Buffalo Trace Kentucky Bourbon
A trip to the neighborhood liquor store and the American whiskey section therein can be a confusing experience for the novice. Like many other spirits, bourbon comes in a wide variety of prices, proofs, age statements etc… and one might think that in order to get quality, must lay down some serious coin. Good news! There are quite a few very serviceable bourbons to be had for $25.00 or less.
Case in point is Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. This namesake, moderately priced offering from the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort KY is a whole lot of bang for the buck. While many bourbons in this price category go for the “smooth”, 80 proof drinking strength thing, BTKSBW comes in at ninety proof with a little bit of a bite. Some distillers go for the overly sweet profile, O.K. on the rocks or with club soda, or heaven forbid in some kind of foo-foo cocktail, but BTKSBW begs to be enjoyed neat. I find this to be a surprisingly complex whiskey for this price category.
Instead of clubbing you over the head with one or two dominant flavors, BTKSBW treats you to a vast array of aromas to draw you in, flavors to keep entertained and a finish that lingers, just long enough to last you until the next sip.
The slightly rosy amber hue in the glass is almost as appealing as the nose of caramel and fall apples, vanilla, oak and mulling spices. The tiniest little bit of heat greets your lips, then dissipates allowing a plethora of flavors including, but not limited to; cinnamon, allspice, leather, apple, light maple syrup, smoke, tobacco and ginger. You don’t taste them all at once, more like in waves, washing over your taste buds. There was some the crispness of a rye but not enough to overtake classic bourbon character.
The heavyweights in this category (Do I really have to name names?) have fiercely loyal followings. Red wax or black wax, those are both great bourbon values but I find them, each in their own way, to be a little one dimensional. This would be an ideal bourbon to serve to a newbie to introduce them to the wonderful world of bourbon, or to a seasoned veteran who can appreciate the subtleties and quality of the distillers craft. Buffalo Trace is worth trying no matter what your budget. I’ll still enjoy the bigger, richer, pricier whiskies, many of which come from the same distillery, but I can’t imagine a time when there will not be a bottle of this on my bar.
Well done gentlemen of Frankfort, well done!