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Buffalo Trace White Dog Mash #1

Hair Of The White Dog

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@talexanderReview by @talexander

15th Aug 2012


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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So I guess the LCBO had some leftover bottles from a bourbon event, as I was able to order two Buffalo Trace bottlings - and this one is a real treat. White Dog is essentially the "new make" of Scotland - the clear, unaged distillate, straight off the still. Essentially, a vodka of sorts, though one made from a mash of corn, rye and malted barley (as opposed to a single grain or even potato). According to the label, this is how whiskey was enjoyed more than 200 years ago.

Buffalo Trace is perhaps the most exciting American distillery, with experimental bottlings, a wide range of brands, and a history dating back to 1857 when it was established by the Blanton family. Many of their brands, such as E.H. Taylor, Blanton's and George T. Stagg are named after past distillery owners. As far as I know, this is the only new make spirit bottled and sold by any whisk(e)y distillery, though if anyone knows of any other, I'd love to hear about it.

The colour is, of course, completely clear. On the nose, I immediately get buttered popcorn. There is also anise, rubbing alcohol...and pistachios? Hmm. There is a sweet nuttiness I can't quite put my finger on. Sourdough, not yet baked. Water accentuates the buttered popcorn notes. A very complex nose.

On the palate, an instant hit of alcohol numbing the mouth (remember, this is 62.5%!) Sour and mouth-drying, but in a good way. More rye in the mouth than on the nose, but you also get the corn and malt,as well as some citrus. Also rubber and petroleum, a very chemical taste (though it's as natural as can be) but, again, in a good way. Water brings out some maltiness.

The finish is very long, as you can expect, with a bit of a burn (but not as much as you might expect). Not unlike a rough vodka but more flavourful, with toasted almonds and a trace of bacon fat.

The only other new make spirit I've ever been able to sit and sip was at the Macallan distillery, when I visited in May. It was very good but the Buffalo Trace White Dog is more complex, perhaps owing to the three grains in the mashbill (compared to Macallan's single malt distillate). The Macallan was much fruitier and somehow cleaner - closer to a vodka, in a way - perhaps owing to the small stills. But I do love this White Dog, it's quite a puppy (and as young a puppy as can be!)

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Victor commented

@talexander, I am delighted that you have enjoyed the BT White Dog Mash #1. I like it quite a bit too, when in the proper White Dog sampling sort of frame of mind. I will say, though, that out of 130 reviews I have done on Connosr to date, in my giving of the White Dog Mash #1 a score of 85, a bit lower than the score which you have given it, this has been the only review in which I have elicited negative feedback from a couple of our Connosr confreres. Enjoying White Dog does require the proper frame of mind. Not everyone is willing to give it a try.

10 years ago 0

talexander commented

@Victor, you are absolutely right. It's not a whiskey and doesn't really taste like a whiskey, so definitely not for all whisky lovers. I tried to evaluate it on its own terms, rather than comparing it to whisky or other spirits (the closest non-new-make spirit it resembles is a Canadian vodka from the Still Water distillery). It is not a beverage I can have more than two drams at a time. By the way, I know from your review that you love it neat, but did you try it with a little water? I found the alcohol too overpowering without a little water; and it also brought out more flavour elements.

10 years ago 0

Victor commented

@talexander, I tried the White Dog, Mash #1 with some water and really loved it. Both nose and palate were richer, smoother, and somewhat more flavourful. Oddly, my now year+ opened bottle seems to have actually gotten sweeter, rather than more sour. I am not at all sure how that could be chemically possible, but it is a welcome development. Yummy, but still, a pleasure requiring the proper non-wood-mellowed frame of mind to enjoy it.

10 years ago 0

MaltluvRNDixie commented

I have found an old friend in BT. First taste took me back to my school days and an old standby Ancient Age. I won't bore here with details, but I was spot on. This is my favorite bourbon and I highly recommend it. I found a store in Nashville that gets a single barrel bottling and have found some nice variations on the base. Try it, a refreshing and tasty bouron.

10 years ago 0

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