There is an old saying that the bitterness of poor quality will linger long after the thrill of a bargain price.
I have a modest "collection" of really good bourbons. No Jim Beam or Maker's Mark in the house, all really good stuff. Some of it rare and hard to find. The good stuff. Good bourbon is warm, and smooth, it may have a slight bite (from a high rye content,) it should have a vanilla and oak flavor - without the wood overpowering. I prefer a sweeter bourbon, a higher wheat, lower rye mash bill. I buy it to enjoy it, but I enjoy it slowly.
I discovered good bourbon, when I lived in Kentucky. It does not have to be made in Kentucky to be bourbon, but about 90% of it is.
Bourbon must be made of a grain mixture that is at least 51% corn. ... Bourbon must be distilled to no more than 160 (U.S.) proof (80% alcohol by volume). Bourbon must be aged in new, charred oak barrels. Bourbon may not be introduced to the barrel at higher than 125 proof (62.5% alcohol by volume).
The one above was a very limited release, single barrel, barrel strength. I will open it sometime in the future.