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Buffalo Trace vs Sazerac Rye: Which Wins?

Discover the differences between Buffalo Trace vs Sazerac Rye in this head to head comparison and decide which 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 toBradshaw Bourbon, Bowman Brothers

Buffalo Trace is one of the best-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.

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.

Sazerac Rye

NoseVanilla, cherry, mint
PalateVanilla, mint, anise, oak, baking spice
FinishShort, oak, mint
Alcohol content90 proof (45% ABV)
How to drinkRocks, cocktails
Similar toKnob Creek Rye, Bulleit Rye

The Sazerac Rye makes a good substitute to the Buffalo Trace as they are both made at the same distillery with the Sazerac carrying more rye in the mash.

This makes the Sazerac Rye taste like a spicy version of the Buffalo Trace.

The nose starts off with some sweet hints of vanilla, cherry and the minty notes you expect to find in a Rye whiskey.

On the palate the sweet notes continue but then the pepper and spice notes start to take over. The mouthfeel is thin, but not in an unpleasant way, almost silky.

The only let down is the finish which ends quickly leaving oak and mint behind.

It’s sweet and spicy, as you’d expect from a pleasant rye. It doesn’t shock nor wow, but it’s very solid and quite easy to sip.

Overall, the Sazerac Rye (Similar Whiskeys) is a nice and easy sipping whiskey, easier on the spice than most rye whiskeys as this only carries around 51% rye in the mash.

There are a few facts worth knowing about the Sazerac Rye:

  • The Sazerac Rye does not longer carry an age statement but is matured for 6 years.
  • Produced at the Buffalo Trace distillery in Frankfort, KY.
  • Sazerac is named after the Sazerac Coffee House on Royal Street in New Orleans.
  • The Sazerac company is a privately-owned American company headquartered in Louisiana.

What do the Buffalo Trace and the Sazerac Rye have in common?

Both whiskeys are crafted at the same Buffalo Trace distillery in Frankfort, KY along other brands such as the Eagle Rare, Blanton’s, Pappy Van Winkle, George T. Stagg, Col. E.H. Taylor among others. The distillery is a National Historic Landmark and a must-visit.

Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Buffalo Trace$25
Sazerac Rye$20

Buffalo Trace vs Sazerac Rye: Which is better?

Sazerac Rye is the Buffalo Trace with a bit of spice

  • The Sazerac Rye is a more flavorful dram than the Buffalo Trace. The Sazerac has a mild spice note, is sweet, tasty and just as smooth with very little to no burn making a very satisfying pour.
  • The Sazerac Rye has many of the tasting notes of the Buffalo Trace but the moderate rye presence in the mash makes it more juicy and rewarding.
  • The Sazerac is also a better mixer as the rye spice will add a nice kick to your favorite cocktail.
  • Manhattans and the Old Fashioned taste better when rye spice is added.

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