Buffalo Trace vs. Buffalo Trace Single Barrel – Side by Side Review – BTSB 79-100

The format of this review may be a bit different since I’m doing a side by side comparison, but I figured I would at least give the regular information for the new and unreviewed whiskey, being the single barrel Buffalo Trace.  As far as I can tell this is a special selection for the liquor store I frequent in New Jersey.  ( www.shoppersvineyard.com )

Price – 750 ml – $26.99 – ( http://www.shoppersvineyard.com )

Method – 1 Ice cube in Glencairn glass

Rating – 79-100

Review –

So this would be my first side by side comparison of what promises to be two very similar whiskeys.  The first, Buffalo Trace, I have already reviewed and you can click to read that review which was a favorable one.  The new one is a Single Barrel version of the same whiskey, aptly names Buffalo Trace Single Barrel.  Like I said above as far as I can tell this is a very limited occasion and was hand selected by the purchasing team at Shoppers Vineyard.  This is their explanation:

“I made my first trip down to Kentucky about 8 years ago. Back then, bourbon wasn’t as big as it is now, but I had a feeling it was ready to explode… and I was right. Items that were readily available back then are impossible to get now. The prices have also SKYROCKTED, which is not a good thing but that’s what happens when demand FAR exceeds supply. 

The first person I met in Kentucky was Kris Comstock from Buffalo Trace Distillery. At the time, Buffalo Trace Bourbon was not available in my state of NJ and according to Kris there was no immediate plan to release it. That meant I only wanted it more. Fast forward a few years and BT is finally released in NJ. Not good enough for me. By then I wanted to get a BT Single Barrel, but was told emphatically “NO!” Long story short, I FINALLY got my Buffalo Trace “Shoppers Vineyard Single Barrel Selection” Bourbon Whiskey

The BT Classic is a blend of 6-8 year barrels. This SV Single Barrel is just shy of 9 years. The distillery normally sends 3 samples and you pick one. We got 12 samples because I couldn’t seem to find the “ONE”. I’m sure the distillery was ready to kill me, but I think we picked a GREAT barrel. We have been doing some great single barrel releases recently and this one is no exception. Pick up a few bottles and let us know what you think. “

Overall I wasn’t expecting much different but I was very surprised at the dram I got out of the Single Barrel.  The regular old Buffalo Trace was exactly as it always is, not the smoothest or best bourbon on my shelf, but for the price it can’t really be beaten.  The Single Barrel is a bit of a surprise, the similarity to the original is easily noted but the departure from the classic feel of BT is not really an improvement.  That’s not to say that its necessarily a worse dram than the blended, but it’s just much different.  It has a longer finish which is much nicer, and while it doesn’t denote a different abv content on the bottle, I can’t help but feel that this is a little stronger than the blend.  The wood flavor is suppressed a bit in this bottle, it doesn’t have the big hits of oak like traditional BT but it also loses a big dose of the burn that comes with the original.  It kicks you in the mouth a bit harder on the first drink, but it goes down much more smoothly.   The finish, while longer isn’t as pleasant however.  Where the original had a short watery finish that was full of oak and some leather and caramel, this one loses the wood and caramel entirely right after the swallow and the leather fades soon after leaving nothing but the taste of dry alcohol in your mouth.

I think that overall, in the end I liked the Single Barrel a little less than the blend.  Not much less, but that finish gets a little rough after a whole glass goes down.  I would buy BT original again but maybe the tasters at Shopper’s Vineyard and I just have different tastes.

*interesting side note, I had about two drinks left in each glass when I was done and poured them together since I figured I was done for the evening and would just dispose of the rest.  I tried it, and it actually made a better glass than the two separately.   Wierd.


4 responses to “Buffalo Trace vs. Buffalo Trace Single Barrel – Side by Side Review – BTSB 79-100

  • G-LO

    Nice review Chuck! The regular Buffalo Trace is a good value priced bourbon. Although it’s not my favorite, it is still quite drinkable. I like using it as a mixer every now again, even though I prefer to drink my whisky neat. Have you tried their Eagle Rare 10 or their Antique Collection? They are well worth seeking out. Last year’s Eagle Rare 17 was superb. Hope to get my hands on the 2011 release at some point.

  • Chuck

    Eagle Rare I think is my next purchase. I spent a little too much the last month or two 😉 so the purse strings have been pulled from my hands. I guess we all have a better half keeping their eyes on the boozers 😉 And if I can find a decently priced bottle of Pappy that will tide me over, but if not I’ll look into the ER 10. Also on my list is:

    Pappy, Hudson, Bulleit, Black Maple Hill, Bushmills, Abuandh, High West, Whistle Pig, Hibiki 12, 1792, Prichards, Basil Haydens, Bakers, Bookers, Willets.. geez when I look at the list I realize I have a long way to go haha. Unfortunately there are many more whiskies on the list, and since I collect em, I tend to buy bottles instead of the little 50ml guys… We’ll see

    Thanks for the comment,

    • G-LO

      Yo Chuck!

      Sounds like you have alot of research ahead of you! I have had a good bit of these over the years. If I had to prioritize and make a Top Five list, I’d go with the following in no particular order: Pappy, Abunadh, Hibiki 12, Bookers, and Willets. Nothing wrong with the others. Just trying to help you narrow it down.

      I’m with you on the big bottles. I don’t really like buying the little bottles, but for the sake of my wallet and the marriage, I sometimes have to show some restraint. I saw a four pack of the Small Batch Bourbon collection for under $20 in PA. I think that would be worth your while. Knob Creek, Bakers, Bookers, and Basil Hayden. All four are worth the money.

      Buona Fortuna!

  • Buffalo Trace – Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey – 81-100 « Whiskey World Tour

    […] For a side by side comparison of this and Buffalo Trace Single Barrel Click Here. […]

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