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Buffalo Trace vs Four Roses Small Batch: Which Wins?

Discover the differences between Buffalo Trace vs Four Roses Small Batch in this in-depth comparison and decide which 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 toMaker’s Mark, Eagle Rare, Bulleit

Buffalo Trace is one of the best-selling bourbons 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.

Use the Sazerac Rye as a whiskey for mixing which is pretty much the same bourbon but with added rye spice.

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.

Four Roses Small Batch

NoseVanilla, cherry, oak
PalateVanilla, oak, baking spice
FinishLong, burnt caramel
Alcohol content90 proof (45% ABV)
How to drinkAdd water
Similar toSingle Barrel, Select, MM 46

The nose is mainly sweet with hints of vanilla, cherry and oak.

On the palate, the Four Roses displays a good creamy body, is rich in vanilla, caramel and rye spice with a faint oaky note.

The finish is long, with very little burn with a nice hint of burnt caramel.

The Four Roses Small Batch nicely balances sweet and spicy flavors and is packed with enjoyable hints. 

Creamy and smooth with just the right amount of spice making a great sipper. There is no need to add ice or a drop of water to tune it down as it goes down easy with no harshness.

If you have already tried the Four Roses Yellow Label you will find the Small Batch to be a vast improvement.

It is more tasty and smoother while still providing great value for the money and a satisfying daily drinker.

There are a few facts worth knowing about Four Roses:

  • Made from a blend of four different Kentucky bourbons. Two of the bourbons are made from of a mash of 60% corn, 35% rye and 5% malted barley, while the other two bourbons are comprised of a mash of 75% corn, 20% rye and 5% malted barley.
  • Each of the bourbons is fermented with a unique, proprietary yeast culture providing a different flavor to the whiskeys in the blend.
  • Each bourbon is aged for a minimum of 4 years at a one-story rickhouse.
  • Only 4 casks are used in the construction of each release.
  • Four Roses is owned by the Kirin Brewery Company, which is part of the Mitsubishi Group, headquartered in Japan.

Buffalo Trace vs Four Roses Small Batch: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Buffalo Trace$34
Four Roses Small Batch$39

Buffalo Trace vs Four Roses Small Batch: Which is better?

Both are solid bourbons with the Four Roses providing more rye spice

WhiskeyBuffalo TraceFour Roses Small Batch
  • The Four Roses is made from a mash that carries around 25% rye in the mash making it more spicy than the Buffalo Trace, but not as spicy as the Bulleit Bourbon.
  • It’s more spicy but well balanced providing a good experience and something that can deliver good Old Fashioneds.
  • Buffalo Trace is a nice sipper, lighter on the spice, super smooth, yet tasty, free of controversies, hence its enormous popularity.

Personally, I prefer the Four Roses as I find it more punchy and the spicy note is more my thing.

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