July 11, 2019
Buffalo Trace and Eagle Rare are two of Buffalo Trace’s best-known and relatively affordable bourbons (although accessibility can often be a problem). Even with different branding, the two are actually quite similar at their core. The main difference is that Eagle Rare is at least 10-years old, while Buffalo Trace does not have an age statement, although it’s rumored that it may be 7-9 years old. Eagle Rare 10 also used to be single barrel, but the company dropped that label a few years ago because of changes to bottling. The burning question in this Buffalo Trace vs Eagle Rare comparison is: how similar or different are they?
The below table outlines key facts and figures for each bourbon.
How to Read the Chart
Buffalo Trace is in blue, and Eagle Rare is in orange. The center of the circle indicates none of a trait. Further out the line indicates a stronger presence of that trait.
The scale (from inside to out):
Buffalo Trace and Eagle Rare overall are sugar and fruit-forward with supporting wood, spice, mint, and alcohol. Even with the same mash and proof, there are some noticeable differences. On the nose, Buffalo Trace has more mint, anise, pepper, and brighter fruits such as apples, pears, and oranges, much like Sazerac 6. Eagle Rare is darker with stewed cherries, berries, and apples, as well as musty roasted wood and cocoa. Flavor-wise, both are similarly sweet, but Buffalo Trace is brighter with honey, vanilla, pears, and lemons, as well as less oak, but more pepper and alcohol burn. Eagle Rare is a littler richer with honey, apples, oranges, dark charred oak, cinnamon, and cloves, sort of like Stagg Jr.
This was tough, but Eagle Rare 10 wins this comparison. Buffalo Trace is solid and ~$10 less per bottle, but Eagle Rare is fuller and more mature. While both are enjoyable but not outstanding, Eagle Rare gets the edge because of the darker and slightly more rich characteristics, although I’d also gladly drink Buffalo Trace too.