Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Last Night's Tipple

Buffalo Trace Bourbon is the flagship product of the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky. When it's first poured, alcohol overwhelms the nose. After some time in the glass, however, the alcohol is replaced by vanilla and mint. On the palate, it big and a bit hot, with a good jolt of cinnamon and mint. I like it, and it's a very good Bourbon for less than $20 a fifth.

Never heard of Buffalo Trace Distillery? Suspect that it's just another one of these Distilleries in Name Only that abound in the American whiskey world? Well, no. A few years ago, the Ancient Age Distillery was rechristened Buffalo Trace for reasons that probably boil down mostly to marketing. Buffalo Trace now produces many of the most recognizable brands in American whiskey, including WL Weller, Ancient Age, Rebel Yell (just for you, Ben), Old Charter, Eagle Rare, and Virginia Gentleman. More importantly, they also produce the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection, which is a set of four or five bottlings (depending on the year) of very old whiskey. New groups of bottlings are released either once or twice a year, and they usually include George T. Stagg (barrel proof 15 year old Bourbon), Eagle Rare 17 year old, William Laurie Weller (wheated Bourbon, not sure of the age), and, most significantly, Sazerac 18 year old straight rye. The Sazerac rye is one of the most sublime whiskeys that I have ever had. It was worth the $60 I paid for it, which is saying a lot. Buffalo Trace is probably the most interesting and innovative American distillery operating today, at least for geeks like me.

Edit: I have learned that Rebel Yell is not produced by Buffalo Trace. I had assumed that it was because it had originally been produced by the Stitzel-Weller Distillery back when it still existed. WL Weller, the most significant of the SW brands, now resides at Buffalo Trace, so I assumed that Rebel Yell went to Buffalo Trace, too. It did not. It went to a company named Luxco and is bottled from whiskey made at the Bernheim Distillery.

1 comment:

Ben W. Brumfield said...

Bought a bottle of this a few days ago. Do you know what's in the mashbill? The heat and spice make me think it must have a high proportion of rye.

At any rate, I don't much care for it compared to Knob Creek, but at $15 I certainly wasn't ripped off.