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Buffalo Trace vs Early Times: Discover the Better!

Discover the differences between Buffalo Trace vs Early Times in this in-depth comparison and decide which bourbon is better for You!

Buffalo Trace

NoseCaramel, cinnamon, baking spice, cereal
PalateCaramel, vanilla, oak, espresso coffee, chocolate
FinishVanilla, baking spice, oak
Alcohol content90 proof (45% ABV)
How to drinkNeat, rocks
Similar toBradshaw Bourbon, Bowman Brothers

Buffalo Trace is one of the best-selling whiskeys for two good reasons: it delivers a smooth yet tasty taste and is attractively priced delivering good value for the money.

On the nose the Buffalo Trace is very subtle with notes of caramel, vanilla and a touch of baking spice. 

Taste hits the spice a little harder, displays oak and fruit and the underlying sweetness is still there, a little caramel and vanilla goes a long way. Mouthfeel is soft and approachable, light on the heat.

The finish has a decent length, rich in vanilla and baking spice, although flavors don’t sit on the tongue for long but leave a refreshing sensation in the mouth.

The Buffalo Trace is a well-rounded bourbon, making a nice easy sipper with a medium to full body, soft with a chewy feel, fruity and oaky with a medium spicy finish.

Neither intense nor mind-blowing, but it gets the job done delivering a pleasant and satisfying bourbon.

Overall, Buffalo Trace is a good mid-shelf bourbon, a sipper that does not need neither water nor ice. Makes a solid option for an “everyday whiskey” but not the best mixer as it lacks the punch to deliver tasty cocktails.

There are a few facts worth knowing about Buffalo Trace:

  • Buffalo Trace is made from corn, rye and malted barley in undisclosed amounts.
  • Buffalo Traces uses a unique aging process of 8 years in which the barrels are stored in the middle floors of the warehouse where temperature fluctuations are the greatest; these variations get reflected in the bourbon creating deeper flavors.
  • 40 barrels at a time are chosen to create one single, small batch of Buffalo Trace.

Early Times

NoseApricot, vanilla, caramel
PalateApricot, caramel, nuts, spice
FinishShort, fruity, oak spice
Alcohol content80 proof (40% ABV)
How to drinkRocks, cocktails
Similar toOld Forester, Evan Williams

The nose is quite light, with a hint of apricot, along vanilla and a touch of caramel.

On the palate, Early Times feels a bit oily providing a good mouthfeel.

On the first sip you get sweet alcohol at first, with notes of apricot and caramel at first, followed by a light hint of roasted nuts and a modest amount of spice.

The finish is short-lived, with a light fruity note, oak spice and a bit of nail polish to it.

Early Times is surprisingly smooth and sweet, with nothing wrong about but nothing interesting as you might expect from a whiskey at this price point.

It shows it’s young age, but is not harsh, or bitter making it serviceable when looking for an inexpensive whiskey for mixed drinks. Just a bit of acetone on the finish but nothing too crazy.

Overall, the Early Times is a good option when looking for a smooth an sweet budget drinker. Nothing particularly interesting about it but it doesn’t have any horrible notes providing value for the money.

The name Early Times was selected as a tribute to the old-school method of making whiskey, which included mashing grain in small tubs and distilling the whisky in copper stills over open fires.

There a few facts worth knowing about the Early Times:

  • Aged for a minimum of 3 years.
  • Early Times is not labeled as a bourbon but as a Kentucky Whisky as it’s aged using used barrels (bourbon has to be aged in new barrels).

What do Buffalo Trace and Early Times have in common?

Both brands are owned by the Sazerac Company

Early Times was owned by Brown Forman (Old Forester, Woodford Reserve, Jack Daniel’s) from 1923 to 2020 when it was acquired by the Sazerac Company.

Production was moved to the 1792 Distillery in Bardstown, KY.

Buffalo Trace vs Early Times: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

WhiskeyPriceBottle Size
Buffalo Trace$35750ml
Early Times$141L

Buffalo Trace vs Early Times: Which is better?

Buffalo Trace is a fine sipping bourbon

WhiskeyBuffalo TraceEarly Times
  • Buffalo Trace is a nice sipping bourbon that you can drink in and out making a perfect “everyday whiskey”.
  • It drinks nicely neat or rocks and although not the best mixer as it lacks punchy notes can be used in cocktails.
  • Early Times is too basic, not particularly flavorful, but becomes a good option when looking for something affordable to make cocktails.

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