Review: Ancient Age Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Maker: Buffalo Trace, Frankfort, Kentucky (Sazerac)

Age: NAS

Proof: 80 (40% ABV)

With a bourbon this young and this cheap, I don’t think it’s fair to compare it to a more upscale sipping-quality brand.  So I’m reviewing it like I review a vodka or a gin, neat and in a couple classic mixed drinks.

Bourbon & Coke

Ancient Age is passable in Coke, but there’s an unpleasant bitter note that comes through.  Fine in a pinch, I suppose, but there are much better alternatives, like Evan Williams, Old Ezra 101 and even Beam White Label.

Manhattan

AA fairs better in a Manhattan.  It is a little overwhelmed by the sweet vermouth, but does the job.  The bitter note fades into the background and maybe even complements the vermouth.  The bitterness comes back a little bit in the finish, but overall, it makes a drinkable manhattan.

Neat

The nose is light and sweet. There’s a hint of wood, probably the origin of the bitter note above.  Not much on the palate, delicately sweet and watery.  Maybe some
raw corn taste, but that fades as it sits in a glass.  The finish is a little hot, but quick and a little elusive touch of wood.  The light sweetness lingers for a while before vanishing entirely.

Parting Words

Even for the price, there’s not a lot going on here.  You’d be better off spending a bit more money for the older Ancient Ancient Age 10 star or ever better yet, the Ancient
Ancient Age 10 year old bourbon (primarily available in Kentucky).  The 10 y/o is, in my opinion, the second best bargain in the world of bourbon.  Other bourbons made with the same recipe include Rock Hill Farms, Blanton’s and Elmer T. Lee.

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