Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Exam-o-Dram-Ancient Age Bottled in Bond

One recipe I've enjoyed over time is the one produced by Buffalo Trace and that's the Ancient Age mashbill. As I've mentioned on this blog and on various bourbon forums, I really like the Ancient Ancient Age 10 year offering (now only available in Kentucky), and in fact was named "Best Buy of the Year" by Malt Advocate in 2008. A relative of this bourbon is the Bottled in Bond release which is low price, about $15 or less in most markets, and for the most part is a good bourbon. If your palate is tuned to distinguish more age in bourbon, you will pick up some youthfulness present in this bourbon which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

The bottle I have is a square, 750ml bottle with a light tan (or off white) cap, neck and front label with Ancient Age written in script type lettering. The bottle reminds me of an old style bottle. The Bottled in Bond designation on the front label means it's a 100 proof, at least 4 years old and from the same distillery of the same distillation season. This bourbon I have was bottled in 2006 and while there is no age statement on the label, I don't think it's much older than 4 years. An interesting thing missing from the label (front or back) is the Distilled Spirits Plant designation which would be DSP-KY-113 and would indicate Buffalo Trace Distillery. The reason may be because there is a brief history of the Buffalo Trace distillery on the label on each side of the bottle. My understanding is that it's a legal requirement to indicate the distillery for Bottled in Bond bourbons and the fact that they have the distillery name rather than the DSP number satisfies the legal condition.

On nosing this bourbon, I pick up some youthful vigor as the rye is evident up front. I don't pick up much in the way of wood, vanilla or floral as I would expect with a rye bourbon, therefore, I'm thinking this is probably not more than 5 years old or less, but that's just my opinion. The initial taste is a spirited burst of rye flavors, not much in the way of sweetness and it transitions to a mild tannic state and then diminishes. The finish is pretty short for the proof as I have lower proof bourbons with much longer finishes. In a very slight way, this reminds me of Wild Turkey on the initial taste, but the Turkey has more depth attributed to more age. All in all, this is not a bad bourbon for the price. I think this would do well in a Manhattan, Old Fashioned or mixed with a nice Ginger Ale like Blenheim's Hot. Another concept to try, if you're feeling adventurous, is vatting; the mixing or blending of two bourbons attempting to get an outcome that is better than either of the two individually. I do this with Charter 101 and Ancient Ancient Age 10 year. The higher proof and younger age of the Charter, blended with the older lower proof AAA makes a very nice vatting.


  1. It is funny in Virginia you can not get AAA 10 year, but for this month it is listed on the VA ABC website as on sale. 22.90 for a 1.75

  2. I too cannot get the AAA BIB in Idaho. Just their lower shelf and lower proof offerings. Interesting I was headed to pick this up today. I'll let you know my thoughts soon.


  3. I got my bottle of AA BIB in D.C. as VA does not carry it. Of course if they did, it would be some ridiculous price. I paid $13 for it in D.C. so I'm sure VA would be something over $20.

  4. We spoke about this before as being a good, but unremarkable dram. Last night I had a very nice experience with it and while it will never compare with AAA 10yr, it's not a bad substitute in a pinch. It's also nice to have a BIB from BT . . . they don't really offer much else in this age/proof combination.