I was lucky to find these Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection bourbons at a store at retail price, something almost unheard of with the BTEC older series. There is a 21yr version too, but alas, someone beat me to it. If anyone has a sample, I’m happy to trade.
Both these have the same mashbill and were aged in white oak barrels, but the evaporation difference is pretty substantial, 62.1% for the 19 year 1 month bourbon vs only 43.6% fot the 17 year 7 month one. These were both bottled in December 2010. Full details on the bottles in the picture.
The older one has a darker amber than the younger one–not surprising.
19yr nose: rich mushroom forest floor, leather saddlebag, graham cracker s’mores, graphite, candied apple.
17yr nose: similar nose, but fresher, so the mushrooms aren’t as dark, the leather isn’t as worn, the s’mores are golden brown instead of charred and there is a hint of peanut butter on this one that doesn’t exist in the 19yr.
19yr palate: Very smooth, but almost too smooth… I wish these were barreled at cask strength to really get the full effect. The waming is good, but again, hard to judge at 90 proof. It’s enjoyable, but compared the to Four Roses I had this weekend, it doesn’t compare. The palate is good, and the finish is medium and the mouthfeel is above average.
17yr palate: Same criticisms and compliments as the 19yr about cask strength and quality. The peanut butter again comes through strong on the palate, backing up the nose, which the 19yr old one doesn’t have at all. Very interesting the differences yet similarities. The mouthfeel is slightly more oily in the 17yr than the 19yr.
Overall these are very good and enjoyable aged Bourbons. Given they are fairly expensive ($60 each at retail and go for 100-150 on bottle-spot) and only half bottles and not cask strength, it’s hard to give them top marks, but they are very interesting and I’m extremely happy to have them as part of my whiskey cabinet. I will continue to buy the BTEC collection to learn more about the difference in the styles and how it reflects on the nose. I’m grading them both 92/100.