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Buffalo Trace vs George Dickel No. 12: Which Wins?

Discover the differences between Buffalo Trace vs George Dickel No. 12 in this in-depth comparison and decide which Whiskey 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 toWoodford Reserve, Bulleit Bourbon

Buffalo Trace is one of the most popular bourbons for two good reasons: it’s smooth and tasty and attractively priced providing a good experience and good value for the money.

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 solid 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:

  • Buffalo Trace is made from corn, rye and malted barley in undisclosed amounts.
  • Buffalo Trace 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.
  • According to Buffalo Trace who has been using the same recipe and methods for the last 200+ years 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.
  • Double Gold North American Bourbon & Whiskey Competition 2019.
  • Gold San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2018.

George Dickel No. 12

NoseCorn, vanilla, banana, ethanol
PalateBrown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, pie crust
FinishCaramel, oak spice, toasted oak
Alcohol content90 proof (45% ABV)
How to drinkAdd water, rocks
Similar toGeorge Dickel 8, Wild Turkey 101

George Dickel is not a bourbon but a Tennessee Whiskey as it was filtered through charcoal before bottling making it similar to the JD No. 7; just that better in every way.

The No. 12 smells sweet, with a high corn note up-front, followed by fried banana and just a bit of ethanol coming behind.

On the palate this whiskey is warm up-front but nothing terrible as it makes way for a sweet taste, strong in vanilla and oak spice notes.

The finish is long, fairly warm, with caramel a bitter note of oak spice and toasted oak.

This whiskey is moderately warm but it does not taste like rocket fuel, is the kind of warmth that sits well as George Dickel is easy to drink.

This is a nice, sweet pour, full of character, well rounded, with a pleasant vanilla note that balances out the barrel spice.

There is also a bit of Flinstones Vitamins flavor in this whiskey which I do not consider a deal-breaker, particularly on a whiskey at this price.

George Dickel offers solid value for the money making a good option when drinking on a budget and for those who like to enjoy a kick out of their drinks.

There are a few facts worth knowing about the George Dickel 12:

  • George Dickel uses a mash bill comprised of 84% corn, 8% rye, 8% barley.
  • George Dickel is a whiskey with no age statement, the number 12 does not refer to the years of aging. It is typically aged for 5 years.
  • Gold medal at the 2010 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
  • This brand is currently owned by Diageo, a British spirits giant who owns Johnnie Walker and 200 other brands.

Buffalo Trace vs George Dickel: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Buffalo Trace$25
George Dickel No. 12$20

Buffalo Trace vs George Dickel 12: Which is better?

Buffalo Trace is a smoother pour

WhiskeyBuffalo TraceGeorge Dickel 12
  • Buffalo Trace is a nicer and easier dram than the George Dickel.
  • The BT is a fairly sweet bourbon, with no harshness, warmth or bad bite, with pleasing tasting notes, that goes down easy.
  • It makes one of the best sipping bourbons in the market.
  • But there is a place for George Dickel for consumers that prefer to have some warmth in their drinks or for those looking for a mixer to make homemade cocktails, as its burny character will add a nice kick to their drink.

Buffalo Trace is a bourbon and George Dickel a Tennessee Whiskey

Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey are very similar and often confused. Both whiskeys require the same corn percentage in the mashbill (at least 51%) and must be aged in new charred oak barrels.

The main difference is that Tennessee whiskey must go through a charcoal filtering process, which mellows the whiskey’s character. For that reason, bourbon is often but not always bolder and has a more robust flavor.

Buffalo Trace is a “whiskey” and George Dickel a “whisky”

Whiskey is spelled with a “E” in the United States and Ireland but George Dickel labels its drams as “whisky”.

George Dickel was a German immigrant who decided to spell it as the Scots do as he was convinced his whiskies where just as good.

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