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Buffalo Trace

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@dbkReview by @dbk

13th Apr 2011

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  • Nose
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  • Taste
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  • Finish
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  • Balance
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  • Overall
    87

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Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is the eponymous, flagship bourbon of the Buffalo Trace distillery of Frankfort, Kentucky. Owned by the Sazerac Company, the Buffalo Trace distillery is responsible for a wide range of excellent bourbons and ryes; brands using the same high corn mash bill as Buffalo Trace include Eagle Rare and George T. Stagg. Buffalo Trace is a “small batch” bourbon—a term that should be taken with a grain of salt in most cases, as it has no legal meaning—and though there is no age statement on the bottle, Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley claims it is aged for eight years or so.

The nose is rich and enticing. Consistent notes include caramel, vanilla, oak, rye, brown butter, nutmeg, and oatmeal. More fleeting notes include green apples, plums, cherries, oranges, honey, and anise.

Like the nose, the palate is again rich, with consistent notes of spicy rye, oak tannin, butterscotch, bananas, and nutmeg. Occasionally, a hint of cinnamon creeps in.

Eagle Rare 10 year-old Single Barrel, Buffalo Trace’s slightly older sibling, is a touch softer, smoother, and rounder. Yet, it would be a stretch to call it “better.” Both are remarkable bourbons, brimming with complexity—one younger and more feisty, the other older and more composed. It’s a great distillery that provides both—and a brilliant one that provides the George T. Stagg to boot!

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10 comments

@Victor
Victor commented

@dbk, thank you for another lovely, informative, and accurate review. Buffalo Trace is delicious bourbon. In the category of another 'out-lier bottle' story, my first experience with Buffalo Trace bourbon was of a 5 cl bottle of it which I did not like in the slightest. That little bottle kept me away from it for about 2 years. My experience with it since then has only been very positive.

9 years ago 0

@dbk
dbk commented

Thanks for the kind words, @Victor and @whiskyshiba!

@Victor, I'm sorry your first Buffalo Trace experience was a disappointing one, but I'm glad you eventually made it through to the other side.

@whiskyshiba, I have not tried the Bowman Rye, but I hear good things about the barrel proof expression. I'm skeptical of the designation "Virginia Rye" as, while it's been aged in Virginia (hence the designation), it is from the same mash bill as the Sazerac line (i.e., Sazerac Straight Rye, Thomas H Handy Sazerac Rye, and Sazerac 18 year-old); it's a Virginia Rye in name only. In any case, the barrel proof is only available as a single barrel bottling through the Party Source, and I live in Ontario, so I don't know that I'll ever taste it. That said, @HP12 has tried it and reviewed it here: connosr.com/reviews/a-smith-bowman/…

8 years ago 0

UserRemoved commented

Though still a Noob on this site, I believe that @dbk and @Victor have the most eloquent, informative, and eclectic reviews of all things whisk(e)y.

I was a Single Malt only snob, but a few years ago was introduced to George T Stagg and blew my mind. It was my "red pill" moment. So now I am always on the hunt for anything Buffalo Trace, especially from their experimental line.

8 years ago 0

@dbk
dbk commented

Cheers, @whiskyshiba! Very flattering, indeed!

Buffalo Trace is perhaps my favorite distillery—not just in the US, but worldwide—so I can appreciate your fanfare. If you like the Stagg, you might also see if you can get your hands on a bottle of Thomas H Handy Sazerac Rye—it has many of the same "movements" as the Stagg, but in rye form. And if you're curious about their experimental work, you might also want to track down a bottle of the new Colonel E. H. Taylor, Jr. Old Fashioned Sour Mash Bottled in Bond. The backstory on that one is quite interesting: chuckcowdery.blogspot.com/2011/02/…

8 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@whiskyshiba, I also thank you for your kind words. It is indeed a very big whisky world, and there is always more to explore and to learn.

8 years ago 0

UserRemoved commented

@Victor, @dbk, Cheers!

@dbk, I have tried and do own the TomHandySaz. You're right, wonderful "movements." I have never heard of the Colonel Taylor. I 'll definitely be on the look out for some.

8 years ago 0

@dbk
dbk commented

Awww, shucks!

8 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

Double shucks!

8 years ago 0

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