- 90 Proof
- 8 years
This is one of those bottles that I'm sure I've looked at on the shelf and didn't give a second thought at least a dozen times. Let's be honest here, the name of the brand itself doesn't exactly scream "Buy me!" Simply "Buck" lacks any sort of draw to the label. And the label design doesn't help either. The relatively monotone label with a monochromatic picture of a horse "bucking" made it really easy to pass on this whiskey over and over again.
But, one day my trusted local liquor store manager recommended this whiskey to me, completely unsolicited. Now, under certain circumstances, that may just be a ploy to sell some slow-moving product. But, that wasn't the case here. He gave me tasting notes that tole me he genuinely backed his recommendation. On top of that, this is still an 8 year old whiskey, out of Kentucky and bottled by independent bottler Frank-Lin Distillers. I'm not sure where it's sourced from, but I figured it could only be so bad, and it only cost me $30 to find out.
The nose had those traditional notes of caramel and cinnamon. What set it apart, however, was a nice peach note, almost like a peach tea. It also had a wheat note that reminded me of the smell of wheat bread, even with that yeast note to it.
The cinnamon certainly crossed over to the palate. But, it wasn't that spicy cinnamon that I'm used to in my bourbon. Rather, it was sweet and backed by a distinct cereal note. In fact, in my notes I wrote down that it reminded me a bit of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. There was just a touch of spice up front, but it wasn't a cinnamon spice. Rather, it was more along the lines of a black pepper spice that I noticed right on the tip of my tongue.
I still got that peach note that I got on the nose, which was nice. The cereal note persisted as well, but in later pours it was more crackery, kind of like wheat thins. It also had some nice vanilla notes that seemed to become more prominent with each pour.
The finish was interesting in that it seemed to go a whole different direction. There I got a light citrus note--not quite lemon or orange, but somewhere in between. I also got some notes of banana as well as cherry pie filling. That sweetness was tempered a bit by the black pepper spice that finished it all off. The finish sort of threw me a curveball, as the flavors there seemed to almost come out of nowhere.
For $30, it was well worth it to take a flyer on this bourbon. It was tasty, fun and interesting, even if the flavors didn't quite seem to complement each other, and even if it was a bit grain forward. I'd certainly recommend that you give it a go, particularly for the price, and ignore the unappealing (to me) label.