Clicky

Buffalo Trace vs Eagle Rare: Which is the Better Bourbon?

Last Updated on September 19, 2022 by Lydia Martin

Buffalo Trace and Eagle Rare came from similar distilleries and used the same mash bill, but this is where their similarities end. 

In this Buffalo Trace vs Eagle Rare review, we will check out the noticeable differences and key facts between the two bourbons to help you decide which one is better. 

Buffalo Trace & Eagle Rare In-Depth Comparison 

Buffalo Trace & Eagle Rare on desk

Eagle Rare and Buffalo Trace are two of the most prominent spirits in the bourbon market today, and both share a similar distillery-Buffalo Trace. Eagle rare has been around earlier than Buffalo Trace and is aged longer than the latter. 

Buffalo Trace is known for being a flagship bourbon, and while they are both made by the world’s most award-winning distillery, their production process and tasting notes can be different. 

In Buffalo Trace vs Eagle Rare, Eagle Rare is best served neat or with a splash of water, while Buffalo Trace can be served neat, on the rocks, and as a cocktail. 

Flavor-wise, the bourbons are similarly sweet, but Buffalo Trace has more pepper, alcohol burn, and less oak. Eagle Rare 10-year-old has notes of stewed cherries, apples, berries, cocoa, oak flavors, and musty roasted wood that is best to enjoy neat.

Key Differences

Key Differences

History & Origin

Eagle Rare was introduced in 1975, while Buffalo Trace was released in 1999. Since Eagle Rare is older by 24 years, we can say that it has established a greater reputation. The Sazerac Company then acquired Eagle Rare from Seagram in March 1989. 

On the other hand, Buffalo Trace was first released in 1999. It was named after the ancient buffalos that paved the way through the wilderness and led the American pioneers to explore new frontiers. 

Being A Flagship Bourbon

Being A Flagship Bourbon

Buffalo Trace is the distillery’s flagship bourbon, while Eagle Rare is not. Eagle Rare was introduced by a different distillery and was acquired as part of the Buffalo Trace’s best-known spirits. 

Buffalo Trace is a great flagship brand, representing the entire line of quality bourbon. The mass appeal of the distillery helps the product be part of every whiskey shelf at home and in liquor stores. 

Production & Distillation 

Even though Buffalo Trace was released in 1999, the Buffalo Trace distillery has been known to produce the best bourbons since 1773.

The distillery has used the same recipe for over 200 years; every grain on its mash bill is cooked before undergoing fermentation in the tanks. It will be distilled twice and matured on the middle floors of the warehouse for the ideal temperature. 

On the other hand, Eagle Rare Bourbon whiskey is skillfully crafted and aged for a minimum of ten years.

It was designed to contain 101 proof and was a single barrel bourbon until the brand changed the bottling system. The great bourbon lives up to its name and offers a distinctive taste experience. 

Barrel Selection

Barrel Selection

Eagle Rare used to be a single barrel, but the company dropped the label because of the changes to bottling.

However, it was one of the mass-produced single barrel selections even though they may not be able to claim the rights due to the changes. 

Eagle Rare’s previous barrel selection is a good opportunity for whiskey enthusiasts to dive into the American bourbon scene without spending a fortune.

Other good selections could be E.H Taylor Small Batch and Four Roses Small Batch, which offer different taste preferences on every barrel. 

Aging Process

Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey should be aged for at least two years in charred oak barrels [1]; however, both are aged longer. However, in Buffalo Trace vs Eagle Rare comparison, Eagle Rare is aged longer than Buffalo Trace. 

Buffalo Trace does not disclose the age statement of their bourbon whiskey but it is allegedly matured for at least 8 to 10 years.

On the contrary, Eagle Rare 10-Year-Old is still labeled with an age statement, but you can find it at the back of the bottle. 

As Mixer

Cocktails with Bourbon on table

Buffalo Trace bourbon and Eagle Rare can be great mixers, but most people gladly drink Buffalo Trace as cocktails than Eagle Rare.

Buffalo Trace has rich characteristics and is one of the affordable bourbons you should mix in cocktails. It has a consistent flavor and complex aroma ideal for cocktail recipes.  

Read: Buffalo Trace Classic Old-Fashioned Recipe

Tasting Notes

Buffalo Trace Bourbon

Buffalo Trace Bourbon

  • Palate: Toffee, brown sugar, vanilla, light rye spice, brighter fruits, espresso coffee, and chocolate
  • Nose: Honey, vanilla, orange, and caramel with a balanced fragrance of oak, cinnamon, fine spices, and mint
  • Color: Deep copper
  • Finish: Moderate, oaky, hint of spice, vanilla 

Eagle Rare Bourbon

Eagle Rare

  • Palate: Candied almonds, dry, oaky flavors, rich cocoa, vanilla, slight fruit forward, baking spice, thick creamy body
  • Nose: Aromas of toasted oak, toffee, orange peel, honey, maple syrup, caramel, leather, and oak
  • Color: Golden honey color
  • Finish: long, warm, dry, lingering with notes of tobacco, dark charred oak, and oak spice

Price Point & Value 

Another main difference in Buffalo Trace vs Eagle Rare comparison is the price point and value. Eagle Rare is a surprisingly affordable bourbon for its quality and flavor, while Buffalo Trace has a greater value for the money.

Buffalo Trace has a full flavor, is well-balanced, drinkable, and priced right- whether for sipping or cocktails. 

Eagle Rare, however, is more expensive than Buffalo Trace, but that is justifiable for its quality taste.

Even if the distillery removed the single barrel designation, it is a great value staple for the home bar and whiskey shelf at home, especially since Buffalo Trace is available in limited quantities. 

Read: Eagle Rare vs Angel’s Envy Bourbon

How Are They Similar?

How Are They Similar?

Owner  

Eagle Rare 10 was owned by Seagram when it was acquired by the Sazerac Company in 1989 [2].

On a side note, Buffalo Trace is originally owned by the Sazerac company ever since it was first released. Both are Buffalo Trace products and share the same owner. 

Distillery

Distillery

Buffalo Trace and Eagle Rare 10 Year share the same distillery-Buffalo Trace Distillery. It was previously known as George T. Stagg Distillery, located in Frankfort, Kentucky.

It is the same distiller of Sazerac rye, Pappy Van Winkle, OFC Vintages, and many more. 

Mash Bills

Buffalo Trace whiskey and Eagle Rare 10 use similar grain bills on their spirits. It contains low rye (less than 10%), and it is widely used in different bourbons of Buffalo Trace.  

Alcohol Content

Alcohol Content

Both straight bourbon whiskeys contain 45% ABV (90 Proof), but Buffalo Trace has more alcohol burn than Eagle Rare.

On the other hand, Eagle Rare was originally designed to contain 101 proof (50.5 % ABV).

The recipe changed over time, and the brand discontinued the 101 proof in 2005 and was marketed with 90 proof that we enjoy today. 

Buffalo Trace & Eagle Rare Bourbon Common Prices

Bourbon Size Alcohol Proof Average Price
Buffalo Trace Bourbon 375 ml 90  $19.25
750 ml $34.99
Eagle Rare 10 Year Bourbon 750 ml 90 $49.99
1.75 L $76.99

*Average prices are based on Drizly online. Prices may vary in local liquor shops.

FAQs

Which is better for beginners, Buffalo Trace or Eagle Rare?

Buffalo Trace is a better beginner’s whiskey than Eagle Rare. It has a slightly spicy, woody, and not too sweet flavor profile and is a very drinkable whiskey for novice drinkers. 

Is Eagle Rare harder to find than Buffalo Trace?

Both can be difficult to find. Buffalo Trace is hard to find due to its high demand and limited supply. And like any Buffalo Trace-made bourbon, Eagle Rare is available on allocation only.  

Key Takeaways

Eagle Rare is better than Buffalo trace regarding the flavor profile. It has a richer and more complex flavor profile and delivers a good amount of warmth.

It is not too sweet and has supporting wood, mint, and spice notes. 

However, Buffalo Trace gets the upper hand regarding value because it is a solid bottle for its price.

Moreso, it is an entry-bourbon that you can consume neat, on the rocks, or in cocktails. 

Reference:

  1. https://www.cnbc.com/2015/06/04/5-rules-that-make-it-bourbon.html 

2 thoughts on “Buffalo Trace vs Eagle Rare: Which is the Better Bourbon?”

Leave a Comment