• 91
  • 92
  • Reduced

Buffalo Trace Bourbon Whiskey (700ml)

Reduced from $62.99
$57. 99
$695.88 Dozen
ABV: 40%

For over 200 years, Buffalo Trace Distillery has been defined by a dedication to one craft: making fine American whiskey. By honouring tradition and embracing change, it has earned its place of leadership among the legendary spirits producers of the world and is now recognised as the World’s Most Awarded Distillery.

The venture produces a wide range of whiskeys using three different mash bills: one light rye, one heavy rye and a third flavoured with wheat. They've developed different products by aging those three mash bills to meet various grades and price points. At Buffalo Trace, that translates into at least fifteen labels: W. L. Weller, Eagle Rare, George T.Stagg and Old Rip Van Winkle (amongst others), and that's not counting many reserve and limited-release variants.

While the mash bills contribute to the flavour, the more significant differentiation among brands takes place in century-old warehouses. Constructed of massive wood beams and covered by a brick shell, these structures allow the alternating cooling and warming of Kentucky's four distinct seasons to mature the bourbon by nature's timetable. Steam pumped throughout the warehouses during the extreme cold of winter compensates for the dramatic drops in temperature and gives the whiskey additional cycles in and out of the wood. This is said to make for a more balanced bourbon as the liquid is able to take additional advantage of the natural sugars occurring in the charred barrels. The distillery was the first to use this method of aging in 1859 and has been doing so ever since.

The warehouses were built in the 1900s and represent diverse architectural styles. Consequently, their designs and location on the property contribute to the significant differences in the whiskey coming from each. Certain floors within a given warehouse produce better whiskey than others do. For example, the fourth and fifth floors of Warehouse C and the fourth through sixth floors of Warehouses I and K produce the company's best. It's these locations which have been reserved for the maturation of Buffalo Trace.

The brand itself was born only relatively recently. In 1999, visitors to the newly named and renovated distillery asked, “Why isn’t there a bourbon called ‘Buffalo Trace?" In response, Elmer T. Lee ventured into the best floors in the best warehouses to find some of the finest barrels that really matched up with his views on what a full-bodied, robust Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey should taste like. The result was what consumers enjoy today, batched from no more than 40 barrels at a time. There are two ABV variants on offer - one at 45% and this lower proof 40% bottling. The flavour profiles are pretty much identical, but as you would expect, less alcohol means a little less concentration. That said, the difference isn't huge, and what you miss out on is made up for in dollar savings. The style moves away from macho Bourbon, aligning with the feminine elegance of whiskeys like Evan Williams Single Barrel. As an affordable, middle-tier offering, it's also deceptively complex. The rye is evident but balanced by softer, sweeter notes like vanilla wafers, toasted sponge cake, cherry chocolate and just plain old, high-quality American oak. This expression doesn't boast super length, but it is incredibly easy to drink. Our preference is uncut (too much water makes it a little 'peachy' and the more nuanced notes are lost). An ice cube and a comfortable chair by the barbeque is all you need to complete the picture. 

Other reviews... The first thing that hit me about this bottling was how the oils and the lingering richer notes were a little duller. So, after nosing, I checked the bottle. And sure enough, the strength had been lowered from 45% to 40%, a whopping drop of 10 proof. That is a significant change and will mean the finishes will never quite linger as they once did due to the oil being broken. However, in the case of this bottling, richness of texture has given way to elegance. 92.5 points - Jim Murray's Whisky Bible 2023