Back in the fall, Buffalo Trace Distillery announced that its next whiskey would be a brand-new label created in partnership with country music superstar Chris Stapleton. While we knew the name of the new product would be “Traveller Whiskey,” other details were scant. We knew it would be bottled at 90 proof. We knew it was a blend that Kentucky native Stapleton and Buffalo Trace master distiller Harlen Wheatley came up with only after testing more than 50 different recipes, settling on blend number 40. And we knew it would arrive sometime in 2024.
Well, the new year has just started, and Buffalo Trace has wasted no time getting Traveller onto store shelves. The brand will officially roll out the whiskey on January 4, and it’s already popped up for presale on a few online sellers. Thankfully, at least so far, bottles are being listed at their suggested retail price of $39.99 — a welcome change for a new whiskey from Buffalo Trace, whose releases routinely sell for several times their SRP on the secondary market. (Reminder: That $330 bottle of Weller 12 you spied at your local liquor store the other day should be tagged at about $45.)
Nose: While it’s not labeled as a bourbon, there’s obviously some bourbon in the blend, as Traveller has a very bourbon nose. There is a lot of vanilla, some caramel corn, oak and just a hint of spice. It’s more complex on the nose than classic Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight.
Palate: To paraphrase one of Stapleton’s biggest hits: Is it as smooth as Tennessee whiskey? Well, I’d argue it’s a good deal smoother than Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7. This is an easy-drinking whiskey. It’s fairly sweet up top, but it’s a light corn sweetness with just a hint of toffee and vanilla carrying over from the nose — there’s nothing cloying here. The mouthfeel is quite creamy, leading me to think there’s probably some wheated bourbon tucked away somewhere in the blend. On the backend, things get a bit spicy leading into the finish.
Finish: Although this whiskey is tame on the tongue, it finishes strong with a burst of rye spice. There’s a touch of heat on the backend, but not as much as you’d think for a 90-proof whiskey that only costs $40. Wheatley and company have done a great job of smoothing over any harsh edges here.
For more information please visit https://www.chrisstapleton.com/song/tennessee-whiskey/