Buffalo Trace in 2023

The Buffalo Trace Distillery is perhaps the oldest whiskey distillery in the US though that’s disputed, not least of all by the Guinness Book Of World Records which credits Burks’ as “the oldest bourbon distillery in the world” [CM], “depending how you measure it‘.


White Dog Mash #1 [2022] Ob. 62.5%/125 proof [375ml] WB70.60?[17]

Made from 51% corn, the same mash bill is used for drams #2 and #3 [we are told].

  • N: A sweet nose. Think raisins and cream soda. Breaks up when diluted. 
  • T: Incredibly accessible with an oily texture.
  • F: A thin sour vein hidden beneath a malty sugary savoury sweetness.
  • C: Very drinkable as is and priced at around £25. Simples.

Scores 78 points


Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon [2022] Ob. 40% WB78.59[338] [WF]82 WLP82

Starting as ‘White Dog’ before being aged between 6-8 years.

  • N: If no surprises, there’s plenty to like even if the abv holds it back significantly.
  • T: An all-rounder that delivers at its price point. Much preferred over Famous Grouse [WLP78], for example, at a similar premium.
  • F: Form and balance is maintained throughout.
  • C: Buffalo Trace dropped the abv from 45% in 2022. The trick is to add a little of the White Dog [+/-84 points]. Otherwise:

Scores 82 points


Eagle Rare 10yo [2022] Ob. Kentucky Straight Bourbon 45% WB85.38[10] [WF]80

A blend of older and younger stock with an average age of 10 years. Chill-filtration here is cranked to stage 7 of 8!

  • N: The family resemblance is secured with a shared burnt caramel note also detected on dram #2
  • T: Decent and tasty if somewhat uneventful/flat. Shared mouthfeel to dram #2 also.
  • F: Putty/mash finish.
  • C: If you don’t like the idea of mixing White Dog with your Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon, this is the go-to if it’s your kind of thing.

Scores 83 points


White Dog Wheated Mash [2022] Ob. 57% [375ml] WB69[2]

Spirit made from a corn, wheat, and barley mash bill.

  • N: This one speaks of fruits and all the cereals sparking reminiscences of various cereal brands from the decades amongst the group. The empty glass offers farmy marmite.
  • T: Less sugary sweet than the bourbons, this appears softer even though the abv is significantly higher. Perhaps it’s because we are four in!
  • F: Lactose note, a touch butyric, spice.
  • C: Another jobbing price-point spirit.

Scores 79 points


Whilst those Buffalo Trace standard releases deliver at a competitive price point, flavour-wise, we see a far narrower bandwidth in comparison to Scotch single malt. As a predominantly Scotch-centric appreciator, it takes me a while to get under the hood of bourbon. Spicy rye, on the other hand, I find easier to latch onto.

Sazerac Rye 06yo [2022] Ob. 45% WB83.13[81]

This replaced the 18yo which you’d find in every bar of any worth just a few years back. To think how much old stock found its way into the Old Fashioned.

  • N: Caramel over red fruits, this one displays a fair level of complexity.
  • T: An engineered bitter-sweet all-rounder which pleases just about everybody in the room.
  • F: Putty-mash, the rye providing the sustain.
  • C: Even at £35, it’s geared more for cocktails than being a natural sipper. Great rye for beginners as an ‘introduction-to’.

Scores 83 points


Due to complications beyond the ambassador’s control, we were to enjoy a very different line-up this evening. Being more of a bartender-centric flight, we finally reach something of genuine interest to the enthusiast.

Thomas H Handy 2011/2017 6yo Ob. 63.6%/127 proof [75cl] WB88.85[22]

Turns out I tried this back in 2017 and didn’t get a great deal from it in festival conditions [WLP82]. Age 6 years & 5 months and made from ‘only’ 72 barrels, you’re looking at £800+ on the secondary market or [currently] £1250 at TWE. Staggering!

  • N: Strikingly and surprisingly similar in profile to the Sazerac so I’ve little to add as a result.
  • T&F: Slick presentation, the high abv and non-chill filtration at the core of the commendable differences in quality and delivery on the palate.
  • C: Decent is all. Little comparison to those earlier vintages.

Scores 85 points



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