Buffalo Trace Baijiu Experimental Collection – Robb Report
When you think of the world’s most popular spirits, brands like Jack Daniel’s or Jim Beam probably come to mind, and for good reason. But it’s actually names and categories less familiar to most Americans that lead the way. In India, blends like Officier’s Choice and McDowell’s are crushing the competition. In Korea, soju reigns supreme, with the Jinro brand declared the world’s best-selling spirit in 2020 by Spirits trade. And in China, baijiu is a monster due to its immense popularity and the large number of people who consume it. According to the International Wine and Spirits Record, in 2019, baijiu represented 31% of the global volume of spirits. Which brings us, unexpectedly, to Buffalo Trace. For its latest limited edition of the Experimental Collection, the Kentucky Distillery decided to take inspiration from the Chinese and try baijiu, treating it as one of its many whiskeys.
For those unknown, baijiu is a clear alcohol commonly distilled from sorghum, although other grains like wheat, rice, or corn can be used, and it is frequently bottled at a relatively high ABV of 50. percent or more. For the baijiu novice, it may take some getting used to, with an intensely pungent smell and an assertive palate rich in earthy, fruity and umami notes. But this spirit is enjoyed by hundreds of millions of people, a testament to the wide range of styles and flavor profiles it offers, as well as its importance in Chinese culture.
This is the 24th edition of Buffalo Trace’s Experimental Collection, in which this great distillery plays on a micro level with the mash bills, the aging, the type of wood used for the casks and the blend. The details on this old baijiu are quite interesting. Since it is not actually a whiskey, it falls under the “Distilled Specialty Alcohol” category and was made from a mashed sorghum and pea bill. It was aged for 11 years in just three different new American oak barrels (uncharred, charred and toasted), which were blended together, cold filtered, and bottled at 90 degrees. The result is an intriguing and strangely delicious spirit, with moments that make you think you’re drinking whiskey, and others that make it clear that you indeed are absolutely not. On the nose, honey and vanilla are present with hints of spices and butterscotch. After sipping, the initial sweetness dissolves into a bit of earth and astringency, with hints of orange, apple and caramel coating the back of your tongue. And the finish lingers with a mix of sweet and sour notes, much like one of those weird hard candies you find deep in your Halloween bag after browsing through all the good stuff (yes, that’s supposed to be a positive tasting note).
The Experimental Collection comes in small 375ml bottles, which is probably enough for you to sip and enjoy that particular spirit. All in all, this is a unique and surprising Buffalo Trace experience, which arrived in late spring with a suggested retail price of $ 46.99. Of course, that sounds laughable now that you find it at online retailers for over $ 1,000 a bottle. But if you’re in the mood for something really different, this is a bottle worth looking for.
Buy Now: $ 875
What our score means
- 100: It’s worth swapping your firstborn for
- 95 – 99 At the Pantheon: A trophy for the cabinet
- 90 – 94 Awesome: an excited nod from friends when you pour them a drink
- 85 – 89 Very Good: Delicious enough to buy, but not special enough to hunt in the aftermarket
- 80 – 84 Good: More of your everyday drinker, solid and reliable
- Below 80 it will: Honestly, we probably won’t waste your time and ours on this.
Every week Jonah Flicker tastes the most interesting and interesting whiskeys in the world. Check back every Friday for her latest review.