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flahute

BOTM 04/20 Buffalo Trace

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flahute

Hello all. Sorry for missing March. You may have heard that some things have happened in our world that has changed a lot for all of us. I had a ridiculously busy March. By the first half of the month I had worked like 23+ days straight. I actually lost count. Then the stay at home order came and we all transitioned to working from home. I had some IT issues the first week and had to go back to the office to get some different equipment. Now at home, I'm even busier than before. No complaints however, because I still have a job and that's a blessing right now.

 

But you didn't come here to read that. Let's talk about Buffalo Trace. It's been about 5 years since we last checked in on BT. (Going off memory, don't fact check me on that).

I had decided that I wanted to feature BT back in mid March but realized that I only had private picks on hand so I had to go out and buy one. Then, it just wasn't agreeing with me. I'm not sure if the current batch just doesn't jive with my palate or if something else is up. I got it to taste right once or twice but it mostly it's not impressing which is a surprise because the private picks I have are just smokin' examples of how good BT can be. Also, I've traditionally been a big fan. So, we're going to skip my tasting notes/impressions on this one. I know many of you like it a lot. Let's hear from you. Hello Joe.

 

Also, let's talk about availability. Can you all find it easily or does it still come and go in some markets? Is BT supplying enough for the market demand or is the supply chain still strained?

 

Sound off.

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PaulO

Regular BT is readily available in central Indiana.  Besides Fireball, it's the one Sazerac brand always on shelves.  I've even seen it <$20 before tax.  The single barrel selections, I have not found.

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Richnimrod

Hard for me to comment on "regular BT", as well.   Just like yourself, flahute; I have only one (Family Size) BT from the 'general population' remaining, along with 8-bottles of two different private pix.   ...And that 'jug' is unopened from about 5-years ago.    Maybe I'll get that sucka opened up; but even if I do, it's probably not relevant to what's for sale on store shelves nowadays.    ...And, I am not currently motivated to do any unnecessary shopping for something not actually required.

All that said, I have always found BT to be a wonderfully well balanced, if on the sweeter side, Bourbon that hits all the notes needed to satisfy my taste buddies.   Further, it has a very seductive nose and could well be enjoyed by almost anybody regardless of previous Bourbon experience; so, a good 'gateway for novices', and a good everyday pour for . . . anybody.

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BlueMonk

As a newbie on a budget, I don't have a lot of bottles in my stash.  But BT has been a staple for me so I thought I would jump in.  

 

It seems that BT (and WSR) hits the Dallas market the first and last weeks of the month with regularity.  Since I have been enjoying the 750's of BT, I stepped up to a family sized bottle of a local Dallas LS chain's SBS at the end of February.  I was very excited since it was my first SBS.  It is fine and I have drank 90% of it.  But honestly, I think I like the regular blended BT better with its balance and consistent light caramel sweetness for an everyday drinker.  I guess that it is logical that not all SBS will be winners so I will probably try another in the future.   However, my next purchase of BT will definitely be a 'regular' bottle. 

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Vosgar

I'm in the same boat as Steve and Rich in that all the BT's I currently have are private selections. That being said, the current BT PS I have open tastes exactly like standard BT to me, which is fine since I like this whiskey. (Why some stores pick barrels that taste exactly like the regular product is beyond me. What's the point? Don't you want something a little unique?)

 

Back on point....This is a wonderful, well rounded bourbon with the usual vanilla, caramel, a bit of rye and oak flavors to it. It's aged long enough to where there are no rough/young edges to it. Some days it maybe comes across a little sweeter than I'd like but never to where I'm sorry to be drinking it. IMHO it's a good one for someone just getting into bourbon and it's always available around here.

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ratcheer

In all these years, I have never tried Buffalo Trace. For some reason, it is moderately expensive in my state (like, over $35). For another reason, I am very fond of their higher-rye whiskeys.

 

Maybe someday. 😏

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fishnbowljoe

Good choice Steve!

 

I just happen to have a small herd of BT. :D I have a couple of different ps's open right now, along with a regular bottle. All are good. One ps starts out slightly sweet, and pretty much stays that way. FWIW, I've been nursing this one for quite a while. :P The other ps starts out with just a hint of sweetness, then a mild spiciness shows up in mid palate. This one reminds me a bit of some Weller SR's that have that hint of red-hot/cinnamon spice. The regular bottle seems a bit more balanced overall. Nothing really good or bad jumps out. IMHO, it's a very solid, no brainer every day pour.^_^

 

For those of you that may not follow the various Corona Virus threads, the second pic is one I posted in the humorous one.

 

Biba! Joe

bt.jpeg

1.jpeg

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tanstaafl2

I typically have a bottle or two of BT around because it is usually relatively easy to find and works well in cocktails because it is a very soft, sweet corn dominant whiskies. Rye in both mash bills is typically below 10% as best I recall.

46 minutes ago, ratcheer said:

For another reason, I am very fond of their higher-rye whiskeys.
 

Maybe someday. 😏

The only BT higher rye whiskies I am aware of are Saz/Handy and CEHT Rye (which in all likelihood in part or in total actually comes from Barton!).

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flahute
28 minutes ago, tanstaafl2 said:

I typically have a bottle or two of BT around because it is usually relatively easy to find and works well in cocktails because it is a very soft, sweet corn dominant whiskies. Rye in both mash bills is typically below 10% as best I recall.

The only BT higher rye whiskies I am aware of are Saz/Handy and CEHT Rye (which in all likelihood in part or in total actually comes from Barton!).

I've never thought to use it in cocktails because I'm usually going for something around 100 proof to hold up to the other ingredients. You are the cocktail master however. In which ones do you find that BT works especially well?

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tanstaafl2

It is the specific bourbon called for in the original recipe of the Transatlantic Giant, better known in SB.com land as the Smokin’ [email protected]’ Joe!

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tanstaafl2

Also called for in a Paper Airplane, which is variation of the Paper Plane which originally used Elijah Craig back in the old days when it was readily available, priced at a point where it could be used as a cocktail base for a bar and still a full TWELVE years old...

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Special Reserve

I've seen a fair number of store picked BT, it's usually a great value buy here in MI.

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FacePlant

Buffalo Trace was one of the Bourbons that made the switch from Scotch easy. For over 30yrs. I thought Scotch was the only dark whiskey, but after making an employment change about 11 years ago I found myself often trying to keep up with the boss at socials-and his drink was Bourbon. He drank W12 and Buffalo Trace. Didn’t take long to convince me and welcome to the Bourbon set. That was 2009.

I always have a few handles of Buffalo Trace around. Having one now. As my palette became more accustomed and I began to try many brands, BT often took a backseat. It just didn’t deliver the BIG taste profile I liked. And it really doesn’t hold up to ice well either. In my opinion it flattens pretty quickly with water or cubes, big balls less so (which is the way I’m enjoying it now). It’s classic caramel and vanilla with a nice rye bite finish makes it common but not “off putting”. Great gateway for those just getting used to neat bourbon drinks, or those looking for a mild mixer that will not carry the usual bourbon burn.

To sum it up, a very serviceable and likable drink. Sweet, tasty, and affordable. It is what it is.  :)  

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0895
7 hours ago, tanstaafl2 said:

I typically have a bottle or two of BT around because it is usually relatively easy to find and works well in cocktails because it is a very soft, sweet corn dominant whiskies. Rye in both mash bills is typically below 10% as best I recall.

The only BT higher rye whiskies I am aware of are Saz/Handy and CEHT Rye (which in all likelihood in part or in total actually comes from Barton!).

 

6 hours ago, flahute said:

I've never thought to use it in cocktails because I'm usually going for something around 100 proof to hold up to the other ingredients. You are the cocktail master however. In which ones do you find that BT works especially well?

 

 

I'll just add that it makes dangerously good manhattan's & old fashioned's.  I can't really explain why, like Tanstaafl2 has, but they just end up perfectly balanced and delicious.  I typically agree with Flahute on looking for a higher proof option, but when I'm at a bar and see a bottle of BT, I can't help myself but order it in a cocktail.

 

It also makes a fantastic vanilla infused bourbon to drink neat, or make vanilla cocktails with.  The vanilla compliments the BT profile very well.

 

BT is reasonably available here in STL, but depending on the day, may require visiting several stores to find it.  Store picks were very prevalent here a couple years back, but not so much anymore.  Sometimes it is honestly cheaper and easier to just mail order it.  :)

 

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Harry in WashDC
Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, Vosgar said:

I'm in the same boat as Steve and Rich in that all the BT's I currently have are private selections. That being said, the current BT PS I have open tastes exactly like standard BT to me, which is fine since I like this whiskey. (Why some stores pick barrels that taste exactly like the regular product is beyond me. What's the point? Don't you want something a little unique?)

 

Back on point....This is a wonderful, well rounded bourbon with the usual vanilla, caramel, a bit of rye and oak flavors to it. It's aged long enough to where there are no rough/young edges to it. Some days it maybe comes across a little sweeter than I'd like but never to where I'm sorry to be drinking it. IMHO it's a good one for someone just getting into bourbon and it's always available around here.

This is my impression.  Its candy apple sweetness with a hint of cinnamon always satisfies.  The restaurant we frequent most often usually has it, and I like its 90 proof when I’m having more than one but no more than two.  It is generally available here in stores although the price range is wide.  If threatened with bodily harm, I might guess that basic BT in 2019 was a bit younger and less complex than the basic BT of, say, 2015 which itself was nice but not complex.  The two purchased so far in 2020 are still younger, maybe, than the three or so 2015s Ibought and finished during the BT drought but more interesting than a 2018 I had.

 

EDIT — Some of this post is based on other SB comments I’ve made on BT over the years.

 

Years btw are when purchased.

Edited by Harry in WashDC

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Jazz June

This is timely as I opened my last regular bottle of Buffalo Trace this evening for cocktail making. It is a great bourbon for cocktails where you want the whiskey to "blend in." For spirit forward cocktails I prefer something with a flavor that cuts through the other elements better, but BT is just right for many drinks (90 proof and $27).

 

It is serviceable for neat sipping as well. Not overly complex, but easy and pleasant. The rest of the bottles I have are single barrel picks. In my experience these can range from pedestrian to excellent. I feel like I am especially drawn to purchasing them based off of one particularly excellent single barrel I bought a bottle of 3 or so years ago. I paid $24 for that bottle and it was phenomenal, easily holding its own against great bourbons that cost three times as much. But other picks are close to the "regular" profile. Maybe one of these picks will recapture the magic! If you are paying around the regular MSRP, you really can't go wrong.

 

Availability wise, it isn't very good in Virginia. For whatever reason, people here hunt it like it is a unicorn. I don't even buy it anymore when I see it and have gifted away a few bottles. I guess I'll have to buy some more now that I'm almost out, but there are plenty of other equivalents that work just as well. It is also limited to one per person, so I'll really have to work at it (or cross the Potomac) to stock up.

 

In sum, this bourbon is a workhorse that I plan to always have on hand and something I would recommend to someone starting down the bourbon "enthusiast" path. Just don't go posting crotch shots on social media because you managed to buy a bottle of it!

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ratcheer
21 hours ago, tanstaafl2 said:

 

The only BT higher rye whiskies I am aware of are Saz/Handy and CEHT Rye (which in all likelihood in part or in total actually comes from Barton!).

Well, three of my all-time favorites are (were?) Blanton's, Rock Hill Farms, and Elmer T. Lee, none of which seem to be available around here, anymore. If they no longer exist, I am sad. I may still have a little in open bottles, though.

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tanstaafl2

They are indeed harder to find but do still exist. Usually hidden in the back to be doled out to favored customers at elevated prices. Or else swept up by the lowest form of scum, flippers! But all three of those use the same mash bill #2 and they are all lower rye mash bills. Maybe a smidge higher than the BT/Stagg mash bill #1 which is likely less than 10% but still low rye at around 10%-12% up to maybe 15% or so at most according to most reports/guesses. Sazerac as far as I know chooses not to reveal the mash bill for any of their products. 

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fishnbowljoe
1 hour ago, ratcheer said:

Well, three of my all-time favorites are (were?) Blanton's, Rock Hill Farms, and Elmer T. Lee, none of which seem to be available around here, anymore. If they no longer exist, I am sad. I may still have a little in open bottles, though.

They’re still out there Tim. Just not like they used to be. With distributors playing games, and restaurants and bars getting a bigger piece of the pie, they aren’t seen as often. If and when a few do show up, they  disappear more quickly. With the majority of bars and restaurants closed for the time being, maybe we’ll see more  interesting  items showing up at some liquor stores. Fingers crossed. 🤞

 

Biba! Joe

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tanstaafl2
8 minutes ago, fishnbowljoe said:

They’re still out there Tim. Just not like they used to be. With distributors playing games, and restaurants and bars getting a bigger piece of the pie, they aren’t seen as often. If and when a few do show up, they  disappear more quickly. With the majority of bars and restaurants closed for the time being, maybe we’ll see more  interesting  items showing up at some liquor stores. Fingers crossed. 🤞

 

Biba! Joe

My store is already getting more liter size bottles of different brands since bars are mostly closed and they would have otherwise gone to the bars. Hopefully Joe is correct and we will a little jump in availability in the rare and “pseudo” rare brands.

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fishnbowljoe

Sorry about the thread drift. :mellow:  I received an email from my local bowing alley. They had a drive up beer and liquor sale yesterday afternoon. I didn’t see the full menus because I’m not on Facebook or Twitter. Not sure if it’s because of expiration dates, to make some money while they’re closed, or a combination of both. The same bowing alley sent out an email last Friday announcing drive up free meals that afternoon for all first responders and health care workers. I’m  gonna guess this was a combination of helping out the community, and not wanting to throw out a bunch of food. 
 

Biba! Joe

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smokinjoe

I purchase and drink Buffalo Trace more than any other bourbon.  Put a gun to my head and tell me to pick the one whiskey I can take in case loads with me to the desert island to spend the rest of my life, and it would be BT.  

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Kepler

Nice choice for BOTM.

Call me a fan of regular Buffalo Trace.  BT is the single best (and often the only redeeming) part of flying on United.

 

I'm in the same camp as others here, in that my on-hand stock consists of store picks and not the stock version. The stock version is a great value and always a safe choice when I find myself at a bar with few options, or when I fly United. Sometimes in the past year I've noticed sometimes it tastes like it's a tad too young though.

 

But the private picks are where it's at. I've had several in recent years and enjoyed them all. I have one particular barrel from 2016 that is incredible and I'm so glad I stocked up big time on that one. I have one of those bottles open on my shelf.

 

Currently I'm also enjoying a 2019 PS release from a local store that's incredibly oaky, which is not something I've experienced in BT picks before. It's almost like a good Eagle Rare single barrel in that respect. Normally I prefer BT store picks over ER.

 

As for availability of standard BT, its normally available at well stocked stores here in Texas, however there will be brief stretches for a week or 2 when the shelves are empty. 

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JakeySnakes

Just finished a recently bought bottle of regular BT last week, I think. While still good, it did seem on the younger, brasher side then I remember past bottles being. It's relatively easy to find near me in the Hudson Valley, NY in the $30 price point.

 

Surprisingly I've never had, or seen a store pick, as I just don't think stores near me do them.

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smokinjoe
Posted (edited)
44 minutes ago, JakeySnakes said:

Just finished a recently bought bottle of regular BT last week, I think.

Heehee!!!  What’s in question here, Jakey?  The “finished”, the “recently bought”, or “regular” BT?  CV induced confinement is messing with all of us, bro!!   It’s alright.  We’ll get our Baseball back soon, then we can all get back to hatin’ on the Nats...or Phillies, or Marlins, or...........................Mets.... 🤣

Edited by smokinjoe

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