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Buffalo Trace vs Knob Creek: Head to Head!

Discover the differences between Buffalo Trace vs Knob Creek 9 Year in this in-depth comparison and decide which Bourbon is better for You!

Buffalo Trace

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 toMaker’s Mark, Eagle Rare, Bulleit

Buffalo Trace is one of the best-selling whiskeys as it offers a non-challenging yet tasty flavor profile, along an affordable price delivering 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 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:

  • Buffalo Trace is made from corn, rye and malted barley in undisclosed amounts.
  • 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.
  • Regardless of who was first the distillery became a National Historic Landmark in 2013 and a must-see if you ever visit the state of Kentucky.

Knob Creek 9 Year Old Straight Bourbon

knob-creek-9
NoseCherry, vanilla, caramel, rye spice, oak
PalateVanilla, oak, cherry, chocolate, peanuts
FinishLong, vanilla, banana, baking spices
Alcohol content100 proof (50% ABV)
How to drinkAdd water, rocks
Similar toBulleit Bourbon, Woodford Reserve

The nose is rich in vanilla and oak. On the palate the Knob Creek offers a thick texture is pleasantly warm with more vanilla and oak, along chocolate and peanuts hints.

The finish is long and warming and supremely drinkable at 100 proof and has plenty to appreciate.

Knob Creek is smooth, rounded and delicious, incredibly good without any off-notes, with a thick creamy body. This whiskey does not drink as a 100 proof as it has no harshness or bad bite, it goes down nicely.

The best way of drinking the Knob Creek is neat or straight. If you want to make it more tasty add a few drops of water releasing sweet notes making it more enjoyable.

You can also drink it rocks or in cocktails although this is not the type of whiskey I use for mixing. I prefer using cheap whiskeys like the Jim Beam or Jack Daniel’s for mixing, especially when looking to mix with Coke.

There are a few facts worth knowing about Knob Creek:

  • Bottled at 100 proof.
  • It was launched in 1992 as part of Jim Beam Small Batch Collection showing a 9 year age statement.
  • The age statement was removed in 2016 but made a comeback in April 2020.
  • Knob Creek ages for 9 years in white oak barrels with the maximum possible char.
  • The mash bill is made from 75% corn, 13% rye and 12% malted barley; Jim Beam uses the same mashbill.
  • Knob Creek Bourbon was created by Booker Noe, who after joining Jim Beam in 1950 was promoted to Master Distiller just ten years later.
  • It is named for small water source in Kentucky close to where Abraham Lincoln grew up.

Buffalo Trace or Knob Creek: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

WhiskeyPrice
Buffalo Trace Straight Bourbon$35
Knob Creek 9 Year$39

Buffalo Trace vs Knob Creek: Which is better?

Knob Creek is a more complex pour

WhiskeyBuffalo TraceKnob Creek
Nose
Body
Palate
Finish
Value
  • The Buffalo Trace is a crowd pleaser, as it strikes a nice balance of spice and sweetness, with very little warmth making a perfect everyday whiskey that is not going to blow you away with any remarkable hint but is gonna get the job done.
  • If you are new to bourbon start with the Buffalo Trace which is easier to drink. If you are a well traveled aficionado go with the Knob Creek has a bit more to offer.

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