There’s a lot of whiskey out there. So much so that some company websites can miss a brand or two in their admittedly expansive portfolios. One example of this is Ancient Ancient Age from Buffalo Trace, which carries the number 10 on the label to callback the days when it had a 10-year age statement. Now it’s just 10-star. Or so Buffalo Trace might have us believe.
Finding the traditional Ancient Age isn’t too difficult (it is a bottom shelfer), but its epizeuxis-sporting sibling is fairly evasive considering it’s only available in handles (1.75L) for around $25. In other words: another bottom shelfer. Could this be a bit of a hidden treasure? Only one way to find out. A sample was provided courtesy of a fellow whiskey enthusiasts.
Nose: Light lemon/orange sweetness, hints of vanilla, and a thin layer of brown sugar. Some new make astringency. A touch of clove buried beneath the lemon, but I’m barely able to coax it out. A bit more clove and hints of waxy nut come out more after sipping. Perhaps a faint touch of apple cinnamon.
Palate: Thin and grainy. Vague impressions of flavors and fairly ethanol-forward—citrus, brown sugar, and vanilla. Feels young and watered down. Speckles of lemon, pineapple, and maybe even passionfruit. Flavors are there, but they’re about as tangible as a just-present mist. Astringency tickles the palate inoffensively.
Finish: Pale residuals of lemon and vanilla, maybe a tiny speckle of orange. Not the shortest finish, but not long enough to leave much impression, if at all. Split-second hint of peach ring candy.
No surprises in store here: Ancient Ancient Age is every bit as enjoyable as you’d expect from a bottle with its statistics. I do pull out the lightest traces of pleasant flavors, but they simply fail to amount to anything other than mere hints. The whiskey is clearly young, and not in an endearing way like certain craft whiskeys. “Cheap” is the key word that springs to mind while sipping Ancient Ancient Age. I realize that’s not how most people will serve this, but it’s still fun to see how any and all spirits perform, regardless of tier. This one clearly earns its status, but it’s also far from the worst pour I’ve had.
As easy as it is to pick on Ancient Ancient Age (and Buffalo Trace as a whole), I don’t feel offput, just bored. And if there’s one thing certain whiskeys have reminded me of, it’s better to be boring than offensive.