Whisky Advocate

Review: two new Buffalo Trace Experimental Whiskeys

June 11th, 2009

Here are the two new BT Experimental Collection whiskeys. This time the focus is on the type of wood. More specifically, this experiment looks at the growth rate of the wood and its impact on the whiskey. Both whiskeys are the same age, but I think I would have liked the Coarse Grain Oak whiskey if it were bottled several years earlier, where there (theoretically) would be less impact from the wood. If you buy both bottles you might want to tinker around and blend these two together, say four or five parts Fine Grain Oak and one part Coarse Grain Oak.

Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection, 14 year old, Fine Grain Oak, 45%, $47
Aged in slow growth wood. I love the balance in this whisky, with all the flavors presented harmoniously. Rather lively too for a bourbon approaching 15 years. Notes of bright fruit (peach, kiwi, golden raisin), soft vanilla, crème caramel, lemon meringue, and coconut macaroon, which dries out nicely to a rather sophisticated, cinnamon-tinged, polished oak finish. Well done.

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 94

Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection, 14 year old, Coarse Grain Oak, 45%, $47
Aged in fast growth wood. Quite the antithesis of the “Fine Grain Oak” release reviewed above (the comparison is interesting). Darker fruit (plum, blackberry), darker sugar too (maple syrup, toffee). Resinous and becoming quickly dry on the palate, with leather, tobacco leaves, grape stem tannins, barrel char, and dried spice. A heavier, more textural bourbon than the Fine Grain Oak expression. I like this whisky a lot until the dry, leathery, oak notes begin to dominate the latter half the palate. That, my friend, is the Coarse Grain Oak in action.

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 80

7 Responses to “Review: two new Buffalo Trace Experimental Whiskeys”

  1. Kevin says:

    Now I’m REALLY hoping these make their way out to California!

  2. John Hansell says:

    Both are good and interesting whiskeys. I just like the fine grain oak balance better.

  3. Rick Duff says:

    Anyone know of a source to actually purchase these? Thanks!

  4. Louis says:

    What are the differences between these two, and the ones revied on 6/2?

  5. Neil Fusillo says:

    I’ve looked and not seen ANY Buffalo Trace around here in Georgia. Would be nice to try these, though. I might have to road trip to somewhere they’re available.

    We have a dearth of whiskies and bourbons here.

  6. John Hansell says:

    Rick, I would contact one of the specialty retailers in the back of Malt Advocate or on the Malt Advocate website. They will get small allocations.

    Louis, they are the same whiskeys. The 6/2 blog was the press release announcing the whiskeys.

  7. […] Also dabbling in American Whiskey, John Hansell of Malt Advocate tastes two experimental whiskies from Buffalo Trace. […]

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