Discover the differences between Buffalo Trace vs Elijah Craig in this in-depth comparison and decide which Bourbon is better for You!
Buffalo Trace Bourbon
|Nose||Caramel, cinnamon, baking spice, cereal|
|Palate||Caramel, vanilla, oak, espresso coffee, chocolate|
|Finish||Vanilla, baking spice, oak|
|Alcohol content||90 proof (45% ABV)|
|How to drink||Neat, rocks|
|Similar to||Jack Daniel’s, Woodford Reserve|
Nose 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 moderate 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.
It’s not intense or 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” although not the best mixer as it lacks the punch to deliver tasty cocktails.
There are a few facts worth knowing about Buffalo Trace:
- Mash bill is unknown but rye is around 10% of the mash.
- 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.
- 40 barrels at a time are chosen to create one single, small batch of Buffalo Trace.
- They claim to be the oldest continuing operating distillery in the United States as they have records showing that distilling started in that exact location in 1775.
- The Buffalo Trace distillery produces other bourbons such as the Eagle Rare, Van Winkle, Blanton’s, Weller making it perhaps the best distillery in the United States.
Elijah Craig Small Batch
|Nose||Wood, chocolate, cinnamon, clove|
|Palate||Chocolate, wood, butterscotch, citrus|
|Finish||Oak spice, cinnamon, clove, black pepper, vanilla|
|Alcohol content||94 proof (47% ABV)|
|How to drink||Rocks, cocktails|
|Similar to||Four Roses Small Batch, Larceny Small Batch|
Nose has oak at first, followed by a hint of chocolate, cinnamon and clove.
On the palate, you get oak spice up-front, with a hint of bitter chocolate, butterscotch, vanilla and a tad of citrus.
The finish feels a bit warm as it feels boozy with a spicy bite rich in cinnamon, black pepper and clove with some butterscotch sweetness coming late to the party.
Elijah Craig has an alluring aroma, a good taste but it lets you down on the finish as it feels warm and spicy.
It becomes better when adding a drop of water as it becomes sweeter and loses some of the heat along the peppery bite.
Is not a bad bourbon by any means, barely making it to the sipper category but definitely needs more persistence than the average bourbon in this price range.
There are a few facts worth knowing about Elijah Craig:
- Elijah Craig Bourbon is credited as the first distiller to use heavily charred casks to age bourbon.
- It is made from a mash bill comprised of 78% corn, 10% rye and 12% malted barley.
- It is bottled by blending no less than 200 casks of maturing bourbon, each of which was rested in a Kentucky rickhouse for a minimum of 8 years.
- This whiskey previously had an age statement of 12 years but in 2016 the age statement was removed to extend its availability.
- The distiller also increased the maximum number of barrels used per batch from 100 to 200.
Buffalo Trace vs Elijah Craig: Price comparison
Prices are approximate and stated in USD:
Buffalo Trace vs Elijah Craig: Which is better?
Buffalo Trace is an easier and smoother bourbon than Elijah Craig
|Whiskey||Buffalo Trace||Elijah Craig|
- Buffalo Trace is a crowd pleaser and way easier to drink than the Elijah Craig. The Buffalo Trace strikes a nice balance between sweet and spicy notes, with the right amount of warmth, with no troubling or off-putting flavors making an excellent everyday whiskey.
- Not the best mixer, though as it lacks the spice and warmth needed to make a tasty cocktail but excellent for drinking neat or rocks.
- Elijah Craig is not bad, is just that the finish is not the best as it feels warm making a more demanding dram than the Buffalo Trace.
I am a bar and liquor shop owner in Oaxaca, Mexico where I have tasted hundreds of different spirits; perhaps more than I should!