Beginning your journey into whiskey and bourbon can be quite intimidating. Walking into an average liquor store will yield at least thirty to forty brands to choose from. Venture into a larger seller's store, you're looking at double the inventory. So where to start? The answer, in our opinion, is to start low in proof and low in cost.
Everyone knows the different distilleries and their offerings, so need to name them all. Most whiskies and bourbons are plentiful at 80-100 proof in large quantities. The main goal is to develop your own preferences and likes/dislikes. For that reason, stay under $50 per bottle before moving up in quality and cost. You will soon find that along with the vanilla and caramel, the oak presence is varied in all spirits. Do you prefer a "sipping" whiskey or a "chewing" pour?
Develop your palate over time and enjoy the adventure! Don't rush and buy a Weller Full Proof because you saw it featured in the "Yellowstone" series. Build your preferences. The reason I chose the $50 price point is that most producers have "high" and "low" offerings. A quick example is the Jack Daniel's brand ranging from $30 to hundreds. Most likely than not, if you enjoy a brand, you will stick to it.