Wow. This is a first. A Bourbon? In our Whisky Calendar?
Take a look outside if you must. I can nearly guarantee that is not not currently raining cats and dogs. And the concept of a Bourbon in the KWM Calendar is not that weird, is it? Over the years we have featured whisky from Scotland, Ireland, Japan, England, Canada, France, Taiwan, and possibly a country or two that I am forgetting. I am not one hundred percent sure, but this may be the first American Whiskey in our calendar. It is definitely the first Bourbon. As a unabashed Bourbon lover, I am all for it. Hell, it took me four years of harassing Andrew to put some Bourbon in year, so I guess it is at least partially my fault.
Just remember that he still agreed to it, though!
Enough of that. Let us take a look at what is in the bottle for Day number four. Here we have Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.
Residing in Frankfurt, Kentucky, Buffalo Trace Distillery was once called the O.F.C. Distillery. Then it was called the George T. Stagg Distillery for a while. Buffalo Trace is the oldest continuously operating distillery in the United States, with records of distillation happening on the site going back as far as 1775. The first larger-scale distillery was built there in 1812 by EH Taylor, Jr. It is one of only a few American distilleries that managed to stay in operation during prohibition, obtaining a license to make whiskey for “medicinal purposes”. As you can see, the distillery and site have a lot of history, so much so that it was declared a National Historic Landmark in 2013.
The distillery was only recently officially named Buffalo Trace, back in 1999 after a large number of renovations were undertaken by parent company Sazarac. Buffalo Trace Bourbon made its debut in August of the same year.
Like many Bourbon distilleries and brands, Buffalo Trace releases a slew of American Whiskey under a plethora of different names. Many of these brands have been at the epicentre of the Bourbon and American Whiskey boom that we have been seeing over the past six to seven years.
The brand that gets even non-whiskey drinkers speculating and trying to track down bottles is Pappy Van Winkle. You likely won’t find a bottle, but guess who makes it? Buffalo Trace.
Ever heard of George T. Stagg, William Larue Weller, or Thomas H. Handy? All of these are part of what is known as the BTACs, which stands for the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection.
Blanton’s? It is so hard to get ahold of right now that we get calls from the USA from enthusiasts trying to track down bottles. Same with the brands Colonel EH Taylor and Stagg Jr. All three are made and bottles by and at Buffalo Trace Distillery.
Even Buffalo Trace itself and it’s 10-year-old sibling Eagle Rare Bourbon are hard to find in some states, being tightly allocated by their distributors. It is both a blessing and a curse for the distillery and parent company Sazerac. Every brand would love to be popular, but no brand wants to disappoint and infuriate prospective customers by being in limited stock or unavailable for large periods of time.
So what is the point? Is Bourbon in general – and this Bourbon specifically – worth the hype? For me, the price of a full bottle makes it well worth the hype and the money. Your mileage may vary though. Lets check it together by diving in!
Like Eagle Rare, George T. Stagg, Stagg Jr, and EH Taylor Bourbons, Buffalo Trace Bourbon is made using the distillery’s #1 Mash Bill, which is a high Corn/low Rye content mash in style. This means it is a very high Corn content and likely at or less than 10% Rye, with 3-5% Malted Barley making up the remainder. It is purportedly aged for 8-10 years before being bottled at 45% ABV.
Evan’s Tasting Note
Nose: Chocolate coated cherries, cranberries, peaches and vanilla cream, corn bread, red Twizzlers, and light wood spices.
Palate: Dried cherries, tart berries, fuzzy peach candies, cloves, the tingle of wood spice and cinnamon, the rich creaminess of chocolate milk, and the toasty sweetness of raspberry jam on… toast.
Finish: So very, very balanced. Spicy, sweet and juicy in all the right ways.
Comment: If you are a fan of Bourbon, you are probably well aware of Buffalo Trace. Or, perhaps you are like me and you forget about it for a while and need to be reminded how good it is. Sure, it might not be earth shattering, but in it’s price point it is damn hard to beat.
Day four brought us a Bourbon. What will Day five give us? See you tomorrow for the reveal!