Standard: Located in almost every liquor store.
Single: Found only in stores that partake in a private barrel program.
Single: $23-$30 (paid $23)
Standard: NAS (rumored between 8-10 years, usually 9.5 years)
Single: NAS (rumored 9-9.5 years)
Nose: There’s only slight variation in the noses between the two bottles. The standard bottle is a tad sweeter smelling than the single barrel. Both offer about the same complexity. After allowing some air into the bourbon, the standard offering began to smell much like a traditional bourbon with few unique traits. The single barrel on the other hand started to develop a more okay depth.
Palate: The single barrel is much smoother than the standard bottle. This is a prime example of a bourbon that doesn’t have to taste harsh to have a rich flavor and doesn’t taste watered down. Although, allowing some air into the glass made the single barrel palate flatten some, while the standard offering revealed additional fruit flavors and oaky depth.
Finish: The standard bottle’s finish is dryer and harsher than my single barrel. The harshness actually traveled into my nose a bit. I’ve said over and over when sipping my single barrel Buffalo Trace how great the finish is. It just has a rich flavor that is hard to beat for the price. It’s by far the bourbon’s strongest aspect and sells me every time on the single barrel version.
Value: The standard Buffalo Trace bourbon is a fantastic bourbon for its price. It’s readily available, mixes well without losing much of the bourbon flavor and can act as a great sipper. The private selection bottles of Buffalo Trace widely vary in price. Some stores bottle it in special engraved bottles that fetch upwards of $50. More often though, private selection bottles can be found around $30. For me, it’s an easy choice. The extra $8-$10 is well worth the smoother palate and the superior finish.
This is definitely a time you can’t go wrong with either bottle. With very little cost difference between the two, I’d go with the single barrel every time.
-EH Reviewed: 9/2014