Today’s review is a truly unique one. Not that the others are the same (not by any means) but this one, well, it’s a product that was released according to an entirely different style of development. Buffalo Trace Distillery asked their audience to tell them what makes up their ideal bourbon. How did the audience do? Let’s find out!
So the process was setup in such a way that a distillery visitor (or website user) can tell Buffalo Trace Distillery exactly what it is they want to see in their own idea of the perfect bourbon.
First, selecting a mashbill (the grains that will make up the bourbon) is critical. Knowing what bourbon is made from is going to be helpful in starting this process, but that’s not where it ended.
The site walks you through a virtual mashing, fermentation, and distillation phase before putting the digital distillate into virtual oak. After selecting where (in the warehouse) to age the product, the user chooses how long to let this white dog rest in oak.
The process ends by selecting the proof of the bourbon and, ultimately, in the C.Y.P.B. product being announced and released to the public. Let’s take a quick look at what the distillery has to say about it, then get to tasting it.
Below is a quote from the Buffalo Trace Distillery website about the product:
“A few years ago we asked whiskey drinkers to “Craft Your Perfect Bourbon” (C.Y.P.B.) online by visiting www.yourperfectbourbon.com and choosing their ideal bourbon recipe, proof, warehouse location and age. Thousands chose wheated bourbon, just like William Larue Weller did years ago. ”
Buffalo Trace Distillery
Let’s dig in and find out what exactly Your Perfect Bourbon is all about. Here we go!
Nose – Light brown sugar, a hint of cherry, corn syrup, and vanilla mix with a twist of oak. Honestly it’s nice, but fairly simple.
Taste – Sweet and light. Sort of reminds me of the “bull’s eye” candy…you remember those? There’s a mild oak backbone here but I’m mostly catching caramel flavors with some vanilla and a touch of pancake syrup.
Finish – On the shorter side. Perhaps a medium finish but the lack of depth kinda has the mild sweet flavors really roll off here. Like an early 2000’s Harley Davidson Fatboy if you let go of the throttle abruptly…
Bourbon Finder Grade: C+
This is either a really brilliant exercise by Buffalo Trace Distillery, or it’s a misguided attempt to give people what they ask for. I’m not insinuating there is evidence, or a definitive reason to disbelieve the story behind the product, only looking at this from as many sides as I can. If Buffalo Trace Distillery truly crafted this product in response to community input, they deserve credit for allowing consumers to dictate their own market. Like it or not, we have no one to blame (aside from the folks who provided the input) if we dislike the product. Right?
If, on the other hand, Buffalo Trace Distillery put this product together as a simple line extension or as a means to simply put more Weller products on the shelf for people to buy…I think it would indicate a misstep on their part, as it’s just not “my perfect bourbon”. Not a big deal, really, as I’ve never actually tasted something I’d call my perfect bourbon and wouldn’t expect an eight year old wheated offering at 95 proof to be it. Just food for thought.
As with all things Buffalo Trace this product is highly sought. My stance on “value” and secondary market hasn’t changed. I categorically reject the premise that any whiskey is “worth” a price created by someone on the Internet who is selling the product (legally or otherwise). If you’re really interested in something you can’t find on a store shelf for a price you like, find a friend or perhaps a local establishment that has a bottle and buy an ounce of it. If you can find the product for it’s retail price you should buy it up, open it with some friends, and see if it is indeed Your Perfect Bourbon.
Our grading system: As mentioned in our About Us page, we’re excited to share bourbon with our friends, family, and readers. There are enough critics, cynics, and curmudgeons in the whiskey world as it is, so our goal is to foster the bourbon community in a positive way by bringing fun and entertaining content whenever possible–as such–we decided that applying precise scores to whiskey was simply too serious for us (and didn’t accurately showcase variability in taste from day to day). We use a simple grade school system to apply a grade to the whiskeys we review because we feel it is indicative of the whiskey’s grade for us on that particular day. A grade of a “B” today may very well be a “B+” or even a “B-” on another day, so rather than focusing on a precise score today that may not stand the test of time, we are just sharing our overall grade of that pour for that one tasting. Pour a bit and enjoy, friends, these are the good old days of whiskey!