Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Buffalo Trace Mash Up Review



By: Seth Brown, Aaron Cave, Hasse Berg & Erik Hasselgärde




We wanted to show our readers how different taste can be, and the different take and approach everyone has when it comes to bourbon, even among the four of us Sons, and that’s why we created this fun little mash-up review experiment.

The ground rule behind the experiment was, that the four of us Sons would review the same Bourbon, and the reviews were to remain a secret among us, until they were being posted here today. That way we could prevent that none of us would become bias, do to each others tasting notes and scoring points. 
 

We agreed that we wanted to review a bourbon, that most likely all our readers had tasted and has an opinion about, and that’s why we those the standard Buffalo Trace offering.


Buffalo Trace
Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Distillery: Buffalo Trace
Age: NAS. Rumors: Between 8 - 10 years.
Proof/ABV: EU 40% / US 45%
DK Price: $47/325dkk.
Average US Price: $25USD
Swedish Price: $42/371SEK
Release: Ongoing.   
Mashbill: BT. Mash bill #1(Low rye)








Seth Brown Review:


When I first started drinking my bourbon neat several years ago I always kept a bottle of Buffalo Trace in the cabinet.  I enjoyed it so much I almost always opted for the 1.75ml bottle. It was my go-to pour. My daily drinker. Fast forward to today, I mainly only have private and store picks of it on hand.  Truth be told, I had to go pick up a regular, non-store pick for this project. It was nice to sit down and visit this old, long-time friend of mine though. After catching up with him I see why he was a favorite of mine in my early neat days. In the words of the great Peaches and Herb, reunited and feels so good… sort of.

Nose:
Very mellow and sweat with vanilla, light brown sugar and toffee along with hints of citrus and nuts

Palate:
Medium bodied but manages to coat my mouth pretty well with toffee and vanilla. There isn’t a lot of spice here at all. I actually picked up more spice on the finish than I did on the initial entry.  It reminded me a fresh piece of cinnamon gum.  It took me “Kentucky chewing” it a bit for that spice really kick in though.  That does fade out into more toffee and vanilla for a sweet, medium finish.

Conclusion:
There isn’t a whole lot of complexity going on here. It does however drink really, really easily. Like I mentioned in my intro, I see why it was an early favorite of mine.  Now days I wish there was more body to it along with some deeper notes of tobacco, oak and spice to really round out the sweetness. However, with this being a low-to-mid shelf offering it’s a decent expression. Looking to move into the world of drinking bourbon neat? Then this one is worth a shot. 

Cheers!

Points: 82/100


Aaron Cave Review:



Nose:
Light and sweet. Honey, vanilla, and sweet corn with nice hints of cherry, oak and rye.

Palate:
Very similar to the nose. Soft and sweet. Up front honeycomb, toffee, and brown sugar fallowed by cinnamon, cloves, and light oak.

Finish:
Nice finish. Dry and peppery. Light oak and honey.

Points: 88/100 




Hasse Berg Review:


(Please notice that the European Buffalo Trace is bottled at 40%)

Buffalo Trace was the one who got me hooked on Bourbon, and made this single malt man voyeur into the bluegrass state.
So there’s absolutely no denying it, Buffalo Trace is defiantly very close to my heart, and I will do my best, not to let that fact color my review.

Ever since I got into bourbon, Buffalo Trace have been a stable in my collection, and when I’m having people over, who want to try out bourbon, I either recommend Blanton’s Original or Buffalo Trace.

I mean, it’s just such an easy smooth sipper, without being indifferent.

Nose:
Butter on the nose, with caramel, sweet raisins and orange zest.

Palate:
As I mentioned before; Buffalo Trace is really a silky smooth sipper.
Raw sugary sweet at first, and right when you start feeling, that it’s too sweet for your taste, it opens up, brining light rye spices into the picture, heating things up a bit, and then toffee, and some dark fruity notes are taking over the show.

Finish:
The thing that have always amazed me the most about Buffalo Trace is the finish. It is bottled at 40% but doesn’t drink as such. It is medium long, with a very rich taste of oak, cinnamon, citrus and just a hint of black pepper.

Points: 84/100



Erik Hasselgärde Review:


Buffalo Trace is a Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, telling us that it’s from the US state of Kentucky, and also three other things: straight, bourbon and whiskey. To be called these three things on the bottle, the content has to follow rules stipulated in the Federal Alcohol Administration Act. For me right now this means that I’ve bought a American corn-majority grain-based distilled spirit, barrel aged for at least two years, which is exactly what I wanted.

What I am reviewing is the export version of Buffalo Trace which is 40% abv, or 80 proof, rather than the regular US 45% (90 proof). 40% is the lowest abv that bourbon legally can be bottled to, and in almost all cases exclusively to get the most juice out to the market.

The back of the label gives us a impressive story but little actual info. The name Buffalo Trace is taken from the trails (or traces) the buffalo took on their way westward. Not sure how aware the buffalo on the trace actually was of this “new-found freedom” the story tells of though.

The back label also let’s me know that it wants to “hear my thunder” by mailing the somewhat biased-named email address “greatbourbon@buffalotrace.com”. By the way, please share your thoughts about this review to perfectreview@couldntbeimproved.com).

Removing the foil top and opening the bottle reveals a natural cork. I love a good squeaky cork, but opening this produced nothing more than an unsatisfying low plop.

After pouring, the color looks great in the glass. Rich, clear and without sediment or oily swirls and with an even gradient towards the lighter edge of the liquid.

Nose:
Starting to nose the bourbon I right away find a full nose, hitting me with a very sweet vanilla. The one other note that I pick up is a sweet oaky char. Taking my time nosing I eventually find raisins, caramel, baked bread and something a bit fresh or floral, maybe even mint!

Palate:
I take a small first sip and let the bourbon coat the inside of the mouth. Right on the first sip I get sweet notes. This is really sweet.
I get honey, like glucose sweet, not floral as some honey can taste. The familiar vanilla and caramel notes are here, as well as dried stonefruit. After a couple of sips I start to pick out the sweet oak, and the char taste that comes with it. I even get a liquorice note that I sometimes find after barrel char. It has a little salmiak paired with menthol, like a Senega lozenge. I imagine a faint coconut note and then start to wonder if I need cool my jets.

Finish:
The mouthfeel is somewhat silky and I would say this is has a medium viscosity. It doesn’t have a watered-down feel at all. The finish is medium at best, maybe even short. I get tannic oak and a dry mint feel on the modest linger.

The price in Sweden for this 700ml bottle is 371 SEK, or roughly 42 USD, which is fair I guess. It’s a price for which I could have a bottle as my go-to without worrying if I could find or afford the next one.

I often recommend Buffalo Trace as a good starting point for someone in Sweden just getting into bourbon. It has the characteristics which I think a bourbon should have, it’s good both neat and in cocktails, it has a fair price and it’s somewhat available. It doesn’t stand out, but I don’t think it should. It’s well made and it’s balanced. With bourbon being a comparably small market in Sweden, I can’t really be more picky than that.

Points: 67,5/100


To sum up the score:

Seth Brown: 82/100
Aaron Cave: 88/100
Hasse Berg: 84/100

Average scoring points: 84,25/100


Photo By: Erik Hasselgärde