The Ancient Age (AA) brand has been around for more than 60+ years. Today Buffalo Trace distillery distills, ages, and bottles AA in a couple of different bourbon offerings. The standard entry Ancient Age is around 3 years old, the Ancient Age 10 Star is a 6 year old, and their oldest is the 10 year old Ancient Ancient Age (AAA). The subject of this review is the later.
First off this is distilled from the Buffalo Trace’s Mash Bill #2, which is a higher rye version of the standard entry #1 Mash Bill, used to make the flagship bourbon, Eagle Rare, George T. Stagg, etc. Mash #2 does share such company as Blanton’s, Rock Hill Farm, Elmer T. Lee, and others. Not bad for a bourbon that costs well under $20.00. The price is right but does it taste “budget”?
Color: Medium Amber/Copper
Nose: Well ripened peach, caramel apple, and bright orange are backed by gentle baking spices, graham cracker, vanilla, flint, a whisper of fragrant oak and wood perfume. Gorgeous!
Palate: Orchard fruit mingles with caramel, vanilla and toffee only briefly before the spice takes hold (cinnamon and clove, anise, bitter orange rind, and a very healthy punch of rye). For an 86 proof bourbon this is also quite concentrated in flavor with outstanding balance of spice and sweetness.
Finish: Elegant yet definitely in the moderately long category. Toffee, citrus rind bitterness, and lingering (but gentle) rye “bite”.
Overall: To put it succinctly, this is a real “find”. The nose hints at something quite sweet and fruity, but the palate reaffirms the spicier side of the higher rye mash bill. There is little not to love with Ancient Ancient Age 10 Year Bourbon. For under $20 this is a whiskey that stands up well to its higher priced “cousin’s” (mentioned above) without trade off. This one will absolutely be in consideration for my “Value Pick of the Year”. If you can find it – grab it! Quick note – don’t be fooled by the “10 Star” version. This one says “Full Ten (10) Years Old” on the label.
Sour Mash Manifesto Rating: 9.1 (Superb/Outstanding)