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Buffalo Trace vs Jim Beam: Head to Head!

Discover the differences between Buffalo Trace vs Jim Beam in this in-depth comparison and decide which Bourbon is better for You!

Buffalo Trace

  • 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: Bulleit, Elijah Craig


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

Taste hits the spice a little harder, displaying 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 with no burn.

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

Is it good?

The Buffalo Trace is a nice sipping bourbon, making a pleasant experience with a medium to full body, soft with a chewy feel, fruity and oaky with a medium spicy finish.

Neither intense nor earth-shattering, yet delivers a pleasant and satisfying experience.

Buffalo Trace is the type of bourbon that you can drink everyday without getting bored, although not my favorite to make cocktails as I feel it lacks the punch to deliver a tasty cocktail.

Buffalo Trace facts:

  • 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.
  • Gold San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2018.
  • Buffalo Trace is distilled at its own distillery along some of the best bourbons in the planet such as Weller, Pappy Van Winkle and Blanton’s; and other not that good such as Benchmark.

Jim Beam

  • Nose: Caramel, vanilla, hay, corn
  • Palate: Toasty oak, peanut, vanilla, black pepper, oak spice
  • Finish: Short-lived, caramel, oak spice
  • Alcohol content: 80 proof (40% ABV)
  • How to drink: Cocktails
  • Similar to: Jack Daniel’s, Bulleit Bourbon


The nose is rich in corn, vanilla and butterscotch with a slight whiff of ethanol coming behind.

On the palate, Jim Beam feels thin with very little body. Flavor has some of the same sweet corn, vanilla and butterscotch hints, along black pepper, followed by a hint of acetone.

You also get the traditional peanut note noticeable on every whiskey crafted at the Jim Beam Distillery.

The finish is short and warm, leaving some sweetness, a bitter note from the oak spice and black pepper behind.

Is it good?

Jim Beam is a serviceable whiskey that comes handy when looking for something cheap to make cocktails  but this is not something to drink either neat or use a sipper.

This bourbon is completely unremarkable, with no body, sweet at first but mostly warm and peppery. Jim Beam is not a good bourbon.

In summary, the Jim Beam Bourbon is a good mixer, but not good on its own. Just too harsh and peppery to make a decent sipper.

Jim Beam facts:

  • The mash bill is 75% corn, 13% rye and 12% malted barley.
  • Jim Beam ages for 4 years in newly charred American white oak barrels. Those barrels add the vanilla notes Jim Beam offers.
  • Jim Beam was founded by Jacob Beam a German immigrant in 1795 and is now property of Suntory Holdings, a Japanese conglomerate with an extensive portfolio in the spirits business.
  • Suntory owns a zillion brands such as Sauza Tequila, Canadian Club Whisky, Laphroaig Whisky, Hibiki among many others.

Buffalo Trace vs Jim Beam: Price comparison

Buffalo Trace$38
Jim Beam$24

Buffalo Trace vs Jim Beam: Which is better?

Buffalo Trace is a better tasting bourbon

WhiskeyBuffalo TraceJim Beam
  • Buffalo Trace is an incredibly smooth yet flavorful whiskey that old aficionados and newbies will appreciate alike.
  • The Jim Beam is not that good, TBH, this is a warm and peppery bourbon making a poor sipper.
  • Due to its affordable price Jim Beam makes a better mixer. If you are looking for a whiskey to mix with Coke then Jim Beam is the better choice.

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