Buffalo Trace Bourbon Review

Buffalo Trace Bourbon Review

Our verdict

When you think of bourbon, Buffalo Trace is what should come to mind. It’s a masterful blend of taste and scent at a price that’s going to please any fan of the drink. With a bourbon that’s this solid and this well made, it’s likely to garner plenty of fans who are both seasoned whiskey drinkers and who are just venturing into the arena for the first time.

Overall rating

The longer review

The Buffalo Trace Distillery is a special one and has become famous over the years for its sheer output, which consists of, give or take, 10 million liters of whiskey per year. This makes up over 40 different products: rye whiskies, wheated bourbon, and even a vodka thrown in for good measure. And, of course, it includes Buffalo Trace bourbon itself. With its smooth finish and its complex yet familiar flavors, this is sure to be a winner every time. 

buffalo trace bourbon bottles and glass

History Of Buffalo Trace Bourbon 

It all started back in 1999 when the Buffalo Trace Distillery was brought back to life, and people began to wonder… where was the eponymous bourbon? Surely a distillery like Buffalo Trace had to have its own whiskey? In the end, a whiskey was found – up in the top floors, in old, aged barrels, there was a bourbon that seemed to fit the bill, and Buffalo Trace Bourbon was born. Today, Buffalo Trace is batched in just 40 barrels at a time and is then aged in a variety of different warehouses, but always on the middle floor, where the temperature is more varied. 

Where Is Buffalo Trace Bourbon Made? 

We’ve already mentioned the Buffalo Trace Distillery, but what we haven’t said is quite how amazing this place is. Multi-award winning (said to be the distillery with the most awards globally), known for its vast range of products, Buffalo Trace, located in Frankfort, Kentucky, is precisely what a good, traditional distillery should be. 

buffalo trace bourbon bottle and glass

How Is Buffalo Trace Bourbon Made? 

Using Buffalo Trace’s very own ‘mash #1’, which is thought to include 75% corn, 10% rye, 15% barley, Buffalo Trace bourbon is made, distilled, and aged at the distillery itself. The aging occurs in new oak barrels. The process is carried out on the middle floors of several different warehouses within the distillery compound. New and old meet perfectly to create a bourbon that hits all the right notes once it reaches maturity. 

guest smelling a glass of buffalo trace bourbon

Tasting notes.

What to expect

When it comes to a good bourbon, it’s all about the taste. Too harsh, too sweet, too dull, and you won’t be coming back for more. So how does Buffalo Trace stack up? 


You can smell the sparks and highlights of Buffalo Trace as soon as you open the bottle. It’s a combination of vanilla, apple sauce, and honey, but with a minty tone that cuts through what might otherwise be far too sweet to handle. Beneath, there is a hint of anise, again offering a bitterness to proceedings.

The fruit tones are still there and are the dominant element – that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing! In fact, it gives off a familiar air, something like a fairground toffee apple or spiced cider drink. 

buffalo trace bourbon on hand


When you look closely at Buffalo Trace bourbon, you’ll see that it teeters between honey-gold and amber with some hints of copper thrown in and swirled around. It’s a tempting color, one that, perhaps unusually for a whiskey, actually does give you an idea of what the finished drink would taste of; sweet and thick. 


Caramel. That’s what comes to mind, but of course, the honey is there, along with the apples mixed with mint and anise. At the back of the throat, you’ll catch a dose of peppercorns combined with a fresh, woody taste, but not enough to make the experience an unpleasant one. There is a bite of alcohol too, so if you’re looking for something completely smooth, this might surprise you. Still, it is only a trace, and it soon dissipates when the caramel flavors come rolling around again. 

buffalo trace bourbon on glass

How To Drink Buffalo Trace Bourbon

The beauty of an accessible bourbon like Buffalo Trace is that it is versatile. Of course, the best way to drink it is to enjoy it neat; that’s the only way you’re really going to appreciate the variety of delicious flavors that it offers. Yet despite this, Buffalo Trace is also an excellent ingredient in many different cocktails, again because of the sweet tones that make these drinks so… drinkable. But because there is that woody sting in the tail, it means that the sweetness can be mitigated somewhat, making for a much more pleasant drink. Buffalo Trace can even liven up a cup of coffee – it’s that sweet element that really makes it so very versatile. 

filling glasses with buffalo trace bourbon

The Whiskey Rocks verdict.

Is it good?

Buffalo Trace bourbon has a lot to live up to. Coming from such a prestigious background and with so many people curious about what it might be like, it had to be good, and we think that’s just what it is. In fact, we’d go as far as to say it’s excellent. 

Although not the most sophisticated of drinks, it’s also not the most expensive, and it’s not something you need to be an accustomed whiskey drinker to appreciate making it an ideal entryway into the world of whiskey.

For some, that’s as far as they’ll want to go, no matter how long they’ve been imbibing because Buffalo Trace does tick a large number of boxes. 

It might not be to the taste of those who want to show off their deep pockets and line up expensive malts along their whiskey shelf, but to everyone else, it’s going to hit the spot.

Ashleigh Cain

Ashleigh is a key part of the editorial team at Whiskey Rocks. You'll often find her either writing educational articles or reviewing the latest artisan whiskeys. Her favorite drink? Ashleigh loves smokey scotches like Laphroaig, but you'll also often find her with an old fashioned in hand.

Pepperjam Verification

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