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Angel’s Envy vs Buffalo Trace Bourbon: Which is Better?

Last Updated on December 27, 2022 by Lydia Martin

There’s much to love about bourbons, and when it comes to innovation, sophisticated bourbons like Angel’s Envy and Buffalo Trace have come on top of the list for years.

These two bourbon brands are sometimes hard to find because of the high demand for their products.

Here’s our take on Angel’s Envy vs Buffalo Trace’s notable differences. Keep reading to know which comes out as the better bourbon. 

Angel’s Envy & Buffalo Trace Head-To-Head Battle

Angel’s Envy and Buffalo Trace Bottles

Angel’s Envy has a distinct double maturation process that uses a port wine barrel to finish its bourbon, which Buffalo Trace doesn’t have. 

It has a smoother profile and distinct sweet flavor tones with 43.3% alcohol content.

However, Buffalo Trace’s smooth but rich and bolder-tasting profile has a higher alcohol content of 45%.

Both bourbons have distinct trademark notes, but the bottles of Buffalo Trace bourbon are cheaper than Angel’s Envy.

Notable Differences 

History

Angel’s Envy launched in 2011 as a one-bottle brand.

But the idea was started by the visionary Lincoln Henderson, an ex-Brown-Forman master distiller, with his son Wes Henderson in 2006.

Its name originated from the ’Angel’s share,’ the amount of spirit that evaporated after aging. [1

Meanwhile, Buffalo Trace was introduced in 1999 but originated from a historical distillery in the late 1700s.

Its flagship was a tribute to the buffalo that carved its trail to the Kentucky River.

Production & Distillation

column still

Both bourbons undergo a fermentation process before it is distilled. Angel’s Envy bourbon is distilled twice, in a column still and then in a pot still doubler. 

It has an additional procedure to blend its bourbon and finish it in another port wine barrel. 

On the other hand, Buffalo Trace uses a combination of pot still and column still to distill its bourbon, but it doesn’t have an additional finishing barrel procedure.

Maturation

Angel’s Envy doesn’t carry an age statement, but it’s typically aged between four to six years in new charred American white oak barrels.

It uses a double maturation, with up to six months additional maturation in port wine barrels, and is bottled at 86.6-proof.

But unlike Angel’s Envy, Buffalo Trace doesn’t use double maturation.

Buffalo Trace doesn’t have an age statement too, but it’s still a bourbon aged at least two years in new American oak barrels and bottled at 90-proof.

Mash Bill

Bottle of Angel's Envy

Angel’s Envy has a very traditional mash bill content: 72% corn, 18% rye, and 10% malted barley, similar to Old Forester and Woodford Reserve.

On the other hand, Buffalo Trace Kentucky straight bourbon uses its Mash Bill #1. It doesn’t have the exact content, but Mash Bill #1 is known to have low rye content of 10% or less.

“Angel’s Envy will likely remain a brand with only secondary finishes.”

– Kyle Henderson, Production Manager/Senior Blender

Tasting Notes

Angel’s Envy

  • Palate: Smokey notes up front with a soft mouthfeel followed by remarkable ripe fruit, vanilla, dark chocolate, and caramel.
  • Nose: Opens up with subtle vanilla with maple syrup, raisins, and some toasted nuts.
  • Color: It has a gold color with reddish amber hues.
  • Finish: Clean and smooth medium finish with lingering sweet chocolate and finishes with Madeira hints.

Buffalo Trace Bourbon

  • Palate: It has sweet and mellow notes of brown sugar and soft spice with oak, toffee, and anise.
  • Nose: Complex aroma of sweet notes, vanilla, and caramel with spice and mint hints.
  • Color: It has a dark amber color.
  • Finish: Warm medium finish with deep and lingering notes of oak, vanilla, and subtle spice.

Ownership & Distillery

Buffalo Trace Bottles

Both brands were born and distilled in Kentucky. Bacardi Limited owns Angel’s Envy, but Louisville Distilling Company produces it in their urban distillery in Louisville, Kentucky.

Meanwhile, Sazerac company owns Buffalo Trace. It is produced in the oldest working distillery in the U.S., the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky. [2

Price Point

Angel’s Envy Kentucky straight bourbons finished in port wine barrels are more expensive than Buffalo Trace Kentucky straight bourbons. 

A 750ml Buffalo Trace bourbon bottle costs around $34 (Drizly), while a 750ml Angel’s Envy costs around $54 (Drizly).

FAQs 

Is Buffalo Trace smoother than Angel’s Envy bourbon?

No, Angel’s Envy is smoother than Buffalo Trace. The distinct soft palate and finish of Angel’s Envy are due to port wine barrels, making your Angel’s Envy sipping experience smoother.

Which is harder to find, Angel’s Envy or Buffalo Trace bourbon?

Angel’s Envy is harder to find than Buffalo Trace. Angel’s Envy is still a small company, and it might take a while to produce double-maturation products, making its bottles harder to find.

Disclaimer: This claim may vary depending on location and state liquor laws. 

Final Verdict 

Mouthfeel and flavor-wise, Angel’s Envy won the spot. It has a softer mouthfeel, a smoother and sweet nuanced flavor than Buffalo Trace’s smooth, rich, bolder flavor.

However, Buffalo Trace got the spot for having a better price point. Angel’s Envy is not a budget bourbon and is more expensive than a bottle of Buffalo Trace.

The distinctive, nuanced flavors of Angel’s Envy are worth the try, but if you’re on a tight budget, go for a bottle of Buffalo Trace.

References:

  1. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/angel%27s%20share 
  2. https://www.barrons.com/articles/buffalo-traces-new-bourbon-is-rich-in-color-and-history-01610398945 

4 thoughts on “Angel’s Envy vs Buffalo Trace Bourbon: Which is Better?”

  1. I bought one bottle of Angel’s Envy. It was not that good for my taste palate. I really prefer Buffallo Trace. But what I will take before these two is 4 Rose’s small batch. It is my favorite.

    Reply
  2. Not surprising that Angel’s Envy comes out ahead given that Buffalo Trace is an available everywhere lower shelf bourbon. Bit of an unfair comparison. Nevertheless, taste is personal and it’s hard to dismiss the popularity of Buffalo Trace.

    Kudos for the great technical detail and research on both products contained in this article though. Excellent.

    Would love to read how the the authors comparison of the mid priced Angel’s Envy with others at the same price point. (I,e, Basil Hayden, etc.)

    Reply

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