American Whiskey - Bourbon

Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Rating Information

  • Proof66 Rating
    631 / 904
    Rabble Rating
    4.3 / 5.0
    Price (USD)
    $25
    Proof
    90.0
    0-10 miles

Rating Description

Tier 1
This is a Tier 1 score in the Whiskey category. It means the spirit has won the highest recommendation at least once and probably many times.

Proof66 Notes

One doesn't often think of buffalo in Kentucky but the distillery takes its name from the buffalo path (or "trace") that led to the banks of the Kentucky River in Franklin County. Buffalo Trace Distillery takes pride in the limestone water (being notably free of iron) and good soil conditions for grain. The site has had a working distillery since 1787 but the official Buffalo Trace first began operation in 1857. It obtained one of only four permits offered during Prohibition to maintain production for "medicinal purposes." Today, the distillery sits on a picturesque 119 acres and produces several labels of bourbon. 
Buffalo Trace was named Distillery of the Year by the 2008 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. It was named a national historic landmark in 2013. 

Buffalo Trace Bourbon--the namesake and flagship of the distillery--is one of the more famous bourbons out of Kentucky. It uses a distinct mash bill of Indian corn, rye, and barley. They take especial care in their barrel selection using "center ring" wood from trees between 70 and 80 years old. They claim to have the highest rejection rate for barrels in the industry. The whiskey chill-filtered and bottled for a taste that "pleasantly sweet" with a "long dry finish."

2012 Update: with their double-gold award at the 2012 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, this bourbon solidifies its standing as one of the top-rated bourbons on our website, which makes it stand out from more famous and greatly more expensive scotch and similar whiskey. For more about our scoring methodology, a lot of answers are here. But seeing this humble bourbon among such luminaries, it draws questioning glances at its score. For that reason, it's worth reiterating: this is a bourbon that has, year over year, consistently received very high ratings from a number of critical bodies; our system at Proof66 is designed to reward that fact. From our standpoint, exposing the consistent excellent ratings of more humble spirits is exactly what our work here in liquor is designed to do.

Buffalo Trace featured on BlueKitchen.net as part of their "Best Bourbon" tour saying: "It is a nice bourbon with vanilla aroma and a sweet taste."

San Francisco World Spirits Competition

  • Pre-2004
  • 2005
  • 2006
  • 2007
  • 2008
  • 2009
  • 2010
  • 2011
  • 2012
  • 2013

Beverage Testing Institute

  • 2005
  • 2008
  • 2012

Wine Enthusiast

  • 2005
  • 2010
  • 2013
dbmkt1 dbmkt1 (6) (2014-10-12)
This is an excellent price/value point, but I was expecting something more based on the buzz that has been generated. It would be fine to buy at a low price for your liquor cabinet but it didn’t wow me. I’ll pay a little more for a marginally better Makers Mark.
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beerdless beerdless (9) (2014-10-11)
My first ever bourbon. It beat me up.
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jaketaz jaketaz (65) (2014-10-02)
Complex, subtle, smooth, and cheap! Not much to say that hasn't been said - a widely available and quite versatile bourbon that does just as well in an Old Fashioned as in vanilla pudding. Very good, and you'd usually have to spend a lot more to get something better. Though at this price point I would rather have Four Roses, personally.
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mynoseknows mynoseknows (14) (2014-09-26)
sweet smooth and mellow.
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voiceofsticks voiceofsticks (14) (2014-09-23)
Sipped this alongside Knob Creek last night and actually preferred this. Definitely a fruity, sweet taste at first with the vanilla coming through easily. I found it to be a nice sipper after the KC that had a bit more kick.
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BDanner BDanner (38) (2014-09-20)
I rate this bourbon just below Maker's Mark. I have Maker's at a 4.5, I'll give this one a 4.0. I do not get as many of the classic bourbon notes in this one neat as I do in the Maker's Mark, but a splash of water or a little ice melt definitely brings all of those notes to the forefront. Vanilla, toffee, and caramel with a little burn and char. Mixing it with ginger ale definitely brought the char to the forefront. While I don't see this bourbon often in restaurants and bars, I've definitely found a new bourbon for the home bar, as it is a $6 cheaper than Maker's Mark and $10 cheaper than Knob Creek.
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Crgaudette Crgaudette (9) (2014-08-22)
Great on ice or in a cocktail. At $22, it is a huge bargain.
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bonez1972 bonez1972 (9) (2014-08-19)

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scollings scollings (82) (2014-06-12)
I used to be a Beam drinker, for about 20 years. First white, then Black when it came out. No more. It is simply hard not to like what comes out of the Buffalo Trace Distillery. Its that good.
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spezbaby spezbaby (16) (2014-05-05)
Not a fan. Definitely think there are better coming out of Frankfort.
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DakotaGuy DakotaGuy (57) (2014-04-18)
I could sit down and try to parse out all of the notes I get from this, but I will just say this: Buffalo Trace is very well balanced, the perfect combination of sweetness and spice. Easily competes with bourbons that are twice the cost.
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dmarlow dmarlow (15) (2014-03-08)
Buffalo Trace is my go to Bourbon. For the quality, the price is fantastic. Drink this with whiskey rocks or one or two ice cubes. If you feel you need to mix this, your doing something wrong.
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Irishman Irishman (251) (2014-03-08)
I'm not sure bourbon gets any better than this at this price point. Fantastic and something that everyone should have in their bar.
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derkerderr derkerderr (70) (2014-03-04)
I considered giving this 5 stars due to the value. You'll have a hard time finding a peer for Buffalo Trace in it's price range. Very Good!
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StevenSauce StevenSauce (43) (2014-02-18)
4.7 stars not a big bourbon fan but this is great stuff. very smooth upfront, bit buttery, little spice and then a wonderful vanilla finish. best over a large ice cube.
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Jackstraw Jackstraw (5) (2014-02-17)
Neat, nice body, subtle sweetness but it is earthy like beets and is too distracting. A little water makes the beetyness dissipate. I wanted to love it; I know it is a great product from a great distillery. I couldn’t really enjoy it neat. Not bad just not for me.
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Edith MaGoo Edith MaGoo (56) (2014-02-01)
This is good stuff, and it earns it's rating. It's got some definite kick to it. It is very similar to it's big brother, Blanton's, except not quite as refined as the much more expensive Blanton's. Reminds me of a cinnamon flavor. I think you'd be very hard pressed to beat this, for the price
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RichardMNixon RichardMNixon (2) (2013-12-28)
Aromas of apricot and pepper with a very smooth finish laced with oak and vanilla. This should be in ever liquor cabinet.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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kclarksville kclarksville (5) (2013-08-27)
Great everyday, budget minded pour. Oaky and sweet nose complemented with sweet corn taste with touch of burnt sugar and caramel. Finish is medium to long with little warmth at the end. All and all good bourbon that you can easily drink neat or on the rocks.
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antiquecollector antiquecollector (27) (2013-08-08)
Best bang for the buck!
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NeatPour NeatPour (172) (2013-08-06)
This is a great intro bourbon due to it's smoothness & price. It's a value bourbon great to share with friends new to the category. I'd put it in the same smoothiness catagory as 1792 & Blanton's. Tastewise I get a musty almost tea leave like quality that is a 'okay' for me. By far the most redeeming quality of this bourbon is how easy it is to drink... give this a pour & then look to expand your horizons :)
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conditionZero conditionZero (14) (2013-08-05)
No need to expand on what other have said. This lives up to the hype, and more.
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riogib riogib (3) (2013-07-10)
Drinkable, better served with a splash or two of Agua fria.
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bourbob bourbob (24) (2013-06-15)
Excellent. Competes well with bottles costing twice as much.
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Thor_Foote Thor_Foote (10) (2013-05-21)
A very good bourbon at a ridiculously low price. You can find better, but you'll pay LOTS more; and nothing that costs up to 3 times as much per bottle is even close. The standard of value for mass-produced bourbons & TN whiskeys.
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Quetzal Quetzal (85) (2013-03-29)
(4 out of 5). Believe the hype. A delicious, nicely priced bourbon that is consistently tasty and easy to find. I love pouring it into a glencairn nosing glass and just taking a whiff every few minutes to see the changes. And that's just the nose! Lovely, complex flavor and finish.
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cincyhound cincyhound (4) (2013-02-08)
Buffalo Trace makes some of favorite bourbons, but this certainly isnt one of them. I just dont get the high ratings it receives. I do keep some around though - for mixed drinks and cooking.
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Burks Burks (12) (2013-02-05)
Nothing really special here. Better than a lot of mainstream bourbons, but I don't taste or find anything special with it. Fairly disappointed considering the hype behind this. A great mixer at best. Subpar straight up. Won't be purchasing again. P.S. I'm not a fan of anything American really. I've yet to find anything to hold a candle to even a $50 scotch.
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Therion Therion (17) (2013-01-31)
Never been a big bourbon fan, but this was something different. Absolutely love it mixed with coke, not a huge fan of the woody flavours imparted on whiskey when drunk straight but I can see myself appreciating this on the rocks if I had no mixers - something I could only say about good scotch.
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thark77 thark77 (12) (2013-01-03)
Too earthy, tastes like bark fell in the cask. It's ok, but not crazy about it.
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bdehoog bdehoog (73) (2012-11-20)
Definitely my go to bourbon. I'm a big fan of basically everything they produce. I like the higher proof - 90 - and mix with a splash of cold water. I wish the whiskey was not chill filtered.
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tequilaguy tequilaguy (15) (2012-11-16)
First bottle of Bourbon i tried.. Hated it at first.. But after about a year of working myself up to it i finally could appreciate the complexity and flavor.. Smooth and Flavorful bourbon that was great neat... Wasnt the best Whiskey in the house mixed because of the strong flavor and smoky-ness.. Great Bourbon, worth buying a bottle for the Bar!
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DonnyPussy DonnyPussy (1) (2012-11-11)
In 2000 I visited the Buffalo Trace Distillery. Old school place with the gate guard going to work on a big cigar. Classic. I tried and puchaced a bottle of this stuff. Back then it was sporting Frankfurt County Bourbon of the Yearaward. When I got it back to seattle me and my best friend sat down and drank the whole damn thing. We both agreed that it was the best boubon ever. Now it is everywhere and I had it first! I knew it was gold. Drink it up players.
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ProfessorCocktail ProfessorCocktail (49) (2012-10-01)
Sweet on the nose, but spicy on the palate. Smooth yet bold, this is a good, straight-ahead bourbon, and a fine value for the money. Buffalo Trace is a classic, a whiskey you can always turn to for a satisfying drink.

For more reviews, including the results of our bourbon taste tests, please visit ProfessorCocktail.com. 

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ohio_outlaw ohio_outlaw (9) (2012-09-14)
Don't really need to say anything that hasn't already said, but this is not only a good relatively cheap bourbon but one of the best around.  $22 where I live-a steal.
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StanMemTn StanMemTn (84) (2012-09-09)
Smooth, round bourbon. Has all the notes I'm looking for. This bourbon fills the same role as Maker's Mark. They can be had reasonably and offer a premium (if not super-premium) product.
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ecco98 ecco98 (2) (2012-08-18)
my favorite Bourbon out and priced so good no complaints
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TimeToGoHome TimeToGoHome (32) (2012-07-26)
Opened the bottle and poured a dram.  First sip had a slight chemical smell.  Sat the glass down for a couple of minutes and had another sip.  Yummy, rich, complex.  Poured another w/ some water.  Still good but thinner.  Better neat.
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qzor qzor (1) (2012-07-15)
woot this is some good stuff
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drstone drstone (1) (2012-06-12)
This is to easy to drink, I need to take it easy!
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ryanofwaco ryanofwaco (1) (2012-06-06)
Buffalo Trace is good but I cant believe anyone would honestly think its better than other non-premium bourbons like Makers, Pogue, Woodford, Elmer T Lee, etc. And dont even begin the comparison to premiums like Blantons.
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scalihan scalihan (29) (2012-06-06)
Its the best. Dont contemplate. Buy a bottle and get Shelled. Theres no reason not to like this. Btw, Clint Shell still rules.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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LiquorBox21X LiquorBox21X (25) (2012-03-28)
If you want to find damn good bourbon at a damn good price- start with Buffalo Trace!  It is available in 50ml samplers so give it a try!
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Storcke Storcke (23) (2011-12-25)
Of the bourbons I love (Bulleit, Eagle Rare, Woodford Reserve--forget those special batches which are generally harsher or less flavorful or both), this is my favorite. Nose is caramel, smoke, lavender, fruit. Taste is so complex and so delicate that a specific list is impossible, but in general spicy, sweet, fruity, flowery, smoky, caramel, all evident but not excessive. Slight corn sweetness. Very smooth but with a charred oak bite. My favorite bourbon at ANY price.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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degbert degbert (135) (2011-12-16)
Nose is all fruit, but the palate is crisp and somewhat dry with smoke on the finish. This is basic bourbon, tasty straight, but not so expensive you'd mind mixing it.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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11Johnathan11 11Johnathan11 (12) (2011-11-26)
The reviews were all great...Maybe I got a bad bottle. It tastes like moldy wood. I do like how it separates in your mouth, however I can't get past the moldy wood flavor. There are definitely a lot of better bourbons.
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artiekid artiekid (3) (2011-11-12)
My favorite bourbon!
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aslezak aslezak (27) (2011-09-26)
This bourbon is excellent on the rocks.  There are hints of cinnamon with other sweet spices, without being syrupy like some more popular brands.  It probably deserves 5 stars but I have yet to try it on the rocks.  Definitely worth a purchase.
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Alchemist Alchemist (50) (2011-09-10)
The nose is fruity, sweet and spicy with rum notes. The body arrives very sweet then becomes spicy with light pepper in the background. The creamy sweetness carries through with a short but intense bitter edge in finish. Aftertaste is bittersweet and mellow. Very good value.
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bigdaddyb bigdaddyb (8) (2011-07-29)
Dry and a bit understated. Its an interesting has some nice complexity if you take it slow and ponder it. Affordable and unbeatable at the price.
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Allan Allan (119) (2011-07-12)
Wonderful flavor. Smooth . Nothing can come close for the price.
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hounddog hounddog (1) (2011-04-30)
This bourbon is awesome. I have turned others on to it.--and the price is right!
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TheSippingLife TheSippingLife (111) (2011-04-27)
This is now my favorite sub-$30 bourbon. A great range of complexity, with that bourbon bite. And if you add just a 1/4 teaspoon of water to a glass, it sings while accompanied by a smoothness I have gotten from few whiskies. I'm usually not one to go on about different flavor "notes", but you get a lot of things, such as powdered sugar, molasses, coffee, toffee, etc. BT is worth every penny, and maybe a few more than you will pay for it. Highly recommended stuff.
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dj1726 dj1726 (8) (2011-04-18)
Bold. Definitely bold:)
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Jags007 Jags007 (10) (2011-04-18)
Little harder than the other bourbons.
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mvg1 mvg1 (21) (2011-03-12)
Best bourban out there for the money it just has this extra layer of flavor than your knob creek, makers mark, evan williams and others. Also smooth and has a great color. 5*****s
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Whiskeyjack Whiskeyjack (4) (2010-12-29)
Forget best bourbon; this is the best *liquor* available at this price point, period.
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Perrin Perrin (68) (2010-09-11)
I am not a whiskey Drinker by any means so 3 stars is about as high as my ratings will be for whiskeys. Trace is very woody and that flavor carries forward when used in cocktails.
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manikmathur manikmathur (18) (2010-09-11)
A true Bourbon , with its own character and flavor. No sweetness a bold flavor but smooth on the way down
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ChrisCarlsson ChrisCarlsson (326) (2010-08-28)
A very easy to drink, quality bourbon, mellow and rich at a great price. A wonderful rich bourbon that puts the other bourbons in its price range to shame. There are few others that are is good for the money and they make most of them.
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superman superman (43) (2010-06-16)
great stuff.
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tehsuck tehsuck (1) (2009-04-21)
I was first introduced to BT when my father started drinking it while I was visiting him in Louisville, KY. I still have yet to taste a bourbon that is better for the price. Great smokiness and not overly sweet.
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Phizbin Phizbin (188) (2008-09-10)
This is, hands down, the best bourbon on the market for the money. You can drink this stuff without shame in front of anyone in any setting. and at $23 it soundly defeats much higher-priced stuff.
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  • 080244009236
  • 080244009212
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