No doubt about it, Buffalo Trace Distillery is one of the best known in the whiskey world. As a leader in the category, it produces some of the rarest and most beloved products available and has cultivated a fanbase devoted to unique styles and distinct flavor profiles.
The core taste of every bourbon and whiskey lies in its mash bill, and while some bourbon brands fully disclose their recipes, the exact blends of Buffalo Trace’s range have remained a very well-kept secret. Although we don’t know the complete breakdown of each bourbon, there is some known information that allows us to decipher where the flavors for each begin.
In the whiskey world, it’s know that the Buffalo Trace portfolio has two primary mash bills: mash bill #1, mash bill #2; plus two specific mash bills: wheated and rye. Though there are a few outliers, most of the spirits produced by Buffalo Trace fall within these categories with many of them being created from similar recipes. Knowledge of the rye percentages included in Buffalo Trace products can help determine which mash bill category the whiskey falls under. With this in mind, we’ve compiled a quick guide to each of the mash bills offered by Buffalo Trace Distillery.
Note: These are estimated amounts as Buffalo Trace does not disclose complete mash bill information.
Mash Bill #1
Known as the “low-rye mash bill,” this is the most common and universal Buffalo Trace mash bill. It is thought to include 10 percent or less rye and can be found in many of the distillery’s base brands, such as Benchmark and namesake Buffalo Trace bourbon, thought is also used for highly regarded bottles like Eagle Rare 17 Year Old.
Mash Bill #2
Mash bill #2 is commonly referred to as the “high-rye mash bill” and is known to contain 12 to15 percent rye. However, the term high rye is a bit misleading as it is often associated with mash bills containing 20 to 35 percent rye or more. Similar to mash bill #1, it can be found in both entry-level and highly coveted bottles. The most well-known brands made with mash bill #2 include Blanton’s Single Barrel, Ancient Age, and the rare Elmer T. Lee.
Wheated Mash Bill
In this mash bill, wheat replaces the rye component of the recipe, giving its bourbons a smooth and slightly sweet taste. Pappy Van Winkle is the most notable Buffalo Trace brand containing the wheated mash bill, but it can also be found in coveted bottles such as E.H. Taylor, Jr., Seasoned Wood, and W.L. Weller Special Reserve.
Rye Mash Bill
The rye mash bill of Buffalo Trace has a similar ratio to typical whiskeys whose makeup is more or less split evenly between rye and corn. With at least 50 percent rye, the Buffalo Trace rye mash bill can be found in Sazerac Rye and Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye.
This mash bill is said to contain no corn and is instead made entirely from rye and malted barley. With no added sweetness, this mash bill produces a flavor profile that is herbaceous and spicy. Of the Buffalo Trace brands, it can be found in E.H. Taylor, Jr.’s Straight Rye and Barrel Proof Rye bottles.
The four-grain mash bill is made from corn, rye, wheat, and malted barley and is found in only E.H. Taylor, Jr. Four Grain.
Amaranth Mash Bill
The amaranth mash bill includes heritage grain amaranth instead of rye in its makeup. It is based on mash bill #1, so the amount of amaranth averages 10 percent and is found only in E.H. Taylor, Jr. Amaranth Grain of the Gods.
|Mash Bill #1 (~10% or Less Rye)||Mash bill #2 (~12-15% or More Rye)||Wheated||Rye (at least 51% Rye)|
|Benchmark Bonded||Ancient Age 10 Star||Buffalo Trace White Dog Wheat Mash||Buffalo Trace White Dog Rye Mash|
|Benchmark Full Proof||Blanton’s Gold Edition||E.H. Taylor, Jr. Seasoned Wood||Sazerac Rye|
|Benchmark Single Barrel||Blanton’s Single Barrel||Old Rip Van Winkle 10-Year||Sazerac Rye 18-Year-Old|
|Benchmark Small Batch||Blanton’s Special Reserve||Pappy Van Winkle 15-Year||Thomas H. Handy Sazerac|
|Benchmark Top Floor||Blanton’s Straight from the Barrel||Pappy Van Winkle 20-Year||Van Winkle Reserve Rye|
|Buffalo Trace Bourbon||Elmer T. Lee||Pappy Van Winkle 23-Year|
|Buffalo Trace Kosher Rye Recipe||Elmer T. Lee 100 Year Tribute||Van Winkle Special Reserve Lot B 12-Year|
|E.H. Taylor, Jr. Barrel Proof||Elmer T. Lee Commemorative Edition||W.L. Weller 12-Year Old|
|E.H. Taylor, Jr. Cured Oak||Hancock’s President’s Reserve Single Barrel||W.L. Weller Full Proof|
|E.H. Taylor, Jr. Old Fashioned Sour Mash||Rock Hill Farms||W.L. Weller Old Weller Antique|
|E.H. Taylor, Jr. Single Barrel||W.L. Weller Single Barrel|
|E.H. Taylor, Jr. Small Batch||W.L. Weller Special Reserve|
|E.H. Taylor, Jr. Warehouse C||William Larue Weller|
|E.H. Taylor, Jr. Warehouse C Tornado Surviving|
|Eagle Rare 10-Year Old|
|Eagle Rare 17-Year-Old|
|George T. Stagg|
|Old Charter 101|
|Old Charter 8|
|Old Charter Canadian Oak|
|Old Charter Chinkapin Oak|
|Old Charter French Oak|
|Old Charter Mongolian Oak|
|White Dog Mash #1|