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Buffalo Trace vs Elijah Craig: Discover the Better!

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

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 toJack 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

NoseWood, chocolate, cinnamon, clove
PalateChocolate, wood, butterscotch, citrus
FinishOak spice, cinnamon, clove, black pepper, vanilla
Alcohol content94 proof (47% ABV)
How to drinkRocks, cocktails
Similar toFour 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$35
Elijah Craig$34

Buffalo Trace vs Elijah Craig: Which is better?

Buffalo Trace is an easier and smoother bourbon than Elijah Craig

WhiskeyBuffalo TraceElijah 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.

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