Buck 8 Year Old Bourbon
While at the Liquor Barn off Man O War in Lexington, Kentucky recently I was disappointed that they were out of stock of most of my favorites: Eagle Rare, Willett Pot Still, Johnny Drum Private Stock and Blanton’s Single Barrel. I picked up bottles of Elijah Craig 12 and 1792 Ridgemont Reserve, both great choices. While I was browsing the aisles, the helpful Bourbon concierge suggested that I try Buck 8 Year Old Bourbon. I didn’t know a thing about this Bourbon but since I trust the knowledgeable staff at Liquor Barn, I decided to give it a try.
I am generally skeptical of “gimmick” Bourbon. I have had some very mediocre yet overpriced Bourbon that was put in a fancy bottle and given a good story. Last year, a dear friend gave me a bottle of Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey as a gift. The bottle was pretty but I was really sorry that he paid over $60 for a whiskey that was, in my opinion, less to my taste than many Bourbons that are half that price. I have had some similar experiences with other Bourbons, regretting that I overspent on a Bourbon that I didn’t especially like. However, in most cases, the lesson is worth what I paid for the bottle.
Since Buck 8 YO was less than $25, I trusted the advisor and gave it a try. When I got home after my two hour drive from Lexington, I popped the cork and poured a couple of fingers in a Glencairn nosing glass. The Bourbon glowed in the glass and invited me to inhale the sweet caramel aroma that had a slight hint of cinnamon and perhaps a slight nuttiness. The first sip tingled on the tongue, owing to the 90 proof but was very pleasant. I don’t tend to like a lot of rye in the mashbill of a Bourbon and Buck has just enough to give it a little spice on the sides of the tongue. The second sip was even better having a buttery mouthfeel and the muted tingle on the tongue gave way to the vanilla, dried fruit and just enough oak. The finish was plenty warm but never hot or unpleasant.
I don’t know anything at all about who make’s Buck Bourbon. It is sold as a Kentucky Bourbon but a web search traces it to Frank-Lin Distillers of California. However, the location of the parent company may or may not have any connection to the location of distillation, aging or bottling.
Unlike some of my prior impulse Bourbon purchases, I think that Buck is a pretty darn good drink. It won’t replace any on my top ten list but was certainly well worth the sub $30 price and made a good sipping Bourbon.