Boutique bourbons for newbies

Can anyone give me some suggestions? I would like to explore with bourbons that represent a range of styles.
Check out Smooth Ambler out of West Virginia they make a 7 and a 10 year that are both pretty reasonable by boutique standards. About $40 for the 7 year and about $55 for the 10 year. Cheers.
Kick ass on your liver #221
I am relatively new to bourbon but here are some options for you to try that I have really liked. Amazing to see the difference that a couple of years makes in the prices and availability of both bourbon and scotch. I hope we have at least leveled off for a while. Here is my list in order of my preferences

Blanton's - best for $$ IMO
Pappy Van Winkle (unobtanium)
Redbreast 12 (Irish pot still, GREAT)
Michter's 10 (hard to find, i have an unopened 20 hiding in closet)
Black Maple Hill
Willet (very good value)
Smooth Ambler 7 (haven't tried 10)
Woodford Reserve

If you want a range, you will want to check out different spots on the wheat-rye continuum. Wheated bourbons are generally sweeter (think Maker's Mark) and actual ryes (rye content over 50% of grain total in a bourbon) or bourbons with higher rye content (tho less than 50%) will be less sweet, and a bit spicier.

I am a big fan of the Buffalo Trace Company, which owns many different labels of whiskey in addition to their excellent Buffalo Trace labelled bourbon. Their Sazarac Rye is excellent though increasingly hard to find. I also quite like their Elmer T. Lee and Eagle Rare bourbons.

For cocktails, I tend to prefer a bit stronger proofs. Rittenhouse 100 Rye, and Heaven Hill Bonded, both at 100 proof seem to work better in cocktails in my experience. The Heaven Hill Bonded in particular is a stone cold bargain. Old Overholt rye is the reigning bargain rye for me. Though I use both for mixing rather than sipping generally. Maybe sipping on the rocks if you want to sip them straight.
I haven't's drank bourbon in many a year but when I did it was Woodford Reserve and Jefferson's Reserve. I always wanted to try some Four Roses but my liver and sanity won out. :-)

We have some true connoisseurs here.

All the best,
When first released, Makers Mark was a boutique brand.
If you enjoy full-bodied wines, try Basil Hayden's, about $40 for a fifth. Superbly drinkable, IMO.
I like a number of offerings from the Buffalo Trace Distillery, particularly the Pappy Van Winkle Reserve, and the George T. Stagg (they also make Blantons, E.H. Taylor, Buffalo Trace and others).
Not a fan of Basil Hayden, prefer Eagles Rare, Woodford Reserve and Makers orig Makers over Makers 46...never had Blantons Reserve though
Give a try to the Four Roses that NoNoise brought up. The Small Batch is a sweet taste with a wonderful finish. It is a blend of 4 different barrels from Four Roses and for the price is very good. Going to the single barrel you get a taste of what goes into the Small Batch. You can't go wrong!
Every time I go into my local store to buy a bourbon I get a very hard sell forced on me to buy Four Roses. Thus, I pass on it every time. If they'd stop hammering me every time I shop there, perhaps some day I might pick up a bottle. Until then, no thanks.
I've had 4 roses, it's pretty good; think I like the others I mentioned better but haven't a/b'd them....
This is not boozegon!!
I found two bottles of Michter's 10 this weekend, a rare find and so good. Also discovered Parker's Heritage which is excellent if you can get it.
Late to the party but try Catoctin Creek Rye. Made by a small batch distiller in northern Va. A couple fingers over a bit of ice is nice. Salute'!
Not to rain on anyone's parade, but read this:
Blanton's - best for $$ IMO

Truemaineiac:  Just tried your 1st suggestion (Blanton's).  I'm in bourbon heaven.  The only problem is it is VERY difficult to find.  Noah's Mill is next on my list.  

Ebm:  lighten up dude (everything in moderation).
Since this thread was revived by the OP thought I would jump on and rescind my rec of Smooth Ambler from 6 years ago. They were bought by Pernot-Ricard a few years back and no idea what they are like these days. I would recommend Wathens if you can find it, a cask strength KY bourbon retail should be around $45-50.
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