Whisky Advocate

Ancient Ancient Age Ten “Star” vs. Ten Year Old

December 16th, 2007

I have a little secret for you: Ancient Ancient Age Ten Year Old (“Triple A” for those in the know) is an outstanding bourbon at an incredible price (less than $15).

I have another secret for you: If you go out to buy a bottle, what you’ll probably end up getting is not Ancient Ancient Age Ten Year Old, but rather Ancient Ancient Age Ten Star, which is a completely different whiskey.

Here’s the scoop. Both are made at the same distillery: Buffalo Trace. AAA Ten Year Old is, for the most part, sold only in Kentucky. If you live anywhere else, you’re probably getting AAA Ten Star. (Yes, some specialty whiskey shops might have twisted some arms or bootlegged some in to their shop, but this is rare.)

Ten Star is closer to 6 years old than 10 years old. Ten Star, while a nice easy-drinking bourbon, lacks the depth and complexity of the 10 year old.

Two weeks ago, when I was at the Buffalo Trace Distillery, I asked President Mark Brown why there are two. He admitted that it is understandably confusing, but it was something that he inherited when he came to the company, noting that it has been in place for quite some time.

When I asked Mark why they just don’t make all the AAA whiskey 10 years old, he told me that many people drinking the Ten Star won’t like the 10 year old as much. The like the easy-drinking, uncomplicated nature of the Ten Star. He’s got a good point. People are used to a whiskey tasting a certain way and they don’t want anyone to change it–even if it is theoretically for the better.

So, during your next visit to Kentucky, you now have a mission. Grab a few bottles of AAA Ten Year Old while you’re there and bring them back home to share with your friends. People think it’s cool to sneak in Cuban cigars when they’re traveling overseas. Trust me, you’ll have them beat.

2 Responses to “Ancient Ancient Age Ten “Star” vs. Ten Year Old”

  1. Robert says:

    I purchased a bottle of AAA ten year old at A Binnys bev Depot. The Bottle says Ten Year Old, Not Ten Star. Did I get a honest bottle or not

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