Before we get into another review - I'd like to say the usefulness of most single barrel reviews really ends at the lengths of the distribution channels for the source of the pick. Your mileage may vary significantly barrel to barrel, but one thing is for certain - if you are a local customer to a store who does great picks - you are in for a good time. I'm taking some time this season to highlight a few of the stores I have visited who I think do exceptional picks. I will be utilizing a reasonably accessible brand like Buffalo Trace to kickstart that conversation. I also thought this was a good medium because of its lower proof; this serves as a level playing field for approachability of whiskey drinkers of all calibers, and also keeps me level headed as I taste through several releases.
As I weave together a few store pick reviews over my next few posts, either look at this as an opportunity to get to learn the picking team at the store being reviewed (if it is anywhere near you), or look for high level trends to see if chasing single barrels of this release are worth it to you. You might find some interesting info here!
Now let's get into the whiskey! The fun part!
Company on Label: Buffalo Trace
Whiskey Type: Bourbon
Mash Bill Percentages: Buffalo Trace Mash Bill #1 (Low Rye < 10%)
Age: NAS, but commonly discussed to be around 6-8 years old; though the only TTB requirement has it being over 4 years
Nose: Oh wow - the caramel and butterscotch is pervasive on this glass. The creamy nose-feel opens up to toffee, buttered dinner rolls and prevalent candied apple. I'm reminded of sour apple airheads here. There's an inherent softness here that works. It feels like there is a pile of confectioners sugar not far away. Light graham cracker tones fill the glass. Let's dive in on a sip!
Returning to the glass I find hints of leather, vanilla and faint cigar smoke. The nose has significantly more complexity than the palate and I find myself savoring the aromas of caramel, popcorn and warm salted pretzels. The empty glass smells of coarse linen, honeysuckle and grenadine.
Palate: Gobs of cherry lead the way on this. Hints of strawberry and the lightest sprinkle of nutmeg hang along the edges. This drinks impossibly soft. Another sip and swish reveals hints of cardamom and honey sweetness. There's less in the way of fruit here than usual but more bakery or coffee shop style treats showing up. As the glass weathers on I do start to find some more cherry tones returning which is nice. Marshmallow layers in nicely with strawberries and cream. My last sip is a lovely citrus medley of zested lemon, Earl gray tea, and just a hint of cherry following through. Yum!
This one has a clear winner of a nose, but less in the flavor department. I think overall approachability makes this one a great choice for newer whiskey drinkers. This is a solid pick and having tried some of the other barrels that Jen has picked, I know that Plaza is the place to stop in for whiskey single barrel picks out in the Berkshires. Cheers!