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Buffalo Trace vs Russell’s Reserve 10: Head to Head!

Discover the differences between Buffalo Trace vs Russell’s Reserve 10 in this in-depth comparison and decide which Bourbon 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 toEagle Rare, Maker’s Mark

Buffalo Trace is one of the top-selling 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.

If you want to consider further options I’ve compiled a list of the best similar whiskeys to the Buffalo Trace that you should look into.

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.
  • Crafted at the Buffalo Trace Distillery owned by the Louisiana-based Sazerac Company.

Russell’s Reserve 10 Year Bourbon

NoseCinnamon, cherry, vanilla, oak
PalateButterscotch, baking spice, charred oak, citrus
FinishMaple, brown sugar, charred oak
Alcohol content90 proof (45% ABV)
How to drinkNeat, rocks
Similar toEagle Rare, Russell’s Single Barrel

Russell’s is made by Wild Turkey using the same mash bill and highly charred oak barrels.

The difference lies in the casks are hand-picked by Jimmy and Eddie Russell exclusively from the center of Wild Turkey’s rickhouse, which they believe is the best area for maturing bourbon; not to mention a higher price.

Nose is subtle and mostly sweet, with hints of fine spice and charred oak.

On the palate the mouthfeel is excellent and tastes like Thanksgiving pie in a glass. I get fine spices such as cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and vanilla with a buttery feel to it.

Finish is pleasing, rich in maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla and the traditional charred oak note present in every Wild Turkey.

This is a very tasty and sweet whiskey that in many ways reminds me of the Buffalo Trace but with more oak to it due to the extended aging in heavily charred oak casks.

Overall, Russell’s 10 is a solid whiskey, making a satisfying pour, although will never be what you grab to impress a friend. More like an “everyday whiskey” to spend a sleepy afternoon.

If you want to know more about this brand read my post: Discover the best Russell’s Reserve!

There are a few facts worth knowing about the Russell’s Reserve 10:

  • Aged for 10 years in deep charred oak casks.
  • The mash bill is made from 75% corn, 13% rye, 12% malted barley.
  • Earned the Double Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2011.
  • Earned a score of 95 points at the Ultimate Spirits Challenge.

Buffalo Trace vs Russell’s: Price comparison

Price are approximate and stated in USD:

Buffalo Trace$35
Russell’s Reserve 10 Year Bourbon$40

Buffalo Trace vs Russell’s Reserve 10: Which is better?

Russell’s Reserve is a mature version of the Buffalo Trace

WhiskeyBuffalo TraceRussell’s 10
  • These bourbons are very similar in many ways as they have tasting notes in common.
  • Russell’s is aged for additional 4 years making it more complex, drier, richer in oak while making it taste like the… Eagle Rare which I personally find better than Russell’s.
  • But if you have hard time finding the Eagle Rare, the Russell’s 10 becomes handy as good alternative and is offered at a discount.
  • Buffalo Trace is a solid “everyday whisky” that you can drink over and over without getting bored although it lacks the punchy notes to make good whiskey mixed drinks.

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