To get a sense of what this famed operation brings to the world of whiskey is to distill over 200 years of dedication. Located in the community of Frankfort — where, yes, the buffalo did once roam — the distillery’s single-minded devotion is to craft Kentucky’s proudest export to the world. One taste will confirm that declaration, but with a family of bourbons to explore, why stop there?
There have been a number of visionary leaders associated with Buffalo Trace Distillery, but none so influential as Colonel Edmund Haynes (E.H.) Taylor Jr., regarded as the father of modern bourbon making. His ambition to improve distilling found him introducing copper fermentation tanks and column stills, and updating operations and processes. He even brought aboard a revolutionary chill-combatting steamed heating system that, although invented in 1886, is still used today.
Taylor’s approach encapsulates the drive at Buffalo Trace to be a better bourbon producer. Even when the rise of Prohibition shuttered most distilleries throughout the U.S., this operation carried on under the auspices of creating “medicinal whiskey,” making it the longest continuously operating bourbon distillery in the world. Its contributions to the booming bourbon trade — long before the spirit’s current renaissance — even earned the distillery a National Historic Landmark designation in 2013.
As the most highly awarded bourbon producer in the world, its lineup of illustrious names invites closer inspection. While the distillery has built its reputation over the years on the likes of Pappy Van Winkle and Eagle Rare, there is a range of other options, including Blanton’s Single Barrel, E.H. Taylor Jr. Small Batch, Sazerac Rye, Stagg Jr. and, of course, the flagship brand, Buffalo Trace. Choice isn’t the issue here — choosing is.