Traveller Whiskey Review [In Depth]

Traveller Whiskey

Alex author
Founder, writer

Traveller Whiskey Details

Distillery: Buffalo Trace (and maybe other stuff blended into it too)

Type & Region: Blended Whiskey

Alcohol: 45%

Composition: Unknown

Aged: Unknown

Color: 1.1/2.0 on the color scale (burnished)

Price: $40-45

traveller whiskey header

From the company website:

For this first-of-its-kind collaboration from Buffalo Trace Distillery, Traveller brings together the collective artistry of 8X Grammy Award-Winning Artist Chris Stapleton and Buffalo Trace Distillery Master Distiller, Harlen Wheatley.

In pursuit of the finest possible whiskey, over 50 blends were sampled before making Blend No. 40 the chosen combination. Blend No. 40 is the carefully curated result of countless hours of testing & tasting and is exactly what you’d expect – a premium whiskey that speaks for itself.

Authentically crafted to be there whenever you find yourself in good company, Traveller Whiskey is Easy to Drink, Hard Not to Love.

Traveller Whiskey overview

Look at that, Buffalo Trace has released a new bour…no Alex…it’s just whiskey. It’s not even rye or wheat whiskey, it’s blended whiskey. While Buffalo Trace infrequently adds new products to existing brands (e.g., Benchmark lineup expansion to include small batch, single barrel, top floor, and full proof), they rarely ever create an entirely new brand. Traveller Whiskey is possibly the first truly new product from Buffalo Trace in years. Mister Sam doesn’t count because that’s not branded as a Buffalo Trace product.
Traveller Whiskey (a blended whiskey) is a collaboration between Chris Stapleton and Harlen Wheatley. Why this particular collaboration? I have no idea. I don’t know anything about Chris Stapleton, or really even country music for that matter. Country music isn’t really my thing. I got as far as Taylor Swift (I am a long-time Swiftie and a big fan of her older country-ish music), but that’s really it. I’ll leave it at that and get back to the whiskey.
Given the crazy hype for all things Buffalo Trace bourbon, and their rye to a much lesser degree, I think that the big question is, “what the heck is blended whiskey and how is it different from bourbon?”. Good thing you’re reading this review, because I can explain it.
Blended whiskey means a blend of one base spirit (usually bourbon) plus something else, usually light whiskey or neutral grain spirit. Usually, blended whiskey is a sign that it’s cheap, because that extra blended stuff is cheap filler. That’s not always the case, as there are more premium examples such as Joseph Magnus Murray Hill Club that uses aged light whiskey and bourbon. Then there are the occasion releases of 15+ year old light whiskey, which aren’t even blended bourbon. The point there is that light whiskey can also be aged and isn’t inherently just filler.
In this case, Buffalo Trace made a point, in their sales document, that Traveller Whiskey is made with “0% neutral grain spirits”, meaning that the blend is made up of bourbon, rye, and/or wheat whiskey plus light whiskey or Canadian whiskey. Speculation is that it’s Canadian whiskey because Sazerac, Buffalo Trace’s parent company, does own distilleries that produce Canadian whiskey. I can’t say what it is for sure, but Canadian whiskey is possible, even likely true. The statement, “proudly blended and bottled by Buffalo Trace”, further reinforces that there’s a non Buffalo Trace-produced component in the blend.
traveller whiskey media
The term blended whiskey, instead of blended bourbon, is also revealing. First off, I’ve only seen blended bourbon and blended Scotch, but never blended rye or blended wheat whiskey. It doesn’t mean that those things don’t exist, but it’s evidence that no one makes those things…yet. If the blend was at least 51% bourbon, they would probably use the term blended bourbon. Because they don’t and instead call it blended whiskey, my best guess is that at least 51% of the blend is light whiskey and / or Canadian whiskey.
Let’s find out if this whiskey is “easy to drink and hard not to love “ in this Traveller Whiskey review.
traveller whiskey back

As an FYI, I bought and use these Glencairn glasses for everything (they’re the best): Glencairn Crystal Whiskey Glass Set of 6, Set of 4Set of 2, or just one. Full transparency, this is an affiliate link, so I may earn a commission if you buy this or something else from Amazon.

Traveller Whiskey smell

I smell honey, dried wood, orange peel, cinnamon, vanilla, licorice, honeysuckle, and dried apricot, cranberry, and clove. Traveller Whiskey is a more sweet, fruity, and floral whiskey with little to no heat. There’s middle of the road richness and expressiveness, meaning that it’s neither thin and bland, nor dense and expressive.
If anything, it smells like a 5-6ish year old high rye bourbon, not far off from something like Benchmark Small Batch, minus some of the oak and earthiness that often comes from a bourbon that age.
After swirling and rest, I smell floral honey, orange peel, vanilla, honeysuckle, toasted oak, fennel, cinnamon, and a little apricot, pineapple, and darker caramel sweetness. There’s a lot of rye-y feeling notes, especially the floralness, orange peel, and fennel, but somehow doesn’t have any of the earthiness that often comes with rye.
I keep writing this over and over – Traveller Whiskey is nice. It’s pleasant and nothing is off, but it’s also too nice because it doesn’t have anything bold, exciting, or interesting. I’m guessing that was the point. I keep thinking of that stereotypical moment where someone complains about a guy / girl being too nice and it’s safe but boring.
traveller whiskey front

Traveller Whiskey taste and aftertaste

Traveller Whiskey starts with honey, orange, vanilla, dried apricot, toasted oak, cinnamon, fennel, and light dryness in the back. The first few sips are nice: focused on fruity, orange, and vanilla flavors that are light, approachable, and pleasant.
Truly, it’s a nice experience that avoids anything that might be considered different or challenging, such as too much oak, herbalness, earthiness, or spice. Plus there’s no weird dryness or overdone earthiness, which is a plus in general.
Traveller Whiskey provides a “vanilla” experience isn’t quite the right description, that’s where my head seems to be going.
With “chewing”, I taste honey, orange peel, vanilla, fennel, toasted oak, cinnamon, dried apricot, clove, and a hint of earthiness and toasted grains. The flavors focus on floral honey, orange peel, and vanilla, with everything else in the back and very light bite. There’s nothing sticking out, nothing weird, nothing challenging, and nothing exciting.
It also has average roundness and viscosity that’s not obviously thin but also not rich either. The finish leaves honey, orange, vanilla, toasted oak, cinnamon, and fennel with just a little bit of lingering sweet spice and oak. There are no change or surprises from the flavors themselves.
I can taste what Buffalo Trace was trying to achieve with this whiskey: something mature enough to have good flavor yet still be entirely inoffensive. I don’t necessarily love it, but I get it and appreciate it nonetheless.
I’ve unfortunately lost some Glencairn’s while in transit, and that made me very sad. So, I wised up and bought this Glencairn Travel Case that comes also comes with 2 glasses so I don’t need to worry so much about them breaking. I think it’s great, and I think you’ll love it too. Seriously, if you already have glasses, protect them.

Traveller Whiskey Rating

Mid shelf+
There are two words that tidily summarize Traveller Whiskey – “nice” and “safe”. Those are the types of traits that can be good and bad at the same time, especially depending on what you want from a whiskey. I mention this because Traveller Whiskey tries to please everyone with a focused set of traits that are enjoyable and won’t push anyone away, but it’s not going to draw people in either.
I mentioned it already and I’ll do it again, it provides a sort of “vanilla” experience. I’m not here to shit on this whiskey out of any vendetaa with Buffalo Trace or the hype train in general, but to temper expectations and excitement based on what I’ve found.
There is good to that “nice” and “safe” experience. It undoubtedly provides a pleasant experience, with nothing bad / weird / unpleasant, so I’m never caught off guard. To be honest, I also struggle with going into further detail than that…because it’s so safe. Oh, one more thing – given how honey, vanilla, and orange forward it is, I could see this being great in an old fashioned. The bitters and orange peel would accept it well. There is that plus too.
That brings up my next point – I don’t really have a compelling reason to be drawn back to Traveller’s Whiskey, just like I don’t have any reason to be pushed away. It’s so “safe”, and that’s probably the point. I’ll enjoy it if I drink it, but I’m not searching / going out of my way for it.
In a world where Buffalo Trace can’t keep up with demand for Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare, EH Taylor, and all that other stuff, I suspect that their goal was to offer something different and unique from their usual bourbon and rye offerings. At the same time, they did not want to dig too deep into their aging bourbon reserves meant for the future, while digging deeper into their underutilized Canadian whiskey stocks. That’s just my take on it though.
It’s still genius to also partner with a country musician to promote what might otherwise be a $30 whiskey from any other distillery, and get cash in hand to pay for their massive expansion.
To that point, Traveller’s Whiskey is good, but not $40 good. That’s already creeping into Maker’s 46, Michter’s Bourbon / American Whiskey, and Still Austin Cask Strength territory, and already more expensive than Elijah Craig Small Batch and Jim Beam Double Oak. There are so many good bourbons for under $40 that provide a more compelling (and possibly more challenging) experience in comparison. At the end of the day, it comes down to personal preference.
Regardless, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed if you drink this with controlled expectations. Yes, it comes from Buffalo Trace, but it’s not meant to replace anything else that they make. It’s a unique and super approachable whiskey that gets it done, and you can enjoy it for what it is and isn’t. “You can simply settle in and enjoy” is actually pretty accurate, for better and worse.
Alex author
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.

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Shattered glass really sucks, so if you’re on the move, this Glencairn-like stainless steel snifter glass should survive your travels. 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)