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Ancient Ancient Age 10 Star

Pleasant Featherweight Bourbon

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@VictorReview by @Victor

9th Nov 2013


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

All of the Ancient Age and Ancient Ancient Age bourbons are produced at the Buffalo Trace Distillery. The Ancient Age line bourbons are from Buffalo Trace Mash Bill # 2, the BT "rye recipe" mashbill, at approximately 15% rye content, compared to approximately 8% rye content of Buffalo Trace Mash Bill # 1. 15% rye content, while the higher rye content of the two Buffalo Trace mashbills, is really an average, medium rye content, within the bourbon industry, and approximately the same as the rye content used in the standard Jim Beam and Wild Turkey mashbills. Ancient Ancient Age 10 Star, unlike Ancient Ancient Age 10 YO, has no age statement, is sold at 45% ABV instead of at 43% ABV, and is sold nationally and internationaly, and not just in the state of Kentucky. AAA10Star is thought by many to be approximately 6 years old

The reviewed 1.75 Litre bottle is 3 years old and is 75% full. This review is of the whiskey in its first year of the bottle open

Nose: starts with sweet light high-pitched vanilla, then moves to a fine aerosol of pleasant baking spices, cinnamon/cassia, cloves, nutmeg. This is very ethereal, high-pitched with almost no bass notes. Very mild-mannered, smooth, and pleasant

Taste: just as light in the mouth as it is in the nose. There are very pleasant nuances of spice and refined sugar here

Finish: medium to medium-long finish, eventually losing the omnipresent sweetness and finishing on spice from rye grain

Balance: like others, I originally bought this bottle wanting to buy the famous Ancient Ancient Age 10 Years Old, which is so loved by the local Kentucky bourbon drinkers. At first I was severely disappointed at this, perhaps the lightest bourbon I have ever tasted...then I realised just how very very drinkable Ancient Ancient Age 10 Star is. Sipping AAA10Star is like drinking soda pop...you could just keep doing it indefinitely, without ever noticing that you were drinking hard liquor

I realised that I really did like AAA10Star, so long as I did not place unrealistic expectations upon it. How does 10 Star compare to AAA 10 YO? The 10 YO is a little more vivid, intense, and spicy in its flavours than is the 10 Star

I think that the reason Jim Murray rated AAA10Star 94.5 pts is that he places extreme emphasis, more emphasis than I do, on balance. I like a little more "oomph" in my bourbon, most of the time, and 10 Star really could use the balance of more bass notes from the wood than it has. This 10 Star is very nicely flavoured, and very balanced, albeit VERY MILD. If I thought like Mr. Murray, I, too, could easily rate this 94.5 pts

Ancient Ancient Age 10 Star is a very pleasant ultra-light bourbon experience. Yes, sometimes there is a place for that too

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Nock commented

I absolutely agree with your "reading" of Jim Murray. And my taste agrees with your: this is very balanced, but I prefer more "oomph!" I also am on the same page wishing for more of those bass notes. Do you think it simply is a matter of age? Where do those bass tones come from?

So George T. Stagg is a +15 year old mash bill #1 correct? Is there an aged version of mash bill #2 other then Ancient Ancient Age 10 year old?

6 years ago 0

Victor commented

In addition to the Ancient Age bourbons, Eagle Rare 17 and 10 SB are from Mash Bill # 2, as are Elmer T. Lee, and the various versions of Blanton's.

The bass notes would come from the barrels. My guess is that Buffalo Trace sorts out the various barrels for their characteristics and then vats together barrels to try to continue with their established flavour profiles for the various brands.

Perhaps the stronger wood-flavoured barrels, the ones which can stand on their own, mostly become the Eagle Rare 10 YO barrels, with some qualifying to age to become the Eagle Rare 17 YO. And perhaps the lighter wood-influenced barrels are sorted out for the various Ancient Age and Ancient Ancient Age bourbons.

The wood flavours of the Ancient Ancient Age 10 Years Old are also pretty mild compared to many other bourbons, though a bit stronger than in the 10 Star. 10 years is enough time for enormous wood influence in bourbon, so these must be chosen characteristics, and most likely heavily influenced by such factors as warehouse location climate characteristics and degree of barrel charring.

6 years ago 0

JeffC commented

Given the price for this, it is a true bargain and (to quote the terms of a thread) one of my favorite simple drams. Although only subject to very limited geographical distribution, I read recently that the 10 year old is being discontinued so let's hope that the 10 star stays around.

6 years ago 0

Victor commented

Whoa, Jeff! If the AAA 10 YO is going to be discontinued I better start talking to my Kentucky sources for one or two more of those 1.75 L handles. 10 Star is a lot of fun, though, and very inexpensive in the US. Yes, AAA 10 Star is a good candidate for a "favourite simple dram".

6 years ago 0

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