Saturday, August 24, 2013

Bonus Buffalo Trace Mashbill #2 Review: Ancient Ancient Age 10 Year

Ancient Ancient Age? Really?
Ha! The bourbon gods were smiling on me as I prepared for my upcoming mashbill #2 extravaganza: while out with the wife and daughter I ran into an unfamiliar NJ liquor store to do my usual scan of the bourbon. I almost passed the large plastic bottles of Ancient Age, but noticed the gold label. "Hmm," I thought, "10 star in New Jersey, that's odd..." but then on closer inspection found this to be the now-on-hiatus and supposedly never distributed out of Kentucky AAA 10 year. Given that it has not left KY in recent history and this bottle was covered in dust, this seems good luck indeed. I've wanted to try some of this for years: same mashbill as Blanton's, 10 year age statement and $33 for a 1.75, granted it's 86 proof, but otherwise on paper it sounds like an incredible deal.

I can't really confirm the recent rumors of AAA 10 year's hiatus/discontinuation, but in today's market I'm sure that BT/Age have more lucrative plans for this juice than a $20/L treat for Kentuckians. Either way, I'm glad to have found this.

Ancient Ancient Age 10 year-old KSBW (43%ABV, $33/ 1.75L) Distilled by Buffalo Trace

Nose: Butter/buttered corn (diacetyl?), apple pie, caramel apple, and a small amount of baking spices
Palate: Easy, moderately sweet with thin mouthfeel. Definite apples here, as well as vanilla.
Finish: Brief but with finally evident rye spice

I was very happy to have found this and, having tried it, I totally understand the cult following. Interestingly, I don't find it to be very like Blanton's: this is thinner (obviously from the proof) but also more buttery and less rye-forward. There is also less barrel influence overall, despite the 10 year age statement. I suspect the less prominent barrel character is to do with warehouse location (a lower floor or different warehouse perhaps?). Overall, though a very nice and classic bourbon.

I was initially going to run back and buy the rest of the store's stock, but I think I will leave it for others: this is more a reminder of how good and cheap bourbon was just a few years ago than something worth hoarding. Though it is definitely worth drinking if you are of the type that likes a standard/go-to/house bourbon. For me, I am always going to want more variety, and a handle of this is enough for now. That said, I don't think we'll see it's like again for this price, at least not for a long time.

Outstanding value and very good/excellent regardless of price

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