If you've been involved with bourbon for more than a day, you've heard the name, "Buffalo Trace Distillery." It would be impossible not to, seriously, it's considered one of the top 3 distilleries out there. This distillery is responsible for the highly sought after Van Winkle Collection and Buffalo Trace Antique Collection, both of which command a hefty little price tag per bottle on the secondary market.
Buffalo Trace Distillery makes a wide variety of bourbons and ryes, using different mashbills. The easiest cheat sheet I've found to best breakdown where all of the different BT offerings fall in the spectrum would be the image below created by Blake Riber of www.bourbonr.com
I personally enjoy a lot of different products from Buffalo Trace, though I wouldn't say I've jumped on the band wagon of fanboys who crave each and every single thing from BT. All of this hype seems to stem from Buffalo Trace producing two of the hardest to find and most sought after lines - Buffalo Trace Antique Collection and the Van Winkles. This fanboy status has turned many of these bourbons and ryes to be highly allocated in many parts of the country, though many used to just sit on the shelf 2 years ago. With the continuation of the rise of bourbon, there is no reason to think that this won't become more of an issue each year until the bourbon producers catch up to the demand at hand, sadly.
Aroma: Immediately this bourbon gives you high hopes for what is about to come. Cinnamon and spices instantly hit the nose, closely followed by a very pleasant blend of corn and sweet notes of honey. As the smell begins to take more shape, other notes are present such as caramel, berry, and stoned fruits. The smell is exactly what would hope for in a 100 proof bourbon. I get an occasional hint of oak, which I feel really blends well with this combination, my only complaint that this smell isn't frequent enough.
Taste: With the expectations coming in from the aroma, I'm instantly expecting a lot of sweet notes on the tongue. This is the case off the initial touch of the bourbon to the tongue, with notes of berry, caramel, vanilla, and oak, though this is where it ends. As soon as it's mid-palate it almost instantly changes into a drier bourbon. Most of the sweet tones fade quickly and you're left with a dry back-side of the palate. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, but the nose leads you astray on what you have coming ahead. That unfortunately killed it for me. I was hoping for a sweet berry and caramel explosion through the entire tasting experience and that led me a bit disappointed.
Finish: Just when I began to lose hope that it was just going to continue to be a downhill slope with this bourbon, I was luckily incorrect. This bourbon brings itself back to my good graces. The finish hits you with a load of spices and an oily finish. Some sweet oaky notes sneak through, with some ever changing complexity to result into a longer range finish. A nice, smooth and gentle burn on the way down.
Overall: While I'm not going to run around saying this is the greatest bourbon I've ever had, it's definitely a good purchase, one that I'll grab at retail when I can get it, especially with it's limited availability in MA. As a plus, it's a solid bourbon option when looking to trade for other bourbons.