Buffalo Trace


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4th Jul 2015

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Tasting Notes by markjedi1

The Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straigth Bourbon is Sazerac’s best selling whiskey. But I am sure you have also heard of their Elmer T Lee, George T Stagg, Hancock's President's Reserve and Sazerac Rye. I have put a bottling of Buffalo Trace from 2013 head-to-head with one from 2014 that is bottled at a lower ABV. This is the lower strength version.

The nose of this bottling at a milder ABV is a bit fresher with more mint and citrussy notes and sweet corn. The vanilla is more like toffee here. It is a lot lighter.

It is oily and sweet on brown sugar, toffee apples and vanilla custard, roasted coffee beans and a hint of raisins. More spices than expected. Cinnamon and cloves. Soft pepper. But it is very quaffable.

The finish is medium long on spices and toffee.

This light version of Buffalo Trace is an easy drinking bourbon, but lacks some weight. The 45% ABV version is a lot more rounded. Thanks, Pat!

Whisky details







Pale Gold



Pete1969 wrote:

Nice review Mark, I find much the same for the 40% never had the chance to try the 45%. Have you tried any of the Blanton's expressions? Another fine bottling from BT specifically from warehouse H, the original is very similar in taste profile to the 40% but at 46.5% Original is pushed to a different level. The SFTB is a total different experience my bottle at 65.45% is the same product uncut and once you get through the alcohol (it is hot) is a revelation on every very small sip. I have yet to get my hands on any of the others and doubt I will ever sniff the Stagg, or Sazerac in the UK never mind taste them. I did see the Hancock's at one store but at £90 could not bring myself to face the wrath of the wife.

07 September 2015 10:53

markjedi1 wrote:

I have tried one Blanton expressions and liked it (http://blog.whivie.be/#post2633).

07 September 2015 16:33

Victor wrote:

I am not sure why so much 40% abv bourbon is designed to be sold internationally. I should think that the US companies know that much of the interest in US interest abroad is by connoisseur 'sippers'. Maybe the US companies are trying to replicate their domestic profit-center in the form of mixing whiskies. Maybe they are trying to conserve much of the premium material for the domestic market. Maybe they see that Europeans drink a lot of 40% blended Scotch and assume that Europeans prefer weak-proof whisky.

In any case, American "sippers" know that US 40% and 40.5% ABV whiskey is designed for cocktails and for ice. Americans buy a lot more typically on proof than on age statements. Americans may buy Wild Turkey 80 proof bourbon for cocktails, but if they are going to sip it they are going to go for Wild Turkey 101. And they rarely pay attention to age statements.

07 September 2015 18:16

Pete1969 wrote:

@markjedi1 Read your post with google translate I would give the bottle I have around a mid eighties there will be a bit of barrel variety and I do not find as much anise as you describe but that is part of the joy of single barrels.

@Victor it is all the more surprising with Buffalo Trace as you can not get the 2 premium Blanton's in the U.S. The rumour being that the barrel proof was a request for the French market. Which begs the question, Why send a weaker product over the pond?

07 September 2015 19:58

Victor wrote:

@Pete1969, as you probably know, Blanton's is a contract whiskey, whose legal rights are owned by Age International. Age International, including the distillery at which it is made, were purchased by Takara Shuzo, Ltd. in 1992. A lot of changes have occurred since that time (including, I think, transfer of ownership of the distillery back to the Sazerac Company), but Age International still owns the rights to Blanton's. So the Buffalo Trace Distillery and its parent the Sazerac Company do not make the decisions on where the various expressions of Blanton's are sold.

My best guess as to why the more basic and the more dilute products are shipped abroad by American distillers, is that they are attempting to sell to a broad general-interest market abroad and not primarily to connoisseurs, thereby hoping to build up their cocktail whiskey business. Why? Because that's where they make most of their money. And they make most of their money there because that is the volume of their production: the average barrels. The top 10% in quality of their barrels can only take them so far, commercially.

08 September 2015 15:08

Pete1969 wrote:

@victor I bow down to your superior knowledge on the ownership, the profit margin is a no brainier for BT if you can get away with diluting to a lower ABV and still sell the product why not. Blanton's will remain a staple of mine even though NAS the time spent in steam heated warehouse H works wonders on mash bill #2, I am hoping to get my hands on the eagle rare 10 soon as I want to compare the 10 year mash bill #1 and hope one day to try the Stagg, 2 Things in the way, finding a bottle and can I hide the bill from the wife. :-)

08 September 2015 16:48

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