Masthead image

Follow @findlostcargo on Instagram

Understanding Buffalo Trace's different mash bills

Buffalo Trace distillery

Follow @findlostcargo on Instagram

Buffalo Trace is one of the most popular whiskey distilleries in the United States lately, famous for producing highly-sought bourbons such as W.L. Weller, Blanton's, Eagle Rare, E.H. Taylor, Jr. and their flagship Buffalo Trace bourbon. Their products are difficult to keep on shelves across the country, so it makes sense that people often want to understand a little more about what they're drinking and how it's made.

Let's start with a basic fact about Buffalo Trace: they're not super transparent with their different mash bills. We know a lot about which of their whiskeys share the same recipe, but we don't know what the actual recipe is. 

With that, let's take a look at which of Buffalo Trace's products share the same recipes. Note that even though many of these products start with the same mix of grains, Buffalo Trace is can make big changes in the flavor profiles by aging them in different warehouses, on different tiers, for different lengths of time, and releasing them at varying proofs.

Buffalo Trace Mash Bill #1 (low rye)

This mash bill is assumed to be less than 10% rye and includes the following bourbons:

Buffalo Trace Mash Bill #2 (high rye)

This recipe is assumed to be around 12-15% rye.

  • Ancient Age
  • Ancient Ancient Age 10 Star
  • Elmer T. Lee
  • Elmer T. Lee 100 Year Tribute
  • Elmer T. Lee Commemorative Edition
  • Rock Hill Farms
  • Blanton's Single Barrel
  • Blanton's Gold Edition
  • Blanton's Straight from the Barrel
  • Blanton's Special Reserve
  • Hancock's President's Reserve Single Barrel

Buffalo Trace Wheated Mash Bill

It's unclear exactly how much wheat is used (likely up to 15%), but this recipe does not use any rye. 

Buffalo Trace Rye Mash Bill

Buffalo Trace's standard rye recipe is assumed to be a 51% rye recipe in addition to corn and malted barley.

  • Sazerac Rye
  • Sazerac Rye 18-Year-Old
  • Thomas H. Handy Sazerac
  • Buffalo Trace White Dog Rye Mash
  • Buffalo Trace Kosher Straight Rye
  • Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye

Buffalo Trace High Rye Mash Bill

This recipe differs from Buffalo Trace's standard rye mash bill in that it includes no corn - just rye and malted barley.

Buffalo Trace Four Grain Mash Bill

  • E.H. Taylor, Jr. Four Grain

Buffalo Trace Amaranth Mash Bill

One of Buffalo Trace's experiments for the E. H. Taylor brand, this mash bill is based on mash bill #1. However, instead of rye as the flavoring grain, Buffalo Trace uses amaranth in its place, an ancient wheat-like grain used by the Aztecs. Since mash bill #1 is believed to use 10% rye or less, this recipe uses 10% amaranth or less.

  • E.H. Taylor, Jr. Amaranth Grain of the Gods

Buffalo Trace Mash Bill Blends

  • E.H. Taylor, Jr. 18 Year Marriage (blend of mash bill #1, mash bill #2, and wheated)

A. Smith Bowman Mash Bill

A. Smith Bowman's whiskeys are a varying mix of Buffalo Trace Mash Bill #1 and Mash Bill #2, which is then shipped to Virginia wher it is distilled for a third time and aged.

  • Bowman Brothers Small Batch
  • Isaac Bowman Port Barrel Finished
  • John J. Bowman Single Barrel
  • Abraham Bowman Limited Edition Whiskey