***WARNING! THIS POST MAY ONLY INTEREST FBGs IN THE MD AREA***
I've hesitated on bourbon because of the time I overdid it the only time I had Jack Daniels, but I'm also trying to avoid being a whisk(e)y snob and want to keep an open mind. Whenever we've gone to farmer's markets, craft/vendor fairs, etc., and there's been a distillery there giving out samples, I've tried them, but the this local product from Baltimore was the first one whose aftertaste stuck with me and was pleasant. After seeing all the vendors, I went back and picked up a handle. Most of the samples I've tried had the alcohol bite up front, which is the main reason I haven't gotten into them yet. The bite on this one wasn't too bad and like I said, the finish stayed with me a long time. At $45 at the distillery and $50 in stores, it's just outside of my comfort zone, but I won't turn it down if given to me.
I also stumbled upon Gray Wolf Rye, based in St. Mary's, MD at a farmer's market. As with bourbon, I have very little experience with rye, but I was convinced to try it when I learned that it spends part of the aging process in a port cask, which really influenced the taste, smoothed it out nicely. They only sell it in 375 ml bottles for now, so while $27 is a hefty price by volume, that amount in and of itself is palatable.