Buffalo Trace Straight Bourbon
Taste score: 90
Category: American Straight Bourbon, NAS
Whisky Cabinet Score: ★ ★ ★ ☆
Buffalo Trace Bourbon is stand-out in the category of available, higher-end, and affordable American bourbon. Perhaps Wild Turkey 101 has more character, and Maker’s Mark has an enjoyable smoothness through the middle, but Buffalo Trace is the ideal well-rounded bourbon. It’s light on rye, but there is spice, and it’s not too heavy on oak, but there’s sweetness from the start. If you don’t believe me, take the time to chew Buffalo Trace while tasting it. That’s right, do the Kentucky chew. Get all those flavours going. I can’t find a moment where this drink isn’t rewarding.
Buffalo Trace Distillery is responsible for the big hits of the whisky world: Pappy Van Winkle, Stagg, Blanton's, Elmer T. Lee, and I really could go on. This is their "intro" bourbon. Unlike the flavor profiles offered by the other whiskies made at this distillery, Buffalo Trace Bourbon is intended to be more of a "middle of the road" whisky that is likely to please everyone's palate. It does this remarkably well. So much so, that it sets a high standard for the remainder of the product line.
It's fair to say whisky enthusiasts don't always have a bottle of Buffalo Trace Bourbon on their whisky cabinet. They're likely to favor some of the other excellent whiskies that come from the distillery. And yet, I can't really imagine a whisky cabinet without a bottle of this on the shelf.
Nose: Hints of leather polish, with a beautiful start of darker vanilla notes, cinnamon spice, and some citrus highs typical of bourbon.
Palate: Freshly melted caramel, burnt sugar, vanilla, and some dark peppery spice. The spice opens up as the glass sits, and so do the honey notes. There’s just the barest welcomed hint of dark dried fruit and cinnamon spice. The finish is continues on those notes in harmony with the nose and palate.
Conclusion: Easily mistakable for a more expensive whisky.
*Whisky Cabinet Rating Explained:
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ Not recommended
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ Good whisky, but not a ‘must-have’
★ ★ ☆ ☆ Your great regular rotation whisky that'll come and go
★ ★ ★ ☆ Excellent, a near must-have
★ ★ ★ ★ Extraordinary, memorable, and original