Sunday, 15 July 2012

Whisky Discovery #153

Buffalo Trace NAS (40%abv, OB, Bottled 2012 70cl)
Straight Kentucky Bourbon
£22.00 70cl
The sun came out for my Buffalo Trace
I decided that this July I was going to get some Bourbon for my journey. I fancied a bottle of Four Roses Yellow Label which I first tasted at Whisky Live London earlier this year, and because it was on a special offer in the supermarket, my wife picked up a bottle of Buffalo Trace for me too. Both were on my wish list, and Buffalo Trace is also listed in Ian Buxton's fabulous book, '101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die'

So why Buffalo Trace? A ‘trace’ is a wide path, beaten out by herds of buffalo. These traces were followed by explorers and early settlers who travelled to the Wild West. Buffalo Trace was named for the Great Buffalo Trace which cut its course to the banks of the Kentucky River, the buffalo forded their way across the river, eventually reaching the Great Plains. The area was rife with distillation during the eighteenth century, the water was limestone which and the locality proffered excellent cereal growing conditions.

A distillery was built in 1857 and was the first to use steam power. During the 1880s, the distillery boasted climate controlled warehouses and was also the first to ship the product down the Mississippi river. The distillery was one of but four that continued to run during US Prohibition, legally. It was granted a permit for distillation for medicinal purposes. Once Prohibition was repealed, the facilities were managed by Albert Blanton. He was committed to his art and, accordingly, produced the best product he could. Named the George T Stagg distillery until June of 1999, at which point it was renamed Buffalo Trace, the distillery produces a range of upmarket bourbons including the acclaimed Eagle Rare and Blanton’s.

Since 1990, the distillery has received more awards than any other North American Distillery; notably Malt Advocate hailed it as their 2000 Distillery of the Year and in 2005 Whisky Magazine heralded it as their Distiller of the Year. Buffalo Trace is also noteworthy for marketing the first single barrel bourbon, released in memory of Albert Blanton, who produced a single barrel whiskey to enjoy with friends.

So What did I Think?
Buffalo Trace has a lovely tarnished copper colour. On the nose bright citrus notes were immediately recognised, mainly limes, perhaps even Kaffir limes. There's oak wood, and sweet honey cutting through the limes. Eventually the vanilla breaks out. There are some earthy, musty notes too which reminded me of a outward bound course when we had to came out in a recently mucked out cowshed. The nose certainly seems to evolve over time in the glass.

The mouth feel is oily initially then a short burst of spicy pepper heat, there's a slight sourness balancing the sweetness, with spiced orange peel, a slight clove like taste, but certainly not overpowering.

The finish seemed quite short with sweet honey, a light saltiness, pepper spice and a drying nuttiness at the very end. I've been very impressed with this entry level bourbon, I'm not one for drinking cocktails, preferring to drink my spirits neat, and Buffalo Trace is very enjoyable to sit and ponder over at the end of the day.

1 comment:

Robert said...

Nice review Dave, like the history section very interesting. Sadly reminded me my bottle of Blantons ran out last week :-(