Bourbon Buffalo Trace Bourbon

Published on March 6th, 2013 | by

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Buffalo Trace Bourbon Review

History:

Buffalo Trace Distilleries is the oldest continuously operating distillery in America. Records indicate the making of bourbon since 1774 shipping it down the Mississippi River. Even during the Prohibition they were permitted to operate to make whiskey for “medicinal purposes.” The site for Buffalo Trace Distilleries was picked because of its location on the Kentucky River. Buffalo actually forged a trail thru the area where the distilling site is located, which led to the naming of this bourbon. The distillery is located in Frankfort, Kentucky.

Buffalo Trace Bourbon has been made since 1999 using local grains. Master Distiller, Harlen Wheatley, oversees the process of making the bourbon. They use at least 51% Yellow #2 Corn, Distillers Grade Rye, and Malted Barley. All the bourbon is double distilled to ensure a clean taste. In accordance of rules regarding the making of bourbon, they use New White Oak Barrels which they procure 90% of the wood from the Ozark Mountains. They are also the only distillery to age their wood for at least 6 months before making their barrels. They go with a fairly heavy char to ensure a bold flavor. They age their bourbon for at least 8 years to ensure their goal of a nice, sweet and smooth, and slightly spicy flavor.

To learn more about Buffalo Trace check out their site

Initial Thoughts:

When I’m looking to enjoy some quality bourbon at a good value, Buffalo Trace is always a great option. It’s a solid bourbon at a great price. It’s readily available. You can find it at about any liquor store. It’s good for mixing and it’s not too strong or bold for others that you might be sharing your bourbon with. Opening the bottle is not too taxing. There’s an aluminum cover over the cork and portion of the neck of the bottle. It’s easily removed with the pull tab. Uncorking the bottle is always a treat. Whether you are enjoying a quiet nip by yourself after a long work day or starting a fun night with friends that sound signifies the beginning of an enjoyable experience.

Aroma:

For the purposes of reviewing bourbon, I always like to use a cognac snifter. It helps to amplify aromas and flavors. Buffalo Trace has a nice, bold aroma. At 45%, I was certainly aware of the alcohol’s presence within the nectar in my glass. As I took some sniffs the strongest aromas were Maple Syrup and Vanilla. Secondary aromas were toffee and fruit notes with pepper and mint hints.

Buffalo Trace Bourbon - Snifter Glass

Buffalo Trace Bourbon – Snifter Glass

Texture and Flavor:

One of the many reasons that I love Buffalo Trace at the price point is the strong, robust taste. Upon first sip, it coats my mouth and leaves a creamy texture. As the bourbon rolls around on my palate the rich flavor settles in and flavors start to pop. Maple Syrup, earthly molasses, and vanilla are the most present especially at the front and sides of my palate. There is also a very pleasant caramel flavor that rests right in the middle of the taste as well. As I swallow, there is a leathery, pepper taste.

Finish:

After consuming Buffalo Trace I’m left with a very pleasant feeling. The sweet flavors all have a very earthy origination. It feels as if sweet molasses is lingering on my palate. I really enjoy bourbons that have a pleasant, lingering taste. On this particular day, I had a stressful and long day at work. The warmth in my chest from the bold flavor and alcohol coupled with the sweet lingering taste certainly did not discourage me from sampling this bourbon further to ensure that I pegged the tastes accurately.

Best Way(s) to Consume:

Although I usually prefer bourbon neat, I’m certainly not opposed to other avenues of consumption. There is always an appropriate way to drink bourbon depending on the time or event. Considering the price point for Buffalo Trace, it’s very pleasant to drink neat in a snifter glass. I usually prefer this when I’m only going to have
one drink and kick back for an hour or so.

Buffalo Trace Bourbon - On the Rocks

Buffalo Trace Bourbon – On the Rocks

On 3-4 cubes of ice in a great bourbon glass is always an enjoyable option. The ice chills the bourbon down and cuts down the strength some. A hot summer day, grilling out with friends is perfect for some bourbon on ice. A few years back, “Siz” and I were fortunate enough to attend a bourbon tasting at the Salato Wildlife Center in Frankfort, Ky. One of the many great aspects to this event was the free glasses you received from each distillery that was providing bourbon for sampling. I collected about 20 glasses from this one event that now provides me a glass from just about any of the distilleries in my home state of Kentucky. In honor of my Buffalo Trace glass, complete with a buffalo and all, I enjoyed some of their bourbon on ice.

A friend I’ve made more recently, Glenn Raley, enlightened me to a new way to drink bourbon. As a huge fan of bourbon, I thought it was an innovative way to not have to deviate from bourbon even during an all-afternoon get together. Take a pint glass, pour about 2-3 oz of bourbon over 8 cubes of ice and fill the rest of the way with water and stir. In essence you end up with bourbon water. The standardist (I realize it’s not necessarily a real word) in me briefly opposed the idea but then I thought it does improve ice water!

Normally I would provide you a more standard cocktail to try with this bourbon but I was feeling particularly adventurous on this occasion. Like most of us, I ventured to the cabinet to see what I could come up with. I tinkered a bit and came up with something pretty interesting. Give it a shot and let me know what you think.

Kicking Buffalo: 6 ice cubes; 3oz Buffalo Trace Bourbon; 3oz Orange Juice; 1oz Angostura Bitters; Few
Shakes of Black Pepper…Stir

Buffalo Trace Bourbon - Kicking Buffalo

Buffalo Trace Bourbon – Kicking Buffalo

Overall:

Buffalo Trace Bourbon: 8 out of 10.

I score this an 8 because I’m a value based consumer. While I appreciate the more expensive bourbons out there and I acknowledge that most of them are perhaps a “better” bourbon; price is key. Buffalo Trace is a solid, great tasting bourbon. It’s enjoyable neat in a snifter and you won’t get too feisty when your friend mixes with Diet Mountain Dew. There’s a great range of experiences with this bourbon which I give a lot of credit to. Good flavor profile and a lasting, clean taste.


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7 Responses to Buffalo Trace Bourbon Review

  1. Frank Cuden says:

    Great review! I wanna go pick up some right now – and it’s only 9:45am! 🙂

  2. Isaac LaFond says:

    Thank you Frank! I’m sure you could find a great cigar to pair with it!

  3. Great Review. Do you offer an option to just read your posts on spirits? I’m not a cigar guys at all really (maybe I should be?), but this is the type of well-written, well-thought-out review that I’d love to come back for on the topic of my love: bourbon.

  4. Isaac LaFond says:

    Hey Scott! Thanks for stopping in. I’m glad you enjoyed the review. There will certainly be more to come. What’s your favorite bourbon under $35? (I’ll help you out since there are so many to choose from).

  5. Charlie McClure says:

    I’m wondering if your “flavor wheel” may have been mis-entered? There is a very distinct “smoky campfire” flavor to this bourbon…but not a single notch on the “wood” notes. You cannot have smoke without fire, and cannot have a fire without…well, wood. I (personally) get quite a bit of oaken flavor across the palate, especially on the initial sip. Notes aside, solid review. 🙂

    • Eric Scism says:

      Thanks Charlie! There are definite notes of oak that come out of this Buffalo Trace. I don’t think it was mis-entered, it was just wasn’t as noticeable in the other range of notes that we picked out from this bourbon. With most bourbons there are always hints of oak and sometimes they fall to background in our palate and we don’t pick up on them as much as others. That’s why most of us like other different flavors. That’s the great thing about reviews, it allows everyone to experience the product and interpret it for themselves. This was simply our interpretation of what we experienced. Thank you for stopping in and giving us your thoughts on this great bourbon! Have a good one.

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