Ancient Ancient Age 10 Star

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Class:  Kentucky Straight Bourbon

Reviewer:  Bobby Long

Even if this bourbon sounds unfamiliar to you, you've probably seen it on the shelf at many liquor stores (if you look low enough).  This bourbon has a long history dating back to the 1940's, and is currently contract distilled by Buffalo Trace for Age International, the former owners of the Buffalo Trace Distillery who sold everything to Sazerac in the early 90's except for the rights to the bourbon brands that use what we now call Buffalo Trace's "mash bill #2"  This means that for all essential purposes, Ancient Age (and for that matter, Blantons, Rock Hill Farms, and Elmer T Lee) is a Buffalo Trace product.  But at some distant corporate level, its not.  For a more thorough and eloquent explanation of these things, check out Chuck Cowdery's write up about them.

Don't get this confused with the standard Ancient Age, which is younger whiskey bottled at 80 proof.  Both AA and AAA can be found throughout the U.S. and AAA will typically run you $15-20.

Notes:

  • Distilled and aged by Buffalo Trace using the high-rye mash bill #2.
  • Approximately 6 years old.  The previous 10 year age statement was dropped for the new "10 Star" label.
  • Bottled at 45% ABV (90 proof)

Nose: A touch of ethanol hits you before the aroma opens up into honey, faint caramel and oak. There are some sweet corn and warm baked sugar cookies to round things out.

Palate: A blast of raisins, light caramel, and sweet oak rush over your taste buds. There is some corn and honey that fills out the body, with a bit of spicy clove underneath.

Finish: Candied fruits and caramel, creamy notes of oak vanillins, and a sweetness that I typically find more in wheated whiskeys.  The finish is well balanced and light but not lacking in flavors.

Score:  65/100

Buying Recommendation:  Worth buying a pour.  I'm very impressed with the overall body of the drink. It's light for me but the flavors are pronounced and fun. If I was going to knock it I would say it's not that complex and its too thin as far as bourbons go. The low price tag and solid flavors are the biggest perk of this drink. It competes admirably at the 20$ range but just doesn’t have the depth to make it much more than an above average pour at a nice cheap price.

 

The Rating Scale

At WBSE we use a true 100 point scale for scoring to allow whiskeys to further differentiate themselves (as opposed to a letter grade scale where 90% of whiskeys fall between 78-92).  This allows you to more easily compare scores between different whiskeys.  Here is how the scale breaks down:

1-49:  Varying degrees of bad

55:  Average

60-69:  Better than average

70-79:  solid/good

80-89:  excellent

90+:  truly exceptional

All thoughts and opinions expressed are original to the author of the review or article. We are in no way paid to express any specific opinion about any specific company or product.

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Bourbon Specialist

All Time Favorite Whiskey: Barrell Bourbon Single Barrel 9 Year

Daily Drinkers: Booker’s Bourbon, Old Ezra 7 Year

Bobby is a self-proclaimed high proof enthusiast. Bobby has always been drawn to high proofs; in college, it was a fairly common sight to see him drinking Everclear straight from the bottle on Saturday evenings at Theta Chi’s Zeta Lambda chapter. Bobby naturally transitioned to drinking more whiskey, and started seeking out more complex whiskeys in his mid 20’s. His whiskey obsession really picked up after he tasted Booker’s and Jefferson’s Reserve. Bobby is a huge fan of bourbon and more recently rye whiskeys, with much to learn yet about scotch. The sweet heat of bourbon and rye is Bobby’s biggest draw.

With a bachelors degree from Westminster College in political science and minor in history, he has worked with spectrum disorder kids and adults for 10 years. When not working with kids or having a glass with friends Bobby is probably fishing, playing video games, shooting targets, playing basketball or spending time with his fiancé. Bobby is easily identified as the short, opinionated guy that is on a mission to find the richest most complex whiskeys the world has to offer.

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