“One of the world’s great whiskies”. – Jim Murray
I am a sucker for intriguing advertisements so when I noticed Jim Murray’s statement on a Buffalo Trace bottle the other day I had no choice but to buy it. A “great” whiskey for measly 30 bucks is not something I am likely to walk away from. Luckily so. It appears as if Jim was right again, this is truly a “great” bourbon. I would actually go as far as to say it is one of the best bourbons I have tasted yet! I am far from alone in my infatuation as Buffalo Trace has won multiple medals throughout the years most recently receiving a Double Gold Rating at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2012. Its success is also illustrated by the size of the distillery. To date the Buffalo Trace Distillery site encompasses 119 acres and, impressively, 114 buildings.
The first thing I liked about Buffalo Trace, and maybe least important, was its name. A whiskey that is named after the migration path of thousands of buffalos from the 18th century is just awesome in itself. Secondly, and more importantly, the taste of Buffalo Trace is exquisite! It is much more on the sweet side than most whiskeys but still manage to keep under the sugar-overload-threshold (In contrast to Bourbons like Red Stag and Jim Beam Honey). Caramel is filling most of the picture here accompanied by candied vanilla and hints of orange fruit and green grass. There is good balance in this whiskey and I have to restrain myself from continuously filling the empty glass.
VERDICT: Agreed, this is absolutely one of the world’s great whiskies. It is sweet, creamy, caramel like and yet combines the sugary notes with citrus and orange fruits in a divine manor. This is one of those whiskies I could easily drink half a bottle of and still not get enough. At 30 dollars a bottle this is a steal. Instant favorite.
Where I come from Cherry Coke and Dr. Pepper is not very popular. I only know one person who actually like that stuff and that is me. Why that is I don’t know but I have always had a thing for cherry flavored drinks. So naturally I had to try Jim Beam’s Red Stag.
My first thought was “this must be the most viscous whiskey on the market”. You can almost chew on it! Also you don’t think of whiskey drinking it. Instead of whiskey I would more describe it as melted caramel mixed with sugar and dried red fruits. The traditional bourbon taste is almost absent and has been replaced by black cherry and heaps of glucose. Don’t get me wrong I like sugary stuff but Red Stag really tests my limit. If I was drinking it on the rocks without knowing what it was I would have put it at around 30% abv certainly not 40%. It is so unbelievably smooth. No wonder it is trying to target the female audience.
Disregarding the fact that Red Stag does not really taste like traditional bourbon, I love it. Maybe a bit too sugary but if you keep to a few glasses it should be fine. There is no question about it, I like this bourbon for the same reasons I like Cherry Coke and Dr. Pepper; It is sweet and tastes like cherries.
Red Stag was launched in 2009 and last year Jim Beam came out with two more natural flavored bourbons: Red Stag Honey Tea and Red Stag Spiced. Maybe it is about time to try them as well.
VERDICT: Even though Red Stag never intended to impress whisky enthusiasts like myself I am slightly impressed. However the sugary notes quickly become too overwhelming so my advice is to drink small amounts at a time.