wheated mash review
Buffalo Trace White Dog Wheated Mash
Distillery: Buffalo Trace
Type & Region: Bourbon, Kentucky, USA
Composition: Buffalo Trace wheated mash, speculated to be 70% corn, 16% wheat and 14% malted barley
Aged: 0 seconds
Color: 0.0/2.0 on the color scale (clear)
Price: $18 (375mL)
From the back of the bottle:
“William Larue Weller was a distilling pioneer. He took a traditional bourbon recipe and substituted wheat where rye was normally used. This created a soft mellow spirit perfect for sipping. Before this whiskey ever made its way into the barrel for aging it was drunk straight off the still. It was called White Dog. This raw distillate was clear, un-aged and hinted of wheat and sweet corn. Enjoy this wheat recipe White Dog the way William Larue Weller and early Americans did more than a century ago.”
wheated mash overview
Buffalo Trace Wheated Mash is the foundation for every single Buffalo Trace wheated bourbon, as well as every Pappy Van Winkle bourbon being produced now. As a refresher, wheated bourbon means that wheat, instead of rye, is used as the secondary grain in the mash. Corn is always the primary grain for bourbon.
This wheated mash will become Weller Special Reserve or Weller Antique 107 in 5-7 years, and Weller 12 in 12 years. In 12-15 years or so, it will become William Larue Weller. So, if you want to better understand why those wheated bourbons are the way they are, it helps to understand where they started. It’s like having grown up with a friend who became a superstar celebrity. While most others worship that person, you happen to know all the awkward and embarrassing things about that person before they were famous, reminding you that they’re still just a normal human being.
Granted, white dog / moonshine is an acquired taste so you may not be compelled to try it. Lucky for you, I like moonshine so I’ll happily do it for you. Full disclosure: this is not really a Buffalo Trace Wheated Mash review. Since this is not whiskey, let alone aged anything, I will not provide a rating at the end of this. Consider it educational content to help you understand wheated bourbon in its most naked and vulnerable form.
Buffalo Trace Lineup of Reviews
Blanton’s Calvert Woodley Select
Van Winkle Special Reserve 12 Lot B
wheated mash smell
Buffalo Trace Wheated Mash starts with sweet, creamy, and buttery popcorn, similar to Mash #1, which uses rye instead of wheat as the secondary grain. I think I can smell a little of the wheat, but it’s faint at best. The wheat may manifest itself into the slightly grassy and floral scents I find underneath the corn, but I can’t say for sure. I would expect to smell more bready undertones. The alcohol builds on every single sniff and occasionally battles the grain mash notes for attention. It’s not overpowering, but it’s every bit of its 57% alcohol.
Swirling makes many of the scents disappear under the kicked-up alcohol, and also adds some banana peel. The scents return after letting the White Dog settle for a few seconds, but now I find a noticeable, but not overpowering, slightly off, sour, and funky grain scent. It’s normal to have a little bit of that funky sourness from fermentation, but it’s even more noticeable than I expected. Corn tortilla appears here and there as well. Unsurprisingly, this wheated Buffalo Trace White Dog very much smells like fermented bourbon mash you might smell when doing a distillery tour. The Wheated Mash is mostly one-dimensional, but that’s to be expected from an unaged spirit. The point is to understand where it starts and then how wood aging transforms it into the wheated bourbons that we love so dearly.
wheated mash taste and aftertaste
Buffalo Trace Wheated Mash initially bursts of sweet corn followed by a wave of heat, a little black pepper, and a slight sourness from fermented bourbon mash. The heat very much kicks like its 57% alcohol and coats my mouth with oil. There’s a slightly woody, floral, and bitter flavor, as if it had been wood aged. It definitely cannot come from the wood, so it may come from the wheat or oils released during the process.
“Chewing” still gives me the same sweet and slightly funky corn mash with a little more grass and hints of banana, as well as a slight bitterness and dryness. I’m having a hard time picking out the wheat; it’s pretty much all corn.
The heat continues on the finish with a slight bitterness, unripe banana, corn mash, and oils that coat every part of my mouth. “Chewing” just releases more of the oils and grassy wood that dry my mouth. There’s also a slightly minty sensation, but that has to come from the alcohol because there’s no rye here. This
This Buffalo Trace Wheated Mash is not complex, but at the same time it’s not terrible. Overall, this isn’t a problem because it’s unaged. The interaction between spirit and wood over many years adds all those amazing caramel, fruit, spice, and woody flavors. All you need is a little patience and you’ll be greatly rewarded.
Place on the Whiskey Shelf
Buffalo Trace Wheated Mash is a little weird, but I don’t remember Buffalo Trace Mash #1 being quite like this. I know the fermentation creates the odd funky and sour smell, but I’m not sure why it’s so noticeable, whereas it’s much calmer in Mash #1. I’ve definitely found that funk in many bourbons, but not nearly to the level that it is here, although wood aging clearly erases much of the funk and transforms the clear mash into bourbon. The wheat may also add slightly grassy, woody, and bitter traits, but I can’t confidently say what the wheat brings to the mash. Regardless, the Wheated Mash is always interesting to try because so much changes after 5-15+ years in oak barrels. You may dislike the raw Wheated Mash, but you love Weller and Pappy.
In the end, I don’t love Buffalo Trace Wheated Mash, but then again this isn’t a review. This is more of an exploration into what eventually becomes the highly coveted Buffalo Trace wheated bourbons and anything Pappy-related that cause people to lose their minds. If you’re up for it, I highly recommend that you give this Wheated Mash a try. You’ll realize that wood aging transforms the White Dog into something completely unrecognizable and so much better. It really is an extreme makeover that you can see, smell, and taste for yourself.