View Full Version : Buffalo Trace Mash Bills

02-07-2006, 06:36

I've been thinking about tasting the different Buffalo Trace Mash Bills side by side to see and appreciate how the whiskies change from the same beginning. I've done a few searches and this is what I can come up with.

Mash Bill 1 - Old Charter, Eagle Rare, George T. Stagg, Buffalo Trace
Mash Bill 2 - Ancient Age, Elmer T. Lee, Rock Hill Farms, Hancock Reserve, Blantons

Now my guess is it is safe to say that the same Wheat Mash Bill would be used for Wellers and the Van Winkle products? I'm also assuming that the two Sazeracs would also share the same Rye Mash Bill as well.

Any additional information would be welcomed as any input from anyone else who has done this.

02-07-2006, 06:43
Someone else would have to double check on the Wellers for me, but the current Van Winkles are Bernhiem(for the younger ones) and Stitzel Weller(for the older ones). It seems like the Wellers are currently a marriage of two different distillates but I can't remember if it is SW/Bern or SW/BT or Bern/BT.

02-09-2006, 13:35
If I read this right, and this may help me get my head around all this a little better, but these whiskies all come off the still exactly the same and any differences in bottlings/brandings have to do with barreling proof, aging times and areas and all the other intangibles we discuss here.

02-09-2006, 16:00
Let me see if I can help you out a little here.

Mashbill 1 is a low rye content recipe(somewhere in the neighborhood of 80% corn).
Mashbill 2 is a rye recipe that contains more rye(how much I don't know but will guess it's around a 60-70% corn recipe).

Brands are as stated and the differences between brands are age, proof and barrel selection(which includes such things as rickhouse, position in rickhouse, taste test, etc.) I'm gonna go out on a sturdy limb here and guess that each mashbill is going to be entered into the barrel at a given proof for that mashbill and not for each individual brand.

I hope that this clears up the whole mess for you(and also that it's not grossly incorrect, and if it is hopefully Ken will clear it up for both of us)

02-09-2006, 17:47
I'm gonna go out on a sturdy limb here and guess that each mashbill is going to be entered into the barrel at a given proof for that mashbill and not for each individual brand.
Now if this were Jim Beam being talked about you would be wrong, they "barrel to brand" and it is proof specific.

02-09-2006, 18:15
All sounds about right from what I know. I recently tasted four of their five mashbills in different expressions.

02-09-2006, 22:18
Thanks Bobby. Hopefuly I can remeber that and not speak wrongly about the Beam products if it comes up. However BT is a much smaller operation than Beam. and a small sales blip for Beam may be a major thing for a smaller distillery to deal with, so I'm guessing ti may be easier for a smaller distillery to taste for a flavor profile than it would be for Beam.

Outta curiosity, any idea how much of a difference are you talking about..is it a 10-15 proof difference or is it gonna be larger? It would seem to be more economical for the lower end stuff to be barreled at the 125 max, while Bookers could be barreled at a lower proof to keep its final ABV at a reasonable level.

02-10-2006, 10:18
Those who have participated in a barrel tasting at BT can vouch for Tim's assertion. When we purchased a barrel of BT it was clearly labeled as Ancient Age.
Coincidentally, the Weller Barrels were marked Old Fitzgerald. So the designation of the whiskey occurs after the aging.

02-10-2006, 10:36
Ancient Age is the former name of the distillery but I assume you mean the brand Ancient Age. This attribution of designations (at least in part) is true evidently for Buffalo Trace but not for all distillers. Bobby's description of the practice at Jim Beam is in accordance with my understanding that each whiskey is designated from the beginning with its own entry proof and other spec, e.g., what comes out as Beam Black years later went in as Beam Black, setting aside the creation of batches of course. I believe Chuck's book says the same thing.

Interesting that the BT single barrel was marked Ancient Age. I always felt that the original AAA had the rich quality of the current BT. Of course I suppose that non-single barrel BT may be mingled with whiskey from casks not marked AA.

I wonder goes into bottles of AAA still being produced? :)


02-10-2006, 15:55
It seems that Ken had clearly stated that the AAA wasn't being discontinued to be used for production of BT(as they were from different mashbills), so while the barrel would have had the distillery name on it, that name is not going to be the brand name and could come from either mashbill. All mashbills would have the same distillery name on the barrel. Same thing with the Old Fitz barrels, that would have been the name of that distillery at the time they were distilled. Older barrels from what is now BT would have the AA name on them, new barrels would say BT.

Ken Weber
02-14-2006, 07:49
Nearly every comment made in this thread is accurate. When we distilled bourbon a decade ago, the barrel was marked Ancient Age (in reference to the distillery, not necessarily for the brand). Likewise, the barrels that are marked Old Fitzgerald have been used for Weller and Van Winkle bourbons.

As far as I know, and I will confirm this with Harlen, all BT Mash bill #1 is entered into the barrel at the same proof (likewise for the other Mash bills).

Finally, our wheated bourbons are entered into the barrel at significantly lower proof than the rye recipe mash bills.


02-14-2006, 18:42
OK I am ordering Chuck's book tonite as I still have a lot to learn! I had only a light idea about this, but in know way did I think that many different bourbons could come from the same mashbill. That is amazing :bigeyes:

02-15-2006, 11:54
So Ken, how many Buffalo Trace Mash Bills are there?

Here is what I got:

Mash Bill 1 - Bourbon Low Rye
Mash Bill 2 - Bourbon High Rye
Mash Bill ? - Bourbon Wheat
Mash Bill ? - Rye
Mash Bill ? - ?

02-15-2006, 12:15
Mashbill 3 - Bourbon Wheat
Mashbill 4 - rye
Mashbill 5 - Rain Vodka


02-15-2006, 15:01
Mashbill 3 - Bourbon Wheat
Mashbill 4 - rye
Mashbill 5 - Rain Vodka


I believe its HEAVEN HILL that makes Rain Vodka....isnt it?

02-15-2006, 15:47
I believe its HEAVEN HILL that makes Rain Vodka....isnt it?

No it's BT. IIRC they have a vacuum still that they use for it.

I always wondered if that was the fifth mashbill. Thanks etohchem

02-15-2006, 20:43
Heaven Hill's (http://www.heaven-hill.com/main.shtml) vodka brand is Burnett's.

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

02-16-2006, 06:54
Aagghh, I am wounded by your suppositions, BourbonBalls! Buffalo Trace not only produces Rain, we are THE ONLY non-boutique american distiller that produces our own grain neutral spirits for our Vodka. There are only 2 companies that produce good GNS, in my opinion(legal requirement), that supply everyone else with their spirits for vodka. Grain Processing Corporation(Muscatine IA) and Midwest Grain Products(Pekin IL).
There are small batch companies,like Vermont Gold (good stuff) from maple sap, who produce their own, but I consider them to be very regional and boutique.


02-16-2006, 08:47
I think Distilled Resources in Idaho should be added to that list of GNS Vodka producers. http://www.waytogoidaho.com/main.html

They are a contract mfg; they produce vodka for about 10 different brands.

02-16-2006, 10:01
By good and non-boutique I was trying to infer that these two companies supply the big boys, Smirnoff, Sky, Stoli, Gordon's, Taaka, Nikolai, store brands, and most other domestically produced, including some "quality boutique" brands. These brands do sometimes treat, redistill, filter the juice, but, IMO, that does very little to change the juice as GPC and MG both produce the purest ethanol available. In my years in the industry I have not heard of Distilled Resources nor do I know their capacity. I am sure they make a fine product. I do know for a fact that it is very very very hard to make a clean alcohol out of potatoe so it would be interesting to try their products. I also don't know which brands they supply and where it is distributed. I do know the other 2 are world wide and supply international brands as well with starting materials for gins and liqueurs.
I also left out ADM from my list, but I included the word "good" and they make a mostly industrial grade stuff. This is strictly a personal bias against companies that are too big. My intention was not to slight any other producer (other than ADM), but to once again glorify the quality and specialness of Buffalo Trace, as Rain is made by us, for us, and has national and international distribution.


02-16-2006, 16:11
Ah, I wondered if Taaka was made at BT or other, since it is a Sazerac owned brand, it seems to be other.

02-16-2006, 16:20
It is bottled and finished at BT, but our starting material (GNS) like most others is purchased.