Haven’t reviewed something like this in quite some time.

Buffalo Trace Distillery in Kentucky has been producing some of the finest bourbons around since 1857, and during Prohibition was one of only four distilleries in the country granted a permit to continue operations to produce spirits for “medicinal purposes” (show me the doctor that would prescribe this stuff!). The distillery is a virtual trophy case of whiskey accolades, winning more than 50 industry awards since 1990 including two-time distiller of the year from Whisky Magazine in 2005 and 2007, and a nod from Wine Enthusiast as distiller of the year in 2006. Clearly, these guys know what they’re doing.

But as any painfully honest stock broker will tell you (ha!), past performance does not guarantee future results. However, as this dedicated beer connoisseur will also tell you, a whiskey has to be pretty damn good to spur me to write a review on it.

Blended from up to 30 different barrels, Buffalo Trace pours with a butterscotch appearance, viscous legs streaking down the glass and a fairly spicy, peppery nose, I’m guessing an attribute of the rye used in the mash bill (which coincidentally comes from Minnesota, at least in part). Wonderful aromas of vanilla, honey, and maybe even some floral mint. I’m not an expert, but I thought bourbon couldn’t technically be higher than 80 proof, and this one comes in at 45% ABV. Regardless, you know you’re drinking a hefty whiskey when your eyelashes are lightly singed from the vapors each time you bury your nose in the glass. The taste is impressive, with flavors of sweet honey, caramel, lightly charred oak, and molasses. As beautiful as the legs are on this bourbon, the body is surprisingly thin with alcohol heat in the finish, lingering for quite some time into mellow notes of vanilla and oak.  

Rating: A-

Where I Got It: Gift, but you can find it at Surdyk’s, Zipp’s or MGM Liquors, among others
Availability: Year-Round
Price: About $25 for a bottle