Buffalo Trace vs Old Taylor Comparison
Buffalo Trace vs Old Taylor
These are two Buffalo Trace's more affordable mashbill #1 bourbons
Buffalo Trace and Old Taylor are two of the more affordable, albeit allocated, Buffalo Trace mashbill #1 bourbons made today. After reviewing Buffalo Trace, Old Taylor, and Benchmark Bourbon, and then doing 2 out of the 3 combinations of comparisons between them, the last one I wanted to do is this Buffalo Trace vs Old Taylor.
And just like the very affordable Benchmark Bourbon, Old Taylor has a lower ABV and age (probably) compared to Buffalo Trace. The biggest difference may be price, where a 1.75L handle of Old Taylor should be cheaper than a 750mL of Buffalo Trace. You get more than double the bourbon for less. That price difference should be somewhat indicative that Buffalo Trace is much better since it comes from the same distillery. And in my past experience, Benchmark Bourbon was far far worse than Buffalo Trace.
While Old Taylor may be much cheaper, I think it could do surprisingly well given how it crushed Benchmark Bourbon in that comparison and from memory seems to have more in common with Buffalo Trace than Benchmark does. I already rated Buffalo Trace and Old Taylor as “Mid Shelf” bourbons (although Buffalo Trace has a slightly higher numerical score I don’t show), so it’s not like I’m comparing bourbons with different ratings.
As an FYI, I bought and use these Glencairn glasses for my reviews and comparisons (because they’re the best): Glencairn Crystal Whiskey Glass, Set of 6, Clear, 6 Pack. Full transparency, this is an affiliate link, so I may earn a commission if you buy this or something else from Amazon.
How do they compare?
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And the winner is...
This is a tough one because it’s so close. You might expect that Buffalo Trace would be the easy winner because of the higher age (probably), ABV, and price, but I struggled to decide because it’s not that obvious to me. Each has its own strengths and unique characteristics, so it comes down to personal preference, and price to some degree. And yes, I think that Old Taylor is truly “baby” Buffalo Trace, and a somewhat compelling one at that too.
Ultimately, the tiebreaker comes from this line of thinking – which one would I rather have if I could only pick one to have neat? In that case, I’d actually pick Old Taylor because I enjoy it more: definitely a hot take.
If I factored-in price, which may not be all that useful because both are allocated, the gap widens further in Old Taylor’s favor because a handle of it costs less than a 750mL of Buffalo Trace. You get more than 2x more bourbon and still have money leftover for a Chipotle bowl or something.
There’s so much going for Buffalo Trace, especially the slightly more expressive scents and bolder flavors. Overall, it’s a bit more sweet, earthy, and oaky. The earthiness and oakiness especially bite more in the flavors, but there’s something about it that doesn’t mesh with me as much. It’s not unbalanced, I just prefer Old Taylor’s equalization between roasty sweetness, earthiness, fruit, and oak.
On the other hand, Old Taylor is the more balanced bourbon, and dare I say richer in some dimensions. Old Taylor’s scents actually have noticeabely more low-end roundness and viscosity, which seems strange. It’s not as bold as Buffalo Trace, yet still richer in some ways.
The general personality is like Buffalo Trace’s, with darker sweetness, caraway seed and pumpernickel earthiness, and fruitiness, but the fruit comes more to the front, which I prefer. There also isn’t this slightly odd earthiness.
That slight difference in balance, slightly richer low end, and added roundness and viscosity helps partially overcome the lower ABV and likely younger age, although it overall isn’t as bold as Buffalo Trace. That just might be from the ABV difference.
So while Buffalo Trace is the “bigger” bourbon, Old Taylor doesn’t develop overwhelming funky vanilla and graininess after having Buffalo Trace. There’s hints of it, but overall Old Taylor doesn’t get steamrolled / exposed by Buffalo Trace like Benchmark Bourbon did. That tells me that Old Taylor has comparable richness, and that’s a big plus for it.
So long story short, I prefer Old Taylor’s balance towards more fruitiness, with not much loss in depth or complexity. Your winner is really going to depend on your profile preferences, and you’re always welcome to disagree.
Meet the Author: Alex
I have far too much fun writing about whiskey and singlehandedly running The Whiskey Shelf to bring you independent, honest, and useful reviews, comparisons, and more. I’m proudly Asian American and can speak Cantonese, Mandarin, and some Japanese.There are no sponsors, no media companies, and no nonsense. Support The Whiskey Shelf by Buying Me A Shot.
If you’re on the move, this Glencairn-like stainless steel snifter glass should survive your travels. Shattered glass Glencairn’s really suck. Full transparency, this is an Amazon affiliate link, so I may earn a commission if you buy this or something else from Amazon.
BrüMate NOS’R, Double-Wall Stainless Steel Whiskey Nosing Glass – 7oz (Matte Black)