as “the best” going into 2021. Some of them are still fairly accessible at your local liquor store. Others are quite inaccessible — unless you’re a collector with a near limitless budget for bottles of booze. Still, it’s fun to window shop and check out what this longstanding expert has to say.

Bourbon of the Year — Stagg Jr. Barrel Proof

Buffalo Trace

ABV: 64.2%
Distillery: Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort, KY (Sazerac)
Average Price: $60

The Whiskey:

This expression also won “Bourbon No Age Statement, Multiple Barrels.” So, this is a bit of a two-fer. This barrel-proof bourbon has been lauded all around the world over the last year. Don’t expect the price to stay this low for much longer.

Tasting Notes (from the distillery):

“Rich, sweet, chocolate and brown sugar flavors mingle in perfect balance with the bold rye spiciness. The boundless finish lingers with hints of cherries, cloves, and smokiness.”

Bourbon of the Year Runner Up — William Larue Weller, 2019 Release

Buffalo Trace

ABV: 64%
Distillery: Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort, KY (Sazerac)
Average Price: $700

The Whiskey:

Okay, we’re already in inaccessible territory. This expression from the illustrious Buffalo Trace Antique Collection is one of the harder to find and more expensive bottles of bourbon out there. Still, the wheated bourbon is a masterpiece of craft and you can still score a similar version from Buffalo Trace’s W.L. Weller line at a much more affordable price.

Tasting Notes (from the distillery):

“Fragrant scents of caramel corn, new leather, plums, light toffee, and pipe tobacco. The palate tastes of marshmallow, salted almonds, nougat, figs, and dates. This whiskey finishes smooth, composed, and flavorfully sweet.”

Bourbon No Age Statement, Single Barrel — Elmer T. Lee, 100 Year Tribute Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Drizly

ABV: 50%
Distillery: Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort, KY (Sazerac)
Average Price: $800

The Whiskey:

Buffalo Trace continues to dominate with this special release Elmer T. Lee. The bottle commemorates what would have been whiskey legend Elmer T. Lee’s 100th birthday with a special high-proof version of the standard Elmer T. Lee the distillery puts out.

Tasting Notes (from the distillery):

“The nose brings notes of clove, vanilla, and old leather. The flavor balances fruit, honey, and vanilla with a light spiciness. A long and warm finish.”

Bourbon 9-year & Under — Bib & Tucker, Small Batch Bourbon 6-Year-Old

Bib & Tucker

ABV: 46%
Distillery: Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits (Sourced)
Average Price: $52

The Whiskey:

This high-rye bourbon wins a lot of awards. The juice is over 26 percent rye and is aged in a very low charred oak barrel, which lets the spirit shine a bit brighter than the wood.

Tasting Notes (from the distillery):

“Bib & Tucker leads with a scent of strong vanilla and sweet hay. And is accented by a whiff of sandalwood and mace. With a smooth entry, the bourbon is nicely balanced with a hint of pecan pie sweetness. It fulfills the promise of its nose before evolving into a warm, rich, spicy sensation. Bib & Tucker coats the palate with a complex, yet balanced and long-lasting chestnut finish.”

Bourbon 10-12 Years — Michter’s Single Barrel 10-Years-Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Michter

ABV: 47.2%
Distillery: Michter’s Distillery, Louisville, KY
Average Price: $130

The Whiskey:

This is one of those bourbons you’re still able to find for a somewhat reasonable price. That’s about to change. This bottle keeps winning big awards, getting heavy press, and is very limited each year. So, the price of this well-aged juice is going to climb higher very soon.

Tasting Notes (from UPROXX’s Expression Session):

“That oak comes through with a fresh maple syrup sweetness. There’s a sense of bourbon vanilla but it’s dialed back as the sip edges more into the bitterness of the charred oak with a rich toffee creaminess. The maple syrup, oak, and toffee carry the sip towards a warm, yet curt end.”

Bourbon 13-15 Years — Knob Creek 15-Year-Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Drizly

ABV: 50%
Distillery: Jim Beam, Clermont, KY (Beam Suntory)
Average Price: $115

The Whiskey:

Knob Creek 15 released this expression over the summer, and it’s been a hit with bourbon lovers. The juice is a 15-year-old bourbon that’s hand-selected from barrels in various parts of the rickhouse which have the exact right nuances according to the master distillers. The result is a well-aged bourbon that, while expensive, doesn’t break the bank.

Tasting Notes (from the distiller):

“After a decade and half of maturation, Knob Creek 15- Year-Old will entice the nose with delectable caramelized oak and luscious vanilla. Our bourbon will further soothe the palate with smooth caramel and toffee perfectly paired with toasted oak and light leather. Lastly, Knob Creek 15-Year-Old will finish with a warming spice joined by a slight floral bouquet.”

Bourbon 16-year & Older — Michter’s 20-Year-Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Michters Distillery

ABV: 57.1%
Distillery: Michter’s Distillery, Louisville, KY
Average Price: $1850

The Whiskey:

This bourbon has already hit that “unattainable” level. Spending nearly $2,000 on a bottle of any booze is an investment, not a party favor. Still, this juice from Michter’s is among some of the most beloved out there (with the awards to boot).

It’s no wonder it’s reached Pappy-level prices.

Tasting Notes (from the distillery):

“Intense notes of black cherry, rich molasses, honeysuckle, roasted pecans, charred oak.”

US Micro Whiskey of the Year Single Barrel — Woodinville Straight Bourbon Whiskey Private Select

Woodinville

ABV: 45%
Distillery: Woodinville Whiskey, Woodinville, WA
Average Price: $36

The Whiskey:

Woodinville Whiskey is a local, independent, grain-to-glass whiskey distillery that wins award after award for their spirits. It’s also a small-time Pacific Northwest institution that has yet to really capture the country’s attention as a great, cornerstone whiskey maker. That’ll change soon as this stuff makes its way around the country and people fall in love with the fine bourbon made in Woodinville.

Tasting Notes (from the distillery):

“This meticulous process yields a truly hand-crafted spirit with aromas of crème brûlée and spice cabinet, as well as notes of rich caramel, dark chocolate, and vanilla bean on the palate with a sweet, lingering finish.”

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The Advantages of Online Casino Welcome Bonuses

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When it comes to online gambling, the industry is thriving in 2020. Although casinos are banned in many countries, people still find ways to enjoy their favorite games of chance. However, considering the level of competition on the market, it may be difficult for a beginner to find a good online platform and take advantage of all offers. In this article, you will learn the benefits of casinos’ welcome bonuses.

What Is a Sign-Up Bonus?

As we have already established, the industry is growing rapidly and companies are desperately looking for new ways to attract customers. A welcome bonus is often used by online casinos to get new leads and players in the future. However, the best casino bonuses can be easily used to the player’s advantage. Here are the main reasons you should not neglect this offer.

  1. It saves your money

Quite obvious, right? Well, this is the main reason why you should always use welcome bonuses in online gambling: it is always better to not risk your own money. It is especially true for beginners. Since they have no experience, it is fairly common for beginners to lose their initial investment and be done with gambling for good. However, if you use your welcome bonus as a way of getting the basics skills, the chances of success will rise significantly.

  1. It allows you to try several games

Another common issue beginners face is a lack of understanding of which types of games they want to try: slots, roulette, baccarat, blackjack, etc. If you use your sign-up bonus, you will be able to play several games and choose the ones you like better. Moreover, you can take advantage of a welcome bonus on several online gambling platforms. That way you will try out even more options.

  1. It will make future gambling more profitable

Besides beneficial sign-up bonuses, good online casinos usually have great loyalty programs. For instance, the company may double up to five first deposits on the platform. If you invest 100 USD, you will get 200 USD to your account. More money — more games — more chances of winning.

Although a welcome bonus is a great way of upping your gambling game, there are a few things you should pay attention to. Firstly, a good bonus does not equal a good platform. Before choosing a casino, make sure that the company is legal and trustworthy. Since there are many scams right now, it is essential if you want to save your money. Moreover, check the available deposit/withdrawal methods and their terms.

We hope that this article has shown the true power of online casinos’ welcome bonuses and how you can use them to your own advantage. Follow our tips while choosing a platform and enjoy the best gambling experience.

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3 Key Mistakes to Avoid When Playing Blackjack

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Blackjack is the most popular casino game in the world. The card game, sometimes referred to as ‘21’, accounts for an average of 31 percent of all casino table traffic – this is consistent both online and in physical casinos. For reference, the second most popular is roulette (24%) followed by poker (21%).

It’s easy to understand blackjack’s popularity. It’s a simple game to grasp and offers players a mix of luck and skill: luck in the cards that are drawn, skill over how those cards are dealt and a player’s eventual hand. Compare that to roulette, which is based entirely on luck, and poker, which has a huge skill element to it.

However, while the beauty of blackjack is in its simplicity, there are also a number of complexities to the game, and as is the case with almost anything in life, you learn more from mistakes than successes.

With that in mind, here are three key mistakes to avoid when playing blackjack that can significantly increase your chances of winning, while limiting your losses.

Choosing the Wrong Table

Before a single card is drawn, being at the wrong table – whether live or online – is the first mistake to avoid.

First of all, each blackjack table will have different minimum bet requirements so avoid choosing one that is out of your budget. For instance, if you choose a table with a $100 minimum bet and your budget is $200, you might only play two hands.

Secondly, check the payout odds on the blackjack table. These are typically 6:5 and 3:2 and will affect how much gets paid out when you hit blackjack and land other bonus wins. Where possible, choose a 3:2 table as it pays out higher.

Thirdly, choose between a virtual and a live table. This is not so much a mistake to avoid but more comes down to personal preference. Virtual tables allow players to play against an automated computer, so you can play at your own pace, while live tables are usually quicker paced as human dealers are keen to move the game along.

When to Hit and Stand

As a general rule, most blackjack players know to hit when the hand is 12 and to stand when the hand equals 17. However, there are plenty of variables to consider that could influence when to hit and stand. Getting these right can really boost your chances of beating the house, while getting it wrong could prove costly.

One key move to implement is to always hit on a soft 17 – when the two cards are an ace and a six. This means that if you draw a 10 or picture card (jack, queen, king), then you convert your hand into a hard 17. It also gives greater flexibility if you draw a smaller value card as the ace can be used as a one.

While many players adopt a strict ‘never bust’ policy, meaning they always stand when their hand equals 12 or more, this can be ill-advised as it depends almost entirely on the dealer going bust.

Instead, analyze the value of your two cards compared to the dealer’s first card and weigh up the risk factor in drawing another card before the dealer draws their second. As a strict rule, if your first two cards equal 17 or more, then stand – anything else can be hit depending on the situation.

When to Split and Double

If you are playing in a blackjack tournament, either online or live, learning when to split and double can make all the difference to your chances of success. The same also applies to individual games of blackjack.

Click here to check the best tips on blackjack tournament strategies: https://extra.betamerica.com/casino-news/blackjack-tournaments-rules-strategy-and-where-to-find-them/

Splitting is when you split two cards when dealt the same value cards, so a pair of eights for example. Doubling is when you are given the option to double your bet after being dealt your initial two cards.

While it can be tempting to split and double at every opportunity to increase your winning, doing at the right time is the key.

It is not recommended to split when:

  • You are dealt two picture cards or two 10s
  • You are dealt two 9s
  • You are dealt two 5s
  • The dealer holds a 10 or picture card

It is best to split when:

  • You are dealt two 8s
  • You are dealt two aces
  • The dealer holds a 5 or 6 (as this is the highest probability of a bust)

Similar to knowing when to hit and stand, take a brief moment to assess the dealer’s drawn card compared to your own two cards and determine whether the probabilities are in your favour.

Likewise, knowing when to double down – when not to double down – can change the complexities of your blackjack game. A simple rule to know when to double is if your two cards equal 10 and the dealer’s card is between 2-9. Additionally, if you hold an ace, you can consider a double as these have the flexibility of playing as 11 or 1. But if the dealer’s card is an ace, ignore the double.

Conclusion

Blackjack may be a simple game but there are some important strategies to keep in mind next time you head to the virtual or live table. The game itself is still rooted in luck so there are never any guarantees to long-term success. However, by keeping these three important rules in mind, you can at least avoid making avoidable mistakes.

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Top 5 Entertainment Activities for College Students

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The life of college students is sometimes too complicated. They have to face tons of homework assignments that steal their time. Many students get stressed because of continuous learning. They seem to forget how to relax. If you’re a busy student, you should remember that you’re still young and shouldn’t waste this precious life stage. You can undertake some entertainment activities sometimes. Take your friends and organize funny games to unwind and let off some pressure. We asked writing experts from a professional essay service Smart Writing Service to share their ideas and provide you with top-5 entertainment activities for college students you may like. 

Who Are You?

Students, especially freshmen, don’t know each other perfectly. They may be taken by surprise when some of them tell something quite unexpected about their hobbies, preferences, and so on. If you want to know other students better, suggest playing a game called “Who Are You”.

Form at least three teams. If there are many folks, you can form more teams. Choose a speaker of the game. It may be even one of your teachers or professors. All groups will be given topics to discuss. The speaker is supposed to announce a new topic every few minutes. You may discuss and answer the following topics:

  • What is the greatest challenge you are facing?
  • What do you like or hate most about yourself?
  • What is your greatest value in life?
  • What emotions do you express easily?
  • What is the most valuable thing in friendship?
  • Who you want to become in five years?
  • What is your major objective for next year?
  • Is there something you want to improve about yourself?
  • What motto do you try to live by?
  • Where would you like to travel?
  • If you were to study abroad, what country would that be?

Students should write their answers on index cards. The speaker should gather the answers of every student and shuffle them. Afterward, he/she redistributes them randomly to students. Each person should guess whose card he/she is holding. Play this game after you spend some time together and already know at least something about one another.

Sentence Completion

Another fun activity is “Sentence Completion.” Most people like it because it’s commonly accompanied by laughter and good mood. It’s necessary to prepare a list of sentences. Those sentences should have a beginning, but with no end. Every student should finish the sentence he/she gets. Oftentimes, students give funny answers. At times, they are quite serious, and we can learn something important about other students. Here are several sentence beginnings you may choose:

  • Before I came to college, I was interested in…
  • When I was a child, I wanted to become…
  • The best moment I remember most about high school is…
  • My favorite pet is…
  • The things I value most are…
  • Five years from now I hope to be…
  • My greatest personality trait is…
  • My favorite subject at high school was…
  • If I could change one thing in the world, it would be…
  • My greatest fear is…
  • After I graduate from college, I…

The Reception Line

You may likewise try another entertaining activity for college students. It is called “The Reception Line.” Gather all the mates eager to participate. Divide yourselves into two groups. If you form more, it won’t fit the rules of the game. Each person talks to the person in front of him/her until he/she must move. The person at the end of one line goes to the end of the other line. This method makes it possible to meet new people. Thus, students will learn more about each other. You can make shifts every next topic or set a limit. For example, the pair should discuss 5 topics and afterward move to change partners. Here are some interesting topics to discuss:

  • Where would you like to travel?
  • What motto do you try to follow?
  • What is your favorite movie?
  • What music do you like?
  • What is your favorite hobby?
  • Why did you choose this college?
  • What do you like about college life the most?

Take Sides

You can likewise suggest a game, which offers only two options. It’s called “Take Sides.” Create a list of questions with two answers. Students should obligatorily choose one of them. Afterward, you may discuss the answers. Let everyone explain his/her choices. Thus, you’ll learn more about each other, and it will bring you closer. Here are several suggestions:

  • Watermelon or banana?
  • Sweat or bitter?
  • Short trips every weekend or a journey around the world for three months?
  • Partying or hiking?
  • Listen or speak?
  • Rock or pop?
  • Morning or night?
  • Superman or Batman?
  • Robocop or Terminator?
  • Harry Potter or the Lord of the Rings?
  • Los Angeles or New York?
  • Liberal or conservative?
  • American football or ice hockey?

My Most Embarrassing Moment

You can likewise tell each other about the most embarrassing moments. It’s important to be honest and don’t imagine a story that never took place. All the participants should agree on this term. Commonly, it is a very entertaining activity. Students tell funny stories they’ve been through. It commonly makes them closer.

These activities for college students are very simple to follow. They are really entertaining. Mind that we have mentioned only 5 of them. However, you can try a hundred activities more. Use our examples to have fun and relax. They may inspire you and your friends to look for other entertaining activities.

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